Posts Tagged ‘Oprah’

Jerry Seinfeld and Howard Stern share stories about their Transcendental Meditation practice

April 15, 2014

For those who have been following Jerry Seinfeld’s award-winning online series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, his latest guest was Howard Stern. (See The Last Days of Howard Stern.) Jerry and Howard talked for several hours about a wide range of topics, including how their TM practice (they have been meditating for over 40 years) has impacted their lives. Because of time constraints that section had to be edited out but Jerry gave permission to post the segment for your (and everyone else’s) enjoyment! Watch these 6 delightful minutes from the TM Channel.

Related interviews:

@JerrySeinfeld talks about @TMmeditation at David @LynchFoundation #ChangeBeginsWithin

George Stephanopoulos interviews Jerry Seinfeld & Bob Roth on the importance of Transcendental Meditation for PTSD

Alec Baldwin asks Jerry Seinfeld about learning Transcendental Meditation on Here’s The Thing

Also see Howard Stern talks about TM on Letterman, and later where Dave reveals he’s been doing TM: David Letterman – What’s Oprah’s Mantra? and David Letterman – Dave and Lindsay Lohan Call Oprah.

Newly added from Issue 20 of Enlightenment, The Transcendental Meditation Magazine: Jerry Seinfeld Talks TM with Bob Roth, a partial transcription from the Sirius XM radio show “Success Without Stress.” Click here to listen to the complete 60-minute interview.

To learn how to meditate, visit http://www.tm.org.

Style.com: David Lynch and Italo Zucchelli on their creativity and Transcendental Meditation

December 25, 2013

Style.com: The Transcendentalists: David Lynch and Calvin Klein Collection’s Italo Zucchelli on their shared passions: creativity and Transcendental Meditation

By Matthew Schneier. Photographs by Olivia Malone
Published December 24, 2013

On a winding road high in the Hollywood Hills, not far from Mulholland Drive, is a Brutalist-looking concrete structure that’s equal parts manse and bunker. It’s the studio of David Lynch, and appropriately for his many pursuits—he is an auteur across media, from film and television to painting, music, self-help books, and coffee roasting—it has a variety of different spaces: a screening room, a recording studio, storage for his photographs and artwork, a kitchen with an industrial-grade espresso machine. (Lynch die-hards may recognize it as the house from Lost Highway.)

I’ve come here from New York, along with fashion designer Italo Zucchelli, to discuss one of Lynch’s abiding passions, Transcendental Meditation. The director established his own nonprofit, the David Lynch Center for Transcendental Meditation and World Peace, in 2005. He credits the practice with much of his success, and he’s devoted as much time to raising awareness of it as he has to virtually any of his other endeavors. His 2006 book, Catching the Big Fish, is dedicated to the subject.

Transcendental Meditation is an ancient practice, but its profile was raised in our era when the Beatles took it up in 1968, under the guidance of its twentieth-century guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It comes with, and rules out, no religion, faith, or creed, but because of its new-wave aura, it has largely bubbled away at the fringes of culture. Lately, however, it is experiencing a new boom. “In the last year, something tipped,” says Bob Roth, the affable executive director of The David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace. “If one [particular] thing happened, I haven’t seen it—and I’ve been on the front lines. But something happened, [because] I don’t have enough teachers to teach all the people in New York City who want to learn.”

TM has a very healthy celebrity fan base, which no doubt helps its public profile, and the foundation, which exists to provide scholarships to at-risk populations so they can learn the practice, including schoolchildren, survivors of domestic abuse, and military personnel, has taken advantage of that fact. Paul McCartney, a practitioner, performed at the foundation’s first benefit concert. Hugh Jackman and Jerry Seinfeld, Transcendental Meditators both, were honored at its most recent benefit gala, in December. Mario Batali and Martin Scorsese will both speak at its upcoming conference in February. The list of adherents is even longer. Ellen DeGeneres does it. Oprah does it. Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, does it. And in the realm of fashion, so does Zucchelli, who is celebrating his tenth year as creative director of menswear for Calvin Klein Collection.

“It” is a relatively simple practice. It consists of devoting twenty minutes twice a day to meditating, which in the Transcendental iteration means silently chanting a Sanskrit mantra. (The mantra must be given by a teacher of Transcendental Meditation, as part of an instruction that can cost upwards of $1,000.) Devotees say that it combats stress, improves mood, and staves off illness and disease. Remarkably, science confirms much of this. The American Heart Association found in a study that Transcendental Meditation, alone among meditation practices it tested, reduces high blood pressure; other studies indicate it can improve functional capacity in patients with congestive heart failure. Over the past forty years, more than 300 studies have been published about the effects of the practice in peer-reviewed medical journals, and the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense have both given millions for further testing. While a quick Google search does turn up skeptics and critics—more of charlatan practitioners than of the practice itself—the tide seems to be now firmly in TM’s favor.

“In 1968, meditation was a fad,” says Roth. “In 2013, because of the research, Transcendental Meditation is being incorporated into the actual fabric of our culture.”

There’s something undeniably intriguing about the beatific bliss that Lynch and Zucchelli radiate—in the filmmaker’s case, in stark contrast to his dark, often violent work. I wanted to find out more about the connection they both draw between the practice and their creative lives. Below, condensed and edited, is a transcript of that free-flowing discussion.

