Posted by: bobroth | February 22, 2010


Meeting the People

David was the honored guest of the Sam Spiegel School for Film & Television in Israel, which booked him in Jerusalem, Haifa, and Tel Aviv for five solid days of speaking engagements, press conferences, fancy dinners, and signings for his new book, “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness and Creativity.” Look at the people at this book signing in Tel Aviv. Genuine happiness. David is a guy who reaches people; makes them smile. The only woman who wasn’t particularly pleased in this picture (standing in the middle with her hand on her forehead) was perplexed. She was charged with the impossible task of organizing mobs of fans who had waited for hours to speak a word or two to David, ask for an autograph on his book, and snap a photo on a cell phone. The line spilled out of the store into the street, but David stayed for hours and signed every last book (and DVD cover from “Twin Peaks” and slip of paper and exposed arm).

Meeting the Press

David addresses this packed news conference in Jerusalem, where he answered questions about film, creativity, consciousness, and his foundation’s plan to collaborate with local foundations and philanthropists to turn Jewish and Muslim schools into centers of peace. (Several schools are now participating in the program.) Meditasyon is now also practiced in the Muslim country Turkey.

Before the start of a second day of wall-to-wall public lectures and private meetings in Jerusalem, David sits outside his hotel room, overlooking the Kidron Valley to the Old City, quietly awaiting the arrival of a reporter from Israel’s largest newspaper, Haaretz.

While reporters were waiting to interview David they filled in their time interviewing me about David.

Posted by: bobroth | February 21, 2010

“Come and Be Cosmically Conscious”

Forty years after India, Paul and Ringo reunite at Radio City Music Hall for the David Lynch Foundation

On stage last April 4 at Radio City Music Hall, Paul McCartney delivers a rare performance of “Come and Be Cosmically Conscious” as a finale to a mind-blowing, four-hour benefit concert for the David Lynch Foundation… On a 90-foot screen at the back of the stage, Paul showed a series of beautiful pictures of the Beatles with Maharishi in India. Paul was joined for the concert by Ringo Star, Donovan, Sheryl Crow, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, Moby, Bettye LaVette, Mike Love, Paul Horn, and Jim James … Jerry Seinfeld, Howard Stern, and Russell Simmons added their heart-felt support (and, at times, very, very funny humor) to the evening, which raised funds to teach one million at-risk kids to meditate.

I grew up listening to those guys. Of course I did. As Baby Boomers we all did. And the GenXers and whatever they are calling the younger generation today—a lot of you grew up to their music, too. In a very real way, their songs formed a very poignant soundtrack to the blissful and tumultuous experiences of my earlier years. (Okay, there was a lot of Bob Dylan and Donovan in there, too.)

So never, ever, ever in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would answer my cell phone in March of last year and on the other end I would hear, “Hi Bob, this is Ringo. I am calling to let you know that I will be joining Paul for the Lynch Foundation’s concert at Radio City.” I thought it was my friend Mario giving me a hard time. But then that distinct Brit voice kept going, giving me details about flight arrivals and hotel accommodations, and my disbelief dissipated into, well, disbelief.

I mean, please. I remember listening to their “White Album” for the first time in my dorm room at Putnam Hall at the University of California at Berkeley with my friend Gary Swee in 1968.

And now, more than 40 years later, Ringo Starr is calling me to say he would be happy to perform with Paul McCartney at a benefit concert that we at the David Lynch Foundation had pulled together for April 4? Uh, I don’t think so…

Well, amazingly long story short, Paul and Ringo and a host of other incredible performers all showed up and sang. It was an unbelievably over-the-top, phenomenal concert. You’da loved it. (Good news: Hopefully soon, there will be a DVD out of the entire concert. I will let you know details when I get them…)

Anyway, this came up now because last night I was cleaning up the hard drive and I happened on the above picture. Thinking again about that evening got me thinking about my past. I am, proudly, a child of the ’60s. I was not a hippie or anything, but like so many of us at that time, I really, really really wanted to change the world… After a youthful flirtation with Berkeley politics, I realized that divisive approach would not work for me. But when I learned this particular meditation technique—a technique I first heard about when the Beatles and Donovan went to India to study with Maharishi—I had a very strong feeling that this could be a very real, very foundational tool to make a lasting change for good in the world.

Now, over 40 years later, with continuing very public, very heartfelt support from Paul and Ringo (and George’s wife, Olivia, and John’s wife, Yoko, who were special guests at the concert) and Donovan and Mike Love and Paul Horn from those India days, along with the massive amount of science documenting its benefits—and with thousands of schools and colleges and hospitals and businesses and prisons and homeless shelters, etc., already onboard—I am feeling that good feeling far more strongly than ever before.

