Archive for October, 2011

Jeffrey Abramson: Transcending Green

October 25, 2011

Jeffrey Abramson: Transcending Green

Jeffrey Abramson gave an excellent speech on the value of Vedic architecture at the May, 2011 Garrison Institute’s Symposium on Climate, Buildings, and Behavior. In addition to constructing a LEED platinum certified office building, Jeffrey wanted to go beyond green, and incorporated Vedic architectural design principles in The Tower Companies new head office at 2000 Tower Oaks Boulevard in Rockville, MD. The Tower Companies mission is to create eco-progressive spaces that transcend traditional approaches to the built environment.

Employees spend many long hours at work and represent a major cost in running any business. In his talk, Jeffery explains why it makes good business sense to invest in the health and well-being of his employees by not only providing a work environment built in accord with natural law, but also offering them the Transcendental Meditation program. These progressive approaches helped reduce stress, improved morale, increased output, reduced health insurance costs, and improved the company’s bottom line. Below is the video and description posted by the Garrison Institute.

Uploaded by GarrisonInstitute on Jul 1, 2011
At the Garrison Institute’s 2011 Climate, Buildings and Behavior Symposium, Jeffrey Abramson of Tower Companies describes his company’s building practice rooted in Vedic architecture. He posed the question, can we get people to think and act in a way that is spontaneously in accord with natural law by employing architecture and design that is in accord with natural law?

The answer to happiness lies within us. In the grips of the recession some TM can help, writes Barry Egan of The Independent

October 23, 2011


The answer to happiness lies within us

In the grips of the recession some Transcendental Meditation can help, writes Barry Egan

Sunday, October 23, 2011

If there ever was a time that Ireland needed a little spirituality it is surely now.

Wise men of thought (wiser than the dour, sourpuss economists who seem to get off on telling us the bad times are only going to get badder) have long told us that meditation is a more substantial reality than that which we normally take to be reality. Many people are searching for a more meaningful existence, and Transcendental Meditation (TM) is providing the answer for some; myself included, my mum was dead a year last Sunday and TM helped me through some if not all of that darkness.

Next Tuesday, Transcendental Meditation Ireland will try to answer the need for something deeper in a country and a people shaken by recession with the public launch of the new TM website.

“It’s obvious that many people in Ireland have become very disillusioned with life,” influential TM teacher Noel O’Neill told me. “The material dream that had been held up to them has been pulled out from under their feet and many are left with nothing but debts and a life-long mortgage. Even the people who are not financially crippled are facing ever increasing levels of stress. TM is becoming increasingly recognised as a means of dealing with these stressful situations. When we practise TM we become aware of an inner aspect of our lives, a silent level of our minds which is untouched by the chaos going on around us. We discover a sense of happiness which is dependent on nothing else but ourselves, we become more self-reliant and don’t let our situation overwhelm us,” Noel says, adding that the new site — — contains endorsements of TM by the likes of David Lynch, Paul McCartney, Clint Eastwood, Jerry Seinfeld and a whole host of Irish TM luminaries like Dr Donn Brennan.

Hollywood actress Eva Mendes credits TM with having a positive effect on her career. In a recent interview, she spoke of the virtues of TM.

“I’m actually huge into meditation, Transcendental Meditation, and that really helps create not only a sense of balance, but serenity and a calm state of mind. It helps me deal with life’s ups and downs,” she says.

She also spoke of the influence of Hollywood director David Lynch’s book on TM and creativity, Catching the Big Fish, and how the technique has helped her as an actor.

“All aspects of life improve with TM — mental, physical and spiritual,” says Noel. “The research is there for anyone to see. Now we need a new formula for living life. We are ‘human beings’, it’s the aspect of ‘being’ that has been ignored in life. We are only aware of the surface values of life, our happiness is dependent on outside things, how much we get paid, how big your house is etc, but as we now know all these things are subject to very rapid change.

“Being, the silent field of creativity that lies deep within everyone, however, is not subject to change, and it is this aspect of life, this side of our nature that we experience and enliven when we practise TM. True lasting happiness can only come from within us.”

Noel says that there is an upsurge in interest in TM worldwide. “Oprah Winfrey surprised the ladies of Fairfield, Iowa, who practise Maharishi Mahesh Yogi‘s Transcendental Meditation when she meditated with them last Wednesday evening,” he says.

