« Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

#24: Dr. Amishi Jha & Maj. Gen. Walter Piatt

Dr. Amishi Jha, a neuroscientist and an associate professor of psychology at the University of Miami, and Maj. Gen. Walter Piatt of the U.S. Army might seem like an unlikely pair, but they have worked together to bring Mindfulness to the troops. Jha studies how the demands of high-stress, high-stakes professions may degrade the brain's ability to make decisions and she has found in her work that groups like accountants, students, athletes and military service members benefit from Mindfulness training. Piatt has served in numerous assignments all over the world, including tours in Korea and Panama, in his more than 35-year military career. He's also completed several operational deployments including Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
For maybe see this the ten percent have your podcast I'm down here We ve got to people on at this time. If you were gonna design and meditation show, these are probably the two least likely people you would have on the show. One is a narrow scientists, the others, a major general in the? U S, army. and they know each other they work together. Bringing mindfulness to the troops will outline here about how this whole thing came about, but let me just tell you: they are first doktor. Amicia job is a nurse I test and an associate professor psychology at the University of Miami she studied the demands of high stress, high stakes, professions made degrade the brains, ability to make decisions, and she is and in her work that groups like accountant students, athletes, and military service members benefit from my fulness training, the other guests, major General Walt Pie. Of U S. Army waltz began,
his military career as an enlisted soldier when he entered the army service in eighteen. Seventy nine he's had a more than thirty five year career you the numerous assignments all over the world, including tours in Korea, Panama, Hawaii in Alaska, he's also completed. reparation deployments, including Surinam, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. Such a pleasure to have you both on the show. Thank you for coming to you has so so in a star with the question I start with with everybody and unfair gun you first to me: she takes it. We know each other better, how- and why did you come to meditation so I'd say the answers in two parts. The first is a personal need and I guess very much similar to your your story at another pack, attack on national tv duplicating was not giving us not Billy similar measures. You are in the sense that I had a growing standing that it was my mind that was causing me a lot of pain gotcha. I would
a new faculty member and a new mom at the universe, you Pennsylvania at that time and everything outwardly looks fine. is continuing to have success at agree institution, but The stress of it was actually crippling, At some point I realize I don't want to live my life like this and turn to my husband, accurate that point and said I think I'm just gonna quit my job. And was around the time the semester was about to end with the images to gruelling schedule of teaching, and just everything was intensive, especially with it new baby too and he said you know you could do that, but you just try of the summer to see if there's some sudden, Some other way can make yourself you a little bit better and
it was really fortuitous for me that, right before the summer started, we had a guess speaker in town who was rich. Davidson cannot tolerate. Who read you David? Yes, too, rigid aids and has been honest, but he was on the first part gas we did him and the Dalai Lama originates in is really pioneer in terms of using neuroscience to examine the impact on the brain of contemplative practice, meditation, etc. so he came to the University of Pennsylvania gave his little shaken. You were also know so richly at that time was not out: oh really, isn't eminent effective neurosis, so he studies how the brain emotion, systems. Work He gave a wonderful talk, a keynote having nothing to do with mindfulness, more meditation. At the end of its term, A key actually show these two images on the screen of brain scans, one of it He called the positive brain, a brain of a summit in a positive mood and the other A person in a negative mood and just trying to make the point. The brain really looks different.
its functioning and its in its profile as a phone. Removed. So at the end of his talk, I raised my hand. I said: how do I get that brain the negative one to look like that brain the positive one? and he looked up and said meditation and was all he said, and they He said I, you know that was ended. The question answer session that was it and those as the first time I was, I was sort of shocked like you realize your pen, we dont use those words here, And he was serious, he I did have a chance. talk a little bit later about it and he was saying what some the work they were just starting. So this was a while back, but again me curious so that summer I bought my first mine as for beginners book by Jack Cornfield and just committed to doing the practices, and it changed anything about my life, so that was, on the one hand, the personal side. The professional side was, after doing this, for several months have realised that the thing that would seem to be affecting was my attention.
My entire career is a neuroscientist had been spent, studying the brains, attention system so just be an extremely curious about how it was that this I was doing quietly by myself for fifteen to twenty minutes. A day was profound: really changing everything about my life and shifted entire labs research focused. For that. I want to put on back this just a little bit. Yet what I'm gonna get you? I promise you gonna, make it very difficult in just a few minutes at the. Let me stay with me. She is so weird call a guy with a colleague Tarzan bars and on his jacket Walt if you're going to get in trouble what what do you mean? A change? Your attention, what do you mean by and how do we knew and also what you mean by like changed so much about your internal? Whether what do you mean by that two? Ok, so in terms of a country, While for me to realise that this is this thing called attention that I know a lot about from my day, job, it really This change the quality of my mom, two moment life. Look at my husband and listen to the words he was saying to me. I could be with, child read a book actually look
the pages and see the images I was sitting there with him. It was I became more present too. I circumstances nothing had changed really about the level of straw. sir demand, but I was or embodied in what I was trying to do and there was less around everything going on Monday, that. That's when I was sort of like putting it together and thinking. Okay, the thing that might be reduced, I'll in this benefit is the way I am directing my attention when making my mind staying in the moment, and it's not just moving forward to the next thing. That's gonna happen in Worryin anxiety, provoking thoughts or ruminating on bad things have already happened that are kind of winning we had shifted, where my mind was in time and what words What was the practice you were doing, what kind of meditation said? This was a basic mindfulness, a breathing exercise where the
action was to sit in an upright comfortable posture, pay attention to the sensations of breathing and, when my mind, wandered to gently return it opening up to more receptive practices, open monitoring, type practices to anchor the breath but to really allow any thoughts, emotion, sensations com and then pass through very varying showed two will continue with your story, the second, but let's get over to Walt, so how to how- and when did you start meditating. I want to meeting and for other reasons You just heard. That's what really introduce me. We had been since no margin, cocaine. I was I war and a lot of it. I guess- and yet so we're coming time time again. After its deployment, trying to reintegrate are soldiers back into society, and each time we see soldiers aspire on the control and the army was really put a lot of time and effort into. How can we help our soldiers post appointment and that's what let us to a mission there.
