‘Dear Prudence’ Bruns in Parade discusses world peace, the ’60s, and why kids love the Beatles

August 9, 2019

Parade’s senior features editor M.B. Roberts interviewed Prudence Bruns for this Aug 9, 2019 article: The Woman Who Inspired ‘Dear Prudence’ Opens Up About World Peace, the Influence of the ’60s and Why Kids Today Love the Beatles. Click the title to see original article with photos. Here is the text.

The Beatles’ muse still believes in world peace.

Prudence Bruns, 71, has several claims to fame. First, she’s the daughter of film director John Farrow and actress Maureen O’Sullivan, as well as the younger sister of actress Mia Farrow. Second, she’s a teacher and passionate advocate of Transcendental Meditation who studied with the TM guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh, India, back in the late 1960s. It’s at Maharishi’s retreat in 1968 where Prudence’s fellow students included all four members of the Beatles. Third, her behavior during the retreat led John Lennon to write the song “Dear Prudence,” which appeared on the Beatles’ White Album. So, who is the flesh and blood woman behind the song that Rolling Stone named as No. 63 on its list of “100 Greatest Beatles Songs”? And what’s the story behind the famous song? Parade caught up with Bruns to find out.

You met the Beatles at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s retreat in Rishikesh, India, in 1968, where you’d traveled with your sister, Mia, to learn Transcendental Meditation. Were you starstruck?

No, I’d been around famous people before. It wasn’t a big deal to me but I liked them a lot, especially John and George. They came into my room one night to play a song and I could hear them outside on the patio at night playing. But really, I was so focused on getting the most out of my time there. It was my dream to go to India and study with a person who really knew about this meditation. I was pretty extreme.

That’s why John wrote the song, which starts out, “Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play/Dear Prudence, greet the brand-new day.”

Right. People over the years would have these reasons why I was Dear Prudence that were completely off the wall and almost disturbing, like I was a heroin addict or I lost my mind or all these crazy reasons why John wrote the song. It bothered me in a sense but it seemed over my head, like what can I do about it. I’d tell people, well I had to stay in my room. Nobody believed that I didn’t have an affair with him. I couldn’t tell people. But it all came about because I stayed in my room by myself for five days straight. I hadn’t gone to the bathroom or slept. I didn’t eat. I was trying to see where [meditation] would take me.

And you’ve stayed with meditation all these years?

Yes, I’m back teaching now. At Sofitco Studios, a fitness studio in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

What do you love so much about TM?

TM is a yogic meditation but what’s different about it is that it has been streamlined and simplified for those of us who are busy and can’t give our whole lifestyle over to changing how we are and what we’re doing. It makes it so that in just a short period of time you can go extremely deep inside and tap into a part of the mind that is foundational. It’s just silent. It’s like, the ocean has a surface and as you get deeper it becomes less active. And if you can get incredibly deep, it’s still. So the same with the mind. You can get to this part of the mind that is still, but it’s not inert. It’s actually very creative. And so, it’s wonderful. You can actually experience that. Anybody can.

Your memoir, Dear Prudence: The Story Behind the Song, came out in 2015. Why did you decide to write the book so many years (nearly 50!) after John Lennon wrote that song about you?

It was because of my grandson. We’d moved down to Florida and my daughter lived next door. At a certain point when my grandson was in high school, he came over and said, “OK, Grandma, you have to come to my school and speak to my friends.” It surprised me because at that point, I was getting used to accepting myself as being old and kind of irrelevant. I forgot I was Dear Prudence, because my older daughter and son—they were the generation after the Baby Boomers—and their interest in The Beatles was zip.

But there’s been a revived interest in the Beatles among kids and twentysomethings, don’t you think?

Yes, absolutely. Especially with [the game] Guitar Hero. Then you even have little kindergartners knowing all the Beatles songs. Anyway, being Dear Prudence really never mattered. Then when I went to my grandson’s school, it was like one of the Beatles came to see his friends. There were about 30 kids and they all came rushing up and gathered around me with all this respect. I was completely stunned.

Was it your link to the Beatles they were excited about?

Besides the kids noticing the Beatles and actually knowing every song they did and the words to every song, one of the kids asked a question that stood out. “Why did John and the Beatles think there could be such a thing as world peace?” I mean, they really believed there could not possibly be such a thing! This shocked me. It was sad, but it meant that they were actually listening to us. For us, we didn’t listen to anybody over 30! But grandparents? Forget about it. So that they were actually listening and hearing The Beatles and that message was a real wake-up call.