Drogheda GP Dr Alan Moran says he looked into TM, and saw how relaxed it left people, how it lowered blood pressure, and left people with an overall feeling of calmness and wellness. Their thoughts were clearer, they slept better and seemed to adjust to life’s ups and downs better.

“Daily I meet people who I feel could benefit from TM I see them suffering in large and small ways from worries and annoyances that they have allowed under their skins. People ask if I do TM, I say it’s a bit like a stockbroker who comes across a fund which is doing really well, is stable, and has a long history of doing well and paying dividends to those who are part of it. Would that stockbroker then buy shares in that fund?”

Noel O’Neill adds that the new Irish site will give up-to-the minute details of all the latest research on TM.

The site will also include details about a new book by internationally respected psychiatrist, Norman E Rosenthal, Transcendence: Healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation.

“The site will answer any commonly asked questions,” says Noel, who will speak at its public launch at 3pm on Tuesday in Buswells Hotel, Dublin, along with Dr Donn Brennan GP, Dr Joe Hayden (TM Ireland national director) and TM teacher John Burns.

More information on TM can be obtained by visiting or by contacting Noel O’Neill at 012845742/0861946792 or

Originally published in

Also listen to an excellent interview with Norman Rosenthal and Jenny Crwys-Williams on South Africa’s 702 Talk Radio. Click to download Podcast. It’s mentioned in this post: Meditation for Health, Happiness and Spirituality.

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 | 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’

The Hawk Eye: Nurses heal themselves

October 17, 2011

Nurses heal themselves

Nurses use TM to help cope with stressful profession.

Monday, October 17th, 2011

John Lovretta/The Hawk Eye
From left, Terry Arellano of Burlington, Anne Dietrich of Fairfield, Amy Ruff of Fairfield, Mona Smith of Burlington and Adrienne Pelton of Fairfield gather Thursday for their weekly group practice of transcendental meditation at the Transcendental Meditation Center, 409 N. Fourth St. in Burlington. The center soon will start classes specifically targeted at nurses.


It’s no secret nurses often sacrifice their physical and mental health for the sake of their patients. Amy Ruff of Fairfield, who became a registered nurse 39 years ago, can attest to that.

“Being a new nurse was very stressful, and I started to realize that it was affecting my health,” she said.

Ruff was working at an intensive care unit in New Jersey at the time, and six months after she started the job, she saw a poster for a transcendental meditation lecture. Once she learned the process of TM, Ruff noticed an immediate change in her life.

“I was calmer at work, I could prioritize better, and I had more energy at the end of the day,” she said.

Ruff and her fellow TM instructors, Adrienne Pelton and Anne Dietrich, will lead a lecture dedicated to introducing nurses to TM next Wednesday at the Transcendental Meditation Center in Burlington. Their goal is to provide stress relief and higher quality of living for those who sacrifice it during their work.

“If you can think, you can meditate,” Ruff said.

The Transcendental Meditation Center in Burlington was founded last year by the TM instructors and Terry Arellano, who owns the Social Services Building the center is housed in. She said if the TM classes prove to be popular among area nurses and nurses-in-training, she will refurbish the sleeping rooms of the third floor of the building so they can act as dormitories for the female nurses.

“There will be a shortage of nurses in the United States, especially as the baby boomers age,” she said.

Learning TM is a seven-step, four-day process that requires a couple of hours of practice each day. The technique involves shutting your eyes and staying calm, allowing the mind to be free and without concentration.

Once the technique is learned, it requires much less commitment, and practitioners usually meditate twice a day for 20 minutes at a time. The Transcendental Medication Center in Burlington also has weekly group meditation sessions that coincide with sessions in Fairfield.

The idea to target area nurses came from Brandman University in Irvine, Calif., which offers continuing education credits for nurses who study TM. Arellano and Dietrich are working with Southeastern Community College about a possible relationship between the Transcendental Meditation Center and the school.

Ruff said more than 6,000 studies from 250 medical schools and universities have validated the health benefits of TM, which include increased coherence and reduced blood pressure. The practice also has been linked to decreased rates of heart disease, according to a study at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in collaboration with the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield.

Mona Smith, who has been practicing TM since 1969, said the practice allows her to live medication free. She recently attended her 50th high school reunion, and classmates could not believe she was able to live so healthy without the aid of medication.

