TM Takeover In Palm Beach

Producer Joanna Plafsky leads a movement to find paradise within.
Joanna Plafsky, film producer and Transcendental Meditation teacher. Photo: Christopher Fay

By Beth Landman

Past The Colony Hotel’s pool scene, about 200 people filed into the hotel’s ballroom, and though it might seem counterintuitive on a stunningly beautiful late March day, the group in search of personal peace headed away from the waves to gather inside.

The event, “A Conversation on Meditation: Happiness and the Brain,” was co-organized by Joanna Plafsky, who co-produced the documentary Saving the Disposable Ones with David Lynch Foundation, along with the 2019 Oscar-winning live-action short film Skin. The speakers, introduced by journalist Judith Miller, were an impressive array, including Dr. Tony Nader, a neuroscientist, researcher, author and current leader of the Transcendental Meditation organization, and Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace. 

Palm Beach may be known for its luxe lifestyle, but 10-carat tennis bracelets and Patek Philippe Nautilus blue dials don’t necessarily bring inner harmony, so Plafsky has made it her mission to help in that pursuit. She offered all the newbie attendees a complimentary course at the Palm Beach Island TM Center, or one of its affiliates, through this August. 

“People in Palm Beach know how to enjoy life in an outer way,” says Plafsky, who has been practicing and teaching TM since she was in college in Berkeley, California. “Here they walk around focusing on what more they can have, but have never learned how to go inward. We are not meant to suffer; we are meant to enjoy life.”

Plafsky says there was an overwhelming response to the event, both from first-timers and those already practicing TM. “People here have told me they are stressed, and that there isn’t anything like TM in Palm Beach,” she says. “They have almost everything, but they don’t have the most important thing of all: deep transcendence that brings divine inner joy, higher consciousness and enlightenment.”

And, of course, TM has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate, decrease aggression, and promote better sleep. 

“Many companies have now made meditation available to their employees,” says Plafsky. “Our teachers have taught Jerry Seinfeld, Paul McCartney, Hugh Jackman and Howard Stern.” 

Now that they’ve helped illuminate the entertainment industry, Florida is the next frontier.