Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Lynch Foundation Lures Schools into TM Quiet Times

The Lynch Foundation Lures Schools Into TM Quiet Times

Perhaps you've read of the Transcendental Meditation guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and his famed Beatle aficionados.  And maybe you've surmised the TM mania had mostly gone away.  But, you're dead wrong, for there's been a recent resurgence of TM training aimed at vulnerable young tweens and teens in our public schools under a benign sounding program called "Quiet Time."

Yes, "Quiet Time!"  Now what could be wrong with that?  Plenty!  Most certainly it's not a "quiet time" such as a nap time, nor is it a time of daily devotions; rather it is a "quiet time" where kids, twice a day in their classrooms, are going to use a TM mantra to practice fifteen minute periods of meditation.

The Lynch Foundation Leaders

Now, the foundation sponsoring this time of silence is headed by the eccentric TM devotee, famed film producer David Lynch, who can be labeled as an apostle, guru, evangelist, proselyte, teacher, and passionate promoter of the practice of TM.  Lynch, along with his loyal longtime TM co-meditator, and executive director Bob Roth of the foundation, declare that TM is not religious, nor is it philosophy but just a simple way to tamp down stress and promote calm especially among youth with special needs or the inner city poor.

However, one thing Lynch and Roth neglect to say up front is that in order for teachers to teach TM or for students to practice TM is they all must attend an "Initiation" time with a personal TM teacher that includes attending a Hindu puja ceremony, learning a personal Hindu mantra, and kneeling down to Guru Dev the revered mentor of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.  Oh, all initiates must bring along an offering of a piece of fruit, some flowers, and a handkerchief.  And one other thing TM is not free-- it costs money!

The Lynch Foundation Chicago Forum

So, exactly how do Lynch, and Roth sell such a program to public schools?  Well, for starters they've assembled quite an entourage of famed meditators such as Dr. Oz, Oprah Winfrey, Katie Perry, Jerry Seinfeld, and so many more to champion TM, and to raise funds for it.  In addition the Lynch Foundation has a well planned program that it uses to sell "Quiet Time" to public schools.

A March 23, 2016 video "Chicago Education Forum" exposes exactly how this TM infiltration is carried out.  The forum, led by moderator CNN news lady Candy Crowley, allows one to peek inside the presentations presented to, and foisted on school administrators, teachers, parents, and youth.

To put forth their agenda the DLF assembles charismatic administrative staff, and teachers already trained in TM to talk up the technique.  In addition, they invite well-known professional TM meditators of varying stripes who tout TM as the best answer to every ill in our schools.  Always, they include Bob Roth, past devotee of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, meditator extraordinaire to sell the program.

At the Chicago forum besides the above attendees, John Wolf, a speaker for the University of Chicago's Crime Lab and Urban Education Lab announced its studies being conducted on meditating students in both Chicago, and NYC public schools.

Included in this forum was a principal who meditates along with her students making it a practice to pop in on various classrooms as they engage in "Quiet Time."  Another gregarious educator testifies, after learning TM, she taught it to her own children (including a four-year-old), and soon her husband too had become part of their now TM family.  Imagine if a Christian teacher in a public school arena told how he or she had become a Christian, and how their whole family now followed Christ.
Certainly, this bubbling TM testimony could be likened to a religious conversion.  Ah, this process, despite DLF statements to the contrary, is religious through and through; but oh how devoid of God it is, instead it is centered on the diving into the divine self within!

Following up on the educator recitations of their successes with TM moderator Crowley quizzes Bob Roth, who was on the panel, as to just how one might get a four-year-old to meditate explaining she'd love to have her own young grandchildren meditate too.  Roth replies that young children between four or five and up to ten are able to do "walking meditation."  Roth then stresses older children ten and up can do "sitting meditation."  While he mentions a personal TM trainer, nary a word is said about the mantras! and

Some Lynch Foundation Information 

A hot-off-the-press article relating to the above forum featured in the December 2016 Smithsonian Magazine by Jennie Rothenberg Gritz titled:  "Director David Lynch Wants Schools to Teach Trans-cendental Meditation to Reduce Stress" mentions more about the Crime Lab's multiyear study of "Quiet Time", the DLF's school meditation program.  With 6,800 subjects in Chicago and New York City, it's one of the largest randomized controlled studies ever conducted on meditation for children.

