Posts Tagged ‘Oprah Winfrey’

@ParadeMagazine asks @meditationbob what makes #TranscendentalMeditation so special

February 22, 2020

This is one of the most informative articles on Transcendental Meditation I’ve read. Nicole Pajer put it together for the February 19, 2020 issue of Parade. I asked Bob Roth about it and he said, “The reporter sent me a bunch of questions and I answered them, thinking she would lift parts of the answers for an article… instead they printed the whole thing!”

What Is Transcendental Meditation, the Practice Beloved by Celebs—and What Makes It So Special?

If you’ve done any research into the meditation, you’ve likely heard of Transcendental Meditation. Just about every celebrity seems to be practicing it these days. Popularized by The Beatles (who originally learned in 1967), it’s now a favorite of Katy Perry, Hugh Jackman, Sheryl Crow and Liv Tyler. After discovering it herself, Oprah even paid for her 400 employees to become trained in the methodology!

But what exactly is TM and how does it differ from the other types of meditation out there? We caught up with Transcendental Meditation expert and CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, Bob Roth, who walked us through the ins and outs of this popular form of meditation.

What is Transcendental Meditation (TM)?

Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a mental technique that is practiced for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day, sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. During the technique, the mind and body settle down to a unique state of “restful alertness” where the whole physiology is deeply relaxed while the mind is quiet inside, yet wide awake. Hundreds of published studies show the technique is effective for reducing stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression and at the same time, improving health, focus and performance. TM does not involve religion, philosophy or a change in lifestyle. It has been learned by 10 million people.

How does TM differ from other forms of meditation?

The ocean is a great analogy for understanding different approaches to meditation. Just as the ocean can be turbulent on the surface with innumerable waves and quiet at its depth, so, too, the mind is active on the surface with innumerable thoughts but it is also naturally, profoundly quiet deep within. Other forms of meditation work to bring calm to the mind by stopping or observing thoughts—or visualizing new thoughts. This is like trying to create calm in the ocean by stopping the surface waves. On the other hand, Transcendental Meditation doesn’t mind the surface thoughts, it provides access to deeper levels of the mind, which are already calm and peaceful. For this, TM does not require concentration or control of thoughts, nor does it involve visualization or any type of guided practice.

It requires one-on-one instruction to master.

Unlike other forms of meditation that can be learned from a book or tape, TM is always taught in personal, one-to-one instruction by a certified instructor. That is because the ability to “transcend,” to settle down and access a field of silence that lies deep within the mind, while completely natural, is also a special skill that everyone learns at his or her own unique pace. For this, a teacher is incredibly helpful. The TM teacher instructs you in the skill of how to turn the attention of your mind, which is usually directed outward to the world around us, inward and to experience the deepest, most settled level of the mind where you are peaceful and quiet inside, yet wide awake and alert. For this your teacher will give you a mantra and then teach you how to use the mantra properly.

Transcendental Meditation is taught over four consecutive days, about 60 to 90 minutes each day. During the first session, your teacher will give you a mantra and then teach you how to use it properly. During the following three sessions over consecutive days, you learn addition information to stabilize the correct practice of the technique as well as learn about how the body reduces stress, improves health, and enhances brain functioning as you continue to meditate twice a day over the ensuing weeks, months, and years. Visit TM.org to find a certified TM teacher who offers a course in your area.

The technique is learned from a certified instructor, not from a video or book. That said, there are several videos you can watch that will help answer your questions about the technique and help you decide if you would like to learn:

(1) Transcendental Meditation: A Complete Introduction with Bob Roth

(2) An introduction to Transcendental Meditation by Dr. John Hagelin.

There are also books that will give you more of a background on this type of meditation: Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation by Bob Roth and Super Mind: How to Boost Performance and Live and Richer, Happier Life through Transcendental Meditation by Norman Rosenthal, MD.

Your practice will center around your own personal mantra.