What was the message?

That there can be world peace. I told them, you’re wrong. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean we can’t achieve it. I explained to them that if enough of us live more consciously rather than every man for himself, really caring about our culture and our humanity then we can have peace. It was very powerful and that’s when I decided I had to tell my story. I’m Dear Prudence, one of the many that went through the ‘60s. We brought yoga in and the whole perspective of green and organic and all that came in to our culture.

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See this blog post with links to other interviews: Who was Dear Prudence the Beatles sang to in India? What happened to her? Here is her story.

See What Transcendental Meditation does for Ringo, published in Parade.

Op-Ed recommends TM for student mental health

August 9, 2019

The Scarsdale Inquirer published an Op-Ed piece by Margo L. Baum, August 2, 2019. Margo and I graduated from the same masters program in education at MUM in Fairfield. She asked if I would share her article. I offered to post it on my blog and added hyperlinks. Here is her story. It is very timely advice given the growing mental health crisis in America!

TM: A simple technique could help Scarsdale student

After reading the article about teen mental health (“Helping teens in affluent communities cope with mental health,” Scarsdale Inquirer, July 26), I wonder, what is mental health? Is it simply the absence of anxiety, depression and stress?

As a Scarsdale High School graduate, I understand the pressure to achieve. However, in my teens I wanted more than aspiring to good grades, attending an Ivy League school and making six figures. I didn’t know what I wanted until I found something that transformed my life.

At age 17, I learned a simple mental technique called Transcendental Meditation, which I have now practiced for 45 years. TM became a source of inner development that created a solid foundation of inner strength and bliss within me. From this experience, I believe the missing component of mental health for teens is inner development. I credit TM for providing me with an inner sanctum of peace and saving my life. Due to my experience, I feel the desire to help others lessen the stress of daily life, especially our youth.

As an elementary school teacher, I have witnessed the stress on students of having to gain knowledge of subjects and yet not be taught how to gain inner fulfillment. We train the mind and intellect of our youth to get into better and better elementary, middle, high schools and colleges. But, having achieved all this, are the students balanced, happy, loving adults? More importantly, is the journey from child to adult filled with love, happiness and a balance of heart, mind and spirit? Or is it a path riddled with stress, anxiety and depression?

I have watched students battling anger, low self-esteem, social troubles and academic issues change through instruction in TM. Students around the world have learned this simple mental technique and have had their lives transformed.

Students at The Thacher School, the oldest coed private boarding school for high school students in California, face many of the same issues that impact students from affluent communities: the stress of standardized tests, the pressure to get into good colleges, massive amounts of homework due daily, the pressure to excel in sports, etc.

Thacher students learned TM and found positive results. Michael K. Mulligan, head of the school, said, “Students today are under more pressure than ever to succeed. Standardized testing and grades play increasingly important roles in secondary and college placement outcomes — and many of our youngsters and teens are showing signs of folding under the stress of homework, grades, testing and parental expectations. Our kids need a break, and Transcendental Meditation is one great answer to helping them find rest, peace and calm. Simple, easy and effective, TM has provided for our students … a critical time-out from the stresses of the day. Our students who learned this technique last year report more peace and silence in their day and more resilience in their activities. It has been a gift and a blessing in their lives.”

The use of meditation as an intervention may seem ridiculous to some. Yet, many of the greatest ideas and inventions of our times started out as seemingly insane. For example, my father, the late Dr. Gilbert Baum, was a pioneer in diagnostic ultrasound. The chief of staff at the Veterans Administration Hospital, where my father did his research, told my dad, “Baum, I thought you were certifiable to think you could use sound to see.” 

A new paradigm in imaging in the health field came about due to my father’s endless zeal to follow what he knew to be beneficial to the world. 

TM has been scientifically validated in more than 600 research studies to reduce stress, anxiety, anger and depression. The research also indicates a greater sense of inner calm develops and a stronger sense of self. In some cases insomnia is alleviated.

The David Lynch Foundation has given TM to veterans, domestic violence victims, and students in schools around the world, transforming the lives of individuals from darkness to light.

