In Our Opinion


By • Sep 21st, 2008 •

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Photo by Dennis Daniel

My dear Films In Review readers…my fellow film lovers…my cinematic adoring brothers and sisters…it is with great pride and happiness that I herein present four words I’m sure you, as fellow cinema lovers, will surely appreciate…four words that I never thought I’d ever be able to utter in this lifetime:

I met David Lynch.

I not only met him, I was able to sit and have a nice chat with him, on camera. More about where you can see that later.

First off, I’d like to speak about…adjectives.

Imagine the level of genius it must take to create work of such originality, beauty and complexity, your work becomes so iconic and associated with you that your very name becomes an adjective!

As far as I know…there are only two directors who have accomplished this: Federico Fellini with “Felliniesque” which is defined as: Blending reality and fantasy as Federico Fellini does in his movies…and David Lynch with “Lynchian,” defined as: Having the same balance between the macabre and the mundane. A juxtaposition of perversion with Americana. [Editor’s note – admittedly it goes much further back into film history, but “Chaplinesque” was an oft-used cinemadjective as well…]

Perversion and Americana. The macabre and the mundane. Yep. That’s ol’ David alright.

As a true lover of his work, I often wondered how Lynch mixed and matched these various concepts. What train did he catch that brought him to these destinations? The answer is quite surprising…

Transcendental Meditation.

In fact, TM is the springboard that allowed me the chance to meet Lynch. Although he has pretty much shied away from publicity and public speaking for most of his career… the current state of the world, along with a strong desire to share how TM can be a wonderful addition to educational programs, has moved Lynch onto the lecture circuit. His lectures are a fascinating combination of questions and answers about his films and his art, mixed with his heartfelt belief in the healing and transcending power of TM, and how it can truly help the world be a more peaceful place.

Lynch recently gave a lecture at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, Long Island…and it is here that I was able to experience the epiphany of actually getting to speak one on one with one of the most iconic filmmakers of our time.

Drawing by Richard Pascucci

But still…David Lynch and TM? I mean…let’s face it… Lynch, whose unconventional mind has brought us such cinematic puzzle boxes as ERASERHEAD, BLUE VELVET, WILD AT HEART, LOST HIGHWAY, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, and the off-kilter TV series ‘Twin Peaks”, is not the first guy you’d associate with the image of someone at peace with his inner self…meditating in a state of bliss, calm and happiness. Yet the inner well from which his creativity is drawn springs from his practicing the technique of Transcendental Meditation, twice a day, for the last 32 years and counting. I say “technique” because that is exactly what it is. A very simple, very precise way of focusing within to help expand the mind’s ability to function with infinite creative potential.

At first, Lynch wasn’t even interested in trying. “When I first heard about meditation, I had zero interest in it. I wasn’t even curious. It sounded like a waste of time.” But, like all great artists who are constantly searching for inspiration, he decided to give it a try. “What got me interested was the phrase ‘true happiness lies within.’ It had a ring of truth…and I began to think that maybe meditation was a way to go within.”

Lynch so firmly believes in the transcending powers of TM, he’s even written a book entitled, “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity.” In it, he describes how TM has helped him stay creative and healthy for the past three decades. “It sounds strange at first,” said Lynch, 62, “But then, when you start doing it and seeing your life getting better and better, you can’t believe it. You had anger, and it goes away. When that blanket of fear, stress and anger starts lifting, this is freedom.” It is this expansion of the mind that provides the necessary room to see the world differently. Lynch acquaints this newfound mind expansion to “diving within” and “catching ideas like fish.”

To the uninformed person, Transcendental Meditation may seem like some kind of crackpot religion or cult. Images of the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, The Beatles, flower power, and gurus trying to float while meditating, may come to mind. Point of fact, the TM program is the most thoroughly researched and widely practiced program in the world for developing the full creative potential of the brain and mind, reducing stress, and improving academic outcomes. A number of scientific studies have also confirmed Transcendental Meditation’s overall health benefits. There is plenty of well-documented research showing that it’s effective for a variety of problems, from helping to reduce stress to helping to reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure.

It is because of Lynch’s belief in all the benefits that Transcendental Meditation can provide to the world, that this relatively reclusive artist, (with a fear of public speaking, to boot) has committed his mind, heart and soul into launching a major world lecture tour, to spread awareness of TM, while also trying to raise 20 million dollars in funds for the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace, to help teach TM to inner-city schoolchildren and to college students to provide consciousness-based education as a way to lower stress and help expand learning and retention abilities. Ultimately, he hopes to raise $7 billion to create and endow seven “universities of world peace.” Lynch adds, “Consciousness-based education is not a luxury. For our children who are growing up in a stressful, often frightening, crisis-ridden world, it is a necessity. ”

His devotion to this cause is so personal and heartfelt, he has practically devoted the last two years of his life to lecturing all over the world about the benefits of TM, while helping to raise money and awareness for his foundation. “We want to ensure that any child who wants to learn and practice the Transcendental Meditation program can do so, ” says Lynch. “We provide scholarships for students to learn the technique and to receive the complete follow-up program of instruction throughout their student year.”

Since Lynch’ films have a reputation for portraying very violent and surreal images, it was only natural that someone during the lecture would pose the question, “If you’re a person who is at bliss, why are your films so full of terror and violence?” Lynch just smiled and said, “You don’t have to suffer to show suffering.”

Fair enough.




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2 Responses »

  1. I enjoyed Dennis article on David Lynch, he captured some of the magic of that evening. It is rare to have a person in the public eye so understanding and attuned to his audience. Of those of us that were there we all enjoyed the gift of seeing a public figure truly devoted to a universal good for our society.David Lynch will be in New York City in October addressing educators and Health Professionals at the “National Summit for Children’s Health and Education”. More information at the David Lynch Foundation web site.

  2. Nice story. If I may be so bold, here’s a link about my own experiences with a “generic” version of TM, which I took up after reading Lynch’s book: Lynch and Transcendental Meditation

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