“When I mentioned the natural ways I’ve trained, they tried to laugh it off,” she said. “People continue to underplay the naturalness of it.”

According to particle physicist John Hagelin, who is the director of the Transcendental Meditation movement in the United States, the practice can be life-changing. He stresses TM is not a religion or philosophy, it’s just a technique.

“The TM technique is the world’s most widely practiced, extensively researched and broadly prescripted program for the reduction of stress, the prevention of disease and the promotion of health,” he said.

The lecture is free and open to the public and will be 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Transcendental Meditation Center, 409 N. Fourth St.

For more information on learning TM locally, call the center at (319) 850-3276. Learn more at

David Lynch Foundation launches Veteran’s Day national meditation initiative

October 14, 2011

David Lynch Foundation launches Veteran’s Day national meditation initiative

Veteran’s Day falls on 11.11.11. and the David Lynch Foundation is hosting a national meditation initiative for veterans.

The charitable organization is teaming up with online fundraising network Crowdrise, to raise funds for its veteran’s outreach – Operation Warrior Wellness – which has the goal of providing stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation to 10,000 veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress and their families.

Here’s how it works: Donate $11 or more to Operation Warrior Wellness on Crowdrise and you are automatically entered to win the Warrior Wellness Gift Pack – which includes the Operation Warrior Wellness commemorative coin, OWW t-shirts and hoodies, and books by the iconic filmmaker David Lynch, the NY Times bestselling author Dr. Norman Rosenthal, and WWII fighter pilot Jerry Yellin. The value of the gift pack is approximately $200.

Recent published research has shown a 50% reduction in PTSD symptoms among meditating veterans, as well as greater resiliency, reduced cardiovascular disease, decreased substance abuse and decreased medical expenditures.

Russell Brand, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Donna Karan, Candy Crowley, and many decorated veterans have partnered together in support for Operation Warrior Wellness. Explained Vietnam veteran Dan Burks, “The experience I had from Transcendental Meditation basically saved my life.”

To make a donation to the Operation Warrior Wellness Veteran’s Day Campaign and enter the give-away please visit:

For more information on the David Lynch Foundation’s veteran’s initiative, please visit

See: Finding Her Son Again – Julia George and Iraq Veteran David George:

Also see: Medication or Meditation for Veterans with PTSD?, Author Veteran Jerry Yellin To Sign Four Books Proceeds To Benefit Operation Warrior Wellness, Huffington Post: What Meditation Did for Me: A War Vet’s Story, Wall Street Journal: A Transcendental Cure for Post-Traumatic Stress by David Lynch and Norman E. Rosenthal.

Author Veteran Jerry Yellin To Sign Four Books Proceeds To Benefit Operation Warrior Wellness

October 14, 2011

Jerry Yellin will be doing a book signing on Saturday evening, November 5, from 7:30-8:30 at the Fairfield Library meeting room. Receipts from the sale of his four books will benefit Operation Warrior Wellness, a division of the David Lynch Foundation. Here is an article promoting this event written by Jerry’s son, Steven Yellin. Jerry’s books are listed at the end of this article.

A WWII P-51 Pilot Talks About Healing His Soul Through Meditation

On March 7, 1945, Jerry Yellin, a current resident of Fairfield, Iowa landed on a small strip of land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. For the next six months he saw sights that would haunt him for the next 35 years.

The strip of land was Iwo Jima.

28,000 soldiers died on Iwo Jima. Had the American commanders known in advance how many casualties there were going to be in taking that island, they never would have invaded. Jerry was a P-51 fighter pilot who strafed the island for the Marines, and then flew 19 missions over Japan.

When Jerry returned to the States, he took those memories and images of what he saw on Iwo Jima with him. Everyday and many horror-filled dreaded nights, he relived the images of war. Time passed, the memories did not.

Though he didn’t die on Iwo, the memories of Iwo were slowly killing him. Then in 1975 Jerry learned the Transcendental Meditation program. Slowly, the memories of war started to fade from his mind. For the first time, he started to reconnect with himself on a deep level and experience the joys of life that were absent for so long. Though he had married a wonderful woman and had four great sons, he couldn’t really feel the flow of life until he learned to meditate. Years later, he said unequivocally that TM saved his life.

