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David Lynch Foundation Goes to Rikers Island

by Bibi Tran on August 18, 2014
"Since meditating, I am slow to anger which is great.  I hate getting angry. I am more reasonable in these past days. " - Meditating inmate

“I always feel rested, calm and energetic. My thoughts are more soothing and I’m brought back to happy memories from my past when I was younger.” – Meditating inmate

Four David Lynch Foundation TM instructors were invited to Rose M. Singer Center located at Rikers Island in early July to give an introductory talk about Transcendental Meditation (TM) to 20 female inmates who were incarcerated for a wide spectrum of offenses, from major to minor.

“The needs here are diverse,” said Phil Terwiel, Director of Workforce Development at NYC Department of Correction. “Offering TM could be a very valuable asset to help released individuals manage the stressful task of securing a place to live, finding a job, and smoothly reintegrating into society as a whole.”

Mr. Terwiel’s instinct was correct. All 20 women signed up to learn TM—plus three Rikers staff members. And one week later, a TM course, funded by the David Lynch Foundation’s Women’s Initiative, was under way.

“The students were so attentive, appreciative and happy to have us there,” said one of the DLF TM teachers. “You could feel the air of peace and satisfaction almost immediately after the first meditation. They all had smiles on their faces. One woman expressed: ‘If I had this for my whole life, my life could be very different.’”

After three weeks, all the women remarked on the really marked improvements coming from their TM practice. Said one (name withheld by request): ”I really love the calm I get from meditation. It’s so helpful for my surroundings. I can feel my heart rate slowing down. Feeling this inner peace is the greatest reward. Blocking out the unwanted mental garbage has completely changed my spirits. Keep up the amazing job.”

“I always feel rested, calm and energetic. My thoughts are more soothing and I'm brought back to happy memories from my past when I was younger.” - Meditating inmate

“It’s so much more than I expected. I am more reasonable and at ease these days. I don’t allow others to stress me. If they do something I don’t like, it’s still okay. ” – Meditating inmate

Said a second meditating inmate: “Before TM, I was lost, stressed and angry. I kept blaming myself for what my life had become. With meditation, I am much more open to life itself, and I can make it through daily struggles. It’s a gift to have this secret place that brings me relaxation and joy. Thank you so much.”

“I’m letting go of the small stuff. At night, when I can’t sleep, when people are screaming, I just meditate. It’s been ages since I felt this good, and I am aware of myself. I would recommend this meditation to anyone. I will continue with this until the day I die,” added a third woman.

“The most significant benefits of TM practice for myself is my being able to think more clearly and having those times of clarity helps me put more of my long-term goals in mind and how to accomplish them. I have also learned to be more tolerant with people, places, & things around me,” stated another for her 1-month post instruction feedback.

By the end of four weeks TM instruction, the TM teachers and inmates and staff had forged a deep connection of mutual respect, understanding and nurturing.

“This has been one of the most satisfying courses I’ve ever taught because the need is so apparent. Now the women will have TM for the rest of their lives.” said another DLF TM teacher.

"The feeling of heaviness on the island is so strong but the warmth of these women, the eagerness to heal, grow and find peace - is even stronger." - Rachel Katz, TM

“The feeling of heaviness on the island is so strong but the warmth of these women, the eagerness to heal, grow and find peace – is even stronger.” – Rachel Katz, DLF TM teacher

The DLF teachers will be returning to Rikers for regular meditation follow up meetings. Rikers Corrections Department is seeking ways to to scale the TM program to reach more inmates and staff.

“Everyone enjoyed their experience with TM,” said Mr. Terwiel. “Without a doubt, it would be beneficial to teach Transcendental Meditation to other inmates on the island. The current challenge is purely logistical, but we are hopeful for a solution.”

 

Learn More About The DLF Women’s Initiative

13 Comments

  1. Thank you David Lynch and your Foundation for the amazing miracles you are creating for those who society throws away. Bravo…. and again thank you♡

    Mary Jo Oathout
    • It is true. Once you have your mantra and can go to the peace inside, knowing you can go there anytime and feel safe and energized is life-changing. Women face difficult challenges throughout life. Meditating can help them move through them with integrity. They can help other women and girls with this strength.

      Nancy Pivarunas
  2. David Lynch

    He is the next best person to our dear beautiful Maharishi, in promoting TM to all the people around the world… Sincere, Thank you. Barry.

    Barry Franklin, Hull, East Yorks, UK
  3. Totally inspiring. What a blessing to the women, and to those in contact with them. And to those who read about it!

    Fred Rosenberg
  4. This is so wonderful to hear! I just finished coming from Livingston manor ny with a very special visit to Mother Divine.
    On the way to and from many times I noticed the large correctional facility in Wappinger Falls NY off I 84. I thought wouldn’t be wonderful if all those people in there meditated,, it would be like a Tull time residence course. People with continual daily practice and I emphasis the point “regular daily practice” because in the beginning it such a rush to have a taste of what is really you life still has it’s bumps but remember to do what your TM teacher has instructed you to do. And over the months and years like layers off a skin of an onion your true inner self shines through
    TRUST me I have been Meditating over 30 Years. I am a Sidha. And have several advance techniques this is a big plus but the basis of all of this is your basic practice of Tm 20 mins Am and PM.
    This is a very special gift we have been given from Maharishi from his Master Shree a Guru Dev.
    Let the world find peace through all of us
    God Bless Cindy Taylor JGD

    Cindy Taylor
  5. This kind of work lifts all of us. Thank you to everyone involved. It is so inspiring.

    Steven Baumgartner
    • That’s way more clever than I was expnctieg. Thanks!

      Deandre
  6. What an awesome calling you have, and how wonderfully you are arresting one soul at a time.
    May you live a very long blissful life and bless many more lives with the gift of knowing that life does not end with the passing of this body, but life continues for ever and ever to eternity and beyond, one blissful journey over and over…how awesome just imagine basting in the all knowingness, complete consciousness in bliss for ever and ever…no more worries…wow!

    jean kern
  7. […] 20 women signed up to learn TM—plus three Rikers staff members. And one week later, a TM course, funded by the David Lynch Foundation’s Women’s Initiative, was under way. Read more… […]

    20 Female Inmates on Rikers Island initiated into Transcendental Meditation - Vaccine Liberation Army
  8. Deeply inspiring. TM is truly transformational and the David Lynch Foundation is better the world one being at a time!

    Talulah Lou
  9. I am grateful for ™ and full of wonder for these women at Rikers..more power to you all.

    Suzie Emmcik
  10. […] “The students were so attentive, appreciative and happy to have us there,” said one of the DLF TM teachers. “You could feel the air of peace and satisfaction almost immediately after the first meditation. They all had smiles on their faces. One woman expressed: ‘If I had this for my whole life, my life could be very different.’” Read the full article here > […]

    David Lynch Foundation Goes to Rikers Island | TM in Cape Town

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photo_david_message

A message from David Lynch

I started Transcendental Meditation in 1973 and have not missed a single meditation ever since. Twice a day, every day. It has given me effortless access to unlimited reserves of energy, creativity and happiness deep within.

Read more