Still do a research project with our soldiers and Schofield Barracks Hawaii. I may she did emaciated, and so she came out we're entities by an army. Doctors said this may be a different way of trying to sell its research. They use a mindfulness in post, appointment and prayed climate training, adoring deployment and you're talking about I've come back for Afghanistan. We just got back from Iraq. I was a brigade manner at the time and third brigade, twenty fifth of television division, who we just got from Iraq, and we had been on and off again you yeah you're gonna, your back you're going your back. We witnessed back, two thousand nine when you get two thousand area, and so we knew we had been doing. Post appointment was not working, so we really wanted to try something new and endless. This was presented to us as a way, so we ve got two hundred soldiers in the research and I even oil rig manner I smoke and get myself into its. I was gonna jealous to see, but this was waiting. We went deeply. She gave you and said yeah. We would like to get your soldiers to meditate. Did that
that not completely embarrassing and like. Why was it not outright rejected? Most matter, she Turkmen says she sounded like it is. Is the second ago you I could understand about every third words from saying reader, charts and a charge or the science was absolutely impressive, and that's what we were. hiking in a military weary, providing a lotta information to soldiers like don't drink too much, you Know- but don't spend our money one time, don't don't go and beat your wife beat your spouse lose, and none of this was working we, provided them enough, the availability of assistance, but we want helping them in a pre deployment. We weren't really helping them with the mental challenges of come in a mental challenges, distrustful life within the military and that's what this offered and cheat. So she really lead with the science, which was actually convincing shoe plain and ten seconds. What myself in mind the sergeant major for the brigade had been experiencing, since we are many combat deployment, so we
guilty. We're sat there and realize we were not managing stress well and it was impacting our lives and just the way he described we were convinced, I don't think so, meditation. It came up within the first meeting, yeah, but you knew in evolves, sitting closing their eyes and paying attention your breath. What other word about that? Yeah? We were so worst. We were little curious, but we weren't yet suspicious we're like because everything we ve been doing had just not in work. You had a desperate where we we are where we were, and we were very open minded, but then, Explain to it that we're gonna go through some training and teacher to soldiers to meditate and do this at this The rest of us, you didn't get into the research project, we started the self just teach ourselves and we I understand and military. Without a doubt, we care about time every data to physical fitness. It's at least an hour a day we provide for just for physical fitness. You see the benefits immediately, but we will do for our mental fitness and as one of the one of our most powerful
weapons really. No weapon is a soldier's mind itself, because we put them in a very complex trustful environments and have to be able to interpret. Does environments under great stress in split second, to make very difficult decision, so anything that could help them be in a moment and understand what they were seeing and not. What they were trained to think they were going to see was helpful. It was helpful and accomplish our mission the right way, and it was helpful with managing stress with our soldiers, which we think will greatly help with opposed combat deployment and planned just post combat star I want to talk about the results of this. Are you second bit, but at what I'm surprised it? I'm not! Hearing from you is rampant, acidic sky. does ISM among your colleagues in peers Did you not run into any that? Oh, we ran quite a bit of how the sergeant major nigh multiple combat deployments. We were bit desperate, so we were very open minded and we saw the
Hides behind it, we were eager, but the soldiers I'm sure they said. What is the colonel got us doing now, a lot of that great resistance, but it something new, but I think, with his shortly people started to see a dick in a new started to get by and in a lot and then there is a community that practices as well, and I think you athletes, especially professional athletes, when a military. We would like to call our soldiers. Are they are warrior athletes, but I think that that The comparison to professional athletes really help them bring an insight, or there might be something here when you to see the ball and it's getting thrown at you. What you want It would be in the moment when you want to combat patrol in Iraq or Afghanistan, and the answer is certainly yes. Will this can help you get there, but you do have to do convincing insoles have to see it if they don't feel it they're not going to come in. So it's they're just not going to practice or not going to practice on their own, but when soldiers started the
the results? You could sense, they were more eager to practice on our own, and I think Commissioner results show that the ones that would say yes, I would do more on my own- they showed better results without what you find for that initial study. Yet so the state is, it was a very big started, the first of its kind that the ECHO Command had funded and we were asking a bunch of key questions because again, this is the first time anything like this had been done. One It was really round dosing. So how much time do we need to take in order to have effects, and was it eight week period of time that we had devoted to the training. Some people got twenty four hours over that eight weeks some got sixteen hours in some got eight hours and that's where we were not sure for we're. Gonna have effects, are not there. in question more to ask was really around. Will if you're going to have some period of time, what should be the emphasis in that time? Should you spend it I'm talking to them about the downside of stress and the value of practicing, or should you just not really say much and just haven't practice while there in the room with the trainer