Gritz tells how Lynch himself has meditated since 1973, and how his foundation raises money from events by stars such as Perry, Sting, and so on.  Gritz emphasizes that TM is different than mindfulness.  Gritz reveals she herself has been a meditator since when?  Ten!  Gritz says, " People who learn TM are given a mantra, or sound, and a specific technique for using it.  You repeat the mantra, and, if all goes well, your mind settles down into a deep, expansive silence."

Of course, this validates the well-known fact that all TMers, kids or otherwise, must have their own personal TM teacher to introduce via Hindu puja and Sanskrit chanting their own mantra.  Interestingly, one can read Gritz grew up in Fairfield, Iowa attending the Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment now part of Maharishi Vedic City.

Transcendental Meditation in the Public Schools

Gritz, fascinated by the fact TM had become mainstream again in of all places, public schools, also wrote a November 10, 2015 piece in The Atlantic: "Mantras Before Math." In it she shares her childhood connections to TM.  She also notes because TM is trademarked, all who use it must receive the same personal instructions.  With one's mantra, Gritz explains, TM is so automatic that the meditator just begins their mantra and transcends.

Because Gritz questioned exactly how TM would work in a school setting she visited several Cali-
fornia schools to see what the kids were doing.  A Redwood City High School principal gave her some answers--one being that meditation wasn't just for students, but for the staff as well.  Aha, just as one would suspect--they are going after all the teachers too.  And sooner or later shame on the educator who doesn't buy into the system!

Gritz found some "Quiet Time" programs have full-time site meditator managers whose salaries come from the DLF or the Hass Fund.  One school even rewards kids who meditate for certain periods of times with parties.  Some schools use upperclassmen to form an "Advanced Meditators Crew" to teach their peers to meditate.  Gritz' lengthy article, and its findings can be read here:

Transcendental Meditation Guru Lynch

Claire Hoffman, with a childhood background in TM like Gritz, wrote another revealing article "David Lynch Is Back ... as a Guru of Transcendental Meditation" in the New York Times Magazine in 2013.  In it Claire details her attendance at a David Lynch meeting in LA of newly initiated TMers, youthful Hollywood actor types, who had gathered round Lynch in his studio for a morning of meditation and instruction in the nature of consciousness.

After the meditation, which was led by Lynch, there was a Question and Answer Session.  Asked about his first meditative experience Lynch told the group precisely the time and place there in LA where he'd begun his lifelong meditation habit.  In contrast, a Christian can tell the time and place where they repented of their sins, and asked the Lord to come into their life.

Of Lynch's life Claire wrote, "... Lynch drank, made money, married a number of women, and directed violent and dark movies.  Still he loved meditating-- 'diving within.'"  Reflecting on this quote one would have to note that Lynch's own life surely had not demonstrated the "peace" and "calm" he advocates others buy into by practicing TM. 

Claire shares Lynch once had a rare opportunity to bond with the late Maharishi by taking an Enlightenment Course offered by the guru to the tune of about a million dollars per student.  After Lynch signed on, he went abroad only to find this conference would be telecast without any personal time with the guru.  In spite of this, Lynch returned home with a new sense of mission, and in 2005 founded his foundation.

Transcendental Meditation Memoir Overview

In addition to the above article Claire wrote a recent 2016 book Greetings from Utopia Park: Surviving a Transcendent Childhood  that pulls back the curtain to reveal exactly what TM is all about.  In it Claire tells the poignant story of her own TM besot mother, and her TM saturated childhood in Fairfield, Iowa.  Her book is dedicated to her mom who believed in Utopia, and to her daughters who forced her to see it might be true.

