Sunday, July 09, 2017

Transcendental Meditation for Everyone, but at what cost

This article appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Most of us might well see some less than rigorous search for facts. Following this article is a former TM teacher's response.


Bob Roth, chief executive of the David Lynch Foundation, teaches transcendental meditation to a range of students, from elementary-school children to CEOs


by Alexandra Wolfe

June 30, 2017 1:07 p.m. ET

Bob Roth knows his field sounds a little like “woowoo” spirituality, as he says. But as a teacher of transcendental meditation, he now works with a wide-ranging clientele that includes celebrities such as Katy Perry and Jerry Seinfeld, hedge-fund managers, inner-city students, prisoners and veterans. He has the same goal for everyone: to teach them the virtues of T.M., as it’s called – a practice that involves silently reciting a mantra over and over for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day. 

Proponents say that the practice reduces stress and raises self-awareness. Bridgewater founder and co-chairman Ray Dalio, a student of Mr. Roth’s for more than a decade and a donor to the foundation, is a believer. The practice has been “integral to whatever success I’ve had in life,” he says. “It makes one feel like a ninja in a movie, like you’re doing everything calmly and in slow motion.”

Mr. Roth, 66, is chief executive of the David Lynch Foundation, a nonprofit he co-founded with the film director in 2005 that is dedicated to teaching transcendental meditation, particularly to at-risk populations, “to improve their health, cognitive capabilities and performance in life,” as the foundation’s website says. Some of its funds come from teaching courses to companies and individuals; a four-day training course costs up to $960 a person. The foundation has 60 employees in the U.S. as well as partners in 35 countries.

In early June, Mr. Roth opened the nonprofit’s first office in Washington, D.C., where he says he is currently teaching a dozen members of Congress. His organization has also been participating in studies in prisons recently. In a study published last year in the Permanente Journal, 181 male inmates at the Oregon State Correctional Institute and the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem either took a transcendental meditation program through the foundation or did nothing outside their usual routine. The researchers found greater reductions in anxiety, depression and trauma symptoms in the group that had taken meditation.

Mr. Roth finds an analogy in the sea. “The ocean can be active and turbulent on the surface, sometimes with tsunami-like 30-foot waves, but is, by its nature, silent at its depth,” he says. “The surface of the mind is the active, noisy, thinking mind – often racing, noisy, hyperactive, turbulent. But like the ocean, the mind of everyone is quiet, calm, silent at its depth.”

T.M. was developed in India by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a physicist turned meditation teacher, in the 1950s; it gained popularity in the 1960s when he worked with the Beatles and other celebrities. 

The son of a doctor and a teacher, Mr. Roth dreamed of being a senator when he was young. He started meditating in college at the University of California, Berkeley, after a friend suggested it as a way to relax amid the student riots on campus. 

·         Response Posted In Transcendental Meditation for Everyone 

 I was a TM teacher who worked for the National TM office for 5 years in the 1970s.
It is disappointing that the Journal would publish an article without due diligence. While promoting a safe meditation practice to alleviate stress, TM conceals that Maharishi chose mantras that he said were the names of Hindu gods.

The initiation ceremony – the event during which a person first receives his or her mantra – takes place in a candlelit, incense-filled room with a TM teacher chanting Sanscrit prayers before an altar. At the conclusion, the inductee bows before the altar. The altar holds offerings that the student brought to the ceremony and the teacher used to worship Maharishi’s predeceased teacher. Every monotheistic religion considers this idol worship.

All this was documented by the New Jersey courts which tossed TM from the public schools in that state.

People can do what they choose. They should have honest information which TM withholds from them.


There are some more exchanges between our former TM teacher and Bob Roth. If possible, these may be posted later, perhaps in a separate article.

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