Rupert Murdoch is meditating.
The News Corp. CEO, famous for his ruthless media conglomerate and hard-nosed fights with adversaries, told his followers on Twitter that he’s been experimenting with transcendental meditation, a form of deep relaxation that was introduced in India in 1955, gained worldwide popularity in the 1960s and ’70s, and has more recently picked up adherents among celebrities and business leaders.
Followers of transcendental meditation spend 15 to 20 minutes twice a day silently repeating a one-to-three-syllable mantra in search of deeper consciousness. Its famous adherents have ranged from The Beatles to Oprah Winfrey.
Murdoch joins a long list of business leaders who have taken up transcendental meditation. Among them:
- Ray Dalio, CEO of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, is a longtime practitioner and says, “TM is the single most important reason for whatever success I’ve had” (pdf). He offers Bridgewater employees free meditation training.
- Rick Goings, chairman and CEO of Tupperware, says he learned transcendental meditation directly from the Maharishi, who died in 2008. “It’s a practice that not only burns off stress but gives me fresh eyes to clarify what’s really going on and what really matters,” says Goings (paywall).
- Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam, the hip-hop record label, says transcendental mediation “has changed my experiences in meditation and therefore my experiences in life.”
- Vidal Sassoon, founder of Sassoon, who died last year, called transcendental meditation the “simple key” to self-awareness.
Notably, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, a Buddhist, practiced Zen meditation rather than transcendental meditation.
Murdoch turned 82 years old last month. Despite his age and frequent scandals, he remains the CEO of News Corp., which will be renamed 21st Century Fox later this year, when the company spins off its newspaper businesses. His resilience, particularly following the phone-hacking scandal that threatened to undo the whole company, is the subject of a new Businessweek cover story.
The mogul’s image has softened in the past year as Murdoch joined Twitter and turned out to have a knack for social media, more recently adding Tumblr to the mix. (That’s where the image above is from.) His personal messages, though frequently brash, have helped humanize a much-caricatured figure with a villainous reputation in popular culture.
On recent trips to Asia, he tweeted often about seeking tranquility and was frequently photographed, by his own staff, in spiritual repose.