Posts Tagged ‘NY’

How to Not Think and Do Nothing in New York

June 19, 2015

In one of the June 2015 issues of New York Magazine, an article appeared in the New York Guides section as The Everything Guide to Doing Nothing; Wake up late, go out never, have someone hand-feed you a banana. Here is the introduction to the collection of articles on how to do nothing in New York, followed by one from the collection of short essays that caught my attention.

It’s not that New York has become any less chaotic, but amid the relentless hustle is a recent move to nada-hood: In the past year, dozens of apps have popped up that make social interaction and trips to Duane Reade less and less necessary. Need toilet paper delivered in an hour? Press a button. Too tired to mop your floors? Enlist the latest iRobot. But why stop there? For when TV plots seem too complicated, Candy Crush too physically taxing, and the newspaper just too damn wordy, there’s now an ever-more-passive alternative. So whether you want to avoid dirty dishes, the treadmill, or your friends, here’s a guide for living your laziest life.

How to Not Think
Transcendental Meditation on the C train.
By David Marchese

A great many extremely successful and presumably fully actualized people, from billionaire hedge-funder Ray Dalio to pop goddess Katy Perry, are advocating these days for the life-changing benefits of Transcendental Meditation. TM, they say, will sharpen your decision-making, unlock your creativity, amplify your you. Science is also onboard. Studies suggest that TM practitioners are at reduced risk for heart attack and stroke. All this from just sitting there and focusing on your secret mantra. When I mention this sort of stuff to people—I’ve been doing TM for six or so years—I normally get an interested nod in return. When I say it involves meditating twice a day for 20 minutes a pop, the nod turns into something more skeptical. Where am I supposed to find the time?

I find it on the C train. As long as your commute is long enough, the subway offers a great opportunity for achieving profound inner stillness. First off, you need to find a seat, which is why I opt for the less crowded local, rather than express, train. Then, with your back straight, head tilted slightly down, and eyes closed, do about 30 seconds of deep breathing before you begin silently repeating your mantra—the secret word, supposedly custom-chosen, that your TM instructor (find a nearby class and instructor at tm.org) will have given you. Don’t try to clear your mind, just favor the mantra. Repeat it. Keep repeating it. Favor it above all other thoughts and sensations. If other thoughts do bubble up—and they will—just come back to the mantra. You’ll be amazed how quickly the ambient MTA blare fades away as you transcend toward pure consciousness. A sort of whole-body inner joy takes over, as if your heart were gently laughing. Hard-core TMers say 20 minutes is mandatory—I use the timer on my iPhone—but if you’re diligent about the mantra, you can transcend after a few minutes, so it’s okay if the train starts running express. Even ten minutes of TM is a nice psychic boon, and, I promise, infinitely more satisfying than another level of Candy Crush.

From The Everything Guide to Doing Nothing in New York Guides of the New York Magazine, published Jun 4, 2015. Illustration by Joe McKendry.

I was in NY recently for my nephew’s film, The Driftless Area, which was being spotlighted at the Tribeca International Film Festival, and wrote this haiku about the city: A NEW YORK HAIKU by Ken Chawkin.

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

January 1, 2014

On Tuesday, December 3rd, at the David Lynch Foundation‘s 5th Annual Change Begins Within Gala at the Conrad Hotel in New York City, Jerry Seinfeld took the stage to open the event. We were waiting for this to come out on YouTube. Jerry is absolutely brilliant! He opens with a funny diversion about Amazon and drones, and then segues to the main topic.

Jerry shares how he started Transcendental Meditation in college and has been practicing it for 41 years. But he reveals for the first time that he had only been meditating once a day instead of the twice-a-day instruction. Still, it was because of TM, he says, that he managed to keep it together during the nine years he was producing his successful hit show Seinfeld.

 “When I was doing the TV series in which I was the star of the show, the executive producer, the head writer, casting and editing, for 22 to 24 episodes on network television—not cable! Network—for 9 years. Okay? That’s a lot of work. And I’m a regular guy, pretty much. You know, I’m not one of these crazy people that has endless, boundless energy. I’m just a normal guy. But that was not a normal situation to be in. And so what I would do is every day when everybody would have lunch I would do TM [Transcendental Meditation] and then while we’d go back to work and then I would eat while I was working because I had missed lunch. But that is how I survived the 9 years, it was that 20 minutes in the middle of the day would save me.”

George Shapiro, Jerry’s manager and fellow meditator, had written into Jerry’s contract that he was to not do interviews or be disturbed during lunch hours, when he would go to his trailer during the taping of the Seinfeld show. Now we know why. What we didn’t know was that he was only doing it once a day, at that time. And look what he accomplished!

Jerry’s handling a lot these days, touring on weekends, producing his internet show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, raising 3 young kids, and yet has the energy to enjoy it all, at 60, when he was thinking he should be slowing down. Meditating twice a day has transformed his life. Here’s the part where he mentions Bob Roth reminding him to do his morning meditation, at 6 mins, 54 secs, and what happened as a result.

By the way, David Lynch never missed his twice-daily TM during the over 40 years he’s been meditating. He also used to do his meditation (second), in private, on film sets when everyone else went to lunch.

Bob Roth interviewed Jerry Seinfeld for the new Sirius XM radio show on TM starting January 2014. Jerry is his first guest. David Lynch will also be on an episode of the show, as will other high-profile celebrities and expert guests.

New York is really the hub of American consciousness—media, finance, fashion, food, arts and entertainment. TM has created quite the buzz in the city. It’s a more peaceful and friendlier place to be in these days. 2014 holds much promise. May it bring us greater joy and success. Happy New Year!

Related stories:
George Stephanopoulos interviews Jerry Seinfeld & Bob Roth on the importance of Transcendental Meditation for PTSD
Renowned (TM) meditation teacher Bob Roth featured on The Third Metric and HuffPost Live
Alec Baldwin asks Jerry Seinfeld about learning Transcendental Meditation on Here’s The Thing
Style.com: David Lynch and Italo Zucchelli on their creativity and Transcendental Meditation
David Lynch on Esquire Network, How I Rock It, talking about Transcendental Meditation
David Lynch on meditation in the NewStatesman: Heaven is a place on earth
David Lynch speaks with Alan Colmes about his 16-country tour film Meditation Creativity Peace
Jerry Seinfeld and Howard Stern share stories about their Transcendental Meditation practice


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