Meditation In Schools
April 30, 2007 6:50 PM   Subscribe

The David Lynch Foundation via the man himself will announce, on May 1st, at 12 noon (EDT), the foundation's plan to stop school violence. Their plan? Teaching students how to meditate.
posted by jasonspaceman (65 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The Transcendental Meditation wikipedia page is a decent starting point if you want to know more about it.
posted by jasonspaceman at 6:52 PM on April 30, 2007

Whoa. That's weird.
posted by brundlefly at 6:54 PM on April 30, 2007

I wonder if they're going to charge each kid $2500 too
posted by saraswati at 6:57 PM on April 30, 2007

posted by davebush at 6:59 PM on April 30, 2007

Before the snarking begins, I'm willing to suggest this is a noble thing. Hopeless, but noble.
posted by davebush at 7:04 PM on April 30, 2007

His heart is in the right place.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:07 PM on April 30, 2007

I'm afraid quonsar has got this covered.
posted by grobstein at 7:12 PM on April 30, 2007

If you meditate properly the bullet passes right through your brain with no impact.

Actually, I am a huge believer in meditation. It is kind of magical. My wife taught me how to do it while we were dating and in just a few tries I was able to get my pulse down into the low forties. I wasn't even in good shape then. I can drop my blood pressure something like twenty or thirty points in two minutes. All this and I am just a rank amateur. Meditation is really something everyone should learn. You got stress? Get into the zen and Valium seems like a druggy joke by comparison. Meditation works and it works big.
posted by caddis at 7:15 PM on April 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Before when Lynch suckered us to his seminars under the guise of talking about his films when his real intention was to ask us for money for his cult... well, that was insulting and sad.

Cashing-in on the Virginia Tech tragedy? Wow.

The Scientologists have been largely criticized for their presence at the school. How is this much different?
posted by basicchannel at 7:18 PM on April 30, 2007

David Lynch is obviously in earnest, but the organization he's representing seems rather scammish / cultish. I wouldn't much mind someone else teaching schoolkids meditation.

I found this Ask topic useful.

on preview: yeah I definitely got a 'Dianetics in schools' vibe
posted by grobstein at 7:22 PM on April 30, 2007

TM isn't really's induced trance. There's a big difference between trance and other kinds of meditation.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:23 PM on April 30, 2007

Doesn't sound any more far fetched than any other religious mumbo-jumbo.
posted by 2sheets at 7:25 PM on April 30, 2007

Good idea. Especially in combination with strenuous, inward-looking physical exercise such as karate or yoga and a vigorous course in basic life-skills, something like this would help many, many troubled kids.

However, they should selectively appropriate some of TM's ideas, combine them with time-honored techniques of "mainstream" meditation, and repurpose/repackage the whole thing. TM itself has too much pseudo-scientific swami-for-hire baggage.
posted by facetious at 7:26 PM on April 30, 2007

Lest we forget this is not your garden variety meditation (which is awesome and useful)... this is the "lets send positive vibes out into the aether and levitate and do crazy shit that we can't prove and no one's seen anyone do please give large sums of money to our fucked-up cult".

Oh and he uses some douchenozzle "physicist" who was in What The Bleep Do We Know? to prove this confidence trick is the genuine article.

posted by basicchannel at 7:27 PM on April 30, 2007

sounds a bit better than hitting kids with leather straps to make them behave.
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:28 PM on April 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ah T.M. The decent man's Scientology.
posted by delmoi at 7:30 PM on April 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Will this make me a Jedi?
posted by Dizzy at 7:33 PM on April 30, 2007

No, but you'll get to see the midget behind the dumpster.
posted by basicchannel at 7:34 PM on April 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

When I was in elementary school, a bunch of Yogic Flyers visited. We were all expecting to be whoah!-ed out.

It turned out to be a bunch of skinny old people sitting in full lotus bouncing up and down for a few minutes.

It wasn't even like they got all that high off the ground or anything.

... and what the two Dave's said.
posted by porpoise at 7:39 PM on April 30, 2007

How is this any different from school prayer? It's not the bowing heads part that keeps people on the straight and narrow. It's the belief (foolish or not) that some god will smite you down if you get uppity.

I'm with Thomas Jefferson on this one. Religion may be bupkus, but it's better than not believing in anything.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:40 PM on April 30, 2007

I don't know about TM but I've been doing Natural Stress Relief since reading about it on mefi and have found it to be incredibly useful.
posted by brevator at 7:41 PM on April 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I thought it said mediate...

