Our nation faces epidemic levels of toxic stress and trauma, as evidenced by the opioid crisis and other symptoms of societal distress. These are all areas, where the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) technique has been shown to be uniquely effective. The challenge is, how can we reach those groups who are especially at risk: students, women and children who are victims of abuse, veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, and many others facing financial hardship?
For those who lack the resources to begin TM on their own, local TM Centers across the nation, the Friends of the TM Program, and the David Lynch Foundation provide scholarships and programs to take the TM course. For over 13 years, these groups have taught TM to 600,000 inner-city school children, veterans with PTS, those suffering from alcohol or drug addiction, and many more.
In addition, over 6,000 people have learned the TM technique, thanks to the generosity of local TM Center communities. In seven years this national initiative has raised $6 million to guarantee that anyone wanting to learn TM can. Donations are made through TMFriends.org, which is part of the non-profit organization teaching the TM program. And 100 percent of the scholarship funds are used for those in need.
Highlights from some of this year’s nationwide fundraising celebrations, from New York, New York to Boca Raton, Florida to Bethesda, Maryland
Tom Hanks and Mary-Louise Parker Support DLF Benefit for Veterans
America’s best-loved creative artists continue to lend their support to the David Lynch Foundation. This fall’s “Change Begins Within” event raised funds to teach TM to 1,000 veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress (PTS).
Actor, producer, and director Tom Hanks, and actress and author Mary-Louise Parker led the benefit dinner on October 18, which was streamed from The Plaza in New York City to TM Centers around the country. Their conversation about TM, life, and creativity included Hanks recounting how he was “turned on” to TM: “I was backstage at a thing, and Jerry Seinfeld was in the dressing room…” Watch the video for more.
The 2017 video also features clips from other creative artists who practice TM and support DLF programs, including Seinfeld’s performance (“If your brain is your browser, you’re in deep trouble, my friends…”); words of support from actor Hugh Jackman; and an interview with Brian Koppleman and David Levien, creators of HBO’s acclaimed series Billions.
David Lynch Foundation CEO Bob Roth, speaking from the new Rona and Jeffrey Abramson Center for Peace in Washington, D.C., gives an exciting update on ambitious efforts to bring the TM technique to veterans and others, with government support.
He also introduces highlights from DLF videos about students, veterans, and at-risk populations who have benefited from TM, from the “Quiet Time” program in a Bronx high school to alcohol and addiction recovery programs to the story of a former Marine about his re-entry into civilian life.
8th Annual Boca Raton Benefit Celebration for Community Members in Need
The Boca Raton TM Center, directed by Kent and Ondine Constable, held their annual benefit on November 4 for 60 supporters at La Cigale Mediterranean restaurant in Delray Beach, Florida.
The celebration included inspiring presentations of national and local success stories of the TM technique improving the lives of veterans with PTS, women survivors of domestic abuse, and other at-risk individuals. Members of the community were also honored for excellence in their fields.
“Every week at our Introductory Talk, at least one person who wants to learn TM is facing major financial challenges, whether due to health, unemployment, or other challenges,” said Ms. Constable. “In 2017 we were able to provide approximately 50 individual scholarships at the Boca TM Center.”
In October, for example, a lovely woman, who is a survivor of domestic abuse and struggled with acute anxiety, attended an Introductory TM Talk. Fortunately, she qualified for the local Scholarship Fund. The woman described the changes that began immediately after learning TM as follows:
“It has been almost two weeks since my first TM practice, and all areas of my life are expanding. Life has become very stable and organized. My relationships with friends and co-workers has grown because I have grown. Now I have the energy and will power to weed out negativity from my life… Before TM I had interrupted sleep and worry with deep sadness. Now I go to sleep and don’t wake up until the morning, with a new, energizing sleep and stress release. My body and mind are regenerating. I faithfully meditate twice a day. I am incredibly grateful.”