sort of like. If you go to the gym, do what you're you know your personal traded the agreed exercises are just sit. There do the reps with you and and the other thing was just how does a compared to other things, that the army was interested in trying out that were actively part of the poor. Filed with the army, was doing for resilience, comparing Michaelmas training to positivity training, where the intention for positivity training is to cultivate more positive mood, what the impact would be and I'll just take one of the research studies that, with that's already been published last year, which was one with eight hours we found we could go down to eight hours and still find benefits, but if that eight hours was just filled with the dynamic the information about, how bad stress wasn't how great mindfulness was? It looked different than doing nothing at all the group that actually got- foolish training and mostly did practice in class signal, frequently state stable over time, whereas the other group in there try group completely degraded their attention
Are you a measuring attention? So this is where the laboratory took it, that I already had expertise and was really helpful most of the things in my lab, were computer based tasks, brainwave recordings functional MRI studies of attention, so we use technology were essentially you're, doing something like a simple video game. That quite boring. That requires you to actually overcome that boredom in your own internal chatter. In order to do the task, I'm so we saw how often people were able to. the button when they should not mind wandering miss it completely as well as how were aware they were of whether their mind was wandering or not, but but major general. While I was worried about attention among his troops is worried about them, beating their spouses in and drinking too much. We run the cars on the roads of what this is where it was really. I think I connect the dots and that first proof that he mentioned which is essentially attention, is one aspect of what we call executive controller cognitive control, the abyss. to make sure that
the goals you have a line with your behavior, so they holding in mind, which are ethical code, is what the right way to be is, You consider to be your aspirational way to be and ensure that your behavior really serves that goal. Instead of losing entirely what you'd like to be doing and then not being able to follow it, Sir attention is the key kind of workforce system that allows executive control to be possible. It's all the thing we need to regulate our emotions, indicate well too, make decisions to plan, so all of those things are tied to what he wanted to see is the unresolved. What I noticed is that the way that the army was doing things at the time we arrived on the scene with this project was essentially in on some sort of death by Powerpoint. Tell people what the aspirational goal should be of how their behaviour should look but or tools and how to get there, and I think, We provided was a sort of a mental work out that would allow them to actually grow these capacities that were surely depleted,
after being in war. If that combat deployment of after combat deployment, show it would do you did you find any any evidence other than anecdotal evidence that these guys were not that not only was there at attention capacity boosted, but that their behaviour improved in some way, well, that was sort of the that was their own self report that so that was why anecdotal that was anecdotal, went when they were kind of, scribe how and more the things were not about their day job. It was I'm a better soldier was like. I can talk to me life without yelling at night. You know I can go to my daughter, soccer game and watch it. so was really like the personal shifts that were happening in their lives, Seward happened to me myself that the russian up to their life, in a way that that felt like that's the way wanted to be as people with Did you find that that the stuff that you cared about cuz, you didn't care so much, at least at the correct me. If I'm wrong, with from what I heard initially you weren't looking to boost their attention span, you were looking for them,
after ruin, their own lives when they got home from deployment. Will you seeing less of that? Among those who got this training, but what we quickly learned was that this was something that wasn't gonna be just post deployment. We quickly learn at while we should be doing is pre deployment because We realised, as we have seen your folks at multiple deployments, every everybody suffers from post, traumatic stress everyone, but not everyone has to suffer from fought falling in. Despair disorder, but what what TK? that is really what we realized was we need to be doing is pre to point. We need to learn how to manage stress, manage attention which gives you a better, a better soldier to be able to face as dramatic events because he's regulated if she's regulated and then they come out. The other end much much less Also, we saw immediately while this is something we do not just for our post employment, though that was the reason that got us there, but if certainly, we saw right away that the applications of this were much more beneficial, but you did
I felt I felt it my a lot of our senior folks delta, because I've been deployed so much. They really felt Well, I'm really enjoying my time with my family you're so anxiously at home, but sometimes you just your your mind and catch up. You're still you're still deployed in this really helped. Us is the You're really enjoy special moments where it will have a family and between two point: when we come back you say: compassion is more powerful than bullet They you say that I did say that also said before deployed Afghanistan alarm, I declare that we could win this war without killing when one person stick around. There is a new answer for people in need of serious pain, relief, light of care.