The mantras in TM come from an ancient meditation tradition that is over 5,000 years old. A mantra is a specific word or thought that (1) has no meaning associated with it—because if there was a meaning then the mind would be stuck on the surface trying to it out and (2) the mantra is a soothing sound whose effects are known to be positive and life-supporting. When you learn TM, your teacher will give you a mantra and then equally importantly, will teach you how to use the mantra properly, which means effortlessly, without any concentration or control of the mind.

It’s best performed for 15 to 20 minutes, twice a day.

Once in the morning, before the day begins to give you the energy, resilience, and focus to enjoy the day with less stress and fatigue, and again, in the late afternoon or early evening, to wash off the stress of the day so that you can truly enjoy the evening with family and friends and sleep better at night.

How much does Transcendental Meditation cost?

The initial TM course is four sessions, and a one-time fee—based on income and ranging from $380-$960—is charged to cover the teacher’s salary. There is an option to split these payments over four months, and those who receive federal assistance such as SNAP may be eligible for a partial grant to help cover the fee. After these four sessions there is a lifetime of free follow up offered through any of the more than 200 teaching centers in the U.S. and any of the thousands of teaching centers worldwide.

What is a typical TM session like?

You sit comfortably with your eyes closed and you think the mantra in the easy, effortless way that your teacher has instructed you. There is no need for electronic apps or guided imagery. It is a natural process that is equally natural to practice. No tools, no apps, no videos. Just a comfortable place to sit and close your eyes for 20 minutes is all you need to participate.

Who can learn Transcendental Meditation?

Anyone from the age of 10 years and older can learn TM. Children ages 4-10 can learn a technique that is more appropriate for a youngster. TM is ideal for anyone: skeptic or advocate, experienced with other practices or novice. It is ideal for anyone who has had difficulty with techniques in the past that advocate stopping thoughts, clearing the mind of thoughts, or any form of concentration on the breath, sound, or areas of the body.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t do TM?

TM can be learned by anyone and can benefit everyone. That said, if a person is suffering from PTSD or another form of extreme trauma and is under the care of a physician or therapist it is important to continue those treatments along with the addition of TM practice.

What are the health benefits of Transcendental Meditation?

Research shows that TM is highly effective for giving the body deep rest and reducing stress, fatigue and trauma. At the same time, research also shows that TM can have a positive impact on the 80 to 90 percent of the diseases and disorders that are either caused by stress or exacerbated by stress, which includes reductions in high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, along with improvements in focus, creativity, problems-solving, and overall physical and mental health.

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Related: Other Parade articles posted on this blog: ‘Dear Prudence’ Bruns in Parade discusses world peace, the ’60s, and why kids love the Beatles and What Transcendental Meditation does for Ringo. Parade also covered Lady Gaga’s appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus tour. She shared her history of trauma and the pain she’s been dealing with, what she’s doing for it, and how TM has been helping her in a big way. They discovered they had both learned TM from Bob Roth. You can see that part of the interview here.

Bob Roth recently appeared on a Frontiers podcast (S2:E4) by The Upside. In this episode Bob shared his journey to bring Transcendental Meditation to the Frontiers of medicine, education and the workplace. You can also listen to it on Apple Podcasts.

@ladygaga & @Oprah discover they both learned #TranscendentalMeditation from @meditationbob

January 18, 2020

Two weeks ago I was watching this interview between Oprah and Lady Gaga during the launch of Oprah’s 2020 Vision Your Live in Focus Tour in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Lady Gaga Talks Mental Health at Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour. Lady Gaga shares a lot of her personal history and mental health situation with Oprah. She’s been living with a great deal of pain from fibromyalgia, explains where it came from, and how she is medically and psychologically dealing with it.

Oprah then asks her about the other things she does to keep herself spiritually sound and centered. Lady Gaga answers, “I meditate. I do Transcendental Meditation. It’s great. Bob Roth taught me.” Oprah says, “Bob Roth taught me.” Lady Gaga whispers to Oprah, “Isn’t he great?” Oprah agrees, “He’s great.” Gaga explains when she misses a meditation, “when I slip up on it, you know it’s not the best, because it’s better when I do, and sometimes when I get in a ton of pain and meditate, it goes away. Amazing!”

