Posts Tagged ‘Norman Zierold’

potted purple petunias poem @kenchawkin pays homage to @W_C_Williams’s red wheelbarrow

August 2, 2017

Norman and I get into my car parked across the street from Thai Deli where we just had lunch. It’s hot so we wait for the AC to kick in and cool down. He points out the beautiful petunias on the sidewalk in front of us. They’re purple, planted in pots, and placed on both sides of a doorway. Playing with the ‘p’ sound, I come up with a line that has seven syllables in it. I’m reminded of The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams and think of a similar opening. Noticing the backdrop, I finish the last line of the haiku. Coincidentally, I later discover it has the same word ‘white’ in it. I return the next day to take this photo to go with it.

potted purple petunias

Potted Purple Petunias Poem
Haiku in Homage to William Carlos Williams

there’s something about
potted purple petunias
by a white brick wall

©Ken Chawkin
July 31, 2017
Fairfield, Iowa

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Celebrating Norman Zierold’s 90th birthday at the Bonaparte Retreat Restaurant we met Marie

July 28, 2017

On July 26, 2017, I took Norman Zierold to the Bonaparte Retreat Restaurant in Bonaparte, Iowa to celebrate his 90th birthday. It’s located about 29 miles south of Fairfield in the historic Villages of Van Buren. He told me he enjoyed eating at this restaurant from time to time as it reminded him of his earlier years growing up in the Amana Colonies. I was also curious to see it so we went.

Bonaparte Retreat

Housed in the historic 1879 old Meek Grist Mill building, Ben and Rose Hendricks had opened the restaurant in 1970. Before the Industrial Revolution, farmers from miles around used to haul their grains there to be milled into flour. The Gazette published an article with 19 wonderful photos (Feb 15, 2015): Iowa All Over: Time stands still in Bonaparte.

The restaurant serves traditional Iowa food, and the staff are very personable. Word got around that Norman was celebrating his 90th, and they came over, one by one, to wish him a happy birthday.

One of them was Marie Hainline, a friendly 94-year old woman with the most wonderful smile and twinkle in her eyes. She used to run her own nursing home, which was a challenge. She retired and has been working as a waitress at the restaurant for over 30 years. She’s happy and looks healthy. Marie raised 4 children, has 11 grandchildren, many great grandchildren, and 2 one-year old great-great-grandchildren—twins!

This photo of Maire was taken from an article in the Midwest Wanderer (Nov 23, 2015): Bonaparte Retreat: Dining in an Old Grist Mill. Among the photos are one of the back of the building and the inside, where we sat at a round table looking out a window at the Des Moines River.

Marie Hainline at Bonaparte Retreat Restaurant

After paying our bill, Marie showed me an article about her published almost 7 years ago in the Hancock County Journal-Pilot in Carthage, IL. I found it on the internet and wanted to share it with you. It’s a delightful description of Marie and her impressive work ethic. She is an inspiration!

Perky waitress is reminder to be thankful for work

By Patsy Davis, Carthage | Nov 23, 2010

Recently my sisters and I took a road trip. Although we talk pretty much every day, we seldom get to spend much time actually hanging out together. As we started the day, we decided our destination would be the villages of Van Buren County in Iowa.

(more…)

Diane Vance and Norman Zierold discuss his new memoir, That Reminds Me, at Revelations Café

March 12, 2013
Norman Zierold, author of “That Reminds Me,” autographs one of his books for Peter Ecob Saturday at Revelations Café, after a book discussion. Freddy Fonseca, center, pushes in a chair after attending Zierold’s interview while Terry Weiss, seated, talks with others across the table.

Norman Zierold, author of “That Reminds Me,” autographs one of his books for Peter Ecob Saturday at Revelations Café, after a book discussion. Freddy Fonseca, center, pushes in a chair after attending Zierold’s interview while Terry Weiss, seated, talks with others across the table. Photo by Diane Vance

Fairfield author talks about recent work

By DIANE VANCE
Ledger staff writer
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

More than a dozen people attended a book discussion Saturday featuring Fairfield author Norman Zierold talking about his latest publication, “That Reminds Me.”

An Iowa native, born and raised in the Amana Colonies, Zierold has written and published eight books, but this latest, subtitled, “A Conversational Memoir,” comes 40 years after his seventh book, “Sex Goddesses of the Silent Screen.”

