David Lynch has been publicly evangelizing the benefits of Transcendental Meditation for many years, but he needed some A-list Hollywood amperage to land him on the front page of the current Sunday Styles section of the New York Times, where he is shown in a photo with Russell Brand. The accompanying story begins with an account of Brand’s colorful past before detailing his involvement with TM:
…It is jarring then, to say the least, to hear Mr. Brand, 35, speaking passionately and sincerely about the emotional solace he has found in Transcendental Meditation, or TM. Yet there he was in December, onstage at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (as his new wife, the pop singer Katy Perry, waited backstage), describing how TM has helped him repair his psychic wounds.
“Transcendental Meditation has been incredibly valuable to me both in my recovery as a drug addict and in my personal life, my marriage, my professional life,” Mr. Brand said of the technique that prescribes two 15- to 20-minute sessions a day of silently repeating a one-to-three syllable mantra, so that practitioners can access a state of what is known as transcendental consciousness. “I literally had an idea drop into my brain the other day while I was meditating which I think is worth millions of dollars.”
Mr. Brand was the M.C. at a benefit for the David Lynch Foundation, an organization that offers TM at no cost to troubled students, veterans, homeless people, prisoners and others. Like many other guests in the room, Mr. Brand has been personally counseled by Mr. Lynch, the enigmatic film director, who has been a devout practitioner of TM, founded in 1958 by the spiritual leader Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, since its first wave of popularity in the late ’60s. That is when Mia Farrow, after her divorce from Frank Sinatra, joined the Beatles in the Maharishi’s ashram in Rishikesh, India; when George Lucas started meditating and was rumored to have based the Yoda character in “Star Wars” on the Maharishi (the resemblance is eerie); and when the talk show host Merv Griffin, after being introduced to the technique by his tennis buddy, the actor Clint Eastwood, invited the Maharishi to be on his show in 1975.
Since then, the celebrity endorsement, and therefore the enrollment numbers, had quieted down. That is, until the last three years when, according to the national Transcendental Meditation program, enrollment tripled…
[continues in the New York Times]