Some of us had known that Lady Gaga, born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, had learned Transcendental Meditation, but it was private. This seems to be the first time she’s come out about it publicly, to Oprah and her audience, and how TM’s been helping her.

After the interview, Oprah went backstage to personally thank Lady Gaga for her bravery, honesty and vulnerability, and how great their talk was. It’s on Oprah’s Instagram page.

I was so surprised by this public revelation that I sent it out to my newsletter subscribers and told Bob Roth @meditationbob, DLF CEO, about it. He hadn’t heard about it yet and was also pleasantly surprised.

Within a short time the David Lynch Foundation tweeted it and posted it on their and Bob‘s Instagram accounts. The video clip was also recently posted on Twitter by Maharishi International University @maharishiuni. By now, this video clip has gone viral globally, so I figured I might as well post it on my blog. Enjoy!

CBS This Morning’s David Begnaud reported on the Behind the Scenes with Oprah: Oprah kicks off wellness tour in Florida with Lady Gaga.

On January 7, 2020, CNBC published: Oprah, Ray Dalio and Lady Gaga swear by this simple meditation technique.

See Ray Dalio’s Principle of the Day: Meditate.

Bob Roth promotes Strength In Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation on Today Extra, Australia’s popular TV morning show

March 7, 2018

Bob Roth @meditationbob continues to promote Strength In Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation. His new book is currently Number 1 in All Books on Amazon in Australia!

Here is an interview on Australia’s popular television morning show, Today Extra. Team Coach Nine bill Bob as Hollywood’s meditation master, and Guru to the Stars. Watch this dynamic 5-minute interview: The meditation technique Oprah and Seinfeld swear by. Bob also appeared on ABC’s Breakfast News Show.

Bob Roth on Today Extra Sydney, Australia

For decades, Bob Roth has taught meditation to some of Hollywood’s biggest names: his client list includes the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Michael J. Fox and Ellen Degeneres. (Perhaps you’ve heard of them.)

Roth focuses on Transcendental Meditation, an approach he describes as “the simplest meditation technique” to access the inner reserves of calm he says are already inside everyone.

“I use the analogy of an ocean,” he said on Today Extra, in Australia to promote his new book Strength in Stillness. “Choppy waves on the surface, [but] the depths of the ocean are silent.”

Roth says Transcendental Meditation is backed by scientific evidence and is a tool to treat anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and even Parkinson’s disease — actor Michael J. Fox is among his high-profile clients.

Oprah is one of the technique’s most outspoken converts, describing it as “the most ‘human-friendly’ meditation” and loving it so much that she had Roth teach it to more than 400 employees at her production company.

# # #

Read two great articles: Bob Roth interviewed for Starts at 60 during Strength in Stillness book launch in Australia.

Also see Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos interview Bob Roth and other news coverage listed there.

Excellent article on Transcendental Meditation written by Sarah Klein in Prevention Magazine

February 14, 2016

Preface: Electrical Analogies

Rosenthal_N

Norman Rosenthal

I find it fascinating that Norman Rosenthal and Jerry Seinfeld have come up with their own opposite electrical analogies to describe how Transcendental Meditation works — as both a surge protector and a battery charger!

People exposed to continual stressful trauma suffer from PTSD. Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal says Transcendental Meditation is like a surge protector against stress. First it calms the amygdala; it turns down that alarm bell where there no longer is a fire.

Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld

And equally important, TM acts as a buffer against future stressful reactions. The nervous system becomes more resilient to stressful stimuli; they’re no longer interpreted as such. The individuals have normalized.

Jerry Seinfeld compares TM to a phone charger for your whole body and mind. He reminds us how we charge our cellphones and then use them throughout the whole day. That’s what TM does for him. It sets him up for his day fully charged until his next TM session to recharge.