Visit Style.com to read this intriguing interview and see the photos.

See David Lynch on Esquire Network, How I Rock It, talking about Transcendental Meditation.

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Watch the 1968 film of Maharishi at Lake Louise

September 24, 2013

See my earlier post on a segment from this film: Maharishi describes the nature of inner life: bondage and liberation, and gaining bliss consciousness through Transcendental Meditation. Maharishi is seen walking and talking about the nature of life, with the beautiful scene of Lake Louise and the Rocky Mountains behind him. He describes the lake, its surface and depth, and the reflections on it, as a metaphor to explain the spiritual content of life and how it gets lost and overshadowed when we identify with only the surface material objects of life, a state of bondage, at the expense of our own inner unbounded nature, bliss consciousness, which gets unfolded and integrated through the practice of his Transcendental Meditation technique, into a state of liberation. I transcribe Maharishi’s words there, the film’s essential spiritual message.

maharishi signs gita for ken

In the opening scenes of this complete video of the CBC documentary, we were all walking up to Maharishi to give him a flower. At 2:07-2:10, I’m seen coming up to Maharishi asking him to sign a copy of his translation and commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita, Chapters 1-6. The film closes with more of the same footage, which was all actually shot towards the end of the course. That wonderful week was the first time a lot of us got to meet Maharishi. It was an unforgettable divine experience in a most sublime natural setting!

Four years later, my mother, two sisters and I, would meet privately with Maharishi at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, where a Symposium on the Science of Creative Intelligence with many of Canada’s intellectual luminaries was taking place. But that’s another amazing story!

Forty years after I started TM, and thirty-nine years after having met Maharishi, I was able to assist the producer of the A&E biographical film, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on History International Channel (November 2007), by providing her with vintage footage taken by an early national leader of the Canadian TM Movement and former Victoria, BC journalist, Eileen Learoyd. Her daughter, Grania Litwin, also a Victoria journalist, was kind enough to send us those videos, which we edited and sent to the producer.

I also put the producer in touch with Alan Waite, who had made the award-winning 1968 documentary, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – Sage for a New Generation DVD, and she ended up using many segments from that film as well. Also lined up interviews for her when she came to MUM in Fairfield, Iowa, as well as Mike Love in LA and Donovan in London.

Eileen and Hubert with Maharishi

Eileen Learoyd was responsible for organizing that 1972 SCI Symposium, and with her brother, Hubert Gray, arranged for the CBC to film Maharishi at Lake Louise in June 1968. Interestingly, after Maharishi signed my copy of the Gita, we both turned it toward the camera. That footage was edited out, but it seemed to be a symbolic gesture for what I would end up doing with a large part of my life in my own small way — helping to teach, promote and publicize Maharishi and his world-transforming Vedic knowledge and TM technique. And for that I am most thankful and fulfilled. Jai Guru Dev, Maharishi. Na Guror Adhikam.

And last year, a small crew from DFL.TV and I were fortunate to have assisted Oprah’s producers by providing them with more b-roll footage for the OWN program on the meditators of Fairfield, Iowa, referred to as “TM Town” by Oprah. They even gave us a credit! Here’s a post with Video segments of Oprah’s Next Chapter on OWN: Oprah Visits Fairfield, Iowa—”TM Town”—America’s Most Unusual Town.

See Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the blissful nature of the practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin inspires M.U.M.’s Class of 2013 with his Top Ten Rules to Live By

June 2, 2013

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin Inspired M.U.M.’s Class of 2013 with his Top Ten Rules To Live By at the University’s largest graduating class.

In true David Letterman-style, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin presented the M.U.M. Class of 2013 with his top-10 list—Harkin’s Top Ten Rules To Live By. Senator Harkin gave the Commencement Address after receiving an honorary doctorate from the University and inspired everyone with his humorous wit and down-to-earth wisdom.

Senator Tom Harkin receives an honorary doctoral degree from M.U.M. President Dr. Bevan Morris.

Senator Tom Harkin receives an honorary doctoral degree from M.U.M. President Dr. Bevan Morris. / Ken West Photography

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin received an honorary Ph.D. from Maharishi University of Management before delivering the Commencement Address at the start of M.U.M.’s Graduation exercises, which took place last Saturday, May 25, 2013, in the Maharishi Patanjali Golden Dome of Pure Knowledge.

The University’s 38th Commencement graduated its largest class ever of 334 students from 54 countries, out of the 88 represented on campus. The Class of 2013 included 251 graduates and 83 undergraduates. Check this link to see a menu of videos from M.U.M.’s Commencement 2013 http://www.mum.edu/commencement-2013. See the full PRWeb press release here bit.ly/17bxT6k for more details.

Senator Harkin was awarded a Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa degree for his extraordinary lifelong service and compassionate and progressive leadership for the state of Iowa and the United States of America. He has served in the Senate since 1985 and also served in the House of Representatives from 1975–1985. He is chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and is the seventh most senior Senator overall.

In his introduction, M.U.M. president Dr. Bevan Morris said, “We honor you for a lifetime of service to the State of Iowa and the United States of America, and your compassionate and progressive leadership. You have recognized that the quality of American life is shaped by the quality of American education.”