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very hardware of creating combat like conditions within our training, so that when they got to combat they were prepared for that type of straw. For environment. What we may be doing is elevating stress too much higher levels to soldiers and not teaching them. How to regulate. Was the missing ingredient, but we saw different examples that before even we knew what mindfulness was reintroduced of our many deployments? We just chuck why? it was it that way and when saw the sides behind a misuse work. That's what really convinced me right away that there's something here. We need it. We need to pursue Immediately, what I see is cause, I think some people come about. It naturally but they are, they self regulate their their able to deal and stressful moments will still being very much in the moment and in Ireland, stressful com operation and make that split. The second sit decision and make the right one whether to use force or not to use force it to. for the hardest decisions a soldier has to make, and it makes it very quickly not always with
the information that you don't want to have to be a highly was stress when they make it because they're normally the wrong one, So we saw examples of that sum. We saw the application of then learning met to meditate now racist, you're you're able to get away from the disaster the type that we have to be multitasking and korean into be effective in a military that the more you more you can do, the better you doing it, and this can prove to me he just the opposite. So now, I'm very comfortable with taking a pause studying problem or a walking away from it and and and doing some type of reflection, even if I don't have time to sit for twenty minutes, even just walking. The courtyard of the Pentagon just do what I call mindful walk, just walk through and focus on nothing and then come back, unable to get things done. A much more efficient ways live, seemed efficiency. My life from this,
but I've have also seen soldiers become much more real happier at home, post deployment and much more effective Dorin during their deployment doin. Their career what about your? U happier at Home- and I are you just happier in your moment moment experience I I I When I think I'll, I want something I was very happy, but I could see the stress I could see. I could feel it coming back in other things were irritate me, oh just get stuck in traffic. You know loud loud noises, he's going wrong that really never bothered me before the patient. I thought very tolerate, but my wife noticed it an inside always made shrubs exercising and exercising was my pre mindful way to regulate. That was what I did and I had to do more and more of it too. In order to get that feeling back that I was being relaxed, but you you you, you feel it it's not it's that later some ticking time bomb like my chair tv, but it's a little things start to build up on you and then you just you know you blow
anger on something that was so insignificant prior tell these events in your life that that you start to realize some he's wrong, I'm not spiralling into disorder is a very serious case, but all soldiers are affected by it and if you're not recognise they get in dealing with. It then thinks you get a lot worse, but when I found as if Europe less stressful pre, traumatic event, You handle the trauma a better, We come out of it a lot better and makes a lot of sense in the policy implications are gigantic that show so wished. That was the first daddy back in two thousand Nike. Do I assume there I know there have been more. Some key walk me through to basically what you ve been finding right. So I think that that this this overall profile is very similar, I described to you- and I don't have that was a clear and what I had said before. If we look at people going through very high stress situations and that could be soldiers preparing for deployment. The deployment but self.
or the civilian context you know, undergrad preparing for finals You think that is a high stress period of time protein, did over multiple weeks hasn't him. On attention. We know it the impact on well being. We know people report feeling more stressed and unhappy, but what we ve been able to track is that if you look attention using these simple computer games at the beginning interval and at the end, attention declines, But I think, he's kind of an important thing for people to realise that there are costs going through a high stress interval ended if those same potential resources are necessary for you to regulate your mood to have sex, swell interactions with people and solve the problems that are part of what makes the interval high stress We have less of that resource. You're gonna be compromised right. When I speak about that period of time and what happens to attention really talking about figuring out some way. We can build cognitive resilience so allowing people that RO? The capacities that we know weaken over high stress periods of time.
And so that's what we ve done with looked at various high stress groups underground as accountants football player, all during kind of intensive care the time and sure enough, we find that the groups that don't get the mindfulness training or some get some other form of training that doesn't emphasise this present moment awareness degrade in their attention and their mood and the people there yet the mindful is training and actually practice it stay. State or even get a little bit better than whether started so. That's the broad brush of of the kinds of things that were looking for you keep working with the military and showed them, and not everything has been very interesting. So you know we in this first study that we did in two thousand nine, my partner and all of it was doktor list Stanley Georgetown and interviewed her, you yeah, and so the thing that's really rare. Workable about list that she should have bought, embodies the expertise of somebody that knows alive about what it means to be a service members. She was, in the military herself
and she knows a lot about what it means to be a mindfulness practitioner, that's a very rare combination. She also happens to be a professor of cynicism. these studies. So she professionally knows about this area. I mean that the there's one was definitely there's not hundreds of them. So now that we found that the training is effective, that offering mind from his training, redeployment can actually protect against the decline that you normally see The army's concern was well. How do we grow this capacity? How do we have more people that can get the training and so over the last several years, what I've been doing and I've been grateful that the waltz been part of our advisory board. Trying to figure out how we can make the training again logos, low tech, highly accessible and scalable showed you need a lot of trainers, Yes, we need european aid, warn people that can do it so there, two ways we could go. One way was: let's take people that already know a lot about mindfulness: let's get from a certified trainers,
train them in or to deliver our programme that we had designed for soldiers. so that they already have the mindfulness peace and will teach them about contextual living it for the community but the other way we were gonna go simultaneous with this strategy was: let's get army, trainers, sport, psychologist that know how to train soldiers. Well, who may or may not be soldiers themselves. but they know how to train service members so that their high performance, and we train, though in our programme and that's what we're doing now we're kind of looking head to head to see which group is more effect. To be able to offer the The programmes that soldiers benefit. Why not use technology like have this training delivered through an app or something like that? So we have done that too, that something that's been ongoing in my lab is looking at various that apps to see That's, a good strategy to go forward so far, our challenge, been mad at you. after have some buying- and some
accountability, that the EP is actually engaged and even if you turn it on, the recording plays there's no human, ensuring that people are following it. So what interesting. Trying now is: let's have an app were there's some kind of coach, we'll let somebody is unhappy. I know that I know that let's have a coach, let's have some kind of book ending of in person sessions so that they know what this is about, what they're getting into and then throughout the process they are able to get the assistance that they need. So exactly I'm in unit have even started. Talking That is how our ways in which we can use this kind, I think a next generation of app that takes into the human interaction to guide people, the coach people to really allow Scalable delivery, tat. We do like a ten percent happier military style.
