Here are two excellent articles about Transcendental Meditation published in the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter, part of a Health series on how stress effects celebrities and what they do to relieve it. One mentions David Lynch, the other, Dr. Oz. Click on titles to see original articles with photos.
How David Lynch and His Hollywood Friends Are Bringing Back Transcendental Meditation
One of film’s darkest directors, with help from Jerry Seinfeld and Hugh Jackman, is shining a light by bringing meditation to everyone from PTSD sufferers to inner-city kids.
January 10, 2014 | by Seth Abramovitch
Call it the ultimate comeback. Transcendental meditation — which involves speaking a silent mantra to oneself for 20 minutes, twice daily — is an ancient practice that is now attracting some of Hollywood’s biggest names, who insist that its stress-relief benefits are nothing short of miraculous: Among its most powerful practitioners are Jerry Seinfeld, Hugh Jackman and Russell Brand — who all have become supporters of David Lynch and his plans to bring meditation to people in dire need of stress relief. A directing genius whose dark dreamscapes are littered with severed ears and plastic-wrapped homecoming queens, Lynch, 67, has morphed into one of the world’s most enthusiastic if unlikely TM cheerleaders.
Lynch first encountered TM in 1974, as he searched for ways to combat mounting anger and depression relating to his epic struggle to get his first feature, the mind-bending Eraserhead, to the big screen. “I had a weakness inside,” says Lynch from his Hollywood Hills studio, a splash of sunlight illuminating his famous white pompadour. “That kind of thing, in this business, you’re a sitting duck. You could get slaughtered.” It was then that he decided to try his hand at TM, an ancient practice revived by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an expat from India who rocketed to stardom during the 1960s as The Beatles‘ spiritual adviser. Lynch feared TM might dull his artistic edge, but he says the opposite happened — it helped him to access untapped fonts of creativity. He even goes so far as to credit the practice with potentially having saved his life: “I was even thinking at the time, ‘If I didn’t have this meditation, I might have seen that a way out was suicide.’ ”
The Twin Peaks mastermind hasn’t missed a single day of meditation in the 40 years since. In 2005, that devotion led him to found The David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace, a nonprofit that brings TM to inner-city students, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and victims of domestic violence. The foundation has taught the fundamentals to more than 500,000 at-risk candidates, and Lynch says the effects have been astonishing: “Before too long, they’re saying, ‘Thank you very much. I got my life back again.’ ” In celebration of Lynch’s birthday on Jan. 20, DLF Live, the foundation’s live-performance arm, is mounting a benefit at the El Rey Theatre, where Ringo Starr is set to receive the Lifetime of Peace & Love Award. Ben Harper and Ben Folds are slated to perform. And on Feb. 27, Dixie Chicks will headline a night at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel honoring record producer (and longtime TM practitioner) Rick Rubin. For the admittedly shy director, Hollywood’s ongoing love affair with TM offers a highly effective method of spreading the gospel. “Life gets better and better and better,” says Lynch of his 40-year journey. “That’s the long and the short of it.”
Stress-Free 2014: Dr. Oz Reveals How He Takes the Edge Off Shooting a TV Show
The talk show host shares his tips for dialing down the shooting-schedule meltdowns, including sacred mantras.
January 10, 2014 | As told by Dr. Oz
In medical school for cardiothoracic surgery, I learned early on the acute effect of stress on performance, decision-making and emotions. As I looked inside people’s chests at their hearts, I saw the effect of chronic stress: hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity. Stress is the No. 1 driver of aging. It’s downright toxic.
In 2009, we launched The Dr. Oz Show. I found a new type of stress as I acclimated to taping, field shoots, voiceovers, rehearsals, script review and appearances. I continued with surgery on Thursdays. The operating room, once a place of total chaos, became a respite for me, offering a familiarity that grounded me.
This may surprise you, but I see many similarities in making a television show and working in the operating room. In both, a team of experts with diverse job responsibilities is exercising expertise toward a grand outcome — either a healthy patient or a great show. Both require teamwork and careful choreography. Both have a team of technology experts whose job is to keep delicate machinery running. Both are fast-paced. And perhaps most similar: Both involve glaring lights under which you are expected to literally perform magic! Ergo, both involve extraordinary stress.
Like the staff at the hospital, my team at the show had comparable stress, and it showed. Unlike other industries, the world literally sees our mistakes. This provides an additional stress dynamic. I saw scripts so revised that it felt like we were back to square one. Tempers would flare occasionally.
I deployed various measures for the staff at the show to deal with the stress. First, you have to eat the right foods. A certain talk-show host whose studio was across the hall and who shall remain nameless good-naturedly served beer, pretzels and cupcakes for his late-night staff. Our tables served granola, quinoa and 2 percent Greek yogurt. I even sent a few healthy snacks across the hall.
I encourage staff to exercise. I also brought in teachers of transcendental meditation, and each employee receives group and individual training. We do meditations in the office twice daily — at 8 a.m., before morning taping, and at 5 p.m., At these times, an announcement is made over the office intercom, and staffers are encouraged to report to the conference room, where a group meditation takes place. Oftentimes, teachers will give staffers a personal mantra, which is secret, that they then repeat over and over. Keeping it to yourself makes it feel sacred.
These Pret-a-Reporter stories first appeared in the Jan. 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.