Prevention Magazine article on Transcendental Meditation

Bob Roth

Bob Roth

Rosenthal was interviewed and Seinfeld mentioned in an excellent article for Prevention Magazine by staff writer Sarah Klein. It’s nicely designed with graphics, photos and relevant links to cited studies and video clips.

Others interviewed were Bob Roth, executive director for the David Lynch Foundation, and Sandy Nidich, professor and researcher at Maharishi University of Management. Others referenced and linked to are Ellen Degeneres, Jim Carrey, and Oprah Winfrey.

Klein seems to understand her subject even though she probably has not experienced it. Her writing is clear and objective. She’s done her homework when it comes to the science, and integrates her interviewees remarks to full advantage. It’s a pleasure to read a TM article like this when someone gets it right!

Enjoy reading This Is Your Brain On Transcendental Meditation.

For information on Transcendental Meditation visit www.tm.org.

Transcendental Meditation at Prevention R3 Summit

A month before the Prevention Magazine article, Bob Roth was invited to give a talk on Transcendental Meditation at the 3rd annual Prevention R3 Summit. He spoke January 15, 2016, the opening night of the Summit, at ACL Live in The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas. Check the DavidLynchFoundation YouTube Channel for a description of his talk. Austin Art Examiner writer Nicolette Mallow was there and interviewed Bob Roth for her article on this self-transcending form of meditation that can transform people’s lives for the better.

In related news, read about The first Transcendental Meditation elective course offered at a major US medical school.

Jennie Gritz explored the use of TM in education in her article for The Atlantic: Quiet Time Brings Transcendental Meditation to Public Schools.

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

April 15, 2014

For those who have been following Jerry Seinfeld’s award-winning online series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, his latest guest was Howard Stern. (See The Last Days of Howard Stern.) Jerry and Howard talked for several hours about a wide range of topics, including how their over 40-year TM practice has impacted their lives. Because of time constraints that section had to be edited out, but Jerry gave us permission to share this 6-minute segment for everyone’s enjoyment! Thanks guys.

Related interviews:

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

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

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

See another blog post where Howard Stern talks about TM on Letterman. Embedded there is a video of Oprah and Dave talking about meditation. He reveals that he and some of his staff have been doing TM. They learned it from Meditation Bob, who happens to be the same person who taught Oprah. A year later, Lindsay Lohan is on Dave’s show and they decide to call Oprah. They mention Meditation Bob, which is Bob Roth’s Twitter name. The Washington Post described the three of them as a Comedy Dream Team.

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

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

Celebs who meditate featured in The Daily Beast

April 24, 2013

This article on Transcendental Meditation was one of the rotating stories on The Daily Beast today, April 23, 2013. It was the 9th top story of rotating images in the big box on the upper left corner of the home page. The article appeared as a result of Rupert Murdoch learning to meditate last weekend. It was supposed to be private, but he tweeted about it and drew media attention. Click on the links below to see photos and descriptions of the 14 featured meditating celebs.

Celebs who meditate -The Daily Beast

Celebs Who Meditate – The Daily Beast – Invision/AP; WireImage

Oprah & More Stars Who Do Transcendental Meditation

The Daily BeastTranscendental Meditation has made its rounds with celebrities as far back as when the Beatles were a unit, but is once again creeping up as the latest trend among celebrities. Rupert Murdoch recently tweeted on his indoctrination into the mantra meditation movement, Oprah Winfrey devoted an entire show to it, and David Lynch even launched a nonprofit foundation for the practice.

The technique was established in India by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1950s and has spread worldwide since, used as a means to relieve stress and build personal development. The practice involves twice-a-day, 15- to 20-minute meditations, and courses are taught by certified instructors for a fee. See which other stars are endorsing the practice and taking time for some inner peace!