But the thing is, I would be the wrong guy to be involved in that cause. I'm like five foot, seven and a hundred pounds and I've never been in a fight that allow Levu. We were revise. I've never been in a fight that I've one. So I might not be the right guy, but I definitely dear dear theirs I'd be interest to see what the number show you, because I would imagine in person pedagogy will have more impact full then and aft. So far, that's or finding yeah is giving people a nap does do actually, basically, its is showing us no difference. depending on the app, so we give them a relaxation up or a mean a brain up with, like cognitive attention, tasks, or a marvellous app, there's no difference doing something is better than nothing. You haven't you. If you want to scale this thing there, that's the question: can you train enough human beings who actually understand how did you other human beings have to do, Michaelmas, which is a subtle art that seems to be the brown. That's my ex grant
that's the question I wanna really pursue and, like you The challenge with any research designs having enough numbers and testing out different delivery models right so, like I described use, the Mai force produced the key or the context, expertise, that's expertise that sticky over I'll. Give you that kind of we're we're out with those results. It looks like the thing that seems to really we now in terms of, soldiers. Preceding and following the training and benefiting from the train from laboratory measures is the one that's topped by the army. Trainer interesting, they need to be able to relate to the person whose teaching them this practice and not the case that the army trainers our service members themselves, but basically hollows. They don't know about it exactly they can relate to this. particulars of this culture? So, if you re in like up meditation teachers get thirty years of you. No talking about the Buddha and- and you know like allow these people have this, like soft
per in their voice and there you know they feel like you're, trying to give your Ricky massage with their vowels, like those people are not going to work with a military the fire doesn't seem to be the right way to go, not mean just eat just intuitive. My andelys don't work with me right right exactly and you know I'm not the military for a lot of good reasons. Do you have a hunch about what the best way to to get this out twice or why will set at First list daily was very helpful in this because she did related soldiers from ensued s personal trauma, so that was just her and she was very intelligent and being college professor, that what we have just she really benefit with soldiers in that language, and we ve done some work with a mission. I just be able to talk the soldier athlete language very hopeful. As we take a lot of fitness advice,
from folks who are in a military, but if they show something is working, what everybody pays attention to unlock it? What's the latest cakes and went when Cross Fit came out, your military very interested. Our soldiers were very somebody's exercises. We ve been doing a military for years, but the way we were preventing it wasn't it. cool or into the appeal as much but we have had a lot of good work in a military lately with apps because of our young soldiers identify them, especially when it comes to military schooling. where they are, they are more likely to do all the pre work. Pre class work on an app and we ve seen higher graduation rates in some very difficult classes, such as jump master key, before you got? Learn how to be in charge of an airplane is gonna put a parachute is so very dear, It's called a pass and requires incredible attention span, but what we ve done who did things on absolute, they could do all the pre coursework saw a lot higher success rates from a bit more optimistic that it will follow the sides. I know the hands on someone who identify as much better, but we do physical,
in every day, and everybody in the pot tune is about where you normally do every day or a squad they're all pretty good sport show they grow up environment, learning, environment learning how to do physical, fitness of to lead every single every single day. So we can train ourselves. No, that's can be hard start up. I think get there because they see the benefits and no want to do it. Soldiers don't want to miss Phoebe. training in the morning. They just don't want because I see the benefits of it. It helps him with the promotion of some other, their life, They feel better. They get the results end of your station. Why you wanna go the baton, we can to send an l b. There say I really helps, and but when I see the benefit they go after with it with hunger in especially when they hear about athletes, Seattle, Seahawks, doing Roswell sentiment. People see that they wanted, they want to get out of. It said I think we'll get there it's, it will take some convincing its military. Just the army is very big, very big organization, you come in, it almost sounds like is too good to be true, and I think we still
lotta convincing to do with for some of our top leaders that this isn't magic. This then too good to be true. This is real and size will prove it in your. Your brain does show the effect from from practising this end really doesn't cost a lot of may we have. We spent a lot of money. Funding our nation with the building or military and all the services. This is what I think is affordable lay off is enormous. To my mind, what we're going to we're going to get there just gonna take a bit longer. MRS Almeida Charge for us just to drill down as you are part of the army browser you bit of it. As you talk to your colleagues, you still bumping up against some scepticism with scepticism. Plus you know it's another thing we want people to do and in soldiers have a lot of things coming down from the top here. Just do this, and in time is one of the resources we just don't have. A lot of
So it's very hard when you're coming into an organization, say your car about this time. To do this, the first resistances that does matter what you're asking, because, if you're trying to take time away that they already have scheduled in a very overloaded over scheduled time, units every every day are to him to take a view. Just Even ten minutes, it's like they can't find it but when they see the results, they certainly find it. Will no matter how tough our schedule is. We will make time for physical fitness. This just has to get that. we have to go that way than then the priority will be on our mental fitness are physical fitness and then everything else I think will come will destroy. They are better plumb be more efficient. Can you imagine a near term future where mindfulness and meditation are part of basic training? Yes, that is a right that is raising notion. I think the soldier said every week we tried a lot of an army of what we have in Europe. Who knows what car comprehensive soldier fitness we endorse,