Ms. Constable has taught several other women who are survivors of abuse and heroin or alcohol addiction. She reported that invariably they say within the first few days, “I wake up without fear now,” and “This is what I have been looking for!” All of these women needed substantial or full scholarships in order to learn TM.
People with acute stress often need extra support from their TM teacher, added Ms. Constable. Every student who learns TM has access to a lifetime of follow-up. “I like to tell donors that their one-time (or monthly) donation brings immediate and life-long benefits to people who desperately need TM,” she noted.
Honoring Community Members for Their Contributions to Society
Kent and Ondine Constable also presented Maharishi Awards to four TM meditators who represent the highest ideals in their field of expertise.
Logan Skees is a Marine veteran and co-founder of Trainerspace Foundation, whose mission is to reduce and eliminate PTS-related veteran suicides by empowering prior military leaders to thrive in civilian life.
Sarah Crane is the executive director of of South Florida. The mission of the HOW Foundation is to improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities by advocating for and providing access to hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Laura Eiman, “The Face of Baby Boomer Fitness,” is an Olympic weightlifter and Florida state champion who placed 4th in the nation and won a gold medal in the Masters’ division at the PanAm Games in the Dominican Republic. “I’m on a mission to help 75 million baby boomers become the very best versions of themselves through functional fitness, proper nutrition, TM, and a daily positive attitude,” she says. Read her Enjoy TM News story.
Diana Stone is a mother, wellness coach, and blogger who empowers women through self-care. “She is a radiant example of the ideal of motherhood, the foundation of civilization,” said Ms. Constable. “She impacts thousands of people through her nourishing role supporting her family.”
Bethesda, Maryland: “Illuminate Benefit” Features World Peace
On November 4, the Bethesda TM Center, directed by Roger and Katie Grose, hosted its dinner benefit at the Maharishi Peace Palace. “Our annual Illuminate Benefit has helped us to teach many in our community who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to learn the TM technique,” said Ms. Grose.
The keynote speaker was Stuart Rothenberg, M.D., national director of the Institute of Integrative Ayurveda. He spoke about using the TM technique in large groups to strengthen the social fabric of communities and create peace.
“Dr. Rothenberg told the riveting story of how 500 TM peacekeepers served in Iran in the late 1970s, where he and a team of 50 advanced meditators were stationed in Tehran,” Ms. Grose reported. Today, the Global Union of Scientists for Peace is promoting a Brain-Based solution to terrorism and war with these technologies of consciousness.
Those attending the Illuminate Benefit also enjoyed the inspiring story of guest speaker Ali Ghatri, D.D.S., who learned TM at the age of 15 in Tehran. Dr. Ghatri’s former head of school, the first TM teacher in Iran, taught TM to his entire family. This helped them survive the challenges of the Iran-Iraq War, he said—including his job as a mine-sweeper.
Dr. Ghatri surmounted many obstacles to come to the United States at 21 to attend dental school. Today, as the recipient of the American Association of Orthodontists’ Scientific Program Award, he is recognized for excellence in his field. He provides orthodontics and dental care for children in need and is a generous supporter of many charities, including the Bethesda TM Center Scholarship Fund.
“He is an example of someone who has thrived through adversity, even war, displaying perseverance, and optimism,” said Ms. Grose.
A Special Message from the National Directors of TMFriends.org
Every day, in TM Centers around the United States, individuals come to learn TM with the hope that maybe, just maybe, they can find relief from some of the devastating effects of stress and trauma that have scarred their lives.
TM teachers in Boca Raton, Bethesda, and 300 other locations across the country do everything in their power to help individuals who face financial hardship by reducing course fees, setting up payment programs, and doing whatever it takes to make sure that they never turn anyone away.
The results are literally life-transforming for thousands.
We cordially invite everyone to become part of this great initiative and help those in need, as they seek to transform the inner landscape of their lives. Please visit TMFriends.org and show support for your local TM Center. Your donation, large or small, will help ensure that everyone who wants to learn the TM technique can.
Sam and Melody Katz
National Directors of TMFriends.org