Read celebrity descriptions and view all (15) photos in fullscreen. Most of these celebrities, in order of appearance, practice and/or are connected with TM in some way: Rupert Murdoch, David Lynch, Russell Brand, Shirley MacLaine, Sheryl Crow, Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey, Moby, Katy Perry, Howard Stern, Hugh Jackman, George Lucas, Clint Eastwood, and Candy Crowley.

Read a related article: 14 Executives Who Swear By Meditation–10 do TM.

Also see Why CEOs, actors, and pop stars love Transcendental Meditation | Well+Good NYC and What do Stephen Collins, Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Brand, Russell Simmons, David Lynch and Oprah have in common? and The New York Times: Look Who’s Meditating Now.

Cheryl Strayed, author of WILD, talks about the unique role of artists and writers in the world

January 10, 2013

Cheryl Strayed

“I think that artists are here, and writers are here, to be the truth-tellers of the human experience, the world we live in. And so, if you’re not going to tell the truth, don’t bother.” — Cheryl Strayed

I love this frank quote from memoirist Cheryl Strayed on the role of artists and writers in society during this CBC interview, Publishing phenom Cheryl Strayed, with Q host Jian Ghomeshi posted on Q Blog Monday, December 31, 2012. Here’s their description.

Cheryl Strayed had a banner year in 2012. Wild, her memoir of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail while working through grief, divorce, and a dalliance with drugs, was a bestseller. Oprah Winfrey even relaunched her book club for it.

Strayed also outed herself as the popular online advice columnist Dear Sugar, and published a collection of columns as Tiny Beautiful Things to rave reviews.  Back in September, she dropped by Studio Q to talk about literary success and what it really means to be a “fearless” writer.

From the Best of Q: Originally aired September 13, 2012

Listen: 16:47

Download and listen to the complete introduction and interview: http://www.cbc.ca/q/popupaudio.html?clipIds=2278707963

Watch the 15:38 edited version minus the formal introduction on YouTube: “Wild” author Cheryl Strayed in Studio Q.

See what other writers have to say about writing on The Uncarved Blog.

Found this interesting article: The Wandering Writer: A Tour through Inner Northeast Portland with Cheryl Strayed.

14 Executives Who Swear By Meditation–10 do TM

May 19, 2012

Business Insider, a U.S. business news and analysis website, serves as an aggregator of top news stories from around the web. Their original articles are cited by media outlets like the New York Times and National Public Radio.

The May 9 issue compiled a list of 14 successful business executives who meditate, 9 of whom practice TM. They swear by it. This makes sense as a growing number of business executives have been turning to the Transcendental Meditation program to increase alertness, eliminate stress and fatigue, and enhance their creativity. It’s a major factor accounting for their ongoing success.

This list is posted on the website’s War Room page filed under Strategy. Not all the executives say what kind of meditation they practice, but their reasons for doing so are practical and compelling. The ones who do mention TM are: Bridgewater Associates founder and CEO Ray Dalio, who tops the list; former Medtronic CEO Bill George; Def Jam Founder Russell Simmons; Oprah Winfrey; Legal Sea Foods CEO Roger Berkowitz; Ramani Ayer, former Chairman and CEO of The Hartford Financial Services Group; Steve Rubin, former CEO and chairman of United Fuels International; Executive Management Associates CEO Nancy Slomowitz; Marnie Abramson, of the family-owned Tower Companies real estate firm; and Tupperware CEO Rick Goings.

14 Executives Who Swear By Meditation

Jhaneel Lockhart and Melanie Hicken | May 9, 2012, 2:40 PM

CEOs have stressful jobs, and some have taken to intense hobbies to find solace from the daily grind.

Some practice meditation—or even Transcendental Meditation, a mantra-based technique derived about 50 years ago from ancient Indian practices.

We’ve compiled a list of leaders who say that meditating gives them an edge in the competitive business world. Some have even built it into their company’s culture.

Hedge fund manager Ray Dalio uses Transcendental Meditation to check his ego

Dalio — founder and CEO of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund — has built many of the TM principles into his firm’s culture. According to a New York Magazine profile, Transcendental Meditation informed Dalio’s “belief that a person’s main obstacle to improvement was his own fragile ego; at his firm, he would make constant, unvarnished criticism the norm, until critiques weren’t taken personally and no one held back a good idea for fear of being wrong.”