Those first seven books, beginning with “The Child Stars,” published in 1965, mostly deal with Zierold’s first-hand encounters, insights and research about authors, stars of stage and movies, his life and work in New York and Hollywood.

Zierold moved to Fairfield more than a decade ago and works at Maharishi University of Management.

“For about 50 years, people have said I should write a memoir,” he said. “I was always doing other things. I moved to Fairfield — though I’d been in and out of here before — and it took a couple years to begin writing.”

Having committed words to paper, he wasn’t sure how to get it all together in a readable fashion. He asked a co-worker and friend, Ken Chawkin, for help.

“Ken helped me get it all on my computer so I could manage it,” said Zierold.

“I always felt like I’d do a memoir; I knew I had one more book inside. Everyone has one book in them — everyone has ups and downs, traumas and experiences, and if presented well, it makes an interesting read. Everyone has a book,” he said.

So while Zierold happily drops names throughout his memoir, it is not about bragging or a “kiss-and-tell” expose.

Rather, Zierold keeps the little-boy wonder of the Iowa farm kid who spoke only German in his youngest years and relates everyday incidents, family dynamics and serendipitous meetings with the likes of Andy Warhol, Dylan Thomas, T.S. Eliot, E.E. Cummings, Anais Nin, Groucho Marx and many more.

Working for nearly a decade in New York City at Theatre Arts Magazine, Zierold’s job included interviewing Noel Coward and others, attending theatre productions and rubbing elbows with intellectuals, playwrights and celebrities at Sardis.

Even before his magazine job, his service to country and Navy uniform got him in to see performances of Ethel Merman, Edith Piaf and Mae West— including a back-stage meeting with her after the show.

Anthony Quinn hired Zierold to help him organize writing his autobiography. Part one took place around Los Angeles, with Quinn’s favorite retreat for working on his writing in California’s Death Valley. Part two took Zierold on a six-week encampment in Libya in 1979 while Quinn was shooting a movie on location in the Sahara Desert.

Zierold’s second book, “Little Charlie Ross,” published in 1967, is a true crime story about the first kidnapping for ransom in America in July 1874. His book landed Zierold an interview on the “Today Show” in New York, with Barbara Walters.

While studying for a master’s degree in English at the University of Iowa, Zierold was alone in a faculty lounge when the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas walked in.

“He was lecturing classes there for awhile, and he walks in and we have a visit, then I hear him again when he’s teaching the class,” said Zierold. “His reading of poetry is incomparable.”

Zierold is an avid reader. Before the book discussion began Saturday, he was perusing the biography bookshelves at Revelations Café while his audience gathered.

“I grew up reading, and especially liked Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemmingway,” he said. “Now I read biographies.”

He refers to Voltaire and Henry James as other favorites.

“I would encourage anyone to write,” he said. “Writing has a rhythm. Write without censoring yourself. Put it all in — you can take it out later. But if you leave it out and think you’ll go back to put something in later, it can interrupt the flow and not fit. It’s much easier to take something out than add it later.”

“That Reminds Me,” is a memoir, but it is not written in a chronological fashion. Zierold “puts it all in there,” and lets it flow as a conversation with a friend — this thought leads to another topic; that incident reminds him of another story.

Reading the slim paperback gives a full glimpse of a life, as he wrote in Chapter Five: “These digestible portions of prose will add up in time to a fully drawn portrait, just you wait and see. It will be like nature’s unfolding of a rose, petal by petal.”

Zierold writes about cocktail parties and gala weekends spent at various friends homes, at the shore or in Mexico. He writes about eventually asking himself if getting high, waking with hangovers and being witty at parties is all there is?

He relocates from L.A. to nearby-but-a-different-world, Laguna Beach. He describes the town’s peacefulness and incomparable beauty and power of the Pacific Ocean.

He sees a poster about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and decides to attend a meeting, where he meets young people who have learned Transcendental Meditation. At age 45, Zierold discerns meditation seemed to work for them, so he signs up to learn TM in 1972. It is a quiet, gradual transformation for Zierold that leads to transcendence, bliss and months of euphoria, then becoming a TM teacher himself. He adds more travels to his passport and continues learning.

One of the gems among the jewels in this book is Zierold’s story about his own father and their relationship as adults.

Zierold asks questions about life and offers some answers.

