Ky. to see funding for meditation education

By Jill Seelmeyer

A recent benefit concert for the David Lynch Foundation will help 1,000 at-risk children in Central Kentucky learn to meditate.

A benefit concert on Saturday brought together musical stars such as Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Ben Harper, Sheryl Crow and Kentucky native Jim James of My Morning Jacket to support the David Lynch Foundation’s global initiative to teach one million at-risk kids how to meditate. A crowd of 6,000 attended the “Change Begins Within” benefit at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Part of the initiative includes funding from the David Lynch Foundation for 1,000 kids in the Central Kentucky area. The organization is named for the movie director and supports efforts to teach children around the world how to use Transcendental Meditation, or TM.TM is a simple technique to allow a person’s mind to settle down naturally, according to the Web site, ( More than five million people worldwide have learned the TM technique, which is not specific to any religion or age group.

In Lexington, anyone can learn the TM technique at the Maharishi Peace Palace, which offers free introductory lectures as well as further instruction to learn a seven-step program.

During a press conference Tuesday, director of the Maharishi Peace Palace Jeffry Murphy introduced some of the 16 local professionals and educators who practice TM that attended the “Change Begins Within” benefit.

Mary Murphy, co-director of the Maharishi Peace Palace, said the TM technique “increases the bliss factor of life” by reducing the negative effects of stress.

“TM allows you to live to your full potential,” she said.

Currently, funds from the David Lynch Foundation just support programs for elementary and high school students. However those who practice the TM technique encourage people of all ages to learn to use meditation to decrease stress.

“After I learned to meditate, it was like someone had lifted a fog from my mind,” said Deborah Knittel, a former teacher who did not learn the TM technique until after college.

Knittel said she would have been much more successful in school if only she had known the benefits of practicing TM during college.

In a 5-year study by conducted in part by American University saw improvements in physical, mental and social health of students who learned the TM technique compared to those who did not, Murphy said.

Former UK art professor Tricia Spencer, who has practiced TM for 40 years, said she saw the impact meditation has on creativity and stress, especially among her students.

“I noticed an instant transformation in students’ behavior in class when hearing something like this technique was possible,” Spencer said.

To learn more about the Transcendental Meditation technique, visit the Maharishi Peace Palace for a free introductory lecture on Wednesdays at 7:45 p.m. or Saturdays at 2 p.m. or visit