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Meditation Creativity Peace

How the David Lynch Foundation Brings Change from Within

It was Tuesday, April 2nd, at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Museum staff had prepared for the West Coast premiere of the documentary film Meditation Creativity Peace: David Lynch’s 16-Country Tour. The museum theater only holds 300 people, so there was very little publicity for the event.

One hour before the showing, 1,000 people had lined up to get in. The museum quickly opened up another hall for 250 people and projected the film against a giant concrete wall outside for the other 450 people to watch.

But word got around. One hour before the showing, 1,000 people had lined up to get in. The museum quickly opened up another hall for 250 people and projected the film against a giant concrete wall outside for the other 450 people to watch. No one left.

The documentary chronicles a 16-country tour by award-winning film director David Lynch speaking at film schools throughout Europe and the Middle East. Lynch answers questions from the students about creativity, filmmaking, and the Transcendental Meditation technique, and he explains how TM® practice can create peace for the individual and society.

After the film, there was a 45-minute, televised question-and-answer session with Lynch and comedian Russell Brand, and again nobody left.

Following this successful LA premiere, the documentary will go on to screen in 12 major cities internationally, including London, Paris, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Johannesburg, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Toronto.

Lynch explains: “Proceeds from the global distribution of the documentary will be used to help students in the US and worldwide overcome traumatic stress, improve learning ability, and raise performance through Transcendental Meditation.” His goal is to raise enough money to teach one million at-risk youth to meditate. Yes, one million. It’s a big vision.

The campaign kicked off on April 4, 2009, in Radio City Music Hall, where Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr got together to perform for the first time in almost 20 years at a mega-concert titled “Change Begins Within.” Since then, over 250,000 at-risk youth in schools throughout the United States, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia have learned the TM technique, thanks to scholarships from the David Lynch Foundation.

Over 250,000 at-risk youth in schools throughout the United States, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia have learned the TM technique, thanks to scholarships from the David Lynch Foundation.

How It All Began

The David Lynch Foundation (DLF) was launched on July 21, 2005. The goal was to offer the TM technique to any student anywhere in America who wanted to learn how to meditate. Once DLF started to teach at-risk youth in underserved schools, their mission quickly expanded.

They began teaching veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, along with their families. They’ve taught on American Indian reservations where there is a high incidence of diabetes, stress, and substance abuse. There are now programs in prisons and homeless shelters. The fastest growing interest today is among women and girls who are victims of abuse.

When educators in other countries heard what DLF was accomplishing in the US, they asked if similar programs could be funded in their countries. The program quickly spread worldwide, and the Foundation now offers the TM technique in 45 countries. The United Kingdom has legally established its own David Lynch Foundation, and other countries are following their lead.

A Tsunami of Interest in the TM Technique

I first met Bob Roth in 1978 when we were both teaching the TM technique in Northern California. He now serves as Executive Director of the David Lynch Foundation, and was a producer of the film Meditation Creativity Peace.

“I think the success of DLF programs shows that there is a tsunami of interest, really, everywhere in the world for TM,” says Roth. “The demand for the TM program is all-pervasive. The only thing that is slowing us down is a sufficient number of properly trained teachers, which we’re working on remedying.”

Roth sees three trends fueling this new wave of interest in the TM technique. First is the current epidemic of stress that cuts across all demographics, all ages, genders, and races. He cites a recent article in Forbes magazine which refers to stress as a global epidemic, calling it “the Black Plague of the 21st Century.”

The second trend is the growing realization that conventional approaches to stress prevention and stress relief are simply not effective. “Modern medicine has no way to prevent stress, and no reliable way to treat it,” adds Roth. “They may be able to mask its effects, but they can’t cure it.”

And third, in recent years meditation has gone mainstream in America. Many researchers and educators hold the Transcendental Meditation technique to be the gold standard among meditation techniques, due to its wide range of evidence-based benefits.

The mission of the David Lynch Foundation is to bring TM practice to all at-risk populations. When we read that stress is a global health epidemic, it becomes clear that everyone is at risk for stress-related problems.

The Ripple Effect

Once the David Lynch Foundation began offering programs to at-risk populations, it caught the attention of other organizations and philanthropic-minded individuals. Now the Foundation is not just funding programs for at-risk populations, it’s also stimulating interest and wider support for the TM program throughout society.

The US Department of Defense recently awarded a $2.4 million grant to study the effects of TM on post-traumatic stress in conjunction with a VA hospital in San Diego. The Veterans Administration itself is funding two other studies on the effects of TM at VA hospitals in Minneapolis and Saginaw, Michigan.

Many leaders in society would like to do something great for the world to help alleviate suffering. When they see how TM is helping at-risk populations, they jump on board. One example is successful businesspeople who learn the TM technique and then offer it to their employees as part of the company wellness program.

In the United States, DLF works very closely with Dr. John Hagelin—National Director of the TM Program—and Maharishi Foundation USA, supporting the devoted work of active TM teachers throughout the nation.

The Next Two Years

DLF’s goal is to teach 10,000 veterans in the next two years, and to double their pace of teaching students. It has taken four years to reach a quarter of a million students. They’d like to teach the next quarter-million in just two years, and are now raising funds to achieve that.

The mission of the David Lynch Foundation is to bring TM to all at-risk populations. When we read that stress is a global health epidemic, it becomes clear that everyone is at risk for stress-related problems. To fulfill its mission, the David Lynch Foundation would now like to bring the Transcendental Meditation program to everyone, to the entire world.

Rolf Erickson is co-editor of Enlightenment: The Transcendental Meditation® Magazine. He a professional writer and web strategist, and with his wife, Renee, teaches the TM program in Portland, Oregon.

Click here to learn more about the work of the David Lynch Foundation.

How You Can Help

  1. Tell your friends about the David Lynch Foundation, and share links to the DLF website via social media.
  2. Make a donation to help bring TM to students, veterans, American Indians, the homeless, and women who are victims of abuse. Ask your company to match your donations to DLF.
  3. If you have contacts with organizations who serve at-risk populations in your area, suggest that they contact DLF for more information on how to add the TM technique to their program.
  4. Bring a friend to learn Transcendental Meditation. Every new meditator is a potential champion for the TM program in their workplace or community.
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Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Enlightenment: The Transcendental Meditation Magazine

ISSUE 12