Veterans relearn compassion through meditation

How meditation helps vets "come home" to their lives. 

Photo: puuikibeach/

In combat, your safety is assured by being aware of the potential threat of those around you. That thinking does not necessarily let up after the job ends.

Veterans Affairs estimates that hundreds of thousands of servicemen and servicewoman who return home develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). And in 2007, the VA reported that no drug should be considered effective for PTSD. It seems there is no easy answer. But there are alternatives.

Leah Weiss, a meditation expert at Stanford University, leads vets through compassion cultivation training. The aim is to shift their thinking from others being a potential threat to others being “just like me.”

“Consider that, just like me, this person’s had ups and downs in his or her life. Just like me, this person’s had goals and dreams,” says Weiss to a group of vets.

In this episode of NPR’s All Things Considered, the program follows one of Weiss’ groups and hears from vets about their experiences and how meditation is helping them “come home” to their lives.

Listen to the NPR Podcast: “Through Meditation, Veterans Relearn Compassion”