Click here to read how meditation helped the others become more effective executives. Some even paid for their employees to meditate, reducing healthcare costs and increasing productivity—a smart investment with a profitable return for themselves, and their employees.

For more information on TM for executives, visit this website for the Center for Leadership Performance: Optimizing Wellness, Productivity and Profitability: http://www.tmbusiness.org.

Speaking of Ray Dalio, he’s mentioned in a new book by Maneet Ahuja that comes out May 29, 2012: The Alpha Masters: unlocking the genius of the world’s top hedge fund managers. (ISBN: 979-1-118-06552)

I haven’t seen it yet, but a friend said the first Chapter is on Ray Dalio. In it he speaks highly of TM and is quoted saying it is “the single biggest influence” on his life. He later gives more reasons why he finds it helpful.

Also see: 14 Business Leaders Who Swear By Meditation.

Newer article: Celebs who meditate featured in The Daily Beast.

See Fortune, Forbes, Business Insider report on the beneficial effects of @TMmeditation in business.

The former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunion for David Lynch’s benefit concert airs on New York’s THIRTEEN, Sunday, April 29

April 12, 2012

MEDIA ADVISORY

Former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr
reunite for David Lynch Foundation benefit concert—

To be broadcast on New York’s THIRTEEN
on Sunday, April 29

There will be a special “Change Begins Within” Concert Screening at the Stephen Sondheim Center for Performing Arts this Sunday, April 22, 2012, 7:30 pm in the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. Two free screenings have been added Friday, April 27, and Sunday, April 29, 7:30 pm.

Former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunited on an American stage for the only time in the past 20 years during this historic 2009 Radio City Music Hall benefit concert, which will be broadcast on New York City’s channel THIRTEEN on Sunday, April 29, at 10:30 pm (check local listings for broadcast times and dates in your area).

The Beatle reunion highlights the 90-minute “Change Begins Within” concert to benefit the David Lynch Foundation, a charity set up in 2005 by the iconic filmmaker David Lynch to fund Transcendental Meditation programs for at-risk youth, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, and women who suffer from domestic abuse and violence.

McCartney performs a set of Beatles, Wings and solo classics; Starr sings his own set of Beatle and solo hits; and McCartney and Starr join together on stage for a finale of “With A Little Help from My Friends,” Paul’s rarely performed “Cosmically Conscious,” and Beatle fan favorite “I Saw Her Standing There.”

Also appearing on the broadcast are comedian Jerry Seinfeld as well as musicians Sheryl Crow (“My Sweet Lord”), Eddie Vedder and Ben Harper (“Under Pressure”), Moby and Betty LaVette (“Natural Blues”), Paul Horn, newly-elected Rock-and-Roll-Hall of Famer Donovan  and Jim James (“Hurdy Gurdy Man”).

The concert was co-produced by Hoosick Falls Productions and David Lynch Foundation Television with executive producer George Verschoor.

VIEW EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

Press contact: Elizabeth Freund, Elizabeth@BeautifulDayMedia.com, 718-522-5858, for more information or to arrange an interview with David Lynch.

FACTS

The David Lynch Foundation has provided scholarships for more than 200,000 students and veterans to learn to meditate.

Transcendental Meditation is a simple, easily learned technique, practiced for 15 to 20 minutes twice daily, sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. According to research funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, the technique reduces stress and stress-related disorders, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, and substance abuse.

Prominent meditators include Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Russell Brand, Ellen DeGeneres, Clint Eastwood, Mehmet Oz, Martin Scorsese, Jerry Seinfeld, Russell Simmons, and Oprah Winfrey.

DAVID LYNCH FOUNDATION

654 Madison Avenue, Suite 805, New York, NY 10065 • 212-644-9880 • www.DavidLynchFoundation.orginfo@DavidLynchFoundation.org

– ENDS –

PERSONAL NOTE

To find out more about that event visit David Lynch Foundation Television (DLF.TV) to see a brief overview of the pre-concert Change Begins Within Press Conference Highlights that took place at Radio City Music Hall on April 3, 2009. Then watch the Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr Concert Highlights from Radio City Music Hall on April 4, 2009. Also see David Lynch interviews Paul McCartney about meeting Maharishi and his first meditation, which was recorded for DLF before the concert.

As far as I know there won’t be any DVDs of this PBS special available for purchase.* It will play in different markets across the country during May, June and July. So you may want to set your DVR to save a copy when it broadcasts in your area. You’ll want to see it, and share it with your friends, over and over again. It was the most intensely joyful and fun-filled concert I had ever attended. All of the musicians and the audience were deliriously happy! And it was for a very worthy cause. There was an avalanche of news coverage! Here is an article in April 13, 2009 Issue of The New Yorker by Nancy Franklin: All Together Now.

*A DVD of the concert was eventually released September 1, 2017: Change Begins Within A Benefit Concert for The David Lynch Foundation.

Midwest Meditation: ingathering in rural Iowa, published in issue 12 of The PresenTense Group

March 30, 2012

“Small-town Iowa is not the place one expects to find a blossoming Jewish community. However, Fairfield is different from most Iowa towns.”

This opening statement to an excellent article about Fairfield Jews who meditate reiterates what Oprah Winfrey kept saying during her visit to Fairfield, Iowa—Jews, Christians, Muslims, people from different religions, who also meditate (Transcendental Meditation) find no conflict with their beliefs; they’re not practicing another religion. And for those who do practice their religion, this article shows there’s no confusion between the two, rather an enrichment. TM, they say, makes one a “better Jew.”

I enjoyed reading Midwest Meditation, a well-written article by James Edward Johnson, published in the Around the World section of Fall 2010-Issue 12, by The PresenTense Group: Fostering Innovation. It’s available online. Here it is reproduced for your reading enjoyment.

Small-town Iowa is not the place one expects to find a blossoming Jewish community. However, Fairfield is different from most Iowa towns. Much of its population began moving there in the mid-1970s, when the Maharishi International University (now Maharishi University of Management, or MUM) was founded. MUM is the learning and communal meditation center for the Transcendental Meditation (TM) Movement, in which members use TM techniques to achieve a deeply tranquil level of consciousness and a state of restful alertness.

Brent Willett, the executive director of the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce, explained that in the 30-plus years since the influx of TM practitioners, “Fairfield has become a melting pot of cultures and has developed a harmonious and dynamic model for community development.”

Among Fairfield’s population of 9,500, approximately 200 residents are Jewish, and nearly all of them are TM practitioners. When Jewish TM practitioners came to Fairfield, there was no established community, and the nearest synagogue was 25 miles away. Though they had not come for a Jewish community, they created one when they arrived. MUM was established on the former campus of Parsons College, where a Torah scroll was left behind by the college’s Hillel chapter. It was the first major asset of the Fairfield Jewish community.

Today, the community holds most Kabbalat Shabbat services at Congregation Beth Shalom, a building that functioned as a Baptist church before the Jewish community purchased it in 1984. The unassuming synagogue looks like a place of Jewish prayer in any small Midwestern town. The ritual items and decorative symbols show no indication that most congregants are TM practitioners. Yet before Kabbalat Shabbat services, most Jews join communal meditation at one of Fairfield’s two gigantic golden domes.

The larger community of committed TM practitioners in Fairfield is disproportionately Hindu, due to the Hindu background of TM’s founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Pictures of Hindu gods such as Rama and Ganesha appear in many places around Fairfield. Jewish TM practitioners explain with the regularity of a mantra that “TM is just a technique,” rather than a religious practice. “The important thing in the practice of TM is this experience of unbounded awareness. That reality is not a religious reality and has no connection with a specific religious tradition,” explained Rabbi Alan Green, who lives in Canada but has deep roots in Fairfield and is unofficially regarded by many as its rabbi. “Meditation was my chief inspiration for wanting to become a rabbi…I realized that this experience of unbounded awareness was the experience of God,” Green said.