Thanks for listening,


Posted by: bobroth | February 20, 2010

It’s All in the Brain

How Meditation Changes the Brain

Through cutting edge EEG technologies, neuroscientists can watch in real time the coherence that spreads across the whole brain during Transcendental Meditation. Here David Lynch and physicist John Hagelin join neuroscientist Fred Travis for a recent national symposium on “TM, Creativity, and the Brain.”

Doctors used to tell us, “It’s all in the mind.” But now they tell us, “It’s all in the brain.”
This is because every experience changes the brain.

Sleep, study physics, pray, meditate, shoot a free throw, listen to classical/country/punk music, watch a sad/scary/chickflick movie…

… Every unique experience changes the brain in a unique way…

So how is meditation different from daydreaming? How is one meditation different from another meditation? Forget the intellectual debates and philosophizing, you can look at the brain through EEG and brain imaging techniques to get the story…

The first-ever long-term, randomized control study of meditating college students to be published later this month in a top, peer-reviewed scientific journal shows that the process of transcending during the TM technique:

• produces a unique state of “restful alertness” (This was seen in the markedly higher alpha power and lower beta and gamma waves during TM practice.)

• creates coherence between the left and right hemispheres of the brain

• enhances an individual’s sense of “self” by activating what neuroscientists call the “default mode network” in the brain. (This is considered the natural ground state of the brain, glimpsed by neuroscientists in people during eyes-closed rest but activated in a unique and far more profound way during Transcendental Meditation.)

It’s a new time when medieval myths, misunderstandings, and misrepresentations about meditation in general, and Transcendental Meditation in particular, are being dissipated like a fog by the bright light of scientific inquiry.

It’s about time.

You may also be interested to read about – “Prison Rehabilitation Programs

Posted by: bobroth | February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day, Aden Charles Lieb!

Sam and Arwin Lieb are, like, two of the most wonderful people in the world, and six weeks ago Arwin gave birth to a beautiful baby boy: Aden Charles (I get to call him “AC.” But I checked first. Arwin is very selective about names but she said I could.) Here is AC in my arms, and am I happy happy happy…

Periodically, I will provide AC Lieb updates… He is gonna be a great one!

Thanks for listening,

Love you, AC,


Posted by: bobroth | February 14, 2010

Spending time with Russell

Charitable Summit: David Lynch and Russell Simmons join forces

David Lynch and Russell Simmons met for the first time last year at a “National Summit on Quiet Time in the Classroom” in New York City. Now David and Russell are collaborating on science-based programs to address problems of youth violence, homelessness, American Indians with diabetes, prison rehabilitation, and veterans with PTSD.

Russell, David, and me

Russell’s talk on the benefits of meditation for at-risk youth got a standing ovation from 350 educators attending the national summit. His message was practical, wise, and very, very compelling. And as always, Russell had a good time.

Meditating with Russell Simmons

Then I think ahead to the next generation…

This morning, Russell is sitting with his legs crossed on a small pillow shaped like a half-moon on a deep-green sofa in the living room at his place. A murmur of jackhammers pulsates out the window, from far below. I sit across from him on a cushioned, backless round sofa. Before we meditate, Russell switches off his Blackberry (a miracle!) and leans forward to light a candle in a small ceramic aroma pot. My sense of smell is just so-so, so I am not sure what fragrance to expect wafting out into the air.

I usually meditate alone. I travel so much, and I am often on such an odd schedule and in such unpredictable places, that I just meditate wherever and whenever I can. But I do love to meditate with other people whenever the opportunity arises. Meditating with Russell is something special. I go deeper than usual, and time passes faster than usual.

After 20 minutes, I whisper across the room the time is up. A few moments later we are out of silence and ready for what’s next. Blackberrys switched on, a quick check for any urgent messages, and the day begins. Russell winds up the earphone cord on his Blackberry and heads across the living room towards the big computer screen in his office. I slip on my bulky parka, say a few parting words, and head out the door, down the elevator, through the glass doors and back on the streets, hitting the noise and frenzy of downtown traffic head-on.

Russell and I have been talking about a possible collaboration with the David Lynch Foundation for starting schools in Africa where students will get a top quality academic education—with meditation, yoga, and a healthy diet at the core. They call this “consciousness-based education”—and it’s working with amazing success in schools all over the world. We are also kicking around the idea of starting charter schools in the U.S.

