Here is a great article by Erin Meyer, and inspiring interview with DNAinfo Chicago Radio News Director that aired August 22, 2014: Moms Traumatized by City Violence Join David Lynch Meditation Program.
Erin answers Jon’s questions based on what grieving mothers who had lost a child to city violence, and have now started meditating, are telling her. This is the first time they’ve been able to experience any kind of inner peace for 20 minutes twice a day. For these program participants, TM is bringing relief to their stress-filled days and nights.
HUMBOLDT PARK — Eyes closed in meditation, a small group of grieving women sat in a circle on the second floor of a Humboldt Boys & Girls Club one recent Sunday afternoon.
The lights were dimmed. Except for the hum of the air conditioner and the far away sound of basketballs hitting the gym floor below, the room was awash in a deep silence.
The quiet, say the mothers — most of whom have lost children to Chicago violence — was coming from within, a rediscovered inner peace thought to have died with their children.
“For all these years, I’ve been fighting with my brain. I took medication to forget, but you can never forget,” said 49-year-old Beti Guevara, who was just a girl when her brother was slain 38 years ago.
Erin Meyer says the mothers struggle to find peaceful moments after the death of a child:
With Transcendental Meditation, “I can think clearly, I’m calmer, and I can finally sleep,” he said.
Guevara and her friends are learning the trademarked relaxation method, called TM for short, at the invitation of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace.
Lynch, an innovator of cinema best known as the director of the TV series “Twin Peaks” and films including “Mulholland Drive” and “Lost Highway,” views TM as a tonic for victims of trauma and a vehicle to world peace.
The New York-based foundation that bears his name teaches TM on American Indian reservations, in prisons and schools, to homeless people, to former soldiers suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and to victims of war in Africa, according to the organization’s website.
Recently, the David Lynch Foundation added to that list Chicago mothers living in the wake of a child’s murder.
Among those participating are: An-Janette Albert, mother of 16-year-old Derrion Albert, whose 2009 beating death outside Fenger High School shocked the nation; Myrna Roman, who lost her first-born in an unprovoked 2010 drive-by in Humboldt Park; and Maria Pike, the mother of an aspiring chef, Ricky Pike, who was gunned down in Logan Square in 2012.
The group met multiple times over the course of a week with a husband-wife TM instruction team, adopted their mantras and started meditating twice a day for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Four days into the practice, most of the new students said they have found a surprising measure of peace.
Transcendental Meditation is not an ancient technique, but a method developed by the Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1950s. It became wider known when it was adopted by members of The Beatles.
On Sunday, at the Union League Boys & Girls Club, meditation teacher Chris Busch described TM as a nonreligious exercise with myriad mind and body benefits ranging from stress reduction to reduced cholesterol and improved cardiovascular health.
“It’s a simple thing,” Busch said. “Even children 10 years old, they can do it,” he said, describing improvements that some schools in San Francisco have seen through the implementation of a TM program for students.
Lynch told the New York Times earlier this year that he began TM in 1973.
“The Beatles were over with Maharishi in India and lots of people were getting hip to Transcendental Meditation and different kinds of meditation, and I thought it was real baloney,” Lynch said. “I thought I would become a raisin-and-nut eater, and I just wanted to work.”
Then, he heard the phrase, “True happiness is not out there, true happiness lies within.”
“And this phrase had a ring of truth to it,” Lynch said.
He described TM, which usually costs about $1,000 to learn through TM teachers, as “a key that opens the door.”
After spending time with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, he decided to set up a foundation in 2005 to spread the meditation approach, according to the Times.
“Things like traumatic stress and anxiety and tension and sorrow and depression and hate and bitter, selfish anger and fear start to lift away,” Lynch said. He launched a Women’s Initiative in 2012.
The Chicago mothers, just beginning to see the potential meditation has to bring order to their lives, stumbled into TM.
Maria Pike was telling friends on a recent trip to Washington D.C. about the daily challenges she encounters just trying to live a normal life in the wake of her son’s murder. The friends turned out to be TM practitioners, Pike said.
They made some phone calls, which led to more phone calls. Eventually, supporters of the David Lynch Foundation offered to pay for Pike and her friends to take the TM training.
“I feel like it was meant to be,” Pike said.
Published with permission from the author. See the complete article with photos here.
See executive director Bob Roth speak at Google Zeitgeist 2014 about the work of the David Lynch Foundation offering Transcendental Meditation to at-risk populations, as well as Wall Street executives.