Lynch on transcendental meditation

Started by MacGuffin, February 02, 2005, 04:16:47 PM

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No TM at TL: Filmmaker David Lynch pulls grant for high school

A controversial plan for a Transcendental Meditation program at Terra Linda High School was dropped Wednesday after the David Lynch Foundation withdrew a $175,000 grant.

Principal Carole Ramsey said a few people created such a stir over the issue that it became a distraction. Nonetheless, she is encouraging students to pursue their interests in meditation because it remains an effective way to reduce stress.

"I don't regret bringing it (to students) at all," she said.

Ramsey recently announced the school would start a Transcendental Meditation club as part of a new wellness program that also encouraged students to eat balanced meals and exercise more. But she abruptly ended an informational meeting for about 75 parents last week when opponents raised a ruckus over claims the program is linked to a religious movement.

Transcendental Meditation was founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to improve mental and physical health. Maharishi was a spiritual adviser to the Beatles in the 1960s.

It is not, supporters claim, a religion or philosophy and practitioners do not change their lifestyles or experience any type of mind control even though the founder, Maharishi, is referred to as "His Holiness."

Ramsey attended a lecture by Lynch, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker who established a nonprofit organization to spread Transcendental Meditation in schools, after more than 60 students expressed interest in a meditation program.

Shortly thereafter, she applied for and received the $175,000 grant, which would have been the organization's first program in California.

Participants would have taken several workshops, including 90-minute classes for four consecutive days. The program involves sitting silently with eyes closed for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day.

A consultant with the state Department of Education did not see a problem with the program in a public school.

Bob Roth, a 1968 graduate of Redwood High School who is a spokesman for the Lynch Foundation, said pulling back was the best thing for his organization and the school following the outcry. He said the grant will go to another school.

"There's a long waiting list," he said.

Ramsey said that, aside from a few opponents, most parents either supported the program or were open-minded. But the deep-seated beliefs held by critics threatened to overshadow what she set out to accomplish.

"This is a program that was supposed to reduce stress," she noted.
"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art." - Andy Warhol

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This was the first Christmas present I received this year (one of my friends got an advance copy of it). It's a fast read (an hour or two, tops), and it could have been subtitle 'The Wit And Wisdom Of David Lynch.' A lot of what he has to say can be found in his interviews over the past year or so, so if you enjoy reading those, you'll probably get a kick out of the book. I love his metaphors - we've all heard the fish thing and the ideas-as-string-of-pearls analogy, but he has this one great bit where he describes transcendental meditation as a bunch of golden robots cleaning the empire state building. There's also a really great chapter (and the chapters are all, for the most part, one or two pages, or sometimes even paragraphs or sentences) about the moment when Eraserhead started to make sense to him.


Quote from: Ghostboy on December 24, 2006, 06:07:00 PM
but he has this one great bit where he describes transcendental meditation as a bunch of golden robots cleaning the empire state building.
that's also on one of the countless hours of TM seminars he's given. i did an assignment on it in march and watched them all (as many as were available at the time), and he repeats himself a lot. the best part is when he stops talking about TM and just goes on about creativity and ideas in general, or personal revelations such as eraserhead.

cool present.
under the paving stones.


David Lynch's Shockingly Peaceful Inner Life
Source: New York Times

IF you were looking for a Tom Cruise to preach to a new generation the gospel of Transcendental Meditation, a hippie-era spiritual practice espousing inner harmony, David Lynch would be one of the least likely candidates.

As the director who conjured the reptilian mutant baby of "Eraserhead" and the dancing dwarf of "Twin Peaks," Mr. Lynch has built his career by imposing his nightmares on the rest of us.

The idea of the inscrutable David Lynch, Hollywood's leading surrealist and eccentric, reborn as the guru of bliss seems a little odd even to Mr. Lynch himself.

Now 60, he remembers how he recoiled from the concept when he heard about it in the late 1960s, when the movement — founded by the Indian spiritual leader Maharishi Mahesh Yogi — was experiencing its first wave of popularity among young people in the West thanks to proselytizing by pop stars like the Beatles and Donovan.

"The word 'harmony' would make me want to puke," recalled Mr. Lynch, speaking on a clear, chilly afternoon in the glassed-in painting studio atop his Modernist concrete-walled house in the Hollywood Hills. Even as an Eagle Scout and a popular student at a public high school in Alexandria, Va., he composed paintings, influenced by the grotesqueries of Francis Bacon, in a studio with walls that he and a friend painted black.