He said that Senator Harkin has been a very good friend of the University and greatly enjoyed all his visits here. “He has given us advice and encouragement for all the University’s programs—for natural methods of prevention of disease, organic agriculture, sustainable living, our Sustainable Living Center, as well as to our town, which is rising to being one of the greenest in the nation, under the leadership of Mayor Ed Malloy.”

Senator Harkin began his commencement address on a humorous note. He thanked the University for this distinguished award and said, “I come before you with a measure of humility. I realize I was probably selected to be your speaker today because Oprah wasn’t available.” This elicited a lot of laughter as he was referring to Oprah’s visit to Fairfield last year, which she aired, including a profile of the Maharishi School on the M.U.M. campus.

He then went on to say, “But I do want you to know of my highest respect and admiration that I have for this university, for what you have done, what you have become here, in Iowa, the nation, and the world, and especially for what I consider to be the best holistic approach to education and wellness in life at any university anywhere on the globe.”

He was referring to Maharishi University’s unique system of Consciousness-Based education and leadership role in wellness research and sustainability. M.U.M. was designated as a Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention and has received over $25 million from the NCCAM and NHLBI over the past 20 years to conduct collaborative medical research on the use of Transcendental Meditation as a complementary alternative approach to treat hypertension and cardiovascular disease in underserved minority populations, the results of which have been published in top peer-reviewed scientific journals.

The most recent study was published and publicized by the American Heart Association. Last year the AHA Journal Circulation published a long-term study showing a 48% lower risk of heart attack, stroke and death in a group already afflicted by heart disease that learned the practice of Transcendental Meditation. And this year the AHA published a paper recommending Transcendental Meditation as the only meditation practice that has been shown to lower blood pressure.

“Graduation,” Harkin said, “is one of the five great milestones in life; the others being birth, marriage, death, and the day you finally pay off your student loans.”

“I know exactly what you’re thinking. You’re wondering, ‘How long is that guy gonna talk?’ The answer is not long.”

To answer he quoted advice from Father John Ryan, the Irish priest in his hometown when he was first asked to give a commencement address. The role of a commencement speaker is like the body at an old-fashioned Irish wake: “They need you in order to have the party but they don’t expect you to say very much.”

Senator Harkin said he chose a method for the day’s occasion that has imparted wisdom to millions of people throughout the years—“I speak of course, not of the Ten Commandments, but of David Letterman’s top ten list.” But his were more like suggestions for students to choose, depending on which ones they liked.

Harkin’s Top Ten Rules To Live By

10. Don’t panic. You will find a job. Don’t worry. “My confidence is based on one thing — because you came to the right school. I have nothing, as I said, but admiration for what this university has accomplished in such a short period of time. In a unique way you have put the ‘higher’ in higher education.”

“You folks would agree with William Butler Yeats who said that education is not about filling up a bucket but lighting a fire. And you carry that one step further. At this university education is also about training, focusing, freeing the mind. It’s about raising consciousness. Here you have been beautifully prepared intellectually and spiritually for all the challenges you will face in the world out there, so you should go forth with confidence.” He encouraged students to move to smaller Iowa towns to make a contribution.

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Here’s the WordPress.Com Annual Report for The Uncarved Blog. See 2012’s most popular posts.

December 30, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 62,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

A mantra a day keeps the doctor away

October 1, 2012

This is a wonderful personal account by Nikki Walsh of her experiences first hearing about and later learning Transcendental Meditation. The article appeared in The Irish Mail on Sunday in their Body & Soul section of the paper and as a feature article in The Mail on Sunday in London, England, September 9, 2012. You can see a colorful layout of the 2-page spread on pages 12 and 13 by downloading the PDFs. You can also see it online if you’re willing to register for a free 7-day trial offer.

A mantra a day keeps the doctor away by Nikki Walsh

It beats stress, aids healing and brings focus to the most anxiety-prone life. So exactly why does the ancient practice of meditation succeed where many modern therapies fail? Nikki Walsh enters the big silence…

I first heard of Transcendental Meditation or TM in my twenties, when I was living in a Georgian house overlooking Dublin’s Royal Canal. The house next door was a TM centre, and the girls I lived with often attributed our happiness to what they called ‘the good vibes’. I never took this too seriously, but there were times I was sitting in the garden, when I became aware of a silence that was not my own. I would look up and feel the stillness coming from the other side of the fence, and wonder what exactly was going on.

I moved out of that house, and did not hear about TM again until almost ten years later, when I befriended an artist in her 60s. Her productivity was impressive and yet she always seemed to have time for family and friends. I asked her how she did it. She told me she practised TM. I asked her a little more about it but when I found out the cost – €600 for four sessions with a trained TM teacher – I put it to the back of my mind. A few months later I attended an exhibition of this artist’s work, and TM came up again. One of her friends, also an artist, told me she had been practising it for some months, and that it had had a profound effect on her work. Another said it had improved her health. ‘I was in therapy for years,’ she said, ‘but I never found the peace that I have found in meditation.’