Posted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger. This article was featured prominently on the front and back pages.

Here’s an earlier announcement Diane Vance wrote Thursday, March 7 on the upcoming book discussion and signing at Revelations Café.

Author speaking about new book

Iowa native and Fairfield resident since 2002, Norman Zierold, will talk about his latest book, “That Reminds Me,” at 2 p.m. Saturday upstairs at Revelations Café in Fairfield.

Everyone is welcome to this meet-the-author session.

This is Zierold’s eighth book, which he’s subtitled, “A Conversational Memoir.” Reading it is nearly like having a conversation with him. He tells stories from his days of rubbing elbows with celebrities, including authors, artists, movie stars, Broadway stars, TV stars, news anchors and more.

Saturday provides an opportunity to have an actual conversation with Zierold. A time for questions and answers is planned.

Born and raised in the Amana Colonies, Zierold enlisted in the navy, graduated cum laude from Harvard and earned a master’s degree in English Literature at the University of Iowa.

He always wanted to write, but also travel, and he spent two years in France on a French Government Teaching Assistantship. After Paris, he spent a decade in New York City, teaching at Brearley School and working at Collier’s Encyclopedia before landing rewarding assignments with Theater Arts Magazine and Show.

His first book, “The Child Stars,” was published in 1965 and is available at the Fairfield Public Library. It features stories about the child stars of the 1920s and 1930s, including Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.

Other books followed: “Little Charlie Ross,” in 1967; “Three Sisters in Black,” in 1968, which won a Special Edgar Allen Poe Award; “The Moguls,” and “Garbo,” both in 1969; “The Skyscraper Doom,” in 1972; and “Sex Goddesses of the Silent Screen,” in 1973.

His books run the gamut of true crime novels, tales of Hollywood’s golden age in the 1940s and 1950s, and science fiction.

Posted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger.

For more information and other articles and interviews on Norman, see: That Reminds Me: A Conversational Memoir by Hollywood biographer Norman Zierold is now out!

That Reminds Me: A Conversational Memoir by Hollywood biographer Norman Zierold is now out!

January 10, 2013

ThatRemindsMe Lynch quote

That Reminds Me is a conversational memoir by Hollywood biographer and award-winning author Norman Zierold. Rather than a chronology of his life, the author engages the reader in a conversational manner, relating various episodes from his life that come to mind, one triggering another. There’s never a dull moment!

Norman Zierold’s charmed life started humbly in the Amana Colonies of Iowa. All that changed after Norman joined the Navy. The war came to an end and Norman used the GI Bill of Rights to attend Harvard, where he graduated cum laude. He then earned a graduate degree in English Literature at the University of Iowa.

While looking for work he was given the opportunity to teach English in France. One of his jobs was enjoying English conversations with the son of the President of France. They even invited him to watch the coronation of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on television at their personal residence. Other meetings with cultural luminaries ensued.

Upon Norman’s return to the States he headed for New York, where he worked his way up to becoming the editorial director of Theatre Arts Magazine. Eventually he went to Hollywood to fulfill his lifelong calling to become a writer and published several noted Hollywood biographies: The Child Stars, The Moguls: Hollywood’s Merchants of Myth, Garbo, Sex Goddesses of the Silent Screen; and two true-crime accounts, Little Charley Ross: The story of America’s first kidnapping for ransom, and Three Sisters in Black, which garnered a Special Edgar Allen Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He also wrote a science-fiction novel titled The Skyscraper Doom.

In the late 1960s, when Barbara Walters was an anchor on NBC’s Today Show, she interviewed Norman on his recently published book, Little Charley Ross. He describes a humorous account of what happened as they were preparing to go on air. Before the segment was about to begin Barbara was pressing her leg against Norman’s under the table in what seemed to him a suggestive fashion. He wondered if she might be coming on to him and didn’t know what to do. She asked him if he felt that, and he sheepishly said he did. She then explained that this was the signal for him to quickly finish his sentence during the interview so they could break for a commercial. Norman felt relieved. After the interview they had a private chat off camera about Judy Garland since Norman had written about her in The Child Stars, and Barbara’s then husband, Lee Guber, had produced one of Judy’s world tours. They had met and Judy’s issues about her mother came up. Barbara had her own opinion about Judy’s relationship with her mother, but you’ll have to read the book to find out what she said and Norman’s take on it.