I hadn't heard of transcendental mediation.
posted by ODiV at 7:42 PM on April 30, 2007

Classes on mediation seem like a really good idea, by the way.
posted by ODiV at 7:51 PM on April 30, 2007

mediate, medicate. Same dif.
posted by porpoise at 7:51 PM on April 30, 2007

If Thoreau ("Tastes Great!") and Emerson ("Less Filling!") got in a fight about shitty domestic beer, that transcendental mediation would become mighty handy...
posted by Dizzy at 7:52 PM on April 30, 2007

If TM was what helped Lynch come up with the ending of "Twin Peaks".... SHOOT ME!
posted by wendell at 7:56 PM on April 30, 2007

Will this make me a Jedi?
posted by Dizzy at 10:33 PM on April 30 [+][!]

posted by caddis at 8:11 PM on April 30, 2007

Ah T.M. The decent man's Scientology.

Can you explain this comment, delmoi? I made that post about TM and the generic and religion-neutral alternative NSR, and like brevator, I've found Natural Stress Relief to be incredibly effective and helpful. It's everything Lynch says TM is in Catching the Big Fish. It's not a cult but a specific technique that seems to be very effective at healing damage done to the nervous system and promoting peace, creativity, and an open mind. Skeptics might want to check out the NSR forums.
posted by muckster at 8:12 PM on April 30, 2007

Lost souls, all of you.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:28 PM on April 30, 2007

I think kids should be subjected to karaoke every morning. A moment of NOISE is what our public schools need. Ysabellabrave is a David Lynch fan. Whether or not she's into TM I dunno.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:31 PM on April 30, 2007

There seem to be a lot of misunderstandings and animosity in this thread, so let me try this one more time:

1. I don't know anything more about TM than what it says on the official website. It always sounded interesting but the religious trappings and the price were a deal-breaker for me.

2. INLAND EMPIRE was the best movie of 2006.

3. There's a nominal-fee alternative to the $2500 TM instruction you can download at

4. I've done the NSR thing for the last 6 months, and the effects are astounding. I am calmer, more relaxed, I sleep better, and I have better ideas. There's no cult involved, and I recommend it to everyone.
posted by muckster at 8:32 PM on April 30, 2007

i meditate on one of these
posted by pyramid termite at 8:32 PM on April 30, 2007

Can you explain this comment, delmoi?

Like Scientology, T.M. seems to be interested in recruiting celebrities and making money. Unlike Scientology, it does not seem to be populated by profoundly creepy and undecent people. I don't know that much about how T.M, but I haven't really heard anything bad about 'em.
posted by delmoi at 9:00 PM on April 30, 2007

$2500 = nominal? Also, this isn't about NSR. Bringing that up is a strange derail, perhaps even astroturfing? Creepy.

That said, I can't wait to see INLAND EMPIRE.
posted by basicchannel at 9:16 PM on April 30, 2007

5 bucks says it works.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:30 PM on April 30, 2007

I'll teach ya Bonk On The Head lessons for $2500.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:53 PM on April 30, 2007

One may try TM when one is a fifteen-year-old boy, but one recalls that other things get in the way. Perhaps hard to remember for Lynch
posted by longsleeves at 9:56 PM on April 30, 2007

Total. Fucking. Bullshit.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:23 PM on April 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Do you have a newletter and can I subscribe to it?
posted by porpoise at 10:38 PM on April 30, 2007

B, argh, T.F.B.
posted by porpoise at 10:39 PM on April 30, 2007

didn't this guy used to make movies?
posted by Nelson at 11:58 PM on April 30, 2007

Is there a free TM/NSR equivalent? Why must "universally helpful" information have a price tag?
posted by ageispolis at 12:03 AM on May 1, 2007

Porpoise, I was referring to this.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:11 AM on May 1, 2007

ZachsMind, don't call it "Bonk On The Head". Call it "pure being".

*wanders off to find some mud*
posted by plant at 12:11 AM on May 1, 2007

At first I read "mediation" and I thought, "well, duh," and then I read it correctly as "meditation" and I thought, "well, duh."

The former might have some success. The latter, probably not so much.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:00 AM on May 1, 2007

David Lynch is frikken nuts. Have any of you seen his movies?