I don’t know if you have had a chance to read Russell’s bestselling books (he is finishing up a new one now) or his regular tweets, but the stuff Russell Simmons is saying about life and living—about setting priorities and attaining wealth and resolving conflicts and how to be really and truly happy—is simple, clear, practical and essential. He’s also pretty much of a lone voice in today’s dazzlingly materialistic, celebrity-crazed, mainstreamed media world.

Maybe it is because I am getting older, but I keep thinking about the oncoming generation—the kids who are 5- or 12- or 16-years-old today and who are living in broken families in the inner cities (and wealthy suburbs), on American Indian reservations, children of parents who came home from Iran and Iraq traumatized. Who will train leaders from among these kids? What new skill sets will they possess that will allow them to better feed the people, heal the sick, fuel the cities, grow the economy—and enlighten the soul? What will distinguish them from today’s leaders who have led, even with best intentions, my generation to the brink of so many disasters?

Obviously, a lot of people are needed to train a new generation. I am just hoping Russell Simmons is one of them. The young people will be ready to listen to him. I know. They already are.

Posted by: bobroth | February 9, 2010

Travels with David Lynch

The man is without fear

I have traveled a lot with the tireless, fearless David Lynch over the past nearly five years. Here he is welcomed by grateful meditating students who know him not as a famous Hollywood director, but as the man who brought Transcendental Meditation to their school.

I love traveling with David Lynch. For nearly five years, we toured probably 40 cities in 22 countries on four continents… He was a rock star (without the baggage) when he spoke to more than ten thousand film students in Jerusalem and Rio and London and Kiev. And in Los Angeles, at the Kodak Theatre, he slipped unseen into the hearts of a jaded Hollywood audience with his humor, candor, kindness, and wisdom.

People love the guy.

But overall praise for David, while always satisfying, is not my purpose here.

Today, I want to talk about something I admire most about David: his fearlessness.

To get there, I need to give a little background:

Other than questions about Transcendental Meditation, the single most oft asked question David gets from his film fans and the press is:

“Mr. Lynch, if you are so peaceful and full of bliss from your meditation, what’s with all the violence in your films?”

Read More…

Posted by: bobroth | February 8, 2010

A dark February day in the Financial District

Finding the lightness of Being within

I live in the Financial District, at the southern-most tip of Manhattan Island … I am for now, with the kindness of a donor, in a surprisingly spacious fourth-floor apartment above the David Lynch Foundation’s ground-floor offices at 70 Broad Street, just off of Wall Street … It is here that I sleep, eat, meditate, write, lecture, advise, teach meditation, and raise funds to teach meditation to (hopefully) millions of people in schools, hospitals, businesses, Indian reservations, homeless shelters, prisons, etc.

During the days of Spring and Summer, it is lovely outside … The warm sunlight bounces off the high-rise windows across the street and pours in through the paned glass in front of me… I am soothed by the light. My work is stimulating, fabulously fun, I can work forever…

But these days are not those days. It is February and the sun is somewhere else. It is dark and windy and cold out. Down below, cars and trucks honk in loud, angry frustration as some delivery van that stalls traffic to allow some kid in shirt sleeves to roll out stacks of bread or Coke, or (very New York-y) trays of chopped (sadly unripe) fruit in clear plastic cups.

I don’t mind regular dark. Some of my friends get gloomy without sun or lamplight. I can empathize how they feel, but I am comforted by soft, low light, even cool darkness.

But cold-harsh-gray, like it is outside my window right now, that I don’t like so much. It makes me want to push my chair back, flatten my computer screen, and amble over to the television in an adjoining room to pick up the last ten minutes of the umpteenth rerun of a “Law and Order” episode on cable.

I get a quick hit of engagement… and then a final resolution.

Read More…

Posted by: bobroth | February 7, 2010

“Songs of Myself”

Trippers and askers surround me… by Walt Whitman

Walter Whitman (1819 – 1892), considered by many as the “Father of American Poetry,” wrote often of his experiences of the Self, the silent, transcendental reality at the basis of ephemeral existence—including this excerpt from his poem, “Songs of Myself.” Here is the entire poem.

“Trippers and askers surround me.

People I meet, the effect upon me of my early life or the ward and city I live in, or the nation,
The latest dates, discoveries, inventions, societies, authors old and new,
My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues;
These come to me days and nights and go from me again.
But they are not the Me myself.

Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am.
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary.
Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest,
Looking with sidecurved head curious what will come next,
Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it.

Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog with linguists and contenders,
I have no mockings or arguments. I witness and wait.”