“It’s like going to yoga class…it doesn’t mean that you are Hindu… You go on and go to shul afterwards,” said Kabuika Kamunga, a Jewish TM practitioner born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. She converted to Judaism after working as an au pair for a Jewish family and developed an interest in meditation from a TM practitioner “who was so calm … amid the family brouhaha” at a Passover Seder. In 2008, she went to MUM to get an MBA and learn meditation.

Robert Rabinoff, a frum Jewish TM practitioner, explains why the transition between Judaism and TM is so clean. “If you try and mix the two, both will suffer. But they’re pretty easy to not mix.”

Kamunga and Rabinoff both express the idea that TM makes one a “better Jew.” Each believes that TM prepares them for the kavanah (spiritual intention) of prayer, giving them the mindfulness for Jewish observance. Rabinoff explained, “TM makes the connection, opens the lines of communication. Our tradition tells you what to say.”

Joel and Joy Hirshberg’s home resembles those of other Jews who are serious meditators. A mezuzah greets one at the door. However, the house is built according to the principles of Sthapatya Veda, the architectural form based on the Maharishi’s teachings about natural law. Its entrance faces east, the direction of the rising sun. It has a kalash (cupola) on its roof, connecting the house to the cosmos, and a traditional vastu fence (picket fence) to define the homestead. The house has a Brahmasthan, an unobstructed center lit by a skylight, which gives the house wholeness.

When the couple hosts potluck dinners at their home on Shabbat, however, the space transforms into a typically Conservative minyan for services. Congregants read from Siddur Sim Shalom and recite much of the service in Hebrew. On many Shabbatot, cantor Haim Menashehoff, who grew up in Tehran, leads the congregation in Persian Jewish melodies as well as melodies common to American synagogues.

Anyone hoping for a service infused with the style of a kirtan mantra (a Sanskrit call-and-response chanting form) would be sorely disappointed. Tradition is alive and well in this otherwise nontraditional Jewish community.

Link to article: http://presentense.org/magazine/midwest-meditation.

A clarification from my side

Although the author wrote a very clear accurate article on this topic, he does make an inaccurate assumption—that most of the meditating community are Hindu because of TM’s founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s background—but this is just not the case.

Maharishi was a great scientist of consciousness. He taught a systematic method of meditation, a scientific understanding of it, and the nature and development of consciousness to its full potential. Is the theory of Relativity Jewish because Einstein discovered it? Is gravity English because Sir Issac Newton discovered it? Is genetics Catholic because Gregor Mendel discovered it? Maharishi’s cultural and religious background are separate from what he taught. In fact, he always said that Transcendental Meditation would allow people from different backgrounds to better understand and appreciate their own religion. That’s certainly been the case here as people from different faiths attend the church or temple, and in this case, synagogue, of their choice.

Actually, there are very few Hindus in Fairfield. But there are students from many different countries and faiths, including many from India and Nepal. The campus is multinational, like a miniature United Nations. Also, there are more restaurants per capita than San Francisco. For example, there are 3 Indian restaurants around the town square, including several Asian ones, not necessarily run by meditators. They all have posters on the walls from their religious and cultural heritage. So it is easy to imagine how the author could have come to such a conclusion.

There are, however, hundreds of Vedic Pandits from India who also practice TM that have been invited to help create world peace by adding their numbers to the overall effort. But they live completely separate from everyone on their own campus in Maharishi Vedic City, a few miles north of Fairfield, and are never seen in town. Oprah did meet with them during her visit here. It’s the last segment of her show.

Click here to see Video segments of Oprah’s Next Chapter on OWN: Oprah Visits Fairfield, Iowa—“TM Town”—America’s Most Unusual Town.


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