In addition to Barbara Walters, Norman met many cultural icons of the day, like Andy Warhol, Shelley Winters, Anthony Quinn, Mae West, Groucho Marx, Roddy McDowall, Jackie Coogan, Rex Harrison, Anais Nin, Tennessee Williams, E.E. Cummings, Dylan Thomas, a president of France, the gifted composer Francis Poulenc, and TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, to mention a few. Norman spent many months with Anthony Quinn helping him edit down his thousand-page biography into something publishable. It did very well.

In the early 70’s Norman took up the practice of Transcendental Meditation. He found it so satisfying he became a teacher and taught the TM technique to several hundred people. Since 2002 he has been living in Fairfield, Iowa, and works in his retirement years as a part-time publicist in the communications office at Maharishi University of Management.

WHERE TO ORDER THAT REMINDS ME

Sit down with Norman Zierold and enjoy a fascinating conversation. Order copies of That Reminds Me from Amazon or Barnes & Noble in the US. Release date is January 12, 2013. Also available in Canada, the UK, Europe, Germany, Russia, and Brazil in paperback, and Amazon’s Kindle worldwide.

Cover design by George Foster, front cover photo by Mary Drew, and interior design by Allen Cobb for Anapurna Press.

ARTICLES

Diane Vance interviewed Norman Zierold at Revelations Café for The Fairfield Ledger, which came out March 12, 2013: Fairfield author talks about recent work. In case you can’t access the full article online you can see what it looks like here: Fairfield author talks about recent work – By DIANE VANCE – Fairfield, IA – Fairfield Ledger. I also posted it here: Diane Vance and Norman Zierold discuss his new memoir, That Reminds Me, at Revelations Café.

Tony Ellis wrote a feature article in the March 2013 issue of The Iowa Source, Iowa’s Enlightening Magazine: Norman Zierold: A Charmed Life: Celebrated Hollywood Author Reminisces on Six Decades of Extraordinary Encounters. You can also download a PDF of the article on Norman Zierold as it appears in The Iowa Source.

An edited version of Tony’s article later appeared in Britain’s National Transcendental Meditation Magazine—Transcendental Meditation News • June 2013 • Vol. 19 • No. 7 • Pages 12 and 13, titled, The Hollywood Biographer Who Found Bliss (Page 7 of PDF).

British writer & editor, Julie Eagleton also reviewed That Reminds Me by Norman Zierold.

Here’s a great article about Norman Zierold in The Chronicle of Higher Education: Notes From Academe: The Spokesman Who Kept Calling.

Here’s a comprehensive article Norman Zierold wrote for Healthy Referral on THE REMARKABLE DAVID LYNCH FOUNDATION.

INTERVIEWS

Norman Zierold was interviewed by KMCD host Steve Smith for the MUM Spotlight show on January 10, 2013. Click here to listen. (17:23)

Norman Zierold will be interviewed on 100.1 FM KRUU in Fairfield. The show, Writers’ Voices, airs Friday, January 11, 2013, 1:00–2:00 p.m. CT, and replays Monday, January 14, 2013, 8:00–9:00 a.m. CT. Tune in: Listen Live.

This great description posted by host Monica Hadley says it all: From Iowa, Around the World, and Back Again with Norman Zierold. “That Reminds Me: A Conversational Memoir” by Norman Zierold, takes the reader on an exuberant journey, both outward and inward, from pre-Depression-era Iowa (the Amana Colonies), to Europe, NYC, Hollywood, and back again to Iowa (Fairfield, that is.) Join Writers’ Voices hosts Monica Hadley and Caroline Kilbourn to learn from Norman the inside stories that only the author of such Hollywood biographies as “Garbo”, “The Child Stars”, and “The Moguls” would know. How did a boy from the Amanas come to rub elbows with the rich and famous of the mid-20th century? And what brought him back to Iowa?

Update: If you missed it, the Writers’ Voices Archives now has Norman’s interview (59:51) posted there as well as on monicahadley’s Audio page. And KRUU station manager James Moore created a permanent link to the interview here: http://www.kruufm.com/node/14926. KRUU’s website was rebuilt. The interview is now posted on the Writers Voices website.

