It’s barely seven thirty in the morning as Bob Roth, the CEO of the David Lynch Foundation and a leading figure in the Transcendental Meditation movement, graces a sprawling oceanfront residence in Montauk, his white linen shirt the saratorial equivalent of his cool, calm, and kind demeanor.
Since it was popularized in the United States in the 1960s, Transcendental Meditation, or TM, has moved from the periphery of ancient Eastern traditionalism into the board rooms and classrooms of the present. Roth insists that unlike most meditations which expect the impossible—to “clear your mind of its thoughts”— TM is about giving you tools to access the calm beneath the rush of those thoughts, leading to increased wellness and productivity. In his latest book on the practice, Strength in Stillness, Roth compares the busy mind to the energetic waves at the surface of the ocean. TM, he says, helps its practitioners dive into the stiller waters near the ocean’s floor, enabling more precise, focused thinking. The practice itself can be done anywhere, requiring only a place to sit comfortably upright where the meditator can close their eyes and relax.