McCartney says meditation helped stabilize Beatles
Fri Apr 3, 2009
By Michelle Nichols
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The surviving members of the Beatles, Paul
McCartney and Ringo Starr, will perform at a concert on Saturday to
raise funds to help children learn a meditation technique McCartney
said helped stabilize the band at the height of its fame.
McCartney and Starr will perform separate sets at the "Change Begins
Within" concert for the David Lynch Foundation, which helps people
learn Transcendental Meditation.
The Beatles helped popularize Transcendental Meditation -- described
as a simple mental technique that combats stress -- in 1967 when they
sought spiritual guidance from an Indian guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
"It was a great gift that Maharishi gave us," McCartney told a news
conference on Friday to promote the concert. "For me, it came at a
time when we were looking for something to kind of stabilize us
toward the end of the crazy '60s."
"It's a lifelong gift. It's something you can call on at any time,"
he said. "I think it's a great thing it's actually coming into the mainstream."
Starr also described Transcendental Meditation as a gift and that
since learning it more than 40 years ago "sometimes a lot and
sometimes a little I have meditated."
The lineup for the concert at famed Radio City Music Hall also
includes Sheryl Crow, Donovan, Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder,
blues-folk musician Ben Harper and techno star Moby.
Filmmaker David Lynch's foundation says that since 2005 it has
provided scholarships for more than 100,000 at-risk young people,
teachers and parents in 30 countries to learn Transcendental Meditation.
The concert is intended to raise funds toward the foundation's goal
of helping a million children learn to meditate.
"I feel like I'm at a meeting of meditators anonymous," Moby joked.
"I just learned T.M. recently because I was raised by hippies, and to
be honest with you anything associated with T.M. and hippies scared ... me."
"When I was growing up, I thought T.M. involved ritual animal
sacrifice and moving to some country and renouncing wealth and
materialism and eating bugs. But one of the things that impressed me
about T.M. ... was its simplicity," he said. "It's a simple practice
that calms the mind."
Why Have The Beatles Returned to Maharishi?
Posted April 3, 2009
In accepting filmmaker David Lynch's invitation to play at a benefit
concert in New York City's Radio City Music Hall to help fund the
teaching of Transcendental Meditation (TM) to a million children, the
two surviving mop-tops, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, have reunited
to reclaim their 1968 spiritual roots.
It was then that the most celebrated rock group in history traveled
to India to meditate with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at his Himalayan
ashram in Rishikesh. "Say the word, and you'll be free," John, Paul,
George, and Ringo had sung a few years earlier, and eventually the
word became a mantra, a Vedic sound given to them by Maharishi and
their fellow meditators by TM teachers like myself.
When I first learned to meditate, Maharishi predicted that those who
practiced his technique just twice a day for twenty minutes would
become enlightened. He approximated that it would take somewhere
between five and eight years. I began TM on April 18, 1971, but I
didn't start meditating regularly until January 1, 1972. After that,
I almost never missed my twice-a-day meditation. And if I did, I
usually managed to meditate at least once that day. I stopped using
the technique sometime in 2000, nearly twenty years past the maximum
eight-year prediction for enlightenment.
During one of his earliest public appearances, Maharishi described
his view of enlightenment, which I came to share, and which millions
of others who follow various spiritual teachers around the world
still do. "Nothing from outside can stop a man from enjoying lasting
peace and permanent joy in life," Maharishi said in 1955. When a
meditator becomes enlightened, he explained, "all suffering will
cease, all agony will go, and all peacelessness and misery of life
will simply disappear."
Maharishi. who died last year at age 91, underestimated how long it
would take, and what it would take, to bring people to enlightenment.
This misjudgment might have partly been due to his utopian definition
of an enlightenment that permanently frees us from all forms of
suffering. But his teachings inspired me, his vision sustained me,
his meditation expanded me, and I remain grateful. Maharishi wasn't
infallible, just human.
As one noted expert on Jewish mysticism explains, even for an
enlightened saint, a tzaddik, not every judgment is flawless.
