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The Short Version: Established in 2005, the David Lynch Foundation is on a mission to spread the word about the curative powers of Transcendental Meditation (aka TM). Anyone can meditate — it takes only a few hours a day over a few days to learn from a specially trained teacher, and then your practice it a few minutes twice a day on your own. By meditating, you can reduce your stress levels and reach a more peaceful and satisfied state of mind. Through its educational programs, the charitable organization has worked with thousands of young children, battered women, military veterans, and prison inmates across the country. Founder David Lynch, an award-winning director and screenwriter, has been meditating every day since 1973 and witnessed firsthand the incredible psychological and physical benefits of TM. Scientific research likewise supports the positive impact of this type of meditation on the body, mind, and heart, especially for anyone who has experienced a trauma such as domestic abuse. If you’re in search of healing and happiness in your personal life, practicing Transcendental Meditation can help find your inner calm and recover from past pains.
When you’re on a boat in the middle of rough waters, with towering waves knocking you about as you battle to stay afloat, the whole ocean seems in upheaval. In that moment, you can’t see anything beyond the turmoil, the danger, the buffeting reality all around you — but, if you could look deep beneath the waves, into the heart of the ocean, you’d see the inner calm that always lies beneath the turbulent surface.
That’s what meditation seeks to find, according to Bob Roth, the Chief Executive Officer of the David Lynch Foundation, a charity organization that promotes greater mental wellness through Transcendental Meditation. By meditating, people gain access to their own deeper waters where the mind is truly at peace.
Bob’s journey to become one of the foremost meditation teachers in the US began with a boyhood desire to change the world. Growing up amid the political turmoil of the ’60s, he thought politics was the way to make a difference, so he joined Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign.
After the Senator’s assassination, Bob turned away from the divisiveness and violence of politics.
“I thought the nation’s ills would never be healed through political means,” he explained. “So I decided to make a better world, one kid at a time.”
Bob set aside dreams of being an elected official and devoted himself to education. He wanted to instill in children important skills and values that would help them throughout their lives. It was a stressful time for him — he was a college kid getting his doctorate and feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders. That’s when a friend suggested he try Transcendental Meditation.
“That wasn’t even in my vocabulary. I didn’t know what it meant,” Bob told us. “I’m a skeptical person by nature, but I trusted my friend. He said, ‘It’s science, and you don’t have to believe in it.’”
Over 40 years ago, Bob gave Transcendental Meditation a try, and it forever changed his life. Today, he passionately endorses meditation’s healing potential and directs the charitable programs and advocacy efforts of the David Lynch Foundation. He especially loves teaching kids to meditate. Since 2005, the DLF has taught TM to more than 500,000 inner-city youth in more than 35 countries. The nonprofit also works closely with survivors of domestic abuse by offering meditation programs that help women and children recover from traumatic experiences.
Anyone interested in honing a sense of well-being can practice Transcendental Meditation and tap into the deep well of strength within. “We all want a break from the constant noise and chatters in our heads, and we want to have some inner calm, some inner peace,” Bob said. “Transcendental Meditation is a simple, natural, and easy technique that gives you access to that part of you that’s already perfectly calm, settled, peaceful, and wide awake inside.”
Sometimes life can feel like a never-ending to-do list. Every minute of the day, the mind is constantly working, mulling, considering, worrying, deliberating, and problem-solving to meet the needs of the moment. So many pressures and concerns often run people ragged. Meditation, when properly understood and practiced, effectively quiets the mind and gives you a respite from your deadlines, worries, and conflicts. “That deep rest does something really valuable,” Bob said. “It dissolves the tension in your body and mind instantaneously.”
The David Lynch Foundation makes Transcendental Meditation accessible to anyone and everyone. According to Bob, over 2 million people in the US have learned to meditate, and about two-thirds are women. In general, the gentler sex is more receptive to the idea of meditating as a way to recharge and relax.
People of all ages can learn Transcendental Meditation quickly and then practice it on their own time for 20 minutes twice a day. You sit down, close your eyes, say a soothing mantra, and find your inner calm. It’s not a philosophy or a belief system — it’s a therapeutic mental technique.
Whether you’re going through a breakup or working to support your family, life can come with a lot of stress. Stress keeps many people from feeling happy and being healthy. Sometimes severe stress can manifest physically via weight gain, substance abuse, high blood pressure, and other harmful conditions. “The problem of stress is literally killing us,” Bob said. “There’s an epidemic of stress and trauma.”
Transcendental Meditation is a natural stress reliever. It’s an effortless solution to an age-old problem. The David Lynch Foundation shows people the way to reduce their stress by raising awareness and conducting instructive lessons at schools, military bases, homeless shelters, prisons, and other community settings in the US and abroad.