and more than just physical fitness is sleep, nutrition, spirituality and mental fit. How we get it how we go about. That is what, introduce mind. Mindfulness the, because I think basic training is probably the best place to introduce it and it's the best play. It's very high stress three organise great instructors, take root, good care of the soldiers, but their way from home and in its culture shot. When you come into the army. If you ve never been in your, maybe played high, will support. You may be a little it used to that. That can I group shock, I you You're really be a hard harder schedule to keep and not getting a lot of sleep and give. Having listened to some one else tell you what to do every second of the day, but we have that to teach our soldiers you know how to be soldiers, and I think this is what really really would fit in. do stress from the get go. They would see the benefits of it as they should benefit physical fitness
someone cumbered, come they ve, never done a lot of physical fitness, so we take extreme care too slowly introduce them while preventing it. Injuries took his years too, with realises, Why did it really give value we can't starch is doing in a hundred put. today, you got some soldiers can't do ten. Do a hundred so each slowly build up and has studied, you know, of stress, fractures and running and blow bearing on much weight and all this over the years were really smart or physical fitness, we just to follow the sides more on mental fitness, and I think that will prove mindfulness is the best course for us. I think this is amazing but amicia. You know this. There are the doesn't deserve more traditional circles in the meditation world who think you're too. in this ancient shouted essentially peaceful mental art and give yet to people who are violent how'd. He responded up. I think that
From my point of view, if you're gonna have an eighteen year old and send him to a war zone with a weapon destroy an entire village Why would you want to make sure he has access to his full, capacities to make the right decisions and what this is trying to do so in some sense it's not about you know making better killers. It's that, when force is to be used its used in a way that approach We had not reactive there The decisions that are made are informed by people being able to hold their own ethical code, even crazy, violent circumstances and that's what's not appreciated it's that We live in a time where we have a military. We live in a culture and a country that is inactive that's amid the combat situations and And they have the capacity to individuals to actually do a lot of harm, so it's not that we're gonna pay
in those circumstances from happening is the nature of the world, but even But the individual level, if we can empower them to be better able to access their own ability to to prevent bad things from happening. Why wouldn't we want to do that? I agree with you, a man who lose Stanley, who has been discussed a lot in this by gas to just server, but your members is someone whose work with me He is also spent some time training. The US Marines in and how to to do. My fulness I asked her once this this this question of you. No are you Training better baby killers at some in the in the sphere of old school contempt, circles have alleged, and she said no returning people to kill fewer babies. To me, wiser, more effective decisions in the field and to be more resilient when they come home. so anyway, that's my way, as I agree with you, but but you wanted me to ask Walt about one of his expressions, which I find really interesting, especially given the source.
you say: compare action is more powerful than bullets, I do say that I did say that also said before I love the point. Afghanistan, a warmer deployments as a battalion commander. I told our battalion that we could This war without killing one more person, because warfare is much more complex than just killing. And sometimes the over use of force bills, combat power. What we call a military builds sympathy in power for your enemy, so few few apply force incorrectly, inaction the opposite effect. The jury using for the type a war you, you cannot kill your way. You will not kill two to win. You must you must be to build by using force with surgical precision. Passion was mine and from my experience, was much more
our full and much more effective because it allowed us to one led with respect for the people of Africa. stand. For example, use good friend, governor petticoat, the time Lula, Mongolia. We we built a long standing friendship, my our jobs, build, not to destroy and if we went and never the mentality that we're going to be effective and decisive through killing. That was really just a naive approach. The warfare is much more complicated and therefore compassion to the afghan people in the struggle. But they were enduring and practical problems province. Where wrote about, and as I said, this was we need to understand them. We needed to be compassionate to their needs and that way it's separated them from the enemy it was trying to undermine their struggling and The german government that they are trying to build so was actually very effective tool
doing it to trick me real emotions that we felt for our friends. They were. They still are friends and I think. girl among all set at best at when we left pact eager. I asked him your? Why were we successful? This was in two thousand five very successful election Tactikka was not going to vote in the national election because it was too violent when we got there. The new governor and over the help of us what we believe. We are part of his larger security plan. We subordinated ourselves to the people of pact eager and almost a hundred percent of the people affected province voted. I was kind of tribal vote so that as a the different, but fifty percent of them were female and cooler, Magala, gotta, personal foe, call from Hamid cars. I congratulating him on what was supposed to be the most violent province in the election turned out to be the most peaceful, is because we understood that the the struggles afghan people going on. We weren't just resting on the enemy and also
our folks another one. The few soldiers a lot? I said you know if we focus on the enemy we ignore The threat is is much larger. We were talking about still very serious government, complex systems that have to be built in Afghanistan for people, so it was really the decisive means to that end was Gov, capacity building within the government that gave the afghan people but what they needed in that force him to look internally to to their government in and when the enemy, then separated in whose easier for us to find a man we could. If we had to use force, it was with surgical. Precision. Theirs times are the issues. One example: will we the village. After doing a medical demonstration all day long, we brought we'd by female doctors, and so the females could be seen as a very positive day at the request of their government. as we left. The convoy are vehicle, there's a grenade thrown on the vehicle