Last year, a friend of his called and said that her son was having a difficult time adjusting from the many military tours of duty he had done. Jerry met with him and as a former soldier that had seen combat, tried to console him. It didn’t work. Two weeks later that young man committed suicide. A little known fact is that more soldiers commit suicide each month than die in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jerry was devastated because he knew exactly what this young soldier experienced. He felt that something had to be done to prevent these kinds of suicides and the ruined lives of soldiers caused by Post-Traumatic Stress. So he contacted the David Lynch Foundation, a non-profit organization that has been teaching Transcendental Meditation to at-risk youth around the world since 2006. They immediately said they were interested and Operation Warrior Wellness was launched.

Since then Jerry has talked about OWW to military groups all over the country. The response has always been the same—this is an organization that needs to be successful because the problem is so acute. “We send our young men and woman to fight,” says Jerry, “and then, when they return, we can’t really help them integrate into society successfully, because what they saw and heard are so devastating to their souls.”

The four books Jerry Yellin will be signing are:

The Resilient Warrior, Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: stories of veterans of war who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress and how Transcendental Meditation helps cure them.

Of War and Weddings, A Legacy of Two Fathers: an autobiographical story of one American and one Japanese soldier who hated each other in their youth and came to be family by the marriage of their two youngest children in 1988.

The Blackened Canteen: a true story of 23 Americans who were killed on June 20, 1945, and the Japanese man who buried their remains in a common grave next to the 2000 Japanese citizens their bombs helped to kill.

The Letter: literary fiction about a powerful American Senator who goes through life hating people of different religions only to find out that his birth mother and father were everything he hated.


The David Lynch Foundation teamed up with Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation on June 7, 2011, to garner support for their shared goal: to help veterans who are suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress reclaim their lives. In this video, former WWII captain and fighter pilot Jerry Yellin speaks out about the horrors of returning to civilian life after experiencing the trauma of combat—and how he overcame the hidden wounds of war through the practice of Transcendental Meditation. More articles on Jerry Yellin are posted here on this blog.

Click here to download a beautifully-designed poster announcing the book-signing event.

Upcoming Event: David Lynch Foundation launches Veteran’s Day national meditation initiative

See Huffington Post: What Meditation Did for Me: A War Vet’s Story | Wall Street Journal: A Transcendental Cure for Post-Traumatic Stress by David Lynch and Norman E. Rosenthal | Medication or Meditation for Veterans with PTSD?

The Chronicle of Higher Education: Notes From Academe: The Spokesman Who Kept Calling

October 13, 2011

April 22, 2005

The Spokesman Who Kept Calling


Each morning I punch my code into The Chronicle’s voice-mail system. Most of the time, the messages are from sources calling me back or editors with a few “minor queries” about a story I’ve turned in. Sometimes, however, they’re from Norman.

Hi Tom. Norman here. I’ve been reading a wonderful biography of Thomas Wolfe and I found out the most interesting thing: He drank 12 to 18 cups of coffee every day! No wonder he was manic and high and low and sideways. When I wrote my books, I certainly drank coffee, but if I had four or five I thought that was a lot. How many do you have? One, probably. Or two?

Norman Zierold is a spokesman for Maharishi University of Management, a Fairfield, Iowa, institution dedicated to “the full awakening of consciousness.” The last time I talked to him we discussed the recent suicide of Hunter S. Thompson and how Thompson worshiped F. Scott Fitzgerald. Norman believes the final page of The Great Gatsby is about as close to perfection as prose is likely to get. I can’t argue with that. He is also a fan of W. Somerset Maugham; I’ve never read anything by the British novelist and playwright, but I plan to, on Norman’s recommendation.

For more than two years, Norman and I have spoken on the phone at least once a month. Sometimes it’s been once a week. He has sent me scores of e-mail messages and who-knows-how-many packages containing detailed information about the university’s latest project. In all that time, I haven’t written a single word about Maharishi University.

That’s not because there isn’t plenty to write about. For instance, did you know that much of the food served in the university’s cafeteria is grown by students? Did you know that students and faculty members meditate twice a day in two gold-domed buildings? Were you aware that the university has received more than $20-million from the National Institutes of Health to study the effect of meditation on reducing heart disease, hypertension, and stroke?

Interesting stuff. But other stories have come along and Maharishi always gets pushed to the back burner. It’s just what happens.

