David Lynch Brings Transcendental Meditation to Troops with PTSD.

Via Birdie Greenberg
on Dec 8, 2010
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Next week, famed Hollywood filmmaker David Lynch will launch a national initiative called Operation Warrior Wellness, which aims to teach Transcendental Meditation techniques to soldiers re-adjusting to life back home and to help relieve them of symptoms related to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As many of you might already know, David Lynch (who has directed classics such as The Elephant ManBlue Velvet,Mulholland Drive, and Twin Peaks), has been practicing Transcendental Meditation for over 30 years, and has committed much of his own time and money through the David Lynch Foundation to bringing meditation techniques to populations who might not otherwise have been introduced to them.

On December 13, 2010, flanked by his high-profile celebrity friends, including other practitioners of Transcendental Meditation such as Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorcese, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and George Lucas, as well as veterans of the Vietnam War and the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Mr. Lynch will officially launch his program for soldiers healing from the traumatic effects of combat.  And given the success of other programs started by The David Lynch Foundation, which have included teaching Transcendental Meditation techniques to inner-city school kids and maximum-security prison guards, Operation Warrior Wellness may well become an integral part of the PTSD treatment regimen for many vets.

Here’s an interview Mr. Lynch did with Jo Piazza from Tonic, an online magazine, early this week:

Tonic: What exactly will Transcendental Meditation do for returning vets suffering from PTSD?

David Lynch: From what I have heard, the veterans with PTSD are suffering big time. I have learned that 18 veterans commit suicide every day. One of the treatments is to show veterans programs of violence until they finally get numb to them. This to me is inhumane. You give them Transcendental Meditation and it is like giving them the key to the treasury within every human being. They sit comfortably. They chant their mantra and they dive within. With each meditation they get more of this consciousness and more peace. This is modern science’s unified field. It is a field so beautiful and positive that when you experience it in meditation you grow in all positive qualities. Tension, anxiety, sorrow, hate and anger all start to go away.

Tonic: How did you first get into Transcendental Meditation?

Lynch: I heard a phrase: true happiness is not out there; true happiness lies within. I felt a truth to that but the phrase doesn’t tell you where the within is.

I got interested in meditation because I thought that was a way of going in. Maharishi Mahesh has said most of the forms of meditation out there don’t deserve the name meditation. The Transcendental experience is one that utilizes the full brain. I looked into all kinds of meditation and one day my sister called and said she started Transcendental Meditation and I heard a change in her voice. I heard more happiness and I heard more self-assuredness and I said this is what I want. And I went out and got it. You’re an expert from your first meditation. My first meditation was so beautiful I have been doing it twice a day for 36 years.

Tonic: So can anyone learn it?

Lynch: If you’re human you can learn it. You need a legitimate teacher. But it is easy and effortless. It takes about four days to learn and then you have this technique. But if you are meditating correctly it will work.

Tonic: What is the cost for the average person to learn?

Lynch: Right now the cost is $1,500 but if it’s a hardship, because now we have the financial downturn, you can get it for $750. If you write to the Foundation chances are you can get it for $375.

Tonic: Has it helped your creative process?

Lynch: The field within the unified field is the ocean of pure consciousness. It is a field of infinite creativity. When you experience it you will grow in creativity. Life gets better. You get more creative and your IQ goes up. It’s a technique that opens the door to the deepest level within which is all positive.

Tonic: What are you working on besides your work with the Foundation?

Lynch: A bunch of music and paintings and trying to catch the next idea for a film and working on a documentary of Maharishi.

Tonic: Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese and George Lucas are all joining you in Operation Warrior Wellness. Do they meditate too?

Lynch: Clint and Martin do. I’m not sure if George does. Clint is really behind helping the veterans.

Tonic: Do you ever get sick of everyone asking you questions about Twin Peaks?

Lynch: [Laughs] Not at all. I love that people still love that world. I love that world too.

Also, here’s a YouTube video from Mr. Lynch’s organization entitled “Healing the Wounds of PTSD through Meditation”:

If any Elephant Journal readers have ever practiced Transcendental Meditation, I’d love to hear your experiences. Also, any thoughts on Lynch’s assertion that other meditation techniques aren’t really meditation?


About Birdie Greenberg

Birdie Greenberg has been a struggling yogi since the summer of 2004, when she was stressing herself out studying to pass the bar exam. In an effort to chill her out, her mom dragged her flapping and squawking into her first yoga class. She never looked back. Four years later, she became a Registered Yoga Teacher with Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago. Birdie lives and works in Los Angeles, California. And when she's not yogaing or blogging, you'll probably find her hiking in the mountains with her handsome husband and her two beloved furballs. You can read more about her personal yoga journey at her blog, Yogi, interrupted.


7 Responses to “David Lynch Brings Transcendental Meditation to Troops with PTSD.”

  1. Fascinating, Birdie. It will interesting to see the first independent studies of the effectiveness of meditation for PTSD. Is anyone aware of any such studies so far?

    There is an excellent chapter on history of TM, from the sublime to the ridiculous, in

    American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation How Indian Spirituality Changed the West

    Bob W.
    Yoga Editor

  2. Ramesh says:

    Wonderful service! Truly great to hear David Lynch talk in such a deep and emphatic way about spirituality.
    Thanks so much for sharing this great interview!

  3. Hi, yogabird. Did you know that you can leave direct replies attached to each comment (or even to other replies) just like I'm doing here?

    The big advantage of this is the commenter will get an e-mail that your replied to their comment, even if they just leave the default "subscribe to replies". Otherwise they will only receive notice of your reply if they have chosen "all new comments" in the box below.

    Let me know if that makes sense. This has been a very successful blog. I'm so glad you're starting to cover general Yoga culture stuff like this for Elephant. You're really good at it.

    Bob W.
    Yoga Editor

  4. yogabird says:

    Hey Bob! Yes, this method of replying to comments is much better. I'm so glad to be covering general yoga culture stuff, I really like doing it. Thanks for your encouragement with this! I have a pretty good idea brewing for next week…

  5. Kanani says:

    I think there are a lot of groups, and indeed, the DOD has funded programs to study the effects of adjunct therapies to help those with PTSD. The studies, which include yoga, have come back with very good results. In fact, Harvard-Brigham Women's Hospital just released one the other day, and Dr. Bessel van der Kolk's group JRI has been working with veterans for a long time. In addition, there are many foundations, yoga studios and individuals who are offering low cost if not free services to veterans. Many VA hospitals are also offering yoga.

    As far as TM, it is a trademarked way to doing meditation, but it is not the only way. In addition, what van der Kolk found was that the best approach was not a one-sided approach, rather one that combined different things. So, talk therapy, psychiatry combined with some kind of meditation or movement therapy seems to effect the best outcome. And movement therapy could be mediatation, yoga, dance, art or sports.

    The only issue is that a lot of warriors will not have the $1500, or even the $375 to take his course. I think if the Foundation wants to reach a broader group, they will find ways to either have a voluntary weekly contribution, or just decide to raise more funds and cover the costs in total.

    The important thing is that both sides must be willing to challenge everything they thought they knew, take their values, turn them inside out, and learn from one another. David Lynch will learn as much from the veterans as they will from TM

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