I booked what the TM website calls ‘a free introductory presentation’ and a week later I met a TM teacher called Judy Kelly. Judy is a tall, slim, dark-haired woman whose warmth is so genuine, it is disarming. In her apartment in Monkstown, she explained that the technique was a simple form of meditation, practised twice daily for 20 minutes. Each beginner is given a mantra, and this word, which they repeat to themselves during the meditation, has a gentle assonance, that helps to bring them deeper within themselves, towards a place of peace. In order to show me what this place might be like Judy used an illustration of a cross section of water. If the ripples at the surface were our thoughts, she said, it was possible to go beneath these thoughts to a calmer, much stiller place, not unlike the bottom of an ocean. Then she outlined its benefits. People who do TM have peace, she told me. They don’t worry as much, their minds are clearer, they are more creative. She spoke of ex-students of hers that she was still in touch with, who felt their lives had been transformed by TM. And she talked a little about her own life too.

I decided to give it a go. The next time we met Judy asked me to bring a flower to represent the life that can blossom through TM, a white handkerchief to represent the pure silence at the centre of life and a piece of fruit to represent the fullness of life. I arrived a week later on a morning in spring, with a nectarine, a white hydrangea I’d snipped from my deck, and a handkerchief of my father’s. Judy arranged them all on an altar of sorts beside some spices and a candle. As she lit the candle, she sang a song. As an ex-Catholic I associate rituals with incense, much kneeling and standing, and an ingrained sense of myself as unworthy; but in Judy’s living room, the pink flesh of the nectarine, the whiteness of the petals, the terracotta depth of the spices and the flame of the candle, all combined to create something altogether more soothing. Judy then gave me my mantra and we began to meditate.

I thought about what I needed to do after I left Judy’s, about something irritating someone had said to me the day before, and about a conversation I needed to have with someone I don’t really like. I opened my eyes. Judy was sitting in front of me, her eyes closed, her face set in an expression of bliss. I closed them again. I thought about what I needed to get for dinner, and how I was going to get home. A breakthrough came when I told myself that it was okay to have such thoughts. They began to drift away. Then Judy spoke, and I realised the meditation was over. That night I meditated again. I could not remember the mantra. The next morning the same thing happened. I went back to Judy, and told her, rather pink-faced, what had happened. She laughed and told me it happens all the time.

The sessions continued. I began to realise that something happens when you distance yourself from your thoughts. You gain a little mastery over them. I began to notice when I was thinking futile or negative thoughts – thoughts that wouldn’t help me get where I wanted to be – and I began to change them, or if they overwhelmed me, to meditate, so I could be free of them. In the same way I was able to move away from my mind, I could also move away from what some meditators call ‘the physical body.’ Around the time I met Judy I had just sold my wardrobe which contained a full length mirror. I never bothered to replace it.

Talk to people who practice TM and they will tell you that its effects are subtle and profound. Some feel calmer, others more efficient. The other day I met a 50-year-old woman who told me that TM is the only thing that has helped her stay away from alcohol. ‘It did wonders for my self-esteem,’ she told me. ‘I realised there was a place inside me that was so peaceful and beautiful. I said to myself, how could I be a bad person if such a place was inside me?’ It has given her a coping mechanism she never had. ‘At times of stress, I say my mantra and it is a call to the deepest, strongest part of me, that soothes me like nothing else and enables me in the midst of crisis to feel very still. It is empowering.’ She is also better at making decisions. ‘I have
higher concentration and know more easily what I want.’

TM teachers recommend 20 minutes practice twice a day, but I tend to skip it in the morning and do a longer meditation in the middle of the day. I don’t see colours or have mystical experiences, and some meditations are more frustrating than others, but it does clear my mind. Afterwards I feel lighter and more vital. Now I know when I need to do it: I feel as if I have not showered; there is a fuzziness, a sense of incompletion.

Last week I met an old friend. She told me her husband had begun to meditate six months ago. Since then she has seen a marked improvement in his wellbeing. She would like to try it herself, but – at this I had a smile – she couldn’t get comfortable. She is jealous. ‘He has this place inside him where he can go, and that must be such a comfort.’ Judy Kelly puts it differently. ‘I am so happy,’ she once said to me. ‘I have so much inside me. I really don’t need anything. I am my own best friend.’

Did you know? According to TM Ireland, around 40,000 Irish people have learned the technique in the last 50 years. Celebrity TM practitioners include Eva Mendes, Naomi Watts, Oprah and – a bit less Hollywood – British Deputy PM, Nick Clegg.

WHAT MEDITATION CAN DO FOR YOU
■ Provides a deep physiological state of rest
■ Increases energy
■ Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels
■ Increases happiness and improves relationships
■ Reduces stress and anxiety – decreases stress hormones
■ Improves sleeping
■ Reduces the symptoms of asthma
■ Increases creativity and intelligence
■ Gives broader comprehension and improved ability to focus
■ Improves perception and memory
■ Improves students’ learning skills and intellectual performance
■ Increases orderliness of brain functioning increases Self-Actualisation and Self-Concept
■ Reduces the use of cigarettes, alcohol and non-prescription drugs
■ Improves general psychological health and wellbeing
■ Results in more positive health habits
■ Increases life span and reduces effects of ageing
■ Increases levels of DHEA – a hormone described as the elixir of life
■ Improves job performance (productivity) and job satisfaction
■ Helps in the treatment of traumatic stress
For more information on TM, and details of a teacher near you, log on to www.tm-ireland.org

Star Tribune: Meditation brings peace to war vets

May 17, 2012

Meditation brings peace to war vets

May 16, 2012 | Lifestyle | Star Tribune | Kristin Tillotson

Transcendental meditation has its detractors, but many veterans say it helps them with post-war stress.

