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Chattering Mind

David Lynch Funds Meditation Program for American Youth

Out of last month’s Virginia Tech shootings comes the call for “pure bliss consciousness,” or more precisely, the teaching of a meditation method that can help young people believe in themselves, and stand up for non-violence.

Filmmaker David Lynch planned a very compelling press conference today, and aired it on the web, to discuss his campaign to help end school violence by teaching one million young people Transcendental Meditation (TM), a method of calming the mind through mantra repetition. Lynch’s successful foundation has already provided nearly $5 million to support in-school Transcendental Meditation programs for thousands of students in public and private schools in the United States and around the world.


In the press release, Lynch and British folk singer Donovan Leitch spoke about how they themselves have conquered their own anger, and connected to the peace of their inner worlds through two 10-minute TM sessions a day. Quantum physicist John Hagelin (of “What the Bleep Do We Know?!”, and “The Secret”) also spoke about the change in the brain’s basic chemistry under stress and after meditating.

Since we were just discussing this last week, it is interesting to note that their release says the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has granted more than $24 million to study the benefits of TM for reducing high levels of stress and anxiety, improving brain functioning, and promoting cardiovascular health. Other published research shows that regular meditation can “reduce depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and hypertension—while improving academic performance, creativity, intelligence, and ADD.”


The conversation of meditation’s benefits will no doubt continue when Lynch, Hagelin, and Donovan explore their anti-violence plan in detail during a national student weekend at Maharishi University of Management (a TM school) in Fairfield, Iowa, May 25 to 28. Students from throughout the United States are invited to attend, so check out this link to learn more.

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posted May 2, 2007 at 5:01 am

While I commend David Lynch for taking this action, what bothers me is the exclusionary organization he has chosen. I was involved with TM for several years. I did the advanced Sidhi program. It turned out not to be right for me. But in the process, I found how odd the TM organization is. A world government? With governors? There were many rules and a tight set of cultural norms. I think it boardered on cultism. Why not open this up to meditation of all traditions?

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posted May 2, 2007 at 12:03 pm

What I heard Lynch say in a previous appearance about his mantra bugged me. He said that the student gets their mantra picked for them by their instructor, that evidently they don’t choose their own. Did I hear that right? If so, why is that?If someone can explain that, I’d much appreciate it.

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posted May 4, 2007 at 4:59 pm

Having gone through TM and also intiated in another tradition, I do know that mantras are chosen by teachers for you. In TM they are very secretive about this. The most they would say is that there is something specific about each person and that determines the mantra. There are not that many, so many people share the same ones. It may be based on your zodiac sign. I don’t know.But this other tradition I was initiated into is more open. They don’t want you to blurt out your mantra to others, because it should be kept in its subtle form – just a thought wave, hardly a sound at all. The mantra I recieved was quite close to the TM one, so there must be something to this. But they also have many universal mantras, and sometimes large groups practice the same mantras for some specific reason.There are large books devoted to the study of mantra. So there is a science to this and I believe it is relevent. Ganddi was given the mantra “Ram” when he was a child so that he could overcome fear. It stuck with him all his life and allowed him to do his work without fear. When he was shot, his last word was “Ram”.

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posted May 5, 2007 at 7:00 pm

Thank you, Roger for the information. I think what just got me about the teacher choosing the mantra was that IMO, I thought that TM (or any other type of meditation) was for the person doing it, not to please your teacher. (and I’m not trying to be snarky here at all). To me, it’s kind of like when you’re in school, and the teacher tells you write about something, be creative, think out of the box, but then gives you the topic, how many words, and what format to put it in. But no, if the mantra works, it works. I have no problem with that. Thanks Again!!

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