The beginning chapter "Initiation" tells of Claire's first step in the pathway of Enlightenment-- the receiving of her own private "Word of Wisdom" at the age of three. (pp.3-7)  Chapter three "Stanger in a Strange Land" finds Claire in Fairfield where she and her sibling were unable to afford the Maharishi School, and instead were forced to attend the "Townie" public school.  Marked as a "'ru" or "guru"  or "meditator"  the children were often mocked. (pp.44-47)

The chapter "Levitation" tells how the Maharishi dictated one December would be called "A Taste of Utopia" where hundreds would come together to meditate.  Claire recalls how eager her mom was to take a course to become a Siddha--someone who had superpowers--so she might learn to "fly" or "levitate." (pp.49-57)  In "Taste of Utopia" she details the arrival of seven thousand who gathered to meet the Maharishi, and to meditate in The Shed.  The event began with a greeting "Jai Guru Dev!" (Praises to Guru Dev; god-like guru who was mentor to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi) after which school children sang the Maharishi School anthem announcing that diving deep within The Self Life would be bliss.  Bells rang out.  The guru reported they'd all just reached "the first Taste of Utopia for all mankind." (p.65)

"Fortunate Are We!" tells of Claire's first days at the Maharishi School where she learned to recite the Maharishi's Sixteen Principles of SCI or Science of Creative Intelligence.  In that school it seemed that, wrote Claire, "everyone stated every sentence with 'Maharishi says ....'"  Besides SCI, a Vedic prayer before meals had the children saying they were radiating the light of life, and that they were never to entertain negativity. (p.78)  However, the most important thing emphasized was the phrase "Being on the Program."  This meant all who climbed the seven rungs or ladder of consciousness would become like Maharishi--"blissful or enlightened." (p.79)

Claire also reminisces "... friends in Fairfield always remarked how lucky we were to learn meditation so young.  ... Even our teachers treated us like chosen ones--Brahmin reincarnated ... selected because of an infinite lifetime of good karma to be leaders in the Age of Enlightenment."  (p.84)

In "On the Program" Claire recalls her ten-year-old sitting meditation initiation in an incense filled room kneeling before a picture of Guru Dev while her teacher rattled off a long list of Sanskrit words--names of the many gods who had helped them meditate.(pp.111-112)  In short, Hoffman's book enables one to understand what school systems are really buying into when they adopt TM programs!

In the book Claire updates the reader on changes in Fairfield, and her adult search into TM through her journalism.  She describes one interview she had with David Lynch in which she relates how Lynch nearly wept on the phone as they discussed 2008 death of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Claire wrote, "I felt pushed away. ... I didn't love the Maharishi."  She also spoke with Deepak Chopra, once heir apparent to the Maharishi, who had had a falling out with the late TM master.

As Claire discussed her growing doubts about the Maharishi's program (2013 meeting) Lynch challenged her.  She also wrote how TM is said to better one's health.  As an example she names Dr. Norman Rosenthal,* avowed TM practitioner and author of Transcendence, with his endorsements; and she cites Dr. Mehmet Oz, famed doctor, with his positive TM video testimonial.  But, still she had doubts.  In the end, she felt that Lynch when confronting the public made TM seem to be nothing more than a simple meditative practice; but in private "wanted to make sure I believed that Maharishi's way was the Truth, that he hadn't been a man who made mistakes or had his own selfish impulses." (p.246) However, the Lord Jesus, in John 14:6, speaks about these very issues where he says: "I am the way, the truth, and life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me."

*  Dr. Rosenthal was one of the speakers at the Chicago DLF Forum in March 2016.

Transcendental Meditation City Revisited

After the birth of her own children, Claire once again wanted to believe in TM and the Maharishi's mission so she returned to Fairfield, took the Flying/Levitation course to try to reconnect to her past.  After, Claire wrote, "But as far as the great guru (Maharishi)-- I had to let him go." (p.255)  Claire questioned why she or her family had wanted him to be more than human, and why he himself wanted to be more than human when he was not.