Fernando Franco, who served in both Bosnia and Iraq, uses meditation techniques to control stress. — Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

Like many veterans, Fernando A. Franco had trouble sleeping through the night.

A major in the Minnesota National Guard, he was deployed twice between 2003 and 2007, once to Bosnia and once to Iraq, with barely six months’ break in between. The place where he was stationed near Balad, Iraq, was nicknamed “Mortaritaville” because “we were attacked every day,” he said.

After Franco got back home to St. Paul, he was hard-wired to wake up at 3 every morning, the same hour that in Mortaritaville he and his fellow soldiers would start hearing the shells aimed their way and brace for battle. Once he woke up, he’d stay up, living in a state of perpetual exhaustion.

“It really affected not only my work, but my relationship with my wife and kids,” he said. Then he heard about TM.

Transcendental meditation, or TM for short, is hailed by its devotees as good for just about anything that ails you. Skeptics call it everything from a bunch of hooey to a brainwashing cult, but those who do it daily claim they feel calmer, have more energy and feel healthier, both mentally and physically, than they used to. It’s not a religion, they say, just a practice that reduces anxiety and improves well-being.

Now the U.S. military — not known for embracing the mystical — has taken note. The Department of Veterans Affairs has invested $5 million in a dozen trial programs studying TM’s effects on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including one at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System.

The VA hopes to recruit 30 vets for the trial beginning in about a month, said spokesman Ralph Huessner, noting that it should not be confused with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, a different meditation program already offered.

‘A part of the universe’

Franco, 49, works in human resources for Target Corp. No matter how busy he gets, he always takes 20 minutes twice a day, at about the same time every day, to meditate, using the discipline he learned as a soldier to strictly maintain his schedule.

“The only way to get the full benefit is to do it morning and afternoon, no matter what,” he said, “even if you have to do it standing up in a bathroom stall.”

TM practitioners call the state they go into one of “restful alertness.” Transcendence is achieved, they say, by repeating a mantra and emptying the mind. So how does it feel?

“There is a moment when you go into a void, an emptiness, and you feel a part of the universe,” Franco said. “It’s like in the movie ‘Avatar’ when the creature says they are a part of everything. That’s how I would explain it.”

He first heard about TM for veterans through Operation Warrior Wellness, an initiative launched last year by the foundation run by film director and TM advocate David Lynch.

“I’m Roman Catholic, but I’m very open-minded about Eastern philosophies,” Franco said.

In October, he attended training classes at the TM center in St. Paul. Six months later, he usually sleeps through the night and has passed his enthusiasm for TM along to his 15-year-old son.

“When you come back from war, where you’ve learned to shut down your emotions, you have to relearn how to be with your family,” he said. “It helps you not only to reconnect with yourself, but other people. I’ve also noticed I’m able to concentrate better.”

Some critics of the TM movement have accused it of being a religion, of amassing wealth for its leaders, and of brainwashing. Franco, who learned TM through a scholarship from Operation Warrior Wellness, said he’s seen none of that.

“I have never felt coerced into making this a religious path, and have encountered people of all faiths  who do it,” he said. “I have never been asked to make a donation.”

Although Franco said he does not have PTSD, he thinks meditation could help veterans who do.

“It’s different for everyone, and you still might need counseling and pills, but TM is one of the best tools for stress out there,” he said.

The draw of Oprah’s blessing

Long, white and stately, the local Peace Palace — which is what the international TM network calls its specially constructed education centers — sits just off a freeway frontage road on the eastern edge of St. Paul. Next door to an insurance office and a hop and a skip from Culver’s, the Maharishi Invincibility Center is hard to miss, an Eastern architectural presence in Midwestern suburbia.

At a recent open house, center director Billie Jean Billman led visitors on a tour. Since Oprah aired a special extolling the virtues of TM in April, Billman said, there has been a spike in interest. The center recently doubled its instructors from two to four.

“TM is not a panacea for everything, but it’s a non-pharmacological process that wakes up the body and the brain,” Billman said.

Two veterans who recently started TM, Sarah Ditto and Pat Watson, were also on hand to describe the benefits they’ve experienced.

“I was amazed at how completely calm I felt,” said Watson, 54. “It’s like pancake batter spreading across a griddle, slowly turning golden brown. You really are resting but awake. After I meditate, people ask me what I’ve been doing.”

“I was really energized after the first time I did it,” said Ditto, 25, who works with disabled veterans at the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living in St. Paul. “I went home and did a bunch of yard work. It’s helped me to focus better, too.”

Ditto likes to visit the center to do her meditating because its minimally decorated rooms are ideal for it. But, she says, she sometimes encounters a problem.

“I meditate facing Culver’s, and instead of my mantra I start saying in my head, Chocolate custard. Chocolate custard. Chocolate custard.”

Kristin Tillotson • 612-673-7046

For more information visit these websites:

www.tm.org and www.operationwarriorwellness.org.