"Situations arise in which perfection is not possible, in which the
very structure of reality and the relations between a person, the
world and God are such that no perfect solution exists," Rabbi Adin
Steinsaltz wrote. "In such a situation, even a tzaddik can reach an
erroneous decision." This teaching is echoed in Ecclesiastes: "There
is not one good man on earth who does what is best and doesn't err."
Instead of fixating on the attainment of an unattainable state of
consciousness, where imagined gurus not only behave perfectly but see
everything in the world as similarly perfect, spiritual realists
experience both the serenity of impeccable inner silence alongside
the emotional pain of this imperfect world.
"I do not trust the man who never weeps," said Swami Vivekananda, who
in 1893 preceded Maharishi as one of the earliest Vedic masters to
popularize Indian philosophy in the United States. This is a basic
tenet of spiritual realism. Techniques like TM can take us to a place
of inner spiritual peace, yet they will not stop us from crying over
the suffering around us. Nor should they.
As Robert Kennedy reminded when quoting Aeschylus after the
assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., "Even in our sleep, pain
which cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our
own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."
He who does not weep over this world does not know this world. Yet
letting go of our obsession with perfect happiness can liberate us.
It can free us from the distraction of a constant search for an
enlightenment that knows no pain.
Spiritual realism shows us that although the dream of a future
blissful perfection is charming, the reality of the silent stillness
of this very moment offers us a more modest joy, here and now.
The enlightenment that Maharishi promised may never rid us of our
sufferings over the cruelties of man and the brutalities of nature.
Yet meditation can still awaken us to an inner spiritual calm that we
can readily access as we make our way through the emotional upheavals
in this imperfect world of Korean nukes, al-Qaeda terror, and A.I.G.
meltdowns. As Paul McCartney recently said, "In moments of madness,
it has helped me find moments of serenity." Four decades after their
Himalayan sojourn, the surviving Beatles' public return to Maharishi
was easy because his teachings had never left them.
Steve Posner is the author of "Israel Undercover: Secret Warfare and
Hidden Diplomacy in the Middle East." His latest book is "Spiritual
Delights and Delusions: How to Bridge the Gap between Spiritual
Fulfillment and Emotional Realities."
Paul, Ringo, Donovan and Mike Love promote TM at Lynch Foundation
April 3, 2009
Here's a transcript of remarks by Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney,
Donovan and Mike Love at today's David Lynch Foundation press
conference. You can find the compete press conference at the Lynch
Foundation website (in excellent quality) or an excerpt with just
Paul and Ringo on YouTube:
David Lynch: A big pleasure to welcome now two Capitol S superstars
Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney.
Ringo Starr: Thank you. I love David saying, "I'm David. I'm a
meditator. (Laughs.) I didn't have anything written down. (Aside to
Paul) Have you written anything?
Paul McCartney: Nope.
Ringo: OK, good. Anyway, over 40 years ago we ended up in
Rishikesh. And that's where we met … well, it wasn't where we met,
but where we hung out with Maharishi. We'd met him a few months
before in Wales. And since then, sometimes a lot and sometimes a
little, I have meditated. You know, a gift he gave me was my mantra,
something I could use and something no one could take away. So it's
one of the few things I was ever given that means that much to me.
And we (referring to Paul) went together, actually.
Paul: We did.
Ringo: We're in the same cab.
Paul: You're doing very well, by the way.
Ringo: I know. I'm jet lagged I'll blah all day. We went over this
bridge. You remember the bridge we went over. And, you know, it's
India. And there were all these people sitting on this bridge as we
went over the Ganges with these pots of money. And I couldn't understand it.
Paul: I don't remember it.
Ringo: And I was thinking, because, you know, they'd lost … you
know you're in a strange country when you go to India. It's not like,
you know, France or Denmark. It's different.
Paul: That's true.
Ringo: Up to you now.