"Meditation would be a sickening thing to consider, because you want that edge to create," he said, wearing worn khaki trousers and a tattered black sports jacket with a hole in the right elbow the size of a saucer. "I don't want to be a namby-pamby."

Besides, he added, "you would get chicks when you're angry."

That all changed in 1973, when the future filmmaker discovered meditation, which he believes allowed him to quiet — and exploit — his inner demons. He said that he has not missed a day since.

And now, the low-key auteur is emerging as the most visible, even fiery, proponent of the resurgent practice, which is being used increasingly in schools and in the workplace, as well as by a new generation of stars, including Heather Graham, Laura Dern and the record executive Rick Rubin.

In July 2005, Mr. Lynch began the David Lynch Foundation, which finances Transcendental Meditation scholarships for students in middle schools and high schools to study the practice. Later that year, he embarked on a series of lectures on college campuses that attracted significant attention in the news media.

This winter, Mr. Lynch is taking the message to the masses. His autobiography-cum-self-help book, "Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity" (Tarcher/Penguin), will be released this week. Next month, he will preside over a series of readings and discussions, in tandem with concerts by Donovan, at Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington and the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles.

"It's weird," said Mr. Lynch, in the flat folksy accent of his native Missoula, Mont., speaking of his increasing involvement. "I guess it's as simple as this: I wish I had heard it earlier."

The idea of David Lynch serving as the spokesman for anything is a bit of a stretch. Mr. Lynch suffers from a lifelong fear of public speaking— "I still hate it," he said — and will happily recount how he has tape-recorded speeches at home for awards ceremonies, then played them into the microphone at the podium.

"I call him 'the reluctant yogi,' " said Robert Roth, a spokesman for the Transcendental Meditation organization and the vice president of the foundation. It was Mr. Roth who initially nudged Mr. Lynch onto the college lecture circuit. He added: "If I didn't say, 'Please ask questions,' David would just stand up there. He doesn't care how awkward anyone else feels."

Transcendental Meditation is a trademarked mental technique introduced by Maharishi in 1958 based on the proposition that a practitioner, by repeating a private mantra throughout two 20-minute sessions a day, can achieve a state of "restful alertness"— and, theoretically, tap into a "unified field" of energy. The training process involves working with personal instructors over five days at one of about 1,000 Transcendental Meditation centers worldwide, and it costs about $2,500.

In the '60s, adherents posed Transcendental Meditation as a natural alternative to mind-expanding drugs like LSD. Now, proponents, including Mr. Lynch, argue that it can serve as an antidote to a stress-filled world, particularly for adolescents. Mr. Lynch cites his increasing concern for young people as the primary reason he launched his crusade.

"David has become a huge promoter of T.M.," said Donovan, whose real name is Donovan Leitch. Mr. Leitch learned the practice from Maharishi himself, along with the Beatles, Mia Farrow and Mike Love of the Beach Boys, in Rishikesh, India, in 1968. Mr. Leitch added that Mr. Lynch has been able to "capitalize" on his fame and "redirect meditation back where it belongs, with the students."

Transcendental Meditation faded from the pop culture landscape after the '70s. Before Mr. Lynch, a marquee celebrity advocate was the illusionist Doug Henning, who died in 2000. But it hardly disappeared. Maharishi, now believed to be 90, still directs the movement, which claims more than 6 million adherents, from a log house on a 65-acre compound in the Dutch village of Vlodrop. The organization operates the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa; its own incorporated town, Vedic City (population 325), is nearby.

Over the years, the practice has been the subject of numerous scientific studies, including one by the University of Michigan Health System in 2003, which indicated that sixth graders who were practicing such meditation appeared to score significantly higher on tests of self-esteem and emotional competence.

But critics allege that it can inspire an unhealthy devotion. Rick A. Ross, who operates a nonprofit research organization in Jersey City called the Rick A. Ross Institute for the Study of Destructive Cults, Controversial Groups and Movements, said that the evidence he has studied indicates that Transcendental Meditation can be relaxing when not practiced excessively. But the movement fits some criteria he uses to define cults. It is "a personality-driven group, with Maharishi as its totalitarian leader," Mr. Ross said, which at its extremes "can be seen as one in which people lose much of their ability for critical thinking."

But Mr. Lynch, who was raised Presbyterian, insisted that Transcendental Meditation is neither a cult nor a theology, but simply a practice one learns, then pursues in private.

