Marines learn to Meditate – Mindfulness Benefits

Years ago, when I was into teaching such stuff, I remember recommending to a colleague that we look into teaching mindfulness meditation to military personnel, along the lines of William James, a well-known early 20th century philosopher. Nothing mystical. It just sharpens basic cognitive faculties whilst synchronising body and mind function. It’s good for no matter what type of person, culture or endeavor.

Anyway, we never did anything about it and now others have picked up the torch. This has nothing to do with bread, but I do try to maintain an atmosphere of mindfulness and presence in the bakery during working operations, albeit I also enhance the atmosphere with things like Mozart and Bach. Bake Day is 12-14 hours long and I find doing it all in silence my mind tends to drift away from what I am doing more than with a little musical accompaniment.

But that’s just me…..

In any case, I have no doubt that if everyone learned to practice mindfulness meditation about 30 minutes a day (or less), the world would be far better.  (But then the ‘big boys’ would no doubt cheat, and things would end up being more or less the same!)


Four years ago, a small group of Marine reservists training at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va., for deployment to Iraq participated in the M-Fit pilot program, taking an eight-week mindfulness course and meditating for an average of 12 minutes a day.

A study of those Marines subsequently published in the research journal Emotions found that they slept better, had improved athletic performance and scored higher on emotional and cognitive evaluations than Marines who did not participate in the program, which centers on training the mind to focus on the current moment and to be aware of one’s physical state.

The Army and Marines have since commissioned separate studies of larger groups of troops receiving variations of M-Fit training, the results of which currently are under scientific review and likely will be published in the next few months.

“The findings in general reinforce and extend what we saw in the pilot study,” said Ms. Stanley, an associate professor of security studies at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. “These techniques can be very effective in increasing situational awareness on the battlefield, in not having emotions drive behavior, in bolstering performance and resilience in high-stress environments. I’ve seen effects in my own life.”

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