Paul: That's true. Well, I haven't got a lot left to say after
that. I think that covered it all. And leprosy. Um, no, seriously,
what Ringo says. It was a great gift the Maharishi gave us. For me it
came at a time when we were looking for something to kind of
stabilize us towards the end of the crazy '60s. And it is. It's a
lifelong gift. It's something you can call on at any time. And I
think it's a great thing. I think it's a particularly great thing
what David and the Foundation is doing … putting it in schools and
allowing kids to experience something that I don't think they'd
otherwise would have had the chance to experience. Think it's a great
thing that now it's actually coming into the mainstream. So I think
people will be able to look at it and say, you know, here's a study
that was done in Detroit or in the West Bank or in Brazil and look at
it and see what the effects are. We think it's a great thing. And so
thank you, David, for putting it together.
Ringo: Thank you, David.
Paul: Are we done?
Ringo: Who's next?
David Lynch: The great Donovan.
Donovan: Well, I do have some notes.
Ringo: It doesn't start with "Mellow Yellow," does it?
Donovan: Quite rightly. And I've also got some glasses in here
somewhere. Oh, wait a minute. These are Obama's tickets for tomorrow.
Ringo: I'd lend you mine but then I couldn't see.
Donovan: Look. Here it is. You all here. You see for yourselves.
Schools are in trouble. Teachers need help. And the youth of America
is in serious risk. Am I right? David Lynch saw the benefits of
transcendental meditation. Now, there are thousands of children
already receiving it. And they are raising their self-esteem. They're
improving their well-being. And they're turning around the
most-troubled schools. David created the David Lynch Foundation and
he asked me to be the musical wing and travel the world with him.
David, my wife Linda, over there, and I have arrived here at this
amazing time in your nation's journey. As your new president sees the
problems of schools clearly, he calls for the solution now and we are
here in New York to make your wish come true. The proof is in.
Transcendental meditation naturally unfolds any student's full
potential. Tomorrow night, 1 million students is our goal. Check the
website. This really works. Forty-one years ago, or was it last year,
boys, we traveled to India to see if it was true what we'd only read
about in the books … that meditation is the real way to be fulfilled.
We found it to be true and we sang out the good news in our songs.
It's really simple. Change begins within.
David Lynch: Like to introduce Mike Love.
Mike Love: Well, we came after the Beatles. We're used to that.
Particularly on the charts. But, nonetheless, we were initiated
intoTM by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Paris in December of '67. And it
was in this town, at the Plaza Hotel, that all the Beach Boys came
and sat at Maharishi's feet where a picture was taken by a
photographer named Linda. And it's kind of a well-known photo. We
went from there … I went from there to Boston to hear Maharishi speak
at the Harvard Law Forum. And he blew my mind. And because he walked
out onstage, took a step, paused, took another step, paused. At the
third step, everybody rose up in the Harvard Law Forum, which is a
pretty critical place. I mean people with an intellect and there was
a standing ovation in silence. Now, I'd been used to standing
ovations, but a standing ovation in silence brought tears to my mind,
to my eyes. Maybe my mind, too. It blew my mind. But then, I called
the hotel to find out about India and Maharishi answered. And he
said, "Are you coming to India?" I said, "Well, I guess." "Well,
bring the other guys." "I don't know if they'll come, but I'll be
there." (Laughs.) And we met all these great people on stage and it
was a most fascinating time on a lot of levels. One of the fun levels
was a birthday song that the guys came up with which ended with,
"Happy birthday, Michael Love." It was great. It was so much fun. And
I remember being at the breakfast table when Paul came down with his
acoustic guitar saying, "Listen to this, Mike. 'I flew in from Miami
Beach BOAC' It was unbelievable. We had some nice talks and
interaction. But anyway, the most fascinating thing of all to me
other than that phenomenal stuff there was that the Maharishi was
talking about world peace and an age of enlightenment. And I think
the David Lynch Foundation's goal to teach a million children
meditation is definitely an indication that there is definitely an
age of enlightenment to be had. And that'll be like a million steps
in the direction of world peace. Thanks.