If you are a midget, stay away from Mr. Lynch.
posted by Deathalicious at 1:30 AM on May 1, 2007

The Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment in Northern England is an independent school (ie they have fees) using transcendental meditation techniques. The personal development of its students has been rated as excellent by OFSTED, (the government organisation that reviews school performance) and its exam results are among the best in the country.
posted by biffa at 2:03 AM on May 1, 2007

they're easier targets if they're meditating, you know
posted by matteo at 2:44 AM on May 1, 2007


I think he's one of the sanest people on the planet.
posted by Drexen at 2:46 AM on May 1, 2007

It means when the bullets start flying, you can get into yogic flying and zoom outta there.
posted by tomble at 3:27 AM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

biffa, I think most people would agree that there are many ways to acheive this sort of result with students... learning a musical instrument also helps to focus the mind. There are some (read: exclusive) schools that require all applicants to be able to play or read music.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:55 AM on May 1, 2007

I have thought for a long time that teaching some form of meditation in schools would be an amazing gift to kids. Start 'em young. It shouldn't be sectarian, but rather a tool for self-learning. I realize that in public (US) schools this is never going to happen. Pity, that.

If you want to check out a meditation 'school' that is pay-what-you-can-according-to-its-worth-to-you see 12 day silent meditation retreats: I think of it as my benevolent brainwash...whose brain doesn't need a wash?
posted by tingting at 6:06 AM on May 1, 2007

Just show the kids 'Inland Empire' a few times - their heads will be trying to get around the many 'whys', 'hows', 'whens' and 'wherefores', it'll be just like TM or meditation.
posted by mctsonic at 6:25 AM on May 1, 2007

Just show the kids 'Inland Empire' a few times - their heads will be trying to get around the many 'whys', 'hows', 'whens' and 'wherefores', it'll be just like TM or meditation.

I think he's one of the sanest people on the planet.

This kind of sums up TM nicely. It offers some of its adherents a kind of smooth and placid veneer, but disconnected from that is a strange and obtuse psychological manifestation. If you read up on the mechanics of TM you might discover that TM involves a forced relaxation, where you push the normal stream of thoughts out awareness. They're going to come back in strange and untoward ways and cause "stresses" (TM's terminology). Most forms of meditation that have been tried and true for centuries like Zazen (zen buddhism) don't involve forcing one to close the thoughts down, rather the energy one gets from being with a teacher allows one to expand beyond the rational stream of linear thoughts without "doing" anything about them.

In short, TM is induced trance baloney that will make you into a placid weirdo.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:46 AM on May 1, 2007

I've seen that rabbit hole thing linked before, Burhanistan, but it mainly seems to address intensive weekend TM courses that lead to problematic episodes. Most of what it says does not apply to regular, twice-a-day practice, and none of what it says about the cultish aspects of TM applies to NSR. You must be very confident in your own enlightenment if you can declare others to be "lost souls," but I wonder if you have any first-hand experience with the TM method. Even if everything that page says is true, it can't diminish the very real benefits I feel from doing it. If that's induced trance baloney, so be it.
posted by muckster at 7:16 AM on May 1, 2007

I must declare an interest by saying that David Lynch is for me one of the greatest artists in film that has ever been. People say 'weird' about his work because surrealism is not exactly in fashion (if Bunuel were around today critics would say WTF?? Two actresses playing the same role in the same film? But they look so different - Give me George Clooney instead etc etc) but it will outlast most out there. From what I understand he got into TM at a troubled time in his life and feels that all the good that has come since then owes something to it. People get addicted to what they think makes them happy Unfortunate as TM is a money based cult. Kids should be shown how to meditate, but in a secular fashion that lets them make their own choices. TM is sinister, expensive hokum. It makes me sad that someone so great needs a profoundly irrational and somewhat totalitarian mythology in order to feel together.
posted by The Salaryman at 7:20 AM on May 1, 2007

Mind you, I say this as a longtime Lynch admirer who has a passing interest in meditative practices, but...why should the practice of "going within" necessitate that I give someone...well...without $2500? I gotta say, if the treasures are all within me, it seems like a bit of a ripoff to hand someone else two and a half grand in exchange for them. I've already got 'em!