And yet despite — or perhaps thanks to — my failure to write about Maharishi, Norman has continued to call, more often than any other college spokesman — more often, in fact, than anyone else I can think of, including friends and family. If Norman were anyone else, I would tell him politely to buzz off. But Norman is not anyone else. The truth is, I like talking to Norman. And over the last couple of years, I’ve gotten to know a lot about him.

For example, I know that Norman, who is 78, graduated from Harvard University in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in politics and government. “God, that was boring,” he says of his time at the elite institution. Norman went on to get his master’s in literature from the University of Iowa. After that he enrolled in the doctoral program in French literature (which helps explain why, in some e-mail messages, he addresses me as “Cher Tom”).

He never completed his Ph.D. Instead, he became a writer. Norman wrote several books about Hollywood, including The Moguls: Hollywood’s Merchants of Myth and a biography of Greta Garbo. He also wrote true-crime books like Little Charley Ross: America’s First Kidnapping for Ransom, the story of a 4-year-old boy who, in 1874, was lured into a buggy by two men who later demanded money from his father (the boy was never found). The book, published in 1967, led to an appearance on the Today show. Norman was interviewed by Barbara Walters who, before the segment began, rubbed her leg against his in what seemed to him a suggestive fashion. She then explained that this was the signal that meant they were about to go on the air. Norman felt relieved.

Because he wrote about Hollywood frequently, Norman hobnobbed with big stars like Groucho Marx and Mae West. He edited the first volume of Anthony Quinn’s autobiography, helping trim a 1,000-page manuscript into something readable. In the early 1960s, Norman was the editorial director of the now-defunct Theatre Arts Magazine. He also wrote a science-fiction novel titled The Skyscraper Doom, in which the buildings of New York start to melt from the top down. It has to do with a mysterious gold liquid and the goddess Athena.

By the early 1970s, Norman had tired of Hollywood and book-writing. He was in his mid-40s and was “looking for something new in life,” he says. He stumbled onto transcendental meditation and it turned out to be just what he needed. Soon he was teaching meditation and writing freelance articles on the side to pay the bills. He did that for a long time. Then a few years ago he took a job in Maharishi University’s public-relations office.

Technically, Norman works part time. But if you call his office, he’s there. If you send him an e-mail message, you’ll get a speedy reply — even on weekends. He says he can’t help it: “The excitement builds and one loses track of time and works far beyond the routine hours.”

And Norman is genuinely excited about Maharishi University. He believes in the power of meditation, that it can make people healthier and more focused (and there’s research that seems to back him up, too). And he believes that college students who meditate have an advantage over those who do not.

But Norman does not stay strictly “on message.” For instance, we might start out discussing the benefits of meditation and end up talking about Pauline Kael. Norman was friends with the revered New Yorker movie critic, a fact he mentioned in passing recently. She liked his books. He told me this as if it wasn’t a big deal, as if everybody had been buddies with Pauline Kael.

Norman was understandably taken aback when he learned that I wanted to write about him. Like any good university spokesman, Norman would prefer that the institution get the attention. But he agreed to cooperate, if somewhat reluctantly. I was reluctant, too. I wrote in an e-mail message to Norman that I was concerned that once the article was finished he would stop calling. He told me not to worry. “You may be sure that we’ll continue to be in touch after you complete your piece,” he wrote.

I hope so, Norman. You know the number. Section: Notes From Academe Volume 51, Issue 33, Page A56. Members can see the article online here, without the image. Click on Read the rest of this entry to see a pdf of the article with the nifty cartoon of Norman Zierold and Thomas Bartlett. Here’s are two articles by Norman Zierold you might like to read: Embody: focus on TM: Iconic Filmmaker David Lynch has a viable solution to a pressing problem and THE REMARKABLE DAVID LYNCH FOUNDATION — written by Norman Zierold for Healthy Referral.

The Early Show looks at Martin Scorsese’s ‘George Harrison: Living in The Material World’

October 11, 2011

“Our true nature is consciousness and bliss.” George Harrison

‘The Early Show’ Takes a Look at Martin Scorsese’s ‘George Harrison: Living in The Material World’ 10/05/11. Click here to see the TV Replay.

Also see The Daily: Marty’s Mantra For Meditators and Martin Scorsese’s film, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, premiers at the Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts in Fairfield, Iowa.

POEM OF THE DAY: Mirror Lake by Rolf Erickson

October 11, 2011



to nibble
reflected star

sending ripples through the universe

© Rolf Erickson

Published in This Enduring Gift—A Flowering of Fairfield Poetry, 2010, and selected as the Poem of the Day, October 8, 2011.