You can find out about upcoming events on the website and join the movement toward a happier and healthier state of being. The biggest event on the calendar right now is the DLF’s annual gala, a National Night of Laughter and Song, held in Washington D.C. The show features celebrities, including Hugh Jackman, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Kesha, and Sharon Isbin, and raises money for the David Lynch Foundation’s charitable endeavors.
“Really, no one else is doing what we’re doing today, on a global level,” Bob told us. “I believe in our work profoundly. As a result of Transcendental Meditation, we’re clearer, more focused, more energized, and happier during the day. We’re more ourselves.”
The David Lynch Foundation coaches many people one-on-one in innovative meditation programs. The Women’s Health Initiative, for instance, provides much-needed support and guidance for women who have survived rape, domestic violence, and other trauma. By teaching Transcendental Meditation, the David Lynch Foundation helps these women overcome psychological scars and cultivate a calm state of mind.
Victims of sexual assault or domestic abuse receive free scholarships through the organization’s Women’s Health Initiative. Battered women can improve sleep habits and find healing by practicing meditation. “That, in a very real way, helps to heal wounds,” Bob told us. “You’re giving your body a state of rest that’s deeper than sleep so it heals trauma in the brain in an effortless and profound way.”
Some experiences leave serious emotional scars, but meditation offers victims a pathway to recovery and acceptance. “I’m feeling how I felt before I was raped — worthy, lovable, and that I don’t deserve any disrespect in my life,” said Cynthia, a sexual assault survivor helped by the David Lynch Foundation.
“Scars in the nervous system and brain keeps your heart hurting, making you feel dependent and weak,” Bob said. “That’s not life. We shouldn’t accept that. Meditation can help in every way.”
Whether the DLF’s meditation mentors are visiting a military base or a prison, they offer a pathway to tranquility and health through simple actions. Transcendental Meditation positively influences the lives of people of all backgrounds, ages, and experiences.
The David Lynch Foundation has pioneered meditation programs in inner-city Chicago schools to help students focus and excel throughout their lives. The program was so successful, the team is looking to expand to other districts across the country. Recently, the foundation launched Generation Meditation to reach out to young adults and show them the positive impact a meditative lifestyle can have.
“Young people today are growing up in a stressful and confused world,” Bob said. “They’re in need of emotional stability. In teaching them Transcendental Meditation, we’re giving them vital skills they’ll have with them their whole lives.”
The David Lynch Foundation encourages people to take up Transcendental Meditation and find relief from the daily worries hindering a happy and healthy existence. In the words of David Lynch, “In 2005, we started the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace to ensure that every child anywhere in the world who wanted to learn to meditate could do so.”
Since then, the foundation has been part of some overwhelming success stories. From students bringing up their GPAs to abuse victims recovering from trauma, the many personal stories show how Transcendental Meditation can be an enormous force for good in a person’s life.
After meditating every day for two months straight, Buzzfeed employees endorsed Transcendental Meditation as a helpful way to find focus, silence, and contentment. “It makes me aware of my own company, that I can be alone and have, like, a fulfilling time with myself,” said Linda who embarked on the project to reduce her daily anxiety.
The David Lynch Foundation has more than testimonials to back its mission — the site highlights many peer-reviewed academic research about the benefits of mediation. For instance, the Journal of Counseling and Development found meditation was linked with a 42% decrease in insomnia. “Research tells us that Transcendental Meditation can physically heal wounds,” Bob said. “To be in a healing, vibrant, and vital relationship, we have to grow ourselves. We have to make ourselves feel alive on our own, and know that it’s OK to be alone sometimes.”
Meditation has a healing effect on the body and can be emotionally uplifting as well. Bob spoke of the transformation people achieve when they take a moment to just breathe and relax from the inside out.
“You start to wake up your own creative resources. You don’t mind being by yourself. You want to try new things and take on new challenges,” he explained. “And that’s more appealing to people than someone who’s going to be clingy and dependent in a relationship.”
Transcendental Meditation opens you up to the clarity within. It’s not a mystical religion, and it’s not hard to do. All it takes is 20 minutes of quiet time to reach within and unlock the tranquility beneath the tempestuous surface of the mind. You can learn how to meditate by contacting the David Lynch Foundation or finding a TM teacher near you here.
“Meditation has changed my life. It makes me calm and happy — and it gives me some peace and quiet in what’s a pretty chaotic life!” — Hugh Jackman, actor
The nonprofit organization provides useful resources to women, students, veterans, and anyone overwhelmed by stress in their daily lives. By practicing Transcendental Meditation, you can instantly reduce your stress levels, focus your awareness, heal your heartaches, and reach a happier frame of mind.
“Transcendental Meditation is exceedingly valuable. We all have those first loves and losses,” Bob said. “Meditation helps us heal and wake up our creative potential, so we bring more to our personal relationships.”