Oprah Winfrey devoted her show last night to the topic of transcendental mediation after visiting the Maharishi University in Fairfield, Iowa.
It's a topic she's familiar with since discovering the benefits of the practice last year and sharing it with her employees; she has also gained some knowledge of it through her work with inner-city schools, where, under the tutelage of Maharishi board member David Lynch--yes, the "Eraserhead" guy--the practice was introduced to children who suffered from behavioral and academic problems.
Basically, it's a spiritual practice that allows one to find stillness and calm, not unlike prayer. Winfrey says she introduced the idea to her employees and it spread like wildfire around the studio, and the results were staggering.
“...You can’t imagine what has happened in the company. People who used to have migraines, don’t. People are sleeping better. People have better relationships. People interact with other people better. It’s been fantastic," she told Dr. Oz last year.
Lynch said he started meditating on the advice of his sister and discovered he was a very angry person; transcendental meditation helped dissolve that.
"I was filled with an anger and sorrows and doubts and melancholy. And I took it out on my first wife. I made her life pretty much a hell," Lynch said. "So I start transcendental meditation, and two weeks later she comes to me and says, "What is going on? This anger, where did it go?" Things lift away so naturally."
Forbes writer Peter Cohan says meditation can be an excellent way for startups to change things for the better.
"...Many entrepreneurs start companies not for money but to change the world," he writes. "If entrepreneurs’ visions of what that world would look like end up improving life for other people, those start-up CEOs are using a kind of spirituality to attract and motivate top talent.
Furthermore, when entrepreneurs hire those people, they look for integrity. As I described in my book, Value Leadership, integrity means that people do what they say they will do. And in a start-up, integrity has a compelling business imperative — there is no time or money for people who can’t be trusted. That’s why it is so critical for company founders to conduct exhaustive due diligence on potential employees."
The practice isn't just recommended for stressed-out students and employees, however. Lynch and his foundation also work with veterans and prisoners to show them an outlet for their rage, and also to help them learn to stop and think about their actions and the consequences they have before an incident occurs.
"So something that people say is, "Before I started meditating, I just reacted. Now, with meditation, I have this pause and this reasoning: Do I really want to blow this man's head off with a .357 Magnum in my hand?" And then the answer is, "No, I don't think so." They have time to think," Lynch says.
The practice is getting a lot of attention now that Oprah has given it her stamp of approval.