With Washington at what feels like peak stress (just check your Twitter feed if you’re not feeling it yet), Monday night was a moment for its antidote: relaxing meditation.
The David Lynch Foundation — a nonprofit started by the “Twin Peaks” director aimed at spreading the use of Transcendental Meditation to poor children in urban areas, veterans and victims of violence — held its first D.C. fundraiser, a celeb-studded concert at the Kennedy Center that drew an audience including first daughter/White House adviser Ivanka Trump and her husband and fellow West Winger, Jared Kushner.
Trump and Kushner (who are practitioners of TM) didn’t speak but sat gamely listening to performances by the likes of comedians Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno and Margaret Cho, actor Hugh Jackman, and music by Ben Folds, Kesha, and Angelique Kidjo.
No longer is TM seen as the exclusive terrain of crystal-bearing kooks — everyone’s doing it these days, Seinfeld assured us during the pre-show red carpet interviews.
“Starting seven or eight years ago, there are very few top athletes or top business people who don’t have any meditation technique,” said the comic, who began practicing TM in 1972. “Everybody has something now.”
Seinfeld is now a huge evangelist, and says he recently got A-list actor Tom Hanks — who had confessed to Seinfeld that he wanted to take a year off work to de-stress — “100 percent better” by getting him into TM.
“I love it. I honestly could not do these things I do without it — I’m 63! I would be tired.”
Folds, too, extolled its benefits. He said he tried it after touring had taken a toll on his mental and physical health. “I came out of my first week with it not white-knuckling the steering wheel in traffic, not having to return phone calls immediately, and the knock-on effect was far better decisions than I had been making,” he said.
Jackman and his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness Jackman, said they even invite friends over for meditation sessions (the technique involves two 20-minute sessions of meditation daily). “We do shots before and after,” Jackman joked. “But in between we’re very still — no drinking.”
Though TM clearly has its celebrity devotees, the point of the fundraiser was to spread the use of TM to disadvantaged kids in city schools, veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, and victims of domestic and sexual violence, noted foundation President Bob Roth. The foundation is opening an office on Capitol Hill, and organizers said the sold-out show would bring meditation training to 10,000 Washingtonians.
“We’ll be offering this to anyone and everyone who thinks they need some help,” Roth said.