David Lynch and Transcendental Meditation

Thursday, December 13, 2012

David Lynch, founder and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace, is an award-winning director, writer, and producer. John Hagelin, president of the David Lynch Foundation and director of the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy, a public policy think tank at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, discuss with Lynch the foundation's work funding stress-relieving modalities like Transcendental Meditation for at-risk populations, and veterans with PTSD.


John Hagelin and David Lynch

Comments [29]

Astrid from Wisconsin

I love my TM practice. No matter what is happening in my day there is always an added experience of calm and clarity after I sit. A wonderful life long investment that I'm soooo grateful to have learned!!

Dec. 26 2012 03:27 PM

TM has worked well for me. After every meditation I feel more relaxed, clear and energized. I am very glad I learned with a teacher and that I can meet with a teacher on an unlimited basis. All my questions are answered personally and the teacher gives any needed guidance in response to my experiences. TM has proved to be a smart investment for me.

Dec. 21 2012 10:42 PM
Michael Jackson from South Carolina

I began TM 38 years ago, worked for the TM Movement off and on for 13 years, culminating with a 2 year stint at Maharishi U in Iowa and I can give an unqualified thumbs up to TM for being a great big con - the meditation does have some good effects, but the organization that teaches it is dishonest and is interested in only one thing - having millions of meditators feeding the TM group MONEY.

Dec. 21 2012 11:17 AM

I do TM too and I love it. But I also understand some of the criticism about the show as the moderator could have steered the conversation more towards the work of David's foundation and projects rather than giving so much air time to the sub topic of TM and how it compares to other meditation and new age techniques. So point well taken there.

Dec. 21 2012 11:00 AM

I've been doing TM for a while and I'm still amazed at how simple it is and yet how incredibly effective it is. And now stress doesn't stick to me like it use to.

Dec. 21 2012 09:55 AM
robert walker from Australia

ive been doing T.M. for 39 years, and its so simple,you get a profound deep rest which releases deep stress and we all know the horror that war veterans have gone through and the high stress levels they bring back home to their loved ones and the difficulty they have adjusting to a "normal life".T.M. gives them a sense of normality,bravo to the David Lynch Foundation for there good work in this important field.

Dec. 20 2012 04:49 AM
Stu from Durham

What it boils down to, and where the attention should be are the benefits. We go into convoluted debates as to whether the benefits are real. I think the reason for this confusion is that there had not been benefits: there has not been known that which simply brought benefit to all aspects of life. Although such a simple statement, it is confounding because it is not conceived that this is something completely new: to just have the benefits. We become guarded, as if it must be a trick. We defensively try to analyze to see how it could be. It seems the David Lynch Foundation is bringing benefits to those who are not in position to assume defensiveness. For them the blessing of the benefits comes because that is all that matters at that point. In reality, it has nothing to do with getting into this or that, nor even doing anything. In fact the benefits are bestowed whether or not one even knows what they are or even wants them. It is all in the benefits. Is just the simple process of having..... benefits.

Dec. 19 2012 08:38 PM

I feel that this is a great inspection of all Meditations, Having done 3 different types over 41 are all correct,some deal with one aspect of life and other in a different area of life..and Yoga (as taught in the west) deals mostly with the body,although there are schools that have techniques that give the experience of transcending from the grosser levels of awareness to the field of pure being or Inner wake fullness or Self (big S)..

Transcending is process of attaining the goal of bringing the Relative Surface experience consciousness in contact with inner being,or pure consciousness or what ever term one calls the silent core of ones self..(intellect being stilled or quiet)...

The real answer is: that the process of Transcending is completely natural and can happen spontaneously..not to every one..but it has happen to some..Emerson,Thoreau,K.Murti,and countless others..maybe when they are 8 yrs or 80 yrs..

But when the nervous system is just right and the mind is just right.. some times under extreme conditions.. But many have experienced it and they will know it when it happens and they will never be the same..

And there are many ways to least 5 (for we have 5 senses)(Mantra sense of Hearing), (Yantra sense of Sight),(Tantra the sense of touch).. But you will be hard pressed to find a technique that utilizes the Intellect directly to transcend. It would be like TRYING to go to sleep..the more you TRY the farther from sleep you will find your self.

