Dr. Mehmet Oz walked briskly as he talked meditation on Monday night.
“I do yoga every morning and I meditate either after that or in the evening and I should be doing it more,” the heart surgeon and all-around media personality said as he hustled through the Great Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“It’s been a great blessing in my life,” he continued. “You know that upper level of craziness on the surface of the ocean of consciousness? You want to deep dive beneath that to the calmness where you can be centered. It’s been a wonderful experience to me just to still my mind so I can focus on what’s important in life.”
Oz was a bit behind schedule on his way to give a brief lecture on transcendental meditation in the museum’s auditorium for the David Lynch Foundation’s yearly benefit. As he spoke, a steady gong beat signaled partygoers to their seats. The crowd was generally relaxed-looking. Several of its members were of an indeterminate age.
“David taught me it,” Oz said of the filmmaker and foundation’s namesake, whose presence helped bring out the masses. Lynch is perhaps the country’s best-known advocate of transcendental meditation, or “T.M.” as its devotees call it. His foundation is currently raising funds to help teach the practice to at-risk schoolchildren and veterans. Earlier in the evening the director attributed the robust turnout to a number of factors.
“Word of mouth, curiosity, wanting to hear some good news,” Lynch said. “Hopefully everyone will be satisfied with what they hear and join the crowd to support it and get transcendental meditation to the people, especially now [with] 10,000 veterans suffering from PTSD,”
Among the many benefits practitioners of the technique extol — and they will if given the chance — are improved cardiovascular health, increased brain function and reduced activation of the sympathetic nervous system, or, as it is more commonly called, stress relief.
That sort of serenity was in short supply earlier in the evening when Katy Perry and recent T.M. convert Russell Brand entered the room. The couple caused a minor sensation amidst cocktail-hour revelers when they took a side door, and a route through the crowd, to the red carpet.
Perry, in a dress by Issa, wasn’t in too talkative a mood. A very large bodyguard, who hailed from the toothpick-in-mouth school of toughness, kept the singer from any unwanted conversations. In any case, the always-verbose Brand spoke enough for the pair as the night’s informal master of ceremonies.
“Heroin for example if very morish; if taken consistently, you’ll really get a taste for it,” Brand said during an onstage riff about his history of substance abuse. “In fact, if you leave here with one message tonight it’s, well: learn TM. But if it’s two: Learn T.M. and don’t take heroin.”