A third interview took place at a book signing in the Maharishi University of Management Library on Saturday afternoon, March 2, 2013. Rustin Larson talked with Norman Zierold about his conversational memoir, That Reminds Me. Download and enjoy this very entertaining interview. (87 MB)

A fourth interview took place on KHOE, the MUM campus radio station. Author and M.U.M.: Publicist Norman Zierold, interviewed by Dean Cathy Gorini and station manager Stan Stansberry on his newly published book “That Reminds Me.” Listen online here: http://link.mum.edu/NormanZierold.

Stan says: [This is] “a real-life adventure conversational memoir by our esteemed Norman Zierold. [Norman takes us from] “his hometown Amana Colonies, to the U.S. Navy, to New York City, to Hollywood, to finding Transcendental Meditation, teaching TM, and to the campus of Maharishi University of Management. Along the way he interviewed and hob-nobbed with famous New York and Hollywood actors, writers and people like Barbara Walters.” mp3 63 min, 18MB.

Here is the latest interview on KRUU FM with Producer, Writer & Host, Cheryl Fusco Johnson of The Studio: Small Town Boy to Hollywood Biographer: Norman Zierold’s Memoir, THAT REMINDS ME, July 14+16, 2014. You can listen here at this archived link: The Studio – 20140715-Norman Zierold.

How did small-town Iowa boy Norman Zierold become a Hollywood biographer, recording the stories of movie moguls, child stars, and famous actors? Even more exciting than his tales about the many celebrities he’s encountered is Norman’s own story. Lucky us! Norman’s recorded his journey from shelling peas beside cooks in his family’s Amana colonies restaurant to rubbing knees with Barbara Walters on TV. This week on The Studio with Cheryl, Norman discusses the mentors and experiences that inspired his life choices. Learn about his life and about THAT REMINDS ME, his stream-of-consciousness memoir (and what a consciousness it is!), by tuning in to The Studio with Cheryl and Norman this week.

Enlightenment, The Transcendental Meditation Magazine, has posted an article on Norman in Issue 16 under My Story: From Utopia to Hollywood and Back. In this column meditators share their stories of how they started the Transcendental Meditation technique and what kinds of positive changes have occurred in their lives.

The book has been updated with chapter headings, a table of contents, and a list of praise for the book, including a cover quote from filmmaker David Lynch, which reads: “What a creative and entertaining way to tell a story of a life and a time! Congratulations, Norman — a thoroughly enjoyable and informative read.”

THE REMARKABLE DAVID LYNCH FOUNDATION — written by Norman Zierold for Healthy Referral

June 8, 2012

Posted 27 January 2012 in Healthy Referral Newspaper

THE REMARKABLE DAVID LYNCH FOUNDATION

It’s no secret that problems abound in our society, but two areas that quickly come to mind are major sources of national stress—at-risk school children and veterans returning from wars abroad with post-traumatic stress.

Enter iconic American filmmaker David Lynch, director of TV’s groundbreaking Twin Peaks, and feature films that include Eraserhead, Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, The Straight Story, and most recently, Inland Empire. The United Kingdom’s highly reputed Guardian has dubbed Lynch “the most important film-maker of the current era,” but an illustrious career has not impeded his concern for the needy.

Mind you, many individuals and organizations have stepped forward in the troubled areas of our society. Much has been done, yet even more remains to be done. What is his modality of choice to help? Meditation, he declares, and specifically Transcendental Meditation, or TM, which is neither a religion nor a philosophy, and therefore requires no change of lifestyle.

Transcendental Meditation is a simple, easily learned technique, practiced for 20 minutes twice daily while sitting comfortably in a chair with eyes closed. This quiet time provides the mind and body with a unique state of “restful alertness” which allows stress and fatigue to be released in a natural way, resulting in better health, greater energy, more clarity of mind, and overall enhancement of the joy of life. It utilizes the natural tendency of the mind to go to a field of greater happiness, hence is basically effortless, differing thereby from all other meditation techniques, which invariably involve either concentration or contemplation, modalities that tend to keep the mind on the surface level of thought and so impede the transcending process.

John Hagelin, Ph.D., world-renowned quantum physicist (“What The Bleep Do We Know!?” and “The Secret”) and recipient of the coveted Kilby Award in physics, describes Transcendental Meditation as “a systematic means to turn the attention powerfully within, to experience and explore deeper levels of mind, quieter levels of human awareness, a state of rest for the body deeper than sleep, where deep-seated stress is dissolved, providing an effective prevention and treatment for stress-related illness.”