Related articles: Washington Post: VA testing whether meditation can help treat PTSDPOLITICO: Coping with PTSD | Norwich University President Receives “Resilient Warrior Award” at National Veterans Summit in Washington, DC | Washington Post: Does Transcendental Meditation help veterans with PTSD? | Transcendental Meditation Drastically Turns Life Around For Veteran With PTSD | David Lynch gives $1M to teach vets meditation | David Lynch donates $1 million in grants through his foundation to teach veterans to meditate | Replay of David Lynch Foundation Launch of Operation Warrior Wellness Los Angeles | Post Traumatic Stress and How Transcendental Meditation Can Help [Infographic]

Oprah writes in O Mag about her visit to TM Town and meditating with ladies in their Golden Dome

January 17, 2012

In the February 2012 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, Oprah in her column, What I Know for Sure, (page 162) shares her mission in life, what she’s all about: seeking the fullest expression of self. Part of that life’s purpose brought her to Fairfield, Iowa, or TM Town, as she calls it.

Oprah and her crew were here filming segments for her Next Chapter on OWN, including interviews with students at the Maharishi School; Vedic Pandits in neighboring Maharishi Vedic City; a visit to a home in Abundance Eco-Village, which is totally off the grid and designed with Vedic architectural principles; and practicing Transcendental Meditation with the ladies in one of the two golden domes on the campus of Maharishi University of Management. The show may be airing sometime in March. Updates to follow.

In the article, Oprah shares some personal thoughts on her visit to Fairfield, in particular, meditating in one of the golden domes with the ladies of the Fairfield community. She had a “powerfully energizing yet calming experience” of deep inner stillness and “didn’t want it to end.” When it did, she “walked away feeling fuller than when I’d come in…full of hope, a sense of contentment, and deep joy.” She elaborates saying we all need to tap into and experience “the constancy of stillness” from where “you can create your best work and your best life,” even during “the daily craziness that bombards us from every direction.”

Click on the photo and then the text box to enlarge and better see them. You can also click on this Oprah Feb 2012 to download a pdf of the article, or pick up a copy at a store where her magazine is sold. The same article is now posted on Oprah.com with a larger photo showing hundreds of ladies meditating behind Oprah in a packed dome: Oprah on Stillness and Meditation – Oprah Visits Fairfield Iowa – What Oprah Knows for Sure About Finding the Fullest Expression of Yourself. Enjoy!

AND THANK YOU, OPRAH!

Also reported in Global Good News | Maharishi School News | TM Program for Women Professionals | Transcendental Meditation Blog | Peacetown, USA.

See related posts: Some Reports on Dr. Oz’s Interview with Oprah about TM and her Next Chapter, which includes a segment of that interview, Oprah meditates with ladies in MUM Golden Dome, Reports of Oprah’s visit to Fairfield, Iowa, and Oprah says she and her staff meditate, enjoy a Quiet Time twice a day—Facebook Live interview.

Russell Brand Does Stand-Up for Transcendental Meditation

November 29, 2011

Medical Unit

By Susan Donaldson James

Nov 29, 2011 2:39pm

Russell Brand Does Stand-Up for Transcendental Meditation

Comic actor Russell Brand credits his sobriety with practicing Transcendental Meditation.

Russell Brand, who credits Transcendental Meditation for helping him stay off addictions to alcohol, drugs and sex, will do a stand-up comedy show tonight at the Palace of the Fine Arts in San Francisco to benefit the David Lynch Foundation.

Brand has said publicly that meditation had helped him find a “deeper state of happiness.”  Other celebrities — including Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres — are devotees of TM.

“What it felt like to me was the dissolution of the idea of myself,” he said at a press conference last year. “Like, I felt separateness evaporated, this tremendous sense of oneness. I’m quite a neurotic thinker, quite an adrenalized person. But after meditation, I felt this beautiful serenity and selfless connection. My tendency towards selfishness, I felt that exposed as a superficial and pointless perspective to have.”

Brand, who is best known for his films, “Get Him to the Greek” and “Arthur” –  and for being the husband of pop start Katy Perry – gave up alcohol nearly a decade ago. He has said,  ”I was really, really committed to that drug addiction.”

The David Lynch Foundation, the brainchild of the filmmaker of the same name, has been committed to helping those who suffer from trauma since 2005. The often dark and abstract director credits his creativity with 37 years of meditation.

Their meditation programs have helped those in the military, who are at higher risk for post-traumatic stress and in schools where students grow up in a climate of fear with bullying, violence and substance abuse. They also work with other at-risk populations like Native Americans and the homeless.

The Lynch foundation now teaches 150,000 students for free in 350 schools around the world; 15 of them are in the United States.

Click here for video of David Lynch discussing His First Meditation.

“It’s not a religion,” Lynch told ABC last year. “It’s not against any religion, it’s not mumbo-jumbo. It truly does transform life. Kids come to school and they meditate together for 15 minutes in the morning. And before they go home they meditate for 15 minutes. A lot of them come from, you know, bad situations, and so this gives them this thing you know, at the beginning and the end of the day, the rest of the time you just watch the violence stop. Watch relationships improve. Watch happiness in the hallways, in the classroom, watch creativity flow more and more, watch that heavy weight that we are living under gently lift away.”

Brand learned TM at the foundation headquarters in Fairfield, Iowa, during a time when he was making a  documentary on happiness with directors Oliver Stone and Albert Maysles.

