How Jerry Seinfeld Convinced Tom Hanks to Try Transcendental Meditation

Tom Hanks and Jerry Seinfeld are both at the top of their game. Hanks is one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Seinfeld is still riding high off creating the legendary sitcom Seinfeld, and continues to perform standup to this day. So when the two Hollywood legends met, they had a lot to share with each other. 

Tom Hanks stands in front of a Toy Story picture
Tom Hanks | Jordi Vidal/Getty Images

Hanks was a guest on the Feb. 13, 2018 episode of Phoebe Robinson’s Soo Many White Guys podcast. He told Robinson the story of when he met Seinfeld, and how the comedian introduced Hanks to Transcendental Meditation.

Tom Hanks met Jerry Seineld after a busy spell

Hanks always has a lot on his plate between acting, producing and sometimes directing. He was ready to take a break when he ran into Seinfeld at a Hollywood event.

Tom Hanks signs autographs
Tom Hanks | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney and Pixar

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I’m at a thing, like a backstage thing, a show business thing. I’ve met him on occasion but I don’t really know him, but I meet more or less for the second or third time Jerry Seinfeld. He said to me, ‘So what are you up to now?’ I said, ‘Actually, I just finished a job and I’m going to take a year off. I’d been working a lot for about six years so I’m going to purposely stay off the clock here for a while.’ He says, ‘Really? A year off? How does that work?’ He’s a comedian so his whole thing is dates and clubs and shows. The idea of taking a year off would be anathema to a guy whose job it is to stay fresh and always be working on his material. 

Tom Hanks, Sooo Many White Guys podcast, 2/13/18

Jerry Seinfeld told Tom Hanks a new way to recharge

Hanks continued to describe to Seinfeld how wiped out he felt. 

“I said, ‘I have to tell you, I’m fatigued. I’m spent. I’m tired. I need to be quiet for a while. I need to rest,’” Hanks said. 

Seinfeld has long been a proponent of Transcendental Meditation. So he asked Hanks, “Well, don’t you do TM?”

Jerry Seinfeld Zooms for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
Jerry Seinfeld | NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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Hanks said Seinfeld was the only person who could have convinced him to explore transcendental meditation. 

“He asked this question,” Hanks said. “If anybody other than a guy like him had said to me, ‘Well, don’t you try TM?’ If Goldie Hawn had said, ‘Babe, you got to try T[M].’ I would’ve said, ‘Honey, listen, you enjoy your little floral pants and times in the forest and you commune with the wood sprites all you want. I don’t know anything about…’ So I did it.”

Tom Hanks’ first transcendental meditation lessons

Hanks continued to tell Robinson the story of his first lessons in transcendental meditation. Seinfeld himself was no longer involved.

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“Two days later, a great guy came to my house,” Hanks said. “For about four mornings in a row, we spent about an hour. Most of it was me asking what isn’t transcendental meditation. The end result was, I’m kind of glad I did it now so now that I have answers to that question, ‘What do you do in your spare time? What else do you do?’ I didn’t have anything other than wait for a dental appointment but now I can say, ‘Oh, actually, I took up that classic version of transcendental meditation.’”