As an artist, Mr. Lynch said, it has allowed him to unleash his imagination and be, in a word, weirder. He said that many of his ideas — the "big fish" of his book's title — come to him during meditation. Among these big fish are the sitcom-starring rabbits and the Greek chorus of prostitutes in his fantastical three-hour new film, "Inland Empire," now showing in limited release.

Of course, artists are allowed their quirks, and Mr. Lynch revels in his. Last month, to campaign for an Academy Award nomination for Laura Dern, the star of his new movie, Mr. Lynch sat on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea with a cow and a giant poster of Ms. Dern's face.

Early in his career, while other Hollywood hopefuls were losing themselves to cocaine, Mr. Lynch got strung out on milkshakes, visiting a Los Angeles Bob's Big Boy almost daily for seven years. Now more health conscious, he favors the veggie burgers at Astro Burger. "To be a grown-up and to do what you want to do is the most beautiful thing," he said, his gray-flecked hair pomaded into what looked like a tangle of swaying prairie grass. "But this doesn't happen for most people. Sadly, they have to make ends meet."

For these people, Mr. Lynch argues in the book, meditation can be a way out. For example, an unhappy insurance salesman who learns to "dive within" will find his soul-crushing commutes and stale breakfasts enlivened by ideas. Little by little, Mr. Lynch said, the salesman will find his weekdays "becoming more like Saturday morning — the sun is coming out, this beautiful warmth, with his favorite breakfast, birds chirping."

"If you were a burglar, you'd become a much better burglar," he added. "But after a while, you would probably say, well, wait a minute. You would probably have compassion for people you were burglarizing. You might even bring some stuff back."

The director's goal is to raise $7 billion to help open seven "peace universities" around the world. He also endorses Maharishi's belief that a mass demonstration of "yogic flying" — a so-called "advanced technique" in which meditators, seated in the lotus position, begin hopping in unison and theoretically start to hover — can radiate peaceful energy out to the world. (Asked if he had tried this, he responded: "Yes." Did it work? "No.")

Mr. Lynch writes in his book that he began meditating on the recommendation of his sister, Martha. At the time, Mr. Lynch was a year into a torturous five-year quest to complete his first feature film, "Eraserhead," which was released in 1977, and was separating from his first of three wives, Peggy Lentz.

"There was a hollowness inside," he recalled. "I thought, something is drastically wrong."

He dropped in on a Transcendental Meditation center. After 20 minutes, he felt a weight lifted.

"The side effect of growing that consciousness," he explained, "is, negative things start going away. Like fear. It's like the suffocating rubber clown suit begins to dissolve." Certainly, the teachings of gentle-voiced Maharishi never made Mr. Lynch go soft. "You don't have to suffer to show suffering," he said of the violence in his movies. The filmmaker sees no contradiction between inner harmony and external edginess.

"I heard Charles Bukowski started meditation late in his life," Mr. Lynch said, referring to the poet laureate of Skid Row, who died in 1994. "He was an angry, angry guy, but he apparently loved meditation."

Of course, just as meditation never got Mr. Lynch over a taste for the macabre, it never quenched Mr. Bukowski's famous thirst for whiskey. "Well, maybe in time, it would have," Mr. Lynch said with a smile. "In the meantime — just more enjoyment of the whiskey."
"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art." - Andy Warhol

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I Don't Believe in Beatles

Quote from: MacGuffin on January 03, 2007, 01:39:32 AM
David Lynch's Catching the Big Fish Tour Dates
Check out Lynch's Tour dates below. You can also view his tour schedule over at the Official Catching the Big Fish Website.

  Jan 18 2007 7:30P Book signing at Barnes & Noble @ Berkeley 

So is anyone else going to this?  Also, I'm 99% sure it's at the B&N in Bay Street, not the one on Shattuck.  The employee I spoke to says he'll be there at 8. 

P.S. Lucid, if I get a chance to talk to Lynch, I'll ask him about the screening tomorrow.  No idea if he'll know where it is though... or if I'll get to talk to him.
"A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later." --Stanley Kubrick

Mikey B

Going to the signing in Los Angeles and I will try to get into the Donovan performance he is going to be at the day before.
I Stole SiliasRuby's DVD Collection


Quote from: MacGuffin on January 03, 2007, 01:39:32 AM
Jan 11 2007 7:00P Book signing at Barnes & Noble @ New York 
if anyone would like to listen to this David Lynch Q&A i went to, its now online...
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.