David Lynch Foundation Executive Director Bob Roth asked Brand if he wanted to learn TM. “I have all the time in the world,” Brand responded, according to foundation spokesman Ken Chawkin. “He taught him and he loved it and came back a second time.”

Brand went to India, where he was married to Perry last year, to research the film. The comedian is a vegetarian and devotee of Buddhism and Hari Krishna. He also practices yoga.

Oprah also meditated with 500 other women at the “dome” in Iowa, according to Chawkin. ”Her companies are now instructed as part of their daily routine,” he said. “It’s awesome. She really got it.”

On Dec. 3, Brand will join actress Ellen DeGeneres and Def Jam’s Russell Simmons in Los Angeles for another benefit performance. The foundation will webcast from their website  a live global news conference on Dec. 2 on its gift of $1 million to teach veterans to meditate. The celebrity event will be replayed online Sunday, Dec 4.

Various studies funded by the David Lynch Foundation have shown that those under stress, particularly ethnic and racial minorities, can reduce their stress levels by 36 percent by practicing TM. Students in “quiet programs” that include meditation have also shown higher rates of achievement.

 ”It allows the thinking process to naturally settle down,” said Chawkin. “And just automatically and quietly you transcend beyond to the source of thought within. You are twice as deep as the deepest point of sleep, while awake inside.”

Brand has said that his stress was rooted in his celebrity. “I used to be poor, now I’m not,” he said last year at a conference with young people. “I didn’t used to be famous, now I am. And I thought that both of these significant transitions would bring a certain amount of satisfaction.

“They did a bit, initially as being famous gives you enormous access to– given there are some young people here– partners in physical nocturnal activities.”

SHOWS:

User Comments

Brand is FUNNY but when he talks about profound stuff like how TM helps him he is REALLY good. I wish I could be there tonight!

Posted by: quirkysquirrel | November 29, 2011 November 29, 2011, 3:15 pm

I’m really impressed with David Lynch’s work as well as Russell Brand speaking up and stepping up to help promote David’s foundation. TM has been a remarkably helpful and profound practice for me, in all areas of my life. Whether you are a vet, a student, a down and out artist to be or a person who could use more chill, more health, more creativity in your life – it’s a fantastic tool.

Posted by: Tlccabin | November 29, 2011 November 29, 2011, 6:42 pm

——–

The David Lynch Foundation will host two events: a live global news conference, webcast from the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, Friday, December 2, 11 AM (PT), 2 PM (ET); and the Third Annual David Lynch Foundation Benefit Gala, Saturday, December 3, 5 PM (PT), 8 PM (ET) at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which will replay online Sunday, December 4, at 5 PM (PT), 8 PM (ET). Click here for more information: http://www.davidlynchfoundation.org/emailing/2011_11_29.html.

Also see: An Evening of Stand-Up With Russell Brand — a Benefit for the David Lynch Foundation Tuesday, November 29th at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco | The SF Examiner: Russell Brand makes it to the Palace | The Times of India: Russell Brand to headline comedy show for charity | Examiner.com: Russell Brand makes San Francisco laugh for The David Lynch Foundation | What do Stephen Collins, Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Brand, Russell Simmons, David Lynch and Oprah have in common?

Reports of Oprah’s visit to Fairfield, Iowa

October 22, 2011

Oprah visits Maharishi School, Fairfield

Fairfield (IA) Ledger

By DIANE VANCE, Ledger staff writer | Oct 20, 2011
“It was a tremendous honor to have Oprah Winfrey here even for a brief visit,” said Richard Beall, director of Maharishi School. “We’ve been in communication for some time about this visit; it’s hard to believe it’s actually happened.”

Oprah came to the kindergarten through 12th grade private school around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday on a planned visit. She brought an entourage of film and production crews.

Fairfield Police Chief Julie Harvey said Oprah’s visit included her trip to Maharishi School, a visit to the campus of Vedic scholars (the pundits in Maharishi Vedic City), a visit to a private residence, coffee at Cafe´ Paradiso and meditating in the women’s dome. She left Fairfield airport about 6:30 p.m.

Beall escorted Oprah around Maharishi School to the places she had indicated an interest in visiting. The crews mostly went separate, pre-assigned ways, he said.

“She had an opportunity to watch the children’s meditation,” said Beall. “Then she participated in meditation with older students.

“She talked briefly with all of the high school students, boys and girls. She selected a few students to interview more closely,” said Beall. “All together, she interviewed about 10 students.”

Beall said a lot of cameras were around, but they all belonged to Oprah’s people. It was Oprah’s request to not have publicity about her visit.

“I was so busy, I didn’t really think about photos,” said Beall. “If Oprah’s people release any of the photos, then we’ll have some.”

All MSAE staff were told not to bring cameras or gifts to school, another source reported.

“She’s an absolutely remarkable person,” said Beall. “She’s clearly passionate – and compassionate of others.”

Oprah left the school around 1 p.m.

About three hours later, she was seen around Fairfield’s square.

“My wife Linda and I were driving over to pick up The Ledger in the late afternoon,” said Ralph Messerli this morning by phone. “We saw a commotion, a bunch of people clustered on the sidewalk near George’s Pizza. My wife said, ‘that looks like Oprah!’ and I said, ‘yeah, right.’