Also see The Poet by Rolf Erickson.

Mary Oliver’s poem of a fish leaping At the Lake also captures this kind of magic in words.

Transcending a Different Type of PTSD — Helping Children of the Night

October 11, 2011


Transcending a Different Type of PTSD — Helping Children of the Night


Published October 08, 2011 |

Lately there has been a storm of publicity – and deservedly so – about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The public has become better educated about this potentially disabling disorder and its symptoms, such as hypervigilance, an exaggerated tendency to startle, flashbacks, nightmares and emotional numbness, to name just a few.

Mental health professionals have emphasized the need to diagnose and treat PTSD wherever it arises.  In this piece, I would like to draw attention to yet another group suffering from PTSD – child victims of prostitution who, against all odds, are trying to go straight and choose a different path in life.

I recently visited a home for such children in the Los Angeles suburbs, part of an organization aptly named “Children of the Night,” which has been operating since 1979 under the guidance of its founder and director, Dr. Lois Lee.

The organization is the most comprehensive social services agency in the country for rescuing America’s children from prostitution – a term Lee prefers to “trafficking,” which she considers too sanitized and not shocking enough for a problem that ought to be shocking but too often hides in plain sight of ordinary citizens.

The story of the young prostitute usually starts with early sexual abuse by a trusted care-giver, creating a trauma that continues to fester in the developing mind and brain of the young person, often resulting in emotional and behavioral difficulties.

The young person runs away – or drifts away – from home and, vulnerable to entrusting his or her safety to untrustworthy adults, goes on to be re-abused by those who pretend to offer love and shelter.

It is an ugly story that inclines us to avert our eyes, change the channel or click on a different web link.  I ask you to resist this natural aversion because these are our children and they can be helped with proper understanding and care. — Lee estimates that her organization has assisted over 10,000 young people since its inception.

In Lee’s opinion, all these children suffer from PTSD.  They are seething with rage, which they either direct outwards – screaming, lashing out, throwing things – or inwards by cutting themselves.

Stressed out in body and mind, many complain of abdominal pains so severe that they need to be taken to the emergency room.  They suffer nightmares and sleep disorders that wake them up at all hours.  Sometimes their distress during sleep is so bad that paramedics need to wake them and help settle them down.

Consider one of these young people, “Annie,” an 18-year-old graduate of the Children of the Night.  When she first came to the program, Annie experienced many symptoms of PTSD.

Like the other girls, she would panic when she saw a black limo driving down the street with its lights off, which reminding her of the pimps in her former life.  Triggered by all sorts of fears and memories, Annie would scream and throw things.  An apparently innocent TV show might remind her of evenings when she and her pimp would watch that same show together in earlier times.  One flashback would lead to another until her system was boiling over with intolerable panic and rage.

All the children in the program receive psychotherapy, but Annie did not find it particularly useful.  One thing that has made a big difference for her is Transcendental Meditation (TM), a technique that Lee has incorporated into her program in the last few years, with excellent results.

According to Annie, TM has reduced the impact of her flashbacks, has made her less angry, and less likely to her take out her distress on others.  As she puts it, “TM helps me calm down and center myself throughout the day, and focus on my schoolwork and tasks. It has also helped me trace back my emotions to when I was really young.  I realize that I couldn’t cry or tell people they had hurt my feelings.  I chose anger instead of hurt.”

The beneficial effects of TM on the PTSD symptoms of the Children of the Night have also been documented for traumatized veterans of combat, and are consistent with the known effects of TM in settling down fight-or-flight responses, which are exaggerated in people with PTSD.

Of Dr. Lee and Children of the Night, Annie says, “The program has done everything for me.  If not for the program, I would have died on the streets.”

Annie’s words are all the more poignant as there are so many other children who have not had the good fortune to stumble across Lee and her program. Keep your eye out for them and spare a thought for how we as a society can prevent the horrible problem of child prostitution and take care of those who have already fallen prey to it.

Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D. is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School and author of “Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation” (Tarcher-Penguin, 2011).

Also see: Children of the Night, movie director David Lynch expand work and Meditation Helps Homeless Children, and another Fox News Opinion piece by Dr. Rosenthal: Could Transcendental Meditation Help Veterans Suffering From Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

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