the Gunnar did. What are you trying to do? He jumped down into his turn yelled grenade? Luckily, the grenade did go indeterminate rolled off to the back of the vehicle got stuck in a in the unknown, equipment, we were carrying unexploded. He immediately jumped back up manders manned his gun saw the figure that, through the grenade running and in a split second decided not to shoot and there are so many children around in here fifty caliber machine gun he would have he would killed many innocent people pay He saw that the person fleeing could be no more than maybe ten to twelve years old, so, let's put SEC that soldier by not by not acting, I say, acted decisively. and later on. We went back to the village and we said: ok, they thought we were gonna, go door to door, search every house every man we didn't, but we stayed there. And we said let slip- come the resolution of this and they didn't but so I love than I said. Please The person responsible to our base camp- and we want we want to talk to them-
two weeks later, the Father, but the trial right in the father and the young boy, the through the grenade on a vehicle, an eight? They pleaded for us to arrest the father and leave the sun take back to the village, but they are offering his father and his place and the tribe agreed on it and by the afghan way we had every right then to arrest is the rest. The father we decided not to wear who's the boy to the to the vehicle. In the end, the team that was in that vehicle that he threw that grenade on that day and he saw that we weren't the evil infidels. We were just boys at one time just like he was. We were where men just like his father was. And if we really wanted to bring peace, it is very difficult land. We built more relations So they tried that day through this compassion, began militarily decisive because we got incredible intelligence from this village. The rest of our deployment and
they solidified their stance against the Taliban. They would not allow them to come in and influence or young kids to take up. arms against the government. We never had worry about their village again So it goes against what you hear a lot of military saying, but I'll tell you. Our military is trained to do that, but where that's? What I'm to take makes the United States Army very, very good wheat. We understand that just cuz, we we're an army and we have force the best to do is not to use it to absolutely have to I find everything you just said very compelling, and but but I wonder, but the reputational cost to you of you know. I understand you wrote a couple books of poetry, your guy says, compassion is more powerful than bullet steered hanging out with this unreconstructed meditation person over here and Who did today like call you major general Moonbeam behind bagger. What look away is is this a problem for Europe, as it is a good one
it's one of these alike by your book, because you realize you still get to go to work every day and you still to be demanding, I'm the director army operations and- he called me a little behind my back, I'm sure they do, but there is still very, very, very gay, world out there, we go to the very, very tough things with people and you gotta get people to do things. They don't necessarily want to do it to its defence and securities is a tough business and especially with the increase of terrorist threats that terrorist threats our homeland. But I think this help do it better. So am I make no apologies. I open up, but I do think there is. There are a lot of soldiers setter. Like me, I don't think so. Many different. I think we realise that our mental capacities very important. If we don't care for it and understand it, going to burn ourselves out we're going to burn our soldiers out. We we we saw it, but we still see it. Unfortunately, in many people- and we can't just in her enhance folder.
Make an optimal warrior through technologies. It's just not going to work. We have to be able to give our soldiers the tools that they. manage stress and pay attention because distrustful environments, we put him in the mandate, so I dont know if people call me names, I mean I'm proud of my service and proud many, my peers. I think a lot of people right in my four MIKE's in writing was very therapeutic, me- it was a way of letting emotions goave some very difficult things, but is also a way of honouring those who serve in these incredibly difficult positions away from their families for years. At a time, either way you understand it. You you were, there is very Europe put in some very difficult places just the way to identify. But I think our army understands now that we Beyond the stereotypes of of of will you just gotta be able to just deal with it soldier that his distress deal with it.
turn yeah I and in those were the days gone past. We understand the complexities of the world than a stand, a complex. His report are soldiers and we just want to give the tools that they can do. your job to the utmost ability. Do it correctly wall while protecting the innocent and and capturing and in and denying our our adversaries the bill. It rather will against us or our nation or our allies, which Europe which your daily practice like It's the author of a very difficult job there, director army operations is not like. I have to be in the office from my first meetings at six. Thirty in the morning then have another one at seven o clock, but what I do is I I manage I run into work in the morning so alive a few miles from Pentagon and so on. My two briefings when I get another shot to go to do Dubai, the twenty min How do I stop. and I either in my office or in a corner in the gymnasium in the Pentagon. I go from five to ten minutes and it's really been limiting and in this in this job site,
every morning. Work. I've just paying attention in a breath and when you get lost not right in a really. You said that holding a fish, I think, is secretly very much like it life and in this job is really hard, because there is a lot of demands waiting for you, but I realized if I'd, because it went too far. took the job I stop like pressing for months, and I could feel myself just really not handling thing, well. Yes, like your inner toxicity, goes through the roof and you got a million things real life common action every hour that are happening around the world that you have to help you out the address for the army. So that's how I get after it every morning, so I can make that a party I make physical, fitness and party in the morning and I make them my practice. A priority in mourning. And then I said during the day, so lonely by at ten o clock in the morning unexhausted. It's like you ve got a full day and you still have another full day to go.