Donovan, Lynch: Mellow fellows
The master of subconscious cinema and the Hurdy Gurdy Man promote Transcendental Meditation with freewheeling reminiscences.
Source: Los Angeles Times

Since word got out that David Lynch and Donovan would appear together in three cities — New York, Washington and Hollywood — people have been buzzing about the unlikeliness of the pairing. What could the master of subconscious cinema share with the flower-power Hurdy Gurdy Man, beyond a devotion to Transcendental Meditation (TM), the spiritual path this mini-tour promoted? It was like putting Anne Rice and Bob Newhart on tour together because they're both Catholic. But Sunday at the Kodak Theatre, some signs emerged that Lynch and Donovan share more than a spiritual path.

The free event opened with Lynch in an "Actors Studio"-style Q&A, responding to questions from the audience read by his muse, actor Laura Dern. Then Donovan, whose music, Lynch declared, "conjures magical feelings," played his hits interlaced with anecdotes culled from his recently published memoir. Proselytizing was kept to a minimum, with each artist instead using the evangelizing tool of personal reminiscence.

What the night revealed in both men is an immovable innocence — a belief that art can and should be free from over-intellectualism or aesthetic second-guessing. This conviction takes Lynch into weird, disturbing psychic corners; for Donovan, it's connected to childlike wordplay and storytelling. Though one operates in the rarified world of art cinema and the other is a pop star, each has produced bodies of work that don't quite fit into traditional canons, serene in their outsiderness.

Fielding questions seemingly chosen to split the focus between his filmmaking and TM advocacy — his new foundation, featured in a glossy handout available at the theater doors, seeks to provide schoolchildren with scholarships to pay for the $2,500 TM instruction fee — Lynch took the folksy, direct tone that dominates his new book, "Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity." Much of what he shared, from his love of sawing pine logs to his preference for digital video over film to his credo that "the artist does not have to suffer to show suffering," appears almost verbatim in the book.

Still, he managed to seem unrehearsed. Compulsively fluttering his right hand as if it were a lost character from "Eraserhead," he spoke in friendly, oddly Reaganesque tones about how meditation has helped him shed "the rubber clown suit of negativity" and could do the same for America's youth. "Ramp up the light of unity and all diversity is appreciated," he said. It's an uncomplicated solution to America's education crisis, more "The Straight Story" than "Lost Highway." But this was an evening of appreciation, not debate. The crowd cheered his every word.

Donovan set himself up for maximum approval too, structuring his set around irresistible hits like "Jennifer Juniper" and sharing tales of hanging out with the Beatles and Bob Dylan (he even sang a "lost verse" George Harrison wrote for "Hurdy Gurdy Man"; too bad it was nothing special). After his career cooled in the 1970s, Donovan suffered accusations of being an imitator, but in recent years his reputation has been repaired. With sunshine pop back in vogue, his hook-happy songs now sound sweet instead of corny, and he can mention his famous friends without seeming like a hanger-on.

As he wiggled his hips and finger-picked his guitar, Donovan showed himself more the heir to Buddy Holly than Woody Guthrie. His great gift is for irresistible hooks and meaningful free association.

"Happiness runs in a circular motion," he crooned, getting the ultra-cool Hollywood crowd to sing along with a fa-la-la. Like most of his lyrics, it sounded a bit like a Zen koan, a bit like a schoolyard chant.

Not every tune Donovan trotted out was as light-filled and charming. An obscure number about a wild week in Mexico fell flat. (Another, "Young Girl Blues," had a nice cynical edge.) A meditator's hymn that will appear on his next album was ponderously literal. His bassist and percussionist didn't stand out, though his daughter Astrella, who joined him on several songs, offered a wistful self-penned ballad, "Dream," that would fit better on a David Lynch soundtrack than anything her dad has written.

Fellow TM enthusiast Mike Love of the Beach Boys wandered onstage to join in a finale of "Mellow Yellow," and then Lynch strolled out. The filmmaker read a version of a Buddhist loving kindness prayer from his book as his pal softly picked his guitar. Then they locked arms and left the stage, two soldiers of innocence decamping for the night.
"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art." - Andy Warhol

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Got my book signed by him last night and got to answer a question. They were filming it so it might be up on his site if any of you guys subscribe. It was pretty nice.
The Beatles know Jesus Christ has returned to Earth and is in Los Angeles.

When you are getting fucked by the big corporations remember to use a condom.

There was a FISH in the perkalater!!!