Over 600 scientific studies have been conducted on Transcendental Meditation at 250 medical schools and universities in over 30 countries to verify its wide range of benefits for the individual and society. Most notably, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, or NIH, funded in recent decades $26 million in grants to study the effects of TM practice on high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, obesity, and heart disease. Subjects for research have been readily available because the TM technique has now been taught to six million people in over 120 countries.

The timeless knowledge of TM derives from the Vedic heritage of India, the world’s oldest system of knowledge. Veda means truth, or knowledge, and this tradition provides knowledge about many areas of life. For example, Yoga comes from the Vedic tradition, as does Ayurveda, the world’s most ancient system of health care, and Sthapatya Veda, knowledge about building in accord with Natural Law. The knowledge of Transcendental Meditation was revived in our era by the revered sage Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, launched, in 1957, a worldwide movement to make it available on every continent. Maharishi first came to the United States in 1959, and on various occasions thereafter, to oversee the progress of the local TM movement.

Why did David Lynch take up the TM practice? Well, he just couldn’t think of anything better to do. Just kidding. Lynch not only writes, produces, and directs his own films, but also composes popular music, and paints stunning pictures that are exhibited in major art galleries. And oh, yes, crowning a plethora of other avocations, he recently opened his own nightclub in Paris.

As for Transcendental Meditation, his sister first brought it to his attention. “My sister called, and she had started TM,” he reminisces. “There was something in her voice—less stress and more happiness, a certain upbeat lilt. ‘I gotta have that,’ I said to myself. When I actually started, it was like boom, as if a cable had been cut and the elevator plunged right down into pure consciousness.

“I have been ‘diving within’ through the Transcendental Meditation technique for over 30 years now,” he continues. “It has changed my life, my world, allowing me to release stress that was causing fear and anxiety, opening the door to heightened creativity and bliss.”

“Not long ago, when I heard about the crippling levels of stress and violence in the lives of children today, about the need for armed guards to patrol school corridors, and about widespread use of prescription drugs with deleterious side effects, I became concerned about what this was doing to the health of these children and their ability to learn.”

“Discussing the matter with a friend, the thought came that in today’s turbulent world all school kids should have a class period to begin and end the school day where they can dive within and experience the field of silence, the transcendental level of life, which is an enormous reservoir of energy and intelligence within all of us.”

To help at-risk students, the director established the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace—and promptly made hefty donations to give it a jump-start.

Since then the DLF has helped fund “Quiet Time” programs, which are always voluntary, around the world, teaching TM to over 250,000 children in the United States and Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. The US schools can be found in more than a dozen states.

Progress was made in the financial area by a benefit concert given at New York’s Radio City Music Hall and featuring such renowned meditating artists as Beatles Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, legendary singer/songwriter Donovan, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, flute virtuoso Paul Horn, Sheryl Crow, Moby, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, Russell Simmons, co-founder of the pioneering hip-hop label Def Jam, and Jerry Seinfeld in a winning stand-up comic skit. Since a huge number of schools around the world remain on a waiting list for Quiet Time programs, plans are underway for future benefit concerts in different venues. Watch News conference Highlights from the day before the concert, and Watch Event Highlights, which include clips of David Lynch interviewing Paul, Ringo, Sheryl, Eddie, and excerpts from that amazing magical evening. Check here for other DLF featured past events.

Transcendental Meditation in Education

Dr. Sanford Nidich, professor of education and physiology at Maharishi University of Management, has been working with at-risk adolescents in U.S. schools and reports on a study conducted at the University of Connecticut involving 106 secondary school students from three public schools, primarily from lower-income, minority populations. “Meditating students,” he relates, showed significant reductions in anxiety, emotional problems, and hyperactivity, and improved overall mental health after an average of four months compared to controls.”

“Something must be done to help today’s youth deal with the enormous amount of stress in their lives,” says Dr. Robert Colbert, professor at the University of Connecticut and co-author of the study. “This study shows that something can help immediately—and it is easy to implement in any school setting.

Two more recent studies out last year, also funded by the David Lynch Foundation, showed TM improved standardized academic achievement and effectively lowered record stress levels in students.