“We saw a parking space and started to pull in. Police Chief Julie Harvey was standing nearby and motioned us to go ahead and pull in,” said Messerli. “Then I see a gal who looks like Oprah. It was Oprah! She was talking with Fairfield folks, shaking hands and letting people take pictures with her.”

The Messerlis stayed in their car, observing.

“After she took some pictures, she walked over to our car, stuck her hand in to shake ours,” said Messerli. “We said some nice things and chatted briefly. It was pretty informal.”

Messerli said they don’t watch the Oprah show normally, but have caught a few now and then.

“She’s certainly made her impact,” he said. “She’s quite a lady.”

Married Maharishi University of Management students, Baruti and Mina KMT-Sisouvong had taken an afternoon walk and stopped at Cafe´ Paradiso about 4:15 p.m.

“I ordered a wonderful organic, raw, chocolate cheese cake,” said Baruti by phone today. “My wife and I sat down to enjoy our coffee and cake – and in walked Oprah.”

Two bodyguards and a few staff accompanied her.

“She saw my sweatshirt and made a connection,” said Baruti.

He was wearing a Morehouse College, Atlanta, sweatshirt.

“She let out a ‘Moor-house’ in the way it’s said around campus,” said Baruti. “She got it right. It was fun. We talked a little about Morehouse College, my awards from there and my mentors, Dr. Franklin and Dr. Carter. Oprah asked Mina and I how we came to be in Fairfield.”

Baruti is a doctoral candidate and Mina is in the graduate program to earn a master’s degree in Vedic Science at M.U.M.

“One of the nice things about Fairfield is people are very respectful here,” said Baruti. “Who ever we might see around town, we stay respectful. Those of us at Cafe´ Paradiso got to have a little time, sharing afternoon coffee.

“Oprah sat down, people came up to speak with her and she was very friendly and welcoming. She ate and drank, and visited. It was very nice.

“Later, I talked about the experience with Tom Morgan, who was also there,” said Baruti. “It’s a little strange to admire someone for some time, then meet her casually in everyday life. I’m getting ready to call my mentors in Atlanta and share with them.”

An M.U.M. employee shared her experience in an email Wednesday night:

“I walked [along the sidewalk to the dome for evening meditation] behind Oprah tonight. I didn’t realize it was her until she turned around near the gate and greeted us.

‘Hi ladies,’ she said. ‘Are you coming here from work? From home?’

Some of us responded ‘work,’ others ‘home.’

‘Work? Home? Homework?’ Oprah said, then laughed.

We were all going to the women’s Golden Dome, a meditation hall here at M.U.M. Oprah recently learned Transcendental Meditation and wanted to experience meditating together with hundreds of women, so she joined us.

It was a very sweet experience. The room seemed to be filled with more love and bliss than usual.

My daughter, 19, especially enjoyed being there. It seems the younger generation were more excited about having her here; the college-aged were chatting away animatedly about it.

My daughter’s comment afterwards, ‘I got to meditate with Oprah in the dome and my sister didn’t. I’m gonna rub it in her face!’

###

See this earlier post where: Oprah says she and her staff meditate, enjoy a Quiet Time twice a day—Facebook Live interview

Other reports of Oprah’s visit to Fairfield include:

KTVO: Oprah and her jet land in southeast Iowa | Oprah Jets into Fairfield and Meditates | Oprah Winfrey Meditated in Fairfield Iowa tonight with other Transcendental Meditation Meditators | associated content from Yahoo | The Associated Press: Chicago Tribune: Oprah travels to Iowa school for group meditation |KGAN CBS 2 News: Oprah travels to Iowa school for group meditation|Washington Examiner | The Republic: Oprah travels to Iowa school for group meditation, talks to students about spiritual journey, includes a Comment by Jean Welch Tobin: Oprah was so appreciative and eloquent about Transcendental Meditation. She commented on her experience of practicing the TM technique with close to 500 other women – over 2000 people if you consider everyone in the community. She said, “That was amazing, that was truly amazing!” | The Washington Post: Oprah Winfrey meditates with women in Iowa, talks to students about her spiritual journey | The Huffington Post: Winfrey meditates with women during Iowa visit | WHO-TV: OPRAH VISIT: Oprah travels to Iowa school for group meditation | TheCelebrityCafe.com: Oprah meditates in Iowa, and more.

The Fairfield Weekly Reader, October 27 – November 2, 2011. Oprah visits the Fairfield Square
“It was great to spend time with Oprah. She is so excited about Fairfield and the peaceful energy she felt while here.”

—filmmaker Zappy Zapolin

Here’s a PDF of a follow-up article in the Nov 23, 2011 Fairfield Ledger: Oprah’s network to air Fairfield footage.

Here’s a link to a report in the MUM Review: Oprah Visits Campus; Program to Air Early Next Year on OWN.

Here’s a report in the Maharishi School News: Oprah Winfrey Visits Maharishi School

Some Reports on Dr. Oz’s Interview with Oprah about TM and her Next Chapter.

Follow-up piece in the Fairfield Ledger, March 19, 2012: Oprah’s Fairfield show set to air Sunday night

See NPR: Fairfield, Iowa: Where ‘Art Belongs To Everyone’


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