My Collection


Mof's got a pretty firm handshake, doesn't he?


by David Lynch

The Death of Film

I'm through with film as a medium. For me, film is dead. If you look at what people all over the world are taking still pictures with now, you begin to see what's going to happen.

I'm shooting in digital video and I love it. I have a Web site and I started doing small experiments for the site with these small cameras, at first thinking they were just like little toys, and they were not very good. But then I started realizing that they're very, very good — for me, at least.

You have forty-minute takes, automatic focus. They're lightweight. And you can see what you've shot right away. With film you have to go into the lab and you don't know what you've shot until the next day, but with DV, as soon as you're done, you can put it into the computer and go right to work. And there are so many tools. A thousand tools were born this morning, and there'll be ten thousand new tools tomorrow. It happened first in sound. Now everybody's got ProTools, and you can manipulate these sounds, just fine-tune them unbelievably fast. The same thing's happening with the image. It gives you so much control.

I started thinking and experimenting. I did some tests from DV to film, because you still have to transfer to film to show in the theater. And although it does not look exactly like it shot on film, it looks way better than I would have thought.

Once you start working in that world of DV with small, lightweight equipment and automatic focus, working with film seems so cumbersome. These 35mm film cameras are starting to look like dinosaurs to me. They're huge; they weigh tons. And you've got to move them around. There are so many things that have to be done, and it's all so slow. It kills a lot of possibilities. With DV everything is lighter; you're more mobile. It's far more fluid. You can think on your feet and catch things.

And for actors, to get down into a character in the middle of a scene and then suddenly have to stop while we reload the film cameras after ten minutes — often, this breaks the thing. But now you're rolling along; you've got 40 minutes down in there. And you can start talking to the actors, and instead of stopping it you can move in and push it. You can even rehearse while you're shooting, although I start goofing up the soundtrack, because they've got to chop out all my words. But many times I am talking to the actors while we are shooting and we are able to get in deeper and deeper.

Reprinted from Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch by arrangement with Jeremy P. Tarcher, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.
"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art." - Andy Warhol

Skeleton FilmWorks


you could transcribe the whole book in one afternoon if you really wanted to. the vast majority of it is already printed elsewhere online in interviews and what not.

it's still the best gift i ever received though.


not to be confused with best gif.
under the paving stones.


David Lynch Live Webcast on School Violence
David Lynch was part of a live webcast about school violence and his Foundation's efforts to end it:
"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art." - Andy Warhol

Skeleton FilmWorks

homesick alien

I managed to come across Lynch's most recently released book, Catching the Big Fish, on audio book, and it was very enjoyable. He reads it himself, written siimply written but it gives some detail into his creative process. It also noticeably reveals a bit more about Inland Empire, in once instance where he talks about two dominant states of mind, describing someone who is unable to explore their consciousness as being stuck in  "a rubber clown suit", and one, through meditation, who is capable of diving into their consciousness as being truly free. He also has such funny catch phrases like "Holy Jumpin' George!" and "it makes me crazy in a good way". He's like a brilliant big kid, and it's refreshing to listen to. I recommend it.


Lynch Promotes Meditation on Israel Trip

David Lynch, on a five-day visit to Israel to encourage transcendental meditation, met with Israeli President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shimon Peres.

"Lynch is one of the greatest directors of our generation and a giant artist on his own, and it is a great honor for the state of Israel to host you and listen to you," Peres said Monday. "The whole of Israel recognizes your work and is proud to host you."

The 61-year-old director, who has received Oscar nominations for "The Elephant Man," "Blue Velvet" and "Mullholland Dr.," is visiting Israel to encourage transcendental meditation as a new approach to eliminating violence in schools and creating a peaceful world.

"Real peace is not just the absence of war, but the absence of all suffering, all negativity," Lynch said at the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School in Jerusalem. "Change comes from within. From the first meditation, boom, you're there."

Lynch has been meditating for more than 30 years.

He started the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace to promote transcendental meditation as a way to aid students in violence-ridden schools and bring about world harmony.

With meditation, Lynch said, the "black cloud of negativity dissolves."

Meditation can aid not only schoolchildren, but also bring tranquility to troubled regions of the world, he said.

"The experienced gardener doesn't worry about the leaves. Get at (the problem) from its roots," he said. "A peace on the surface it doesn't address the seeds of war ... it's a `peace' of paper."

Lynch said if he had to choose between meditation and filmmaking, meditation would win.
"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art." - Andy Warhol

Skeleton FilmWorks