Of the TM she grew up in, Claire reflected, "The Movement I had grown up in--call it a cult, a religion, a community, it was all these, it rescued my family from a scary time."  Claire adds, "We were given a sense of magic and mystery and superpowers--we believed we could control our
destinies and the fate of the world." (p.255)

Transcendental Meditation Initiation Description

In chapter eighteen Claire paints a vivid portrayal of her young daughter's TM initiation at the David Lynch Foundation in Hancock Park, California.  Deciding to keep meditation for herself, and her children Claire made arrangements with Bob Roth, the effervescent DLF executive, to be the trainer to initiate her four-year-old Josie.  Hoffman tells how she took Josie to an LA DLF house where they brought their puja offering of Starbucks bananas and street-vendor flowers.  On the walls of the house hung photos of David Lynch along with other famous meditators, among them Jerry Seinfeld and Russel Brand. 

Upon meeting Roth they entered an initiation room with golden armchairs that faced a photo of Guru Dev hanging over an altar.  In front of the altar were puja containers of incense, camphor, and rice.  There Roth gave her four-year-old her first mantra: "A Word of Wisdom."  The little gal gave Roth a rose which he crushed.  Chanting softly he lit the incense, put the petals in water, and burned camphor while Claire cried. (pp.256-258)  Readers remember that all who participate in TM must go through this ritual, and that includes all of the public school staff, and children who participate.  While the parents may have given written permission for their students to participate in what they believe to be a nonreligious program, at its core it is Hinduism.
TM Belief:  You Control Your Own Destiny-So Dive Within!  

A back cover blurb on Hoffman's book by Melissa Coleman, author of This Life Is in Your Hands, best summarizes not only how Hoffman sees TM, but also how the whole DLF portrays it as nonreligious and as a simple meditative method to produce calm and peace.  Coleman writes,   "Claire Hoffman, ... tells of the struggle to find her own path to truth while growing up amid the distraction and contradictions of a guru's prescribed utopia.  Her triumph, and the reminder for us all, is in excusing the external guru and trusting the guide within."  Notice how Coleman speaks of life being in our own hands, and truth being something within ourselves.  But the Bible tells us otherwise when it says in Proverbs 16:2: "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the motives."  And in Proverbs 16:9 we read: "A man's heart deviseth his way; but the Lord directeth his steps.  Lastly, Proverbs 16: 25 states: "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

The Lynch Foundation Links to the Maharishi University

It is a well documented fact that the David Lynch Foundation with its Hindu rituals, and TM mission is tightly connected to the Maharishi University School of Management (MUM). For Lynch has sponsored "David Lynch MUM Weekends," supported MUM on its web site, headed a graduate MUM film course, and participated on its trustee board.  In addition, Lynch was MUM's 2016 commencement speaker where he was awarded an honorary "Doctorate of Peace."  The notion there's nothing religious about TM is patently false.  Of the famed TM guru, Lynch at MUM's June graduation, called the Maharishi "the greatest master who ever walked the earth." and

But, the greatest master that ever walked the earth was not a mere mortal man as was the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, but was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God.  It's not by following a Yogi, or a Guru we attain salvation or bliss or enlightenment , but it is as Acts 4:12 states: "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

To conclude, Isaiah 26:3-4 tells us to focus our minds on the Lord, and to trust in him forever!

Learn to Discern Granny Verse: Isaiah 26:3 

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusted in thee."

More Information:

Herescope: "Mainstreaming Mystic Mindfulness: Eastern Meditation as the Universal Cure-All" by Gaylene Goodroad.  
Find at:

Home: Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa:  Tells what can be found in this model city: Vedic Architecture, Vedic Health Care, Vedic Agriculture, Vedic Education, and Vedic Administration.  Find at: 

Home: Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa:  Outlines "Best Bet-City Tour including: Raj Health Center (TM and TM-Sidhi Program with Yogic Flying); Pandit Campus (Hindu Holy Men); and Golden Domes on MUM campus (Group Spaces for Peace and Harmony Meditation).
Find at:

"Falling Down the TM Rabbit Hole"  Find at:

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