And we have at least as many techniques as we have life styles..IE the ascetic will have one technique and a house holder would have a different. A person devoted to a life spirituality would find a house holders technique not as fulfilling,possibly or the other way around..I have taught well over 3,500 people,mostly people steeped in living a relative existence $,Family,friends,work... and they flourish when they add the experience of transcending to their life's. I also had the chance to teach a few 100 people of the cloth so to speak...and even though we may think of them as unique to us...transcending was the exact same experience...Even spending years teaching many members of the Masonic Lodges, it was special because many had profound intellectual understanding of the transcendent qualities of life very few had ever experienced the actual state of pure consciousness or Being or Self..or Eureka.

sorry I am so long winded on this, but the basic idea is anything that brings the awareness to the level of no thought,no excitation,just pure inner being or the Self or what ever you choose to name Great..

And all I know is Transcendental Meditation works doing this and is easy to teach and delivers the mental and physiological and spiritual results.and it can be duplicated over and over again.

And I am sure other people have found that what ever technique they have chosen, and if it delivers the mind to that level,then they have found it too...

Dec. 14 2012 03:53 AM

I hope, thatgirl from manhattan, that you and i can amicably disagree about whether the suspension of skepticism is ever necessary or desirable. Although i do not personally agree with you that it is, i am truly glad that you have found a path to peace and happiness and honor your diligence and respect your choice.

My original intention in posting was only to correct an unskillful and inaccurate description of mindfulness meditation practices, which take many forms and flavors (and which, incidentally, needn't cost any money at all). Here are just a few widely various links that you can follow to learn more if you would like to:
- peace -

Dec. 13 2012 08:39 PM

This segment feels like an infomercial.

Dec. 13 2012 06:48 PM
lulu from Jersey City

The film suggested above "David Wants to Fly" was very informative - as well as being a wonderful film. I highly recommend watching it. The director David Sieveking finds that the secret and powerful individual mantras that are given out are not assigned personally, but by age group and with brain testing he discovers that saying his own personally chosen one word mantra shows deeper brain activity and connectivity than using his official "TM" mantra. The TM classes cost approximately $2000/person here in the US and he unfortunately also documents high level mismanagement of millions of dollars, false pretenses of meditation peace centers, and the manipulation and ultimate disenchantment of many TM followers.

I think the BL show might want to do a follow-up segment on this. I took the segment as an kind of endorsement of TM and it is actually a very complex issue. I am glad to know about the powerful tool of meditating in this way 20 minutes twice a day, and plan to try adjusting my meditation practice, but I will do so now, on my own, or with a chosen guide, not through the TM organization.

Dec. 13 2012 02:42 PM

This segment was interesting and made me intrigued about learning transcendental meditation. But the course fee seems like a lot. Anyone feel they've learned and practice without the course?

Dec. 13 2012 02:07 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

aetritsch--And with all due respect, TM also invites the skeptic:

I don't intend to make pointed advocacy of one approach, particularly as pertains to skepticism. Why would one approach be superior to another in addressing that? Anything beneficial to one's being requires a suspension of skepticism, eventually, whether it's therapy that's ingested, or watching a humorous film with the expectation it would lift one's spirits.

Dec. 13 2012 01:55 PM

With all respect to thatgirl from manhatttan, please allow me add a last note: Mindfulness mediation very much invites, encourages and benefits from a skeptical mindset. It is a practice of inquiry, curiosity and keen observation, not at all one of faith or belief.

Dec. 13 2012 12:31 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

For all those here who are so angry about having their own meditation technology compared to TM, try to consider that nothing as profound a practice as daily meditation is easily explained in Brian's silly 15 minute segments. Whether it's TM, sustainability, or a political ism, guests are forced to "sell" quickly and somehow field questions in a short space. What else could it resemble but an elevator speech?

All anyone here who's offended is saying they're offended, and not offering anything positive. Why not take more than 15 minutes to craft something useful for those who might be convinced to investigate any kind of meditation, instead of all the posturing? Otherwise, you resemble warring factions in digital form.

I've studied different forms of meditation, each has its merits. Some stress community, some leave you feeling you're simply someone taking this on like yoga, and doing so mostly at home. I could simply say, "Whatever gets you there is good," but really, it's "whatever keeps you there, daily, and for the rest of your life."

Dec. 13 2012 12:27 PM
PL Hayes from Aberystwyth

Re: heart attacks and TM.

Unless you're told the underlying risk, a 2/3 reduction means nothing (a 2/3 reduction of an already small risk would hardly be “unbelievable” and might even be clinically irrelevant).

Unfortunately mystics and CAM proponents are notorious for misrepresenting facts/evidence and grossly exaggerating what good - if any - some practice can do for your health. And CAM researchers typically do very bad research in the first place:

Dec. 13 2012 12:20 PM
Ann from upper Manhattan

The TM guests badly misrepresented mindfulness meditation, misapprehending the path and practice of mindfulness for its ultimate intention, which is indeed to transcend the "I" - or ego-grasping consciousness, and by realizing the universal ground-of-all-concsiousness/Buddha-nature within us and recognizing the illusory nature of mundane experience, to cease suffering and to seek the cessation of suffering for all sentient beings.