child only walk out to the courtyard of the Pentagon or go find a corner and and stop four, maybe five or ten more minutes. If I can so that that's I have to short, my time, but to make reiterated by the it's it's what I can do so Why do it I mean to Meijer? It sounds great. I tell people five to ten minutes a day is awesome and it sounds like you're doing even more than that. Also I'm just between the lines, I think I suspect, your bleeding it into sort of your daily activities as much as possible, which is really kind of where the reverence road. What about you miserable, which your daily practice, Martin at that, had been in force and to be able to carve time out after my children and husband around the house to do about, I like to do thirty minutes So I was doing I was doing similar what you said I mean I was telling people twelve minutes seems to be the sweet spot in summer. studies, but when I push pass that I felt even better. So I'm trying to do thirty minutes and I ll to combine the the mindfulness
practice with compassion practice. I do loving kindness practice as well We always talk about loving kindness, a lot on the show budget for, if can kiss, we ve got first emphasise that as a practice, just to put it briefly where kind of envisioning people in a systematic way and sending them good vibes more or yourself yeah, You actually one of the things I want to mention just because you are asking about a waltz. Regarding you know it is he is an outlier was an amazing person and definitely distinct, then, probably most other people, but thankfully there are other enlightened leaders that we ve been able to meet in the military and in addition to all the work we do with active duty service members were also working now with military spouses, what's very interesting about that is its kind of guy from the spouses benefiting themselves to then the husbands, mostly in most cases. what's going on and taking the materials that we provide, the spouses just to take back there
supervision horse very interesting, yes, very interesting how things are shifting, that these surgeon general of the armies interested in learning their yeah. I am she asked me to brief four hundred over top leaders in this topic of mindfulness. Through do are you, from your point of view? Are used are running into some culture? All obstacles of you know, I would say, the obstacles are real, but the obstacles are not entry into doing at the obstacles are how you can offer this in a way that really is best practice just for implementation. So most most people I meet leaders I say I want to do mindful is project with your group and they say sure I can give you two hours in one afternoon and so my intention in my work is to say really. You know is Two hours in one afternoon have any positive, lasting impact, so r r our projects are now really asking around again our questions, how local we push the dose. If we can,
get some one time over a couple of weeks How should we do that? Would you too, for our workshops? You do an hour a day, and these are not them. Maybe science, the juicy areas, but their practically so important. So those are the kinds of things that I'm interested in tackling now is how provide this. Had we scale it up, how do we have a low dose format? How do we have apps? are, for example, that could help better support. What people are doing at all levels from small unit leaders to mean a higher level leaders to everybody What's your vision for the legislator not distant future, like the what's your vision, for the role of my phone is not only in the military in the larger to say and then in the not too distant future. I think it's an that's been my interest all along its seven. We ve come now with what fifty years of work that Make it obvious that our public health leaders would say you know daily physical activity is necessary for physical wellbeing.
and my vision, my hope, is that we understand that the mind is the same way and that have the science that can provide guidance on what The daily mental exercises should be for second, general wellbeing? and that sort of the work that I'm pursuing is how to answer those questions form a larger enterprise since not just that it's important, but how do you actually implemented in your daily life work? set a timer before we guys want to ask you as a as aid, very prominent member of the contemplative neuroscience community the name for people who use nurse steady meditation Durban you ve been some controversy about the study that the quality of the science in around my fulness imitation, such as the neuroscience, but all of the science Eddie Criticism ranging from the study design, is in good that you are doing The studies are kind of in the tank there, their pro meditations or their biased.
It's your view on this. Can we trust the science or is it being hyped? I mean, I think, that so loudly its being hyped. I think that the cultural, momentum is way outpacing the rigour, that we need to be able to make concrete with t guidance, provide guidance and I do that we have to take a look at any positivity biases. There might be an that's. The criticism is that essentially there's an over abundance of studies that are finding benefits and you can see it and I think, not going to serve us at all, and I think that that kind of statement- those customers being made is helpful because- and publishing the study in which you found nothing or published. The study in which you actually found something that you didn't expect, like things got worse in a way that you didn't anticipate. Those are all gonna become valuable for us to get a more accurate picture of. What's going on.
I just love him the two of you on, because my whole mission is to further the common military turban. My mission is to make this attractive, make this practice attractive to people who would otherwise reflexively reject, so to have a charging type, a neuroscientist and mom and a major general New S army coming I'm talking about it in the way in which you do, which is her down to earth from label, but also sincere is, I think, extremely valuable. So thank you to both of you for permanent. I really appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you. Do there's another edition of the ten percent happier podcast. If you like it, and we need you up for a favor, please subscribe to it, review it and rate. I want to also think people who produces podcast, Josh, CO handler run Sarah AMOS had of ABC New Digital Dan silver. and had me up a twitter Danby Harris next time.
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