Meditation of the “householder” variety, as opposed to the “monastic” tradition, is on the rise. Secularized traditions like Transcendental Meditation (or similar offshoots like the Vedic practice) are appealing to those who are wary of the cultish mentality, and less interested in Buddhism. The stereotypical leg-crossing and intoning is not required: You can meditate 20 minutes a day, twice, in whatever location you find yourself in. Plus, more proof of the practice’s beneficial psychological effects pours out every year.
The only issue with TM: It’s expensive, unless you manage to land a competitive scholarship from the David Lynch Foundation. If it cost less, there’s little doubt most of the people you know would have at least tried it. There is a group of people, however, who have mostly at least dabbled: that is, artistic rich people.
The process — which you must be taught in person, despite how fundamentally simple its precepts are — is said to enhance creative thought, among other things, though you can’t break your meditation to run and record some cool little musical idea you thought of (I bet the Beatles did cheat and do that when the Maharishi wasn’t looking, though). It also grounds you, calms you, focuses you, implicitly tends to help your thoughts fall into order after your meditation is finished. So it’s no wonder so many high-powered individuals drink the Kool-Aid; it’s tasty.
You can imagine the practice has attracted some weirdos, however. Here, for your enjoyment and consideration as potential TMers, are the strangest among the bunch.
You might think that the legendary actor and director — nowadays, known for being almost avant-gardely conservative and possibly being the same as his character in Gran Torino — might have not the time or patience for such hippie mumbo-jumbo. But everyone needs to spice up their process, and maybe he just needed to psychological help. Here he is, attempting to speak like a human being to The David Lynch Foundation:
Who would have thought the Australian hunk could relax that neck? You’d think it would take more than 20 minute to get that big old frame balanced. But the Wolverine actor, who claims to meditate before he takes the stage at the Oscars (when, like in the audience, Hugh?), actually speaks fairly poetically about the importance the practice holds for him, recycling some metaphors no doubt:
““I’m not saying I’m never frightened anymore or that I don’t have stress, but…I like the analogy of a glass of water when you first pour it it’s cloudy. When you’re stressed, that’s what your mind is like, it’s kinda cloudy. And after I meditate all that sinks to the bottom and the water is clear and the energy is finer, and the decisions you make are more authentic, and I think you’re more economical with your energy, with your time, in every way. You’re more able to listen to other people. And as an actor, that’s all you got. Your only tools you really have is being present, being clear, and listening. So it helped me in every way, I mean, immeasurably.”
For radio’s original bad boy, TM is as basic as [“brushing your teeth”], as he put it to Jerry Seinfeld on his Crackle show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Those who religiously listen to his show have no doubt heard him talk about this — at this point, perhaps nearly as frequently as breasts. And Stern wasn’t just picking up on the fad; he’s been doing it since he was 18, after his mother started doing it to cope with grief about her sister passed away. As far as celeb TM spokespeople go, he’s one of the best and most down-to-earth.
Katy Perry is so woke, but perhaps that’s no surprise. Can you imagine Katy Perry and David Lynch having a conversation? Does she fuck with Lost Highway? According to Perry’s testimonial on Transcendental Meditation’s official website, everyone who tours with her (that’s 130 people) learns TM.
Jim Carrey is actually much chiller than you, on the inside. Well, not exactly; the TM experimentation may be tied in with a far stranger spiritualist awakening he’s been going through over the course of the past decade:
There’s going to be TM in Trump’s White House, folks. That leads us to the scary thought: has Trump tried it? Did Trump, Sting, and Donovan get together and have a session, if his Hot Daughter did it? Mrs. Trump wakes up at 5:30 to work out and meditate, treating them as essentially the same thing (“Then I shower and listen to a TED Talk while I moisturize and do my makeup,” she told mymorningroutine.com). But that’s the way of the modern meditator, and Trump is the way of our dystopian near-future.