Note: Thank you to the great author and humanitarian, Norman Zierold, for submitting this, and other, sublime quotes.

Posted by: bobroth | February 6, 2010

Bobby learns a lesson

Don’t be snooty when it comes to a  slow-moving—but colossal—snow storm

I was wrong, really wrong in my blog yesterday morning to make light of the extensive early precautions, the obsessive preparations, and the well-founded, snow-storm paranoia of Washingtonians. The ancient Sanskrit proverb wisely warns: “Hayem ducam anagatam.” (Avert the danger that has not yet come.)

So true.

The storm did not wallop yesterday like predicted at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. or even 4 p.m. … But, oh my, it did majorly wallop at 6 p.m. as I was pigheadedly (is that an actual word?) driving 20 miles from McLean, VA, to the heart of the District.

The signs were absolutely everywhere: Stay off the roads. Stay indoors. Don’t go out. Hunker down. (I didn’t actually see that last sign, but that woulda been cool.)

But hey, I reckoned, I have driven through many Midwest winters where people get through much worse. I can handle the dusting of snow everyone fears on Washington.

Silly boy.

As I pulled away from the curb outside my friends’ house at six o’clock in the evening, I looked at my messy car and thought, I gotta get to the station early to tidy up. I had an hour before my Amtrak train at seven. Ordinarily, I would be there in 20 minutes. Plenty of time.

I realized right off I was in trouble. My little red Kia rental car did not have Alpine-class snow tires, much less tire treads tough enough to push through the thick layers of snow—which were quickly turning to ice—and grab tight to the pavement. I inched the car up and down steep residential roads, slipping in-and-out-of-control as I navigated down a narrow stretch of slick road beneath some overhanging branches.

Somehow, I ended up at the George Washington Parkway—ordinarily a sleek scenic main artery from the suburbs into the District. Not this time.

Because once on the Parkway, conditions got really bad, particularly for me, driving on toy tires. Through piling snow and a visibility of about 20 feet, and clenching super-tight to the steering wheel, I continued my crawl in what I assumed was the right lane, while what must have been the left lane had somehow turned into a surreal German autobahn. A few puzzlingly fearless souls in big cars slashed by in the night. (Thinking back on it now, they were probably going, like, 35 mph. But to me they were either fools, courageous, or on crystal meth.)

At the Washington exit, I pulled off the Parkway, circled around to cross a slippery, slushy 14th Street Bridge, merged onto 395 north, inched up to C street, and wound around in front of the Capitol Building, which shone like a gargantuan ornate bulb in the pitch black.

Time was ticking by.

Read More…

Posted by: bobroth | February 5, 2010

Bob Roth Snooty Alert (BRSA)

Your federal snow alert is Orange-ish…

Oh, my… 6:38 am… Last day in Washington, DC if I can getouttahere this afternoon…

There is supposed to be one or two feet of snow today (“HISTORIC DOWNFALL” the WaPo screams)…

DC is notorious for its metropolitan snowfall unpreparedness (“Your federal snow alert is ORANGE-ISH”)… A light dusting sends newscasters into a frenzy, shuts down government offices, spurs worried parents to send their children scurrying under bed frames for safety…  (Who is being snooty here? Me? Well kinda…)

Anyway, today I will meditate with several people I taught a while ago to see that everything is going smoothly. Then I have some down time for a good lunch downtown (nice) and then if the snow is not too bad and the roads have not been shut down indefinitely and I can still plow my way through (Bob Roth Snooty Alert) a reporter friend will give me a tour of CNN headquarters as Wolfe Blitzer broadcasts LIVE FROM THE SITUATION ROOM!

By the way, I forgot to mention in my West Wing blog: There is an actual “Situation Room” in the West Wing… Right across from the Executive Dining Hall. Doors to both were locked.) …

CNN is just two blocks from Union Station (a grand, opulent 102-year-old, beautifully restored statuesque building) where I will catch the Amtrak Acela (the fast one) to Manhattan. But if the snow-build up on the tracks is more than 1/8 (.125) of an inch, panic will ensue and everything will grind/slide to a stand-still (BRSA).

As a precaution, I may try to catch an earlier train and scoot safely up to New York while the get-going is good…

Either way, I will break out my toasty warm bulky down parka this morning and mukluk through the day…

As you can see, not so much worthwhile to say … but thanks for listening…

Your buddy,


PS Oh, and bundle up, you folks out there in Sunnyville, USA. The pictures coming to you LIVE today from Washington on the Weather Channel are gonna be so snowy coooooooold. (That was your final BRSA—for today.)

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