The study, published in the journal Education, reported students who practiced the Transcendental Meditation program showed significant increases in math and English scale scores and performance level scores over a one-year period. Forty-one percent of the meditating students showed a gain of at least one performance level in math compared to 15.0% of the non-meditating controls.

The latest study published in the Journal of Instructional Psychology found the Transcendental Meditation technique significantly decreased psychological distress in at-risk racial and ethnic minority public school students by 36 percent over 4 months compared to controls. The study also found significant decreases in trait anxiety and depressive symptoms.

In the area of students with learning disabilities, one study, published in the 2009 issue of the peer-reviewed Current Issues in Education, followed a group of 10 middle-school students with ADHD who were practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique twice a day at school. After three months, researchers found over 50% reduction in stress and anxiety, and improvements in ADHD behavior regulation.

“The effect was much greater than we expected,” says Dr. Sarina Grosswald, Ed.D., a George Washington University-trained cognitive learning specialist and lead researcher on the study. “The children also showed improvements in attention, working memory, and organization.” The study was funded by grants from the Abramson Family Foundation and the David Lynch Foundation.

A follow-up study, also funded by the David Lynch Foundation, came out last year. This random-assignment controlled study conducted over a period of 6 months in an independent school for children with language-based learning disabilities in Washington, DC, found improved brain functioning, decreased symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, (ADHD), and improved language-based skills among ADHD students practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique. The paper, ADHD, Brain Functioning, and Transcendental Meditation Practice, was published in Mind & Brain, The Journal of Psychiatry.

At the Ideal Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., students from the 5th through 12th grades now practice the TM/Quiet Time program. “It changed the whole climate of the school, says principal Dr. George Rutherford, a highly regarded D.C. educator. “It was just beautiful. The academic achievement has gone up, and behavioral problems have gone down. I could never work in a school that doesn’t have the TM/Quiet Time program.”

One student at the Ideal Academy reports, “I notice I haven’t been mad for a while, since I learned TM. I used to get in fights and talk to people behind their back. And it helps me to not get distracted.”

A student at the Tucson, Arizona, Museum of Art School was struggling in math, but now says, “I’m doing really good in there, and my behavior’s been a lot better.” One of the students at the Kingsbury School in Washington, D.C., states that just two weeks after practicing TM twice a day the nightmares he was having stopped, allowing him to sleep much better and so avoid the fatigue that usually followed during the day.

“I have had the pleasure of meeting many students who are “diving within” and experiencing Consciousness-Based Education,” sums up DLF founder David Lynch. “These students are all unique individuals, very much themselves. They are amazing, self-sufficient, wide-awake, energetic, blissful, creative, powerfully intelligent and peaceful human beings. Meeting these students, for me, was the proof that Consciousness-Based Education is a profoundly good thing for our schools and for our world.”

Principal James Dierke agrees. The 2008 National Association of Secondary School Principals—National Middle School Principal of the Year, says, “Stress is the number one enemy of public education, especially in inner-city schools. It creates tension, violence, and compromises the cognitive and psychological capacity of students to learn and grow. The TM/Quiet Time program is the most powerful, effective program I have come across in my 39 years as a public school educator for addressing this problem. It is nourishing children and providing them an immensely valuable tool for life. It is saving lives.”

TM for Veterans: Operation Warrior Wellness

While the DLF’s work with at-risk children got into full gear, founder David Lynch was given the staggering statistics from the Veterans Administration showing that more soldiers are dying from the trauma of combat incurred in Iraq and Afghanistan than at the hands of enemy combatants. Over 500,000 veterans have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, or PTS, since 2001, with 18 veterans committing suicide each day.

To help meet this challenging situation, the David Lynch Foundation launched Operation Warrior Wellness, a national outreach to help 10,000 war veterans suffering from PTS by teaching them Transcendental Meditation. A December 2010 press conference and follow-up fund-raiser Gala Event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was supported by noted film directors Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorsese, fashion maven Donna Karan, pop music mogul Russell Simmons, and yet another Russell, versatile actor/comedian Russell Brand, plus “America’s Doctor,” Dr. Mehmet Oz.

A year later on December 2, 2011 the David Lynch Foundation launched Operation Warrior Wellness in Los Angeles with a global press conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel where David Lynch presented a check for one million dollars for Veterans to learn Transcendental Meditation. The 3rd Annual Change Begins Within Gala Event took place at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.Ellen DeGeneres opened the evening and then turned the proceedings over to host Russell Brand. Photos can be seen on the David Lynch Foundation photo stream.

