David Lynch is in bliss pretty much every day. He's a world-famous filmmaker ("Eraserhead, "Blue Velvet," "Mulholland Drive"), and if the universe provides, he may soon be a world-famous peacemaker.
Lynch began doing transcendental meditation 32 years ago and never stopped. Every day, twice a day, no matter where he is or what he is doing, Lynch takes a 20-minute timeout to dive within. He stills his active, thinking mind and settles into a profound state of deep rest.
It's not religion, it's science, and the benefits of this kind of brain training - transcendental meditation's technique for moving the mind and body into a unique state of restful alertness - are well documented in more than 600 scientific research studies done over the last 30 years.
It's ancient wisdom. It's time we stopped re-proving it and started using it.
Check it out at www.tm.org. The hard data is there and undeniable. And don't be put off by the gauzy presence of transcendental meditation's founder, Maharashi Mahesh Yogi. You don't have to believe in His Holiness or the Beatles to accept the fact that meditation works.
Transcendental meditation reduces high blood pressure, increases energy, reduces stress and depression and allows people to awaken their body and mind in a way that leads to better health and greater happiness.
Kids are suffering from way too much stress in their lives. We have abandoned them to the drug companies and junk food pushers. Ten million are on antidepressants. Another 2 million-plus take Ritalin. Learning disabilities and attention-deficit disorders are on the rise, and so are the numbers of kids who take sleeping pills.
It's a big mess out there, and David Lynch and his transcendental meditation friends have decided to take action.
Which is why he called the other day. I was hoping it was to explain the ending of "Mulholland Drive," but no. Lynch is on a crazy, wonderful crusade. He wants to give transcendental meditation training to any child in the country who wants to learn how to meditate. That's why he started the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education last year and why he's committing himself to raising $25 million by the end of next year.
His real goal is $7 billion, in case you're in a fat-check-writing mood, and that includes building seven Universities of Peace that link students' inner peace to world peace and would make our entire planet a much nicer place to live.
"This is something that really works,"said Lynch. "You take a kid filled with stress, and you teach him (transcendental meditation) and watch what happens. It's amazing."
It sure is. Log on to the web site - DavidLynchFoundation.org - and see for yourself. Transcendental meditation hasn't been taught to that many kids - only a few thousand in about 80 schools, according to Robert Roth, vice president of Lynch's Foundation - but the documented benefits, according to research, stress experts, teachers and the students themselves, are impressive.
Kids who use transcendental meditation to quiet their minds for just 10 minutes, twice a day, improve their grades, increase their IQ and reduce anxiety and depression. Their blood pressure comes down and their self-esteem goes up. Stress dissolves, aggressive behaviors subside and kids emerge from their 10-minute session feeling calmer, happier and more able to focus and learn.
I know. It sounds too good to be true. If transcendental meditation really worked, why wouldn't it be in 8000 schools, instead of 80? That's a good question. Robert Roth, who's been teaching transcendental meditation for 35 years, believes that meditation is mainstream now.
It's just a matter of time, says David Lynch. Time and money.
It costs money to learn transcendental meditation. It's a step-by-step program that involves eight hours of personalized instruction from a certified teacher. It can cost up to $2,500. The money the foundation raises will subsidize kids and teachers who want to learn.
If you want to learn more about this for your child, your school, yourself, e-mail Robert Roth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Write Marilynn Preston in care of The Light, 565 Pearl St., Suite 300, La Jolla, 92037.