Why not give TM to SHS students to develop inner contentment? Why not create a new paradigm of mental health for our youth? When inner development and outer achievement go hand in hand, the result will be true mental health for Scarsdale students.

Margo L. Baum, of Brite Avenue, received her bachelor’s in education from Boston University and her master’s in education from Maharishi University of Management, an accredited university in Fairfield, Iowa. She has taught elementary school and creative writing workshops around the world.

What Transcendental Meditation does for Ringo

July 10, 2019

Sunday, July 7, 2019 was Ringo Starr’s 79th birthday. He asks everyone wherever they are at noon that day to make the peace sign and say “Peace and Love,” what he wishes for the whole world. Here he is on the cover of Parade Magazine on his birthday. I highlighted some Q&As that caught my attention. You can read the whole article here.

Ringo talks peace & love, sobriety, turning 79, drumming in The Beatles, plus, what he really thought of Yoko Ono, in this week’s cover story.

After answering a question about why he always flashes the peace sign, Ringo gives a brilliant and succinct description of Transcendental Meditation, what it does for him, and why he starts his day with it! He clearly describes transcending, which allows his busy thinking mind to settle down and experience the unbounded state of just being.

Why has the message of peace and love become so important to you? You’re rarely photographed without flashing the peace sign.

I loved the mid-’60s, when all this peace and love started. [The Beatles] went right along with it. The press used to give me a hard time: “Oh, he’s doing that peace and love thing again.” But I’m only peace-and-loving. And they still like to sh-t on me! It’s connected to the Maharishi [the Indian spiritual leader the Beatles famously visited in 1968]. If you think to do good, then the planet will support you. It’s like a pebble in the ocean; it’s rippling out. And it will get to shore. But you can’t be impatient [laughs].

The mindfulness aspect of your peace-and-love message connects to meditation, which has become a major part of your life. What does it do for you?

It gives me a break from myself. Some days there’s absolute peacefulness and a feeling that I’ve been somewhere away, and I only know that because I come back. It’s very important for me to “not think.” I do enough thinking. You can just “be.” It’s a transcendent feeling. That’s why they call it Transcendental Meditation!

How do you stay in such great shape?

I get up in the morning and I meditate. I go to the gym and I have a trainer, and I work out myself too, when I’m on the road. I’m a vegetarian. When we’re on tour, to get out of the hotel, I usually go to the local organic shop just to see what they’ve got. But I’m only a vegetarian, not a vegan. I eat goat cheese. A vegan is very hard, and they eat a lot of sugar. I’m careful about sugar.

Ringo is a humble guy. I thought this last quote from 10 Inspiring Ringo Starr Quotes About Peace, Love and the Beatles was very enlightening!

10. “I’ve never really done anything to create what has happened. It creates itself. I’m here because it happened. But I didn’t do anything to make it happen apart from saying ‘Yes.’”

If you’re interested in learning more about TM, now is the time. See Transcendental Meditation Turns 60.

Enjoy this in-depth interview between Ringo and TM teacher and CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, Bob Roth. It was recorded a few years ago for Bob’s Sirius XM radio show “Success Without Stress.” The Foundation had honored Ringo with a Lifetime of Peace and Love Award.

Ringo Starr discussed meeting Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, how he came to write the Beatles popular Octupus’s Garden song (years later made into a colorful children’s book), inspiring others to meditate, and bringing Transcendental Meditation into schools.

Of David Lynch and the global efforts of his Foundation, Ringo said, “My sense of David and his work is brilliant. The big one for me, of course, is bringing meditation to schools and how they know from the research that the violence goes down. How far-out is that? And the Foundation goes into tough schools. That is incredible. You have to support David for that.”

A month later: ‘Dear Prudence’ Bruns in Parade discusses world peace, the ’60s, and why kids love the Beatles.

Some Highlights of Bob Roth’s TM Tour in Canada

July 4, 2019

Bob Roth’s tour of Canada covered 3 cities: Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. David Lynch joined Roth via Skype for live presentations on Consciousness & Creativity. Bob did a range of interviews for each city.

I have to say, as a Canadian living in the United States, I was equally impressed with the friendly hospitality of the Canadian interviewers, and the relaxed expertise of Bob Roth as he effortlessly delivered information-packed answers while keeping it light and fun. A pleasure to read and watch! Here are media highlights with descriptions and links.

The Vancouver Sun

On May 17, 2019: Dana Gee, a journalist for Postmedia Network Inc., posted an excellent article for the Vancouver Sun. She had interviewed Bob Roth ahead of his visit to Vancouver with David Lynch via video link. The Province, then other publications across Canada, also ran the article. Like the print editions, the online versions contain photos of Bob Roth and David Lynch, but also include a video of Ellen interviewing Bob on her show about his new book and what TM has done for her.

The actual title in the newspaper is MEDITATE ON THIS in large bold letters at the top, and underneath the subheading, Strength in Stillness is food for thought in battle against our own stress, which is the online article title. The second page has the bold heading: MEDICINE OF THE MIND, with the cover of Bob’s book, Strength in Stillness — The Power of Transcendental Meditation, and the rest of the well-written article.

Breakfast Television Vancouver

Breakfast Television Vancouver host Riaz Meghji with TM expert Bob Roth

On May 24, 2019: Bob was on Citytv’s Breakfast Television Vancouver with host Riaz Meghji. The two of them really hit it off. It was an excellent lively discussion! See: The Science Of Transcendental Meditation. In ‘Strength in Stillness’, Bob Roth breaks down the science behind Transcendental Meditation in a new, accessible way. He highlights how TM is an effective and efficient way to reduce stress, access inner power, and build resilience. Click to watch it in full-screen mode.

Morning Live in Vancouver

Bob Roth on CTV News Morning Live in Vancouver

Bob Roth also joined 3 newscasters at CTV News Morning Live in Vancouver to discuss TM and DLF in Canada, and that evening’s event with David Lynch. You can watch the lively discussion here.

CTV ETalk in Toronto

While in Toronto Bob taped an interview on CTV’s ETalk, Canada’s #1 Entertainment Show, which aired mid-June. See the short edited (1:39) info-visual-packed video: Stars can’t get enough of this meditation guru.

The Morning Show in Toronto

The Morning Show hosts Jeff McArthur and Carolyn MacKenzie with Bob Roth

Bob taped a 10-minute segment for the national half hour Global TV News The Morning Show, which aired July 4. Meditation guru to the stars @meditationbob stopped by to tell us about the power of Transcendental Meditation and how it’s transformed lives!

The delightful hosts Jeff McArthur and Carolyn MacKenzie asked practical questions about TM and the David Lynch Foundation, and enjoyed Bob’s informative answers. They closed the interview with a fun question about meditating with Ellen at her house, and why she wanted to learn.

Watch the setup, Serenity Now: Meditate Like A Celeb, a 10-second intro (12:54-13:04) with photos of Jerry Seinfeld, Hugh Jackman, and Katy Perry; followed by the 7-minute interview (13:10-20:10).

NOMAD Life TV in Montreal

NOMAD Life TV meditating host Jason Rodi asked Bob Roth great questions

On JUNE 2 Jason Rodi welcomed Bob Roth to NOMAD Life TV for an interview on Transcendental Meditation during his Montreal visit, the last leg of his Canadian TM Tour. The timing couldn’t be better for the release of La Force du Silence, the Québécois version of his best-selling book, Strength in Stillness, with an introduction by Dr. Guy-Paul Gagné.

The Natasha Hall Show in Montreal

On June 3 Bob was interviewed on Montreal’s popular CJAD radio morning program, The Natasha Hall Show. It was excellent! Unfortunately it hasn’t been archived yet to enjoy.

Poem for Sali—An Undying Love—heals the heart

June 28, 2019

Interestingly, on Monday morning, at the end of my meditation, I had this loving feeling in my heart, thinking of Sali. So I wrote this poem for her. It contains two haiku and a last line, which brought a quiet healing, knowing the bond of love is eternal; death cannot touch it. I remembered the jyotish reading Sali received from Pandit Shastriji with the nadi leaves, where he told us of some of our past lives together. She had later conveyed a message to me, that we would share again “The Peace that Passeth Understanding” I had written about after she had passed. See “Final entries leading up to and after Sali’s passing.”

An Undying Love

Still love you Sali
An undying kind of Love
That lasts Forever

Souls from the same Source
Incarnating together
Lifetime to lifetime

This thought brings peace to my heart

© Ken Chawkin
Monday, June 24, 2019
Fairfield, Iowa, USA

See these two earlier blog posts, written around a year apart on full moon nights, about the joy we shared together: Capturing an authentic moment in writing, and Haiku of the Heart – for Sali.

This year, Sheila Moschen had asked me to read three of my love poems to conclude her Valentine’s Day Show, Let Your Heart Sing, on KHOE.

Sali can be seen meditating in this 1973 Finnish TV interview with TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

July 2, 2019 Update: I am reminded of this appropriate quote from the Zen poet Ryokan I had included in a post about his poetry. The last half of it is how I feel about the eternal nature of love I share(d) with Sali.

“In all ten directions of the universe, there is only one truth. When we see clearly, the great teachings are the same. What can ever be lost? What can be attained? If we attain something, it was there from the beginning of time. If we lose something, it is hiding somewhere near us.”

Can you imagine a world without the Beatles? Watch the new film “Yesterday” to find out.

June 20, 2019

I read an article in today’s Newsday on the movie release of “Yesterday” a week tomorrow. Due to a freaky worldwide blackout, the only person who remembers The Beatles and their music is Jack Malick, a struggling singer-songwriter. His life is about to change. The film stars Himesh Patel as Jack, his girlfriend Lily James, Ed Sheeran, and Kate McKinnon. Danny Boyle directed the film based on a screenplay by Richard Curtis. Read the synopsis and watch the previews on the film’s website.

The film poses an interesting question for those who deeply love the Beatles: How would life be different if your favorite band had never existed? Film critic Rafer Guzmán interviewed Long Islanders on the impact the Beatles had in their lives and society in general. A local FM radio broadcaster’s comments are spot on!

For the on-air personality known as Donna Donna, who hosts middays on Babylon’s FM station WBAB, the Beatles’ impact went beyond music. A preteen during the first wave of Beatlemania, Donna says, she remembered the band’s 1964 visit to New York, the British Invasion that followed and, in 1968, the Beatles’ famous trip to India to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

“After they came back from India, I think every town in America had a Transcendental Meditation center,” says Donna, who grew up in Floral Park. “I went and learned TM in Mineola! Right on Old Country Road! We were all meditating.” 

The band’s spiritual side “affected me in a very personal way,” Donna says, adding that she meditates to this day. “I would say they had an impact on world peace.” 

That kind of wide-reaching influence is what makes “Yesterday” such an interesting thought-exercise. According to Boyle, the director, the movie’s conceit couldn’t have worked with any other band. “If you’re going to make something disappear, you’ve got to make it something truly significant,” he says. “These guys literally changed the world.”

Read the rest of this well-written article: With ‘Yesterday’ about to hit theaters, LIers imagine a world without The Beatles.

This west coast Afterglow stays with you awhile

June 16, 2019

This is a beautiful blog post by westcoastwoman—the photo, quote, and six-sentence description. She intimately makes the universal personal. Click here to see the many responses to it, including mine. Having spent some time on the west coast of Canada I appreciate how she captured the magic in words. The experience cannot be pinned down. It’s transcendent—”in-between-time” and “neither here nor there.” The deep silence of nature’s transitions between night and day, twilight and predawn, are like a metaphor for our own inner experiences—the gaps between waking, dreaming and sleeping, and the silent unbounded backdrop to them, our own transcendental Self.

Afterglow

June 12, 2019

DSC_2188
photo credit westcoastwoman ©

“Everyday a new picture is painted and framed, held up for half an hour, in such lights as the Great Artist chooses, and then withdrawn, and the curtain falls. And then the sun goes down, and long the afterglow gives light.”

Henry David Thoreau

Afterglow

Every night they come, the watchers of the sun-set, drawn down by the need to see the light extinguish behind the islands and the sea.

I want to share with them as they slowly rise and disperse that the setting of the sun is only a prelude to the experience they had been called to witness, but I stay silent.

It is this time between the setting sun and rising moon, this short extension of the day, this in-between-time when my heart and mind settle for just a moment.

I watch as the sky paints itself with each night’s original palette, wanting only to share with those who can look out from the same place and feel the colours as they appear, understand the need for silence.

In these moments when I am neither here nor there, anything is possible, magic is afoot and I am caught in the afterglow of another original creation as it slowly fades from sight.

The darkness takes the light, the starlings swoop once more in perfect unison over the water, I share with all who stand watching… being neither here nor there, a silent good night.

©westcoastwoman 2019

Written in response to GirlieontheEdge’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt. Prompt word: Extension.

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This reminds me of a poem I wrote down while waking from a dream in a foreign land. It was during the predawn, when “the moon bows / before the rising sun.” See: Indonesian Mystery Poem honoring Nyi Roro Kidul.

On August 30, 2019 she posted Shadow and Light, a powerful poem inspired by a stunning photograph. I posted it as A powerful message in a Shadow and Light poem.

Dr. Schneider addresses doctors on the role of managing the mind to manage the aging process

June 11, 2019

Dr. Robert Schneider addressed medical doctors at a conference of the Age Management Medicine Group in Miami, Florida, April 2019. The Review spoke with Dr. Schneider about his presentation and published an article on page 2 of the May 15, 2019 issue (Vol. 34, #15, Maharishi University of Management). A video of his talk is embedded below.

Dr. Schneider Addresses Doctors on the Role of the Mind in Aging

Hundreds of medical doctors specializing in age-management medicine learned about the role of the mind in modulating the aging process thanks to a plenary address by Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, dean of the College of Integrative Medicine.

At a conference of the Age Management Medicine Group held last month in Miami, Dr. Schneider explained how stress, such as anxiety, depression, and social isolation, accelerates the aging process by causing physiological damage, including inflammation and free radicals. These in turn damage telomeres, parts of the DNA that protect cells from premature aging.

“The doctors were very interested to hear how the mind-body connection can speed up or slow down the aging process,” said Dr. Schneider. “I explained that one needs to manage the mind to manage the aging process.”

Dr. Schneider then spoke about the research on the Transcendental Meditation® technique showing that it mitigates a range of physiological conditions associated with aging.

For example, it reduces harmful free radicals, lowers blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors, and increases telomere repair. He then pointed out that indeed research shows reduced mortality rates in subjects who practice the Transcendental Meditation technique.

“The contribution of lifestyle to aging is becoming a major theme in contemporary medicine, so these physicians were fascinated to hear how Transcendental Meditation can modify aging,” Dr. Schneider said. “This was the only session to show research on how science supports the mind-body connection. My talk spoke to their desire for evidence-based recommendations in mind-management medicine.”

Medical doctors can now become certified in age-management medicine. The physicians at the conference received continuing medical education credit for participating in Dr. Schneider’s presentation.

A video of Dr. Schneider’s presentation, The Role of Stress & Stress Reduction in Age Management Medicine, is now available for viewing.

Takeaway: If doctors want to practice evidence-based age-management medicine they should learn TM and prescribe it for their patients.

See more about Dr. Robert Schneider on this blog.

Good Opinion piece on Transcendental Meditation

June 9, 2019

I enjoyed reading Louise O’Neill‘s well-written Opinion piece on TM published Friday, June 07, 2019 in the Irish Examiner. Her experiences with other meditations in the past contrasted markedly when she finally took up the natural and effortless practice of Transcendental Meditation.

Louise O’Neill is the award-winning author of Only Ever Yours, Asking for It, Almost Love and The Surface Breaks, with a reputation for hard-hitting books tackling feminist themes.

‘For years now, I’ve been reading and hearing about Transcendental Meditation’

My first ever experience of meditation was in the prayer room in my secondary school; a class of 20 girls lying down on the floor, listening to our religion teacher read out a guided meditation. (Most of us using it as an opportunity to take a sneaky nap, let’s be real.) 

I didn’t think any more about it until, in my first year of university, I saw a flyer advertising a short course in mindfulness and it was there that I learned a very basic form of meditation — following the breath, in and out.

Coming back to the breath when my mind began to wander. The breath was the only thing that mattered.

This focus on the breath was never something that came naturally to me, although I worked hard at it. I went to an ashram in India to learn more. I joined a Buddhist meditation group in New York and went to weekly meetings, jostling for space in that cramped room above a fast food chain in downtown Manhattan. 

I took up yoga, I bought the Calm app and the Insight Timer app and the Headspace app. I would try to take 10 minutes every morning to focus on my breathing, and sometimes it would feel wonderful — my mind would be clear, my breathing slow and regular — and other days, it would feel like I was fighting an uphill battle, one eye on the clock, waiting for the buzzer to ring and release me from my torment.

For years now, I’ve been reading and hearing about Transcendental Meditation. TM is a non-religious meditation that was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It was popularised in the west in the late 60s when The Beatles undertook a TM training course in India, later denouncing drugs in favour of the meditation and crediting TM for the fertile period of creativity that followed. 

Since then, it seems to have become the meditation of choice for celebrities all over the world. Oprah Winfrey paid for 400 of her employees to take the TM course, declaring: “I’m a 1,000% better person if I do (TM)”. Others such as Jerry Seinfeld, David Lynch, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ellen DeGeneres have all praised the practice for increasing productivity, making them more efficient and less reactive, boosting energy levels and improving their quality of sleep. 

Their claims have been backed up by hundreds of peer-reviewed medical studies, and every time I would read such a testimonial, I would promise myself that I would investigate further. It wasn’t until a friend told me that she found her TM practice incredibly helpful in easing her anxiety that I decided to take a leap of faith and get in contact with the Cork branch of TM Ireland.

Stewart and Nora Anne Luck are a married couple who have been practicing and teaching Transcendental Meditation for years, both here and abroad. 

I met with Stewart (everyone who is interested in learning the technique is encouraged to attend a free introductory session beforehand) and found him to be a gentle, calming presence, as well as being someone who is clearly very passionate about the value of Transcendental Meditation and its ability to change not only our own lives, but to transform the entire world.

For the next four days, I met with Nora Anne for an hour-and-a-half lesson each day. She gave me a mantra; one that I am told is for me only. (Am I very immature that I find this oddly thrilling? It’s like a secret password in a Famous Five novel.) 

We meet again a week later for a check-up, and another session is pencilled into the diary for a month after that again. In order to get the full benefit, I am encouraged to sit quietly and repeat my mantra silently for 20 minutes, twice a day. Once in the morning and once again in the late afternoon/evening, in order to give me an extra boost of energy to enjoy the remainder of my day. And that’s it.

What has surprised me so far is how unbelievably easy I’ve found the practice to be. TM is supposed to be natural and effortless, ‘trying’ to get it ‘right’ is anathema to its very nature.

But unlike every other form of meditation that I’ve attempted to master, I don’t dread the twice-daily 20 minutes that I’ve committed to dedicate to TM. With other meditations, I would sit down and I would often find it difficult to get my racing thoughts to settle, giving up after 10 minutes because it seemed like a waste of my time.

With TM, I go to that quiet place deeply, quickly, and it feels almost obscenely enjoyable. I can only describe it as being akin to the space between waking and sleep, a blissful stillness.

With TM, I go to that quiet place deeply, quickly, and it feels almost obscenely enjoyable. I can only describe it as being akin to the space between waking and sleep, a blissful stillness. 

I feel more rested. I’m much more energetic than I usually am, particularly in the evenings, and I managed to get through an intensive period of work in half the time it would ordinarily take me.

I have a tendency to be evangelical when I find systems or routines that work for me, advising everyone to follow suit and I’m itching to do the same for TM. 

However, I’m aware that it’s early days yet, so my intention is to keep practicing twice a day for the next six weeks and report back on any changes I see.

But for now? I’m hooked.

If my column has whetted your appetite for all things TM and you want to learn more, pick up a copy of Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation by Bob Roth.

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See a video of the book launch party that took place in Manhattan with Jerry Seinfeld, Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness, and classical guitarist Sharon Isben to celebrate the publication of the life-transforming New York Times bestseller, “Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation” (Simon & Schuster) by long-time meditation teacher Bob Roth. Jerry, Hugh and Bob reveal what the TM® technique means to them, and how this tool can change your life. They also discuss the work of the David Lynch Foundation bringing TM to thousands in need. Bob is the CEO of the DLF. You can find more articles and interviews with Bob Roth talking about his best-selling book listed on The Uncarved Blog.

Tara Gardner‘s experience and understanding of what makes TM unique among the other meditations she’s tried is also impressive. She nails it in this piece she wrote for Glam: How Transcendental Meditation Gives Me Mental Clarity Like Nothing Else.

Another funny and telling cartoon about life

June 9, 2019

This funny cartoon tellingly depicts our obsession with the past and future while ignoring how to be in the present moment with meditation!

Also see this other fortune-telling cartoon. It’s so unexpectedly funny.


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