I honor their path and am grateful for their traveling it, but think that they should not speak so certainly and wrongly of other paths they have clearly not explored sufficiently to understand.

Dec. 13 2012 12:17 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

Jim--One cannot learn TM via a book. Here's a link to instruction in NYC:

Messrs Lynch and Hagelin weren't demeaning other kinds of meditation in speaking about TM--it's just that many who are looking to take on meditation as a practice ask for a comparison, as if they're buying an object. I think you'd agree it's difficult to make comparisons. TM, like any other practice with which you hope to engage for your life, must be learned in a "live"/guided fashion, and no--it's not easy at first. Taking on the technology allows one access to guidance following initial instruction. ANY therapy one takes on, of any sort requires belief. One cannot enter into anything beneficial with a skeptical mindset.

Dec. 13 2012 12:16 PM
Allan Novick from Brooklyn

The problem I have with your TM guests are twofold:

It is already suspect when one person/group/country tries to bolster their position by taking down another person/group/country. That your guests are directly proclaming the TM method superior to other types of meditation illustrates to me some sense of insecurity about their position or, from a top-dog business-materialist point of view (which is odd coming from proponents of "transcendence"), they just want some of the bucks that go to teachers of other methods.

Second, the assertion that other forms of meditation are excusively about the thinking/awareness process of conceptual consciousness is inaccurate. That is only one aspect of the practice, for example, in using the breath as a reference point, and only one stage of the process.

Finally, it seems to me that either your guests are aware of the (scientifically demonstrated) benefits of non-TM meditation practices and chose to ignore them, or that they have an oblligation to open their eyes and, yes, their minds to the evidence of those benefits, and rejoice that there are many paths to "transcendence."

Allan Novick

Dec. 13 2012 12:14 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

I had the great fortune of being given the technology of TM at a time in life when I couldn't need it more.

Unlike pharmaceuticals, TM's mechanism of action can be explained, and the benefits are myriad.

I encourage any and all who are looking to relieve stress, depression and so many other physiological ills to take it on for themselves. TM is different than other kinds of meditation. It requires you work in a guided fashion to take it on at first, but in doing so, you're more likely to make it a daily practice.

Dec. 13 2012 11:59 AM
Ami from Brooklyn

This segment is so poorly done. Maybe it should be called "Why TM is the best meditation and all other techniques suck." Why are TM practitioners so chauvinistic about their tradition? I've seen it so often.

Dec. 13 2012 11:59 AM

Any good courses in the NJ area for learning TM, or books?

Dec. 13 2012 11:58 AM
Sarah from BK

I should preface this by saying I'm a meditation teacher and I've worked in prisons.

The guests make it sound like you just close your eyes and bam - there you are in a wave of peace and joy. meditation is hard work. You have to go through some ugly layers. You are confronted with yourself. It takes a skilled teacher and a deep commitment to reach the place David is talking about. I've walked my students through many demons - some get there, some don't.

Dec. 13 2012 11:58 AM

For a more skeptical take on the Transcendental Meditation movement, watch David Sieveking's fascinating 2010 documentary "David Wants to Fly."

I'd also ask Lynch and Hagelin how much it costs to learn TM at Mahareshi U.

Dec. 13 2012 11:56 AM
mick from NYC

I tried to learn TM just after graduating from college years ago, but after trying for several months and spending several hundred dollars on instructions, I could not achieve the meditative state. Was I taken by a charlatan or are some people just unable to do this?

Dec. 13 2012 11:56 AM
Jack from BKLYN

I am interested in TM's possible benefits for someone who suffers from chronic drug resistant Major Depression Disorder and anxiety.

Dec. 13 2012 11:53 AM
Karen from NYC

I do TM and it works. I enrolled the whole family -- three people -- in a course three Xmases ago, in 2009. I don't want to reveal personal info on the website that might identify my family, but I can say that it has literally been a lifesaver. TM (1) reduced anxiety, due to job stress, that my MD was suggesting I cope with by taking drugs (I did not need them after meditating; (2) redirecting and focusing a young person so that schoolwork and outlook on life greatly improved. Really. It did all that.

I mediate every day. I am a totally "non spiritual" person -- no magic for me -- but this really, really works.

Dec. 13 2012 11:52 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Please explain the mechanism here.

Dec. 13 2012 11:51 AM
Nick from UWS

Why is there a picture of "Operation: Hire Veterans Career Fair" on this segment page?

Dec. 13 2012 11:47 AM

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