Combatants from past and present conflicts delivered testimonials of their devastating war experiences and told of how TM gave them a new lease on life. World War II pilot Jerry Yellin spoke eloquently of the toll that extensive bombing raids against Japan had on his nervous system so that for three decades after the end of the war he felt no satisfaction from anything he did. “At 51,” he recounted, “I took up TM and only then did I finally find peace.”

Vietnam vet Dan Burks gave a moving account of the mental scars he carried after a battle in which he killed Vietnamese soldiers and lost many of his own comrades. “PTS is a wound,” he concluded. “It takes your life away, just like losing a limb. But guess what? You can get rid of that wound. My life, after the discovery of Transcendental Meditation, was like the difference between heaven and hell.”

Finally, David George, 23, a former infantry soldier, told of the trauma he experienced not only in Iraq, but also on returning home, where long ago battles still raged deep within his system. “Happily,” he said, “I found TM and that cleared the air and I could tell where I was going. I felt this warm, groovy feeling. It just keeps getting better and better.”

Veterans with PTS showed a 50 percent reduction in their symptoms after just eight weeks of practicing the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique, according to a pilot study published in June 2011 in the scientific journal Military Medicine. The study found that Transcendental Meditation produced significant reductions in stress and depression and marked improvements in relationships and overall quality of life.

The paper’s senior researcher, Norman Rosenthal, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School and director of research at Capital Clinical Research Associates in Rockville, Maryland. “These young men were in extreme distress as a direct result of trauma suffered during combat,” he affirms, “and the simple and effortless Transcendental Meditation technique literally transformed their lives.”

The findings were similar to those from a randomly controlled study of Vietnam veterans conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1985. In that study, published in the Journal of Counseling and Development, after three months of twice-daily TM practice, the veterans had fewer symptoms than those receiving conventional psychotherapy of the day. In fact, most of the TM-treated subjects required no further treatment.

“The soldiers are truly suffering,” affirms David Lynch. “No one knows what they’ve been through. No one knows what they’ve done, what they’ve experienced, what they’ve seen, and their lives in many cases are a true nightmare. That’s why we want to offer them Transcendental Meditation. It’s a beautiful thing for the human being. It’s a big stress-buster, and when these soldiers get this simple effortless technique, they’re going to get their lives back again. It’s not hocus-pocus. It’s going to save lives, and help not only the soldiers, but all the families who are suffering, and their friendships as well.”

For the already noted Operation Warrior Wellness benefit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Clint Eastwood, best known for playing violent, hardened characters on-screen, sent a video in which he stated his strong support of Transcendental Meditation. “I’ve been using it for almost 40 years now,” he declared. “It’s a great tool to combat stress, especially considering the stress our men and women in the armed forces are going through. There’s enough studies out there that show TM is something that can benefit everybody.”

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Norman Zierold is the author of a bevy of books on Hollywood, including The Child Stars, The Moguls, Garbo, and Sex Goddesses of the Silent Screen, as well as two true-crime stories—Little Charley Ross: The Story of America’s First Kidnapping for Ransom, and Three Sisters in Black, recipient of a Special Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He has also published articles in a plethora of magazines, ranging from New York Magazine, McCall’s, and Popular Mechanics to Good Housekeeping, Variety, and Reader’s Digest.

REFERENCES:

David Lynch Foundation http://www.davidlynchfoundation.org

Operation Warrior Wellness http://www.operationwarriorwellness.org

The Transcendental Meditation program http://tm.org

Ask the Doctors: Specialists answer your questions about TM and health http://askthedoctors.com

ADHD, the Mind and the TM technique http://www.adhd-tm.org

Maharishi University of Management http://www.mum.edu

If read in the UK, use this for The Transcendental Meditation Program: http://www.t-m.org.uk

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Related article by Norman Zierold: Embody: focus on TM: Iconic Filmmaker David Lynch has a viable solution to a pressing problem.

And enjoy this article about Norman: The Chronicle of Higher Education: Notes From Academe: The Spokesman Who Kept Calling.

Here is an excellent Huffington Post interview with David Lynch that came out two years later, Dec 9, 2014: Interview With David Lynch: His Mission to Change the World Through Meditation.


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