I think Lynch's devotion to TM is sincere, and I believe it's done him a world of good. I believe meditation does people a world of good., I wish he were endorsing a practice and not a money-making organization.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:29 AM on May 1, 2007

Good luck with that.
posted by petersn1 at 8:09 AM on May 1, 2007

The problem with TM and derivatives is that most people who are attracted to them have not had any experience with any other forms of meditation. So, they get a kind of imprint with the process and think it is the best way. I've seen this happen with people in many spiritual groups and movements. It's akin to meeting a very charismatic guru when one has never had a taste or baraka...the experience of the new and fantastic can cause a previously unaware person to construct overlays in their mind about the status of said guru or practice. So, what is the best way? Always keep searching...
posted by Burhanistan at 8:13 AM on May 1, 2007

$2500 = nominal?

FWIW muckster didn't say the $2500 is nominal. Rather that there is a $2500 alternative and also a different one that costs much less ($25 it turns out).

(Not that I know anything about either of them or endorse either--just saying what one person said vs. how another interpreted it . . . )
posted by flug at 8:41 AM on May 1, 2007

I've gotta agree completely with Burhanistan's comment about "they get a kind of imprint with the process and think it is the best way", though from earlier comments I think perhaps there's a bit of irony in who made that statement.

Longsleeves' "One may try TM when one is a fifteen-year-old boy, but one recalls that other things get in the way" is extremely apt, though. I grew up around TM, and know it well...but stopped meditating as a teenager 'cause I got distracted by cars and (the desire for) sex and all the usual crazy shit teenagers get distracted by. It took a while before I found my way to a different meditative technique, one that works really well for me now.

There's nothing inherent to TM that makes it "bad," but they use the same marketing techniques as some truly evil cults, and that scares a lot of people away (as it should.)

But the heart of what Lynch is proposing -- and he's certainly not the first -- is to teach kids to relax in ways that don't involve confusing drug experiences or beating on each other. This could make a big difference in a lot of lives.
posted by jdfalk at 8:57 AM on May 1, 2007

flug: Thanks, I had misread that.
posted by basicchannel at 9:41 AM on May 1, 2007

My feelings are so deeply mixed about this.

Lynch has been a profound inspiration to me. Not only creatively, but in terms of my own battles with depression. I think TM is so important to him because it allowed him to let go of his depression -- what he calls the "suffocating rubber clown suit of negativity" (I find it's apt, though it sounds silly at first). Moreover, it seems to me that he doesn't retreat from the darkness in himself but rather continues to work with it in a constructive way (indeed, it seems to be his primary artistic raw material). That give me a lot of hope that I can learn to do this myself -- something I would have considered impossible until I heard him speak about depression and creativity. In that sense, I look up to him as a role-model.

On the other hand, I'm deeply suspicious of TM's marketing and I'm disturbed by the way he's shilling it. According to anecdotal evidence on the web (not the most reliable kind of evidence I realize), not everyone has positive experiences with it. I worry about how it will affect kids with dispositions toward even more serious mental illnesses (e.g., bipolar, dissociative disorders, identity disorders, etc) -- it's apparently pretty powerful stuff and I don't think it's interactions with such things has really been documented in any serious way. It reminds of the enthusiasm surrounding LSD when it first made the rounds among the psychiatric establishment -- some people (genuinely well-meaning, like Lynch) shilled it as a panacea for everything because it had had such a profoundly positive impact on their own lives and on the lives of those they were close to. Now, however, we've found some evidence that it can trigger latent schizophrenia in people who are predisposed to schizophrenia, and that it can make certain anxiety disorders a whole lot worse. I suspect that TM will similarly have some possibly dangerous side effects for some small subset of those predisposed toward serious mental illness.

I dunno. I have a history of picking intellectual/cultural/artistic heroes who do things I can't reconcile with my understanding of them -- Heidegger was an unapologetic nazi, Wittgenstein beat schoolchildren so severely he had to resign, Deleuze threw himself out of a window, Paul Celan drowned himself in the Seine, and David Lynch not only shills TM but is campaigning to have it taught in schools. I'm just waiting for someone to uncover evidence that Emily Dickinson lived a secret double life as a confederate spy.
posted by treepour at 10:37 AM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

Totally unrelated to transcendental meditation: did you guys know David Lynch sells coffee?
posted by SoftRain at 3:59 PM on May 1, 2007

« Older ...when there is nothing left to take away.   |   Meet Mark Penn. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments