BALTIMORE, MD – JULY 26, 2022 – Healing arts classes for Veterans are happening this summer in Maryland libraries. Led by Peter Brooks, he continues the legacy of his grandfather, Cab Calloway, by designing ten classes to help veterans combat PTSD by teaching artforms that induce a state of mindfulness. Despite the focus on veterans, his classes are open and free of charge to all.
PTSD has symptoms similar to depression and anxiety and fosters nightmares or unwanted memories of the trauma. PTSD is often treated with prescription medication, therapy, and mindfulness meditation.
In a recent survey, 83% of all US veterans and active duty service men and women have experienced PTSD since serving in the military during the 9/11 attack.
About the Classes
Classes will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at various libraries throughout Dorchester, Howard, Somerset, Baltimore, and Washington counties.
Brooks uses “secular shamanism,” an artform he developed that combines performance art with ancient practices, to provide a positive distraction and immediate relief. It is secular because it is non-religious and shamanistic; it works by deliberately going in and out of a trance-like state.
“It starts with the idea that meditation, prayer, singing, intense focus, and hypnosis are the same,” says Brooks. “It’s when you are just about but not quite asleep. Your state of mind is what they call semi-conscious,” he adds.
Populations across the globe have been using this soothing practice for millennia. As a result, Brooks teaches ancient techniques such as Tibetan singing bowls, Hindu mantras, and Native American songs coupled with recitations to enable Veterans to embrace and control the trance-like state.
Brooks teaches his students how to “brain hack,” which combines focus with positive messaging and visualizations to hit the reset button on your emotions. Specific techniques and technologies affect an individual’s mental state, cognitive processes, or level of function.
I targeted my class toward Veterans because of their honor, relationship to the land, and history. As a result, these practices are simple to understand and deploy.”
About Peter Brooks
Brooks holds an MFA from the Tisch School for the Arts at NYU and is the Executive Director for the Hubert V. Simmons Museum of Negro Leagues Baseball. He also serves on the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs and is a consultant to the Native American House Alliance of Philadelphia.
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