David Lynch's Peace Plan

The filmmaker discusses his love for Transcendental Meditation--and why he's seeking $7 billion and 8,000 meditation students.

BY: Interview by Michael Kress


In works such as "

Blue Velvet

" and "

Twin Peaks

," the filmmaker David Lynch has explored the darker side of human nature. In his personal life, though, Lynch has found contentment and balance by practicing Transcendental Meditation. Popularized by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Transcendental Meditation involves twice-daily sessions in which practitioners meditate on a specific mantra. In recent years, Lynch has worked to publicize scientific research on the benefits of TM, and his David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace works to bring TM into schools to reduce student stress.

Lynch spoke with Beliefnet about the effects of TM on his life and his plans for bringing the Maharishi's teachings to a much broader audience.

You've been meditating since 1973: What effect has it had on your life?

It had an effect right away, and that right-away effect was this anger lifted away from me. I knew I had this anger, and I’d take it out on my first wife. Two weeks after I started meditating, she came to me and said, “What’s going on?” And I said, “What are you talking about?” And she said, “This anger—where did it go?” And I honestly didn’t know that it had lifted. But she knew it had lifted. It just went away. I had anxieties and fears and this anger, and those negative things started lifting. And I started enjoying life. It sounds strange, but I started appreciating things more and enjoying the doing of things more.

That was in the beginning, and then it just keeps on growing. I think the ability to catch ideas grows, and the enjoyment of doing almost anything grows. An awareness, a clarity grows. A bigger picture starts to form—bigger and bigger. And you seem to know certain things more, and understanding starts to grow more and more. And people seem familiar. Everybody starts looking pretty good. The world starts looking better.

What is involved in practicing Transcendental Meditation?

In Transcendental Meditation, you’re given a mantra, and Maharishi did not make up these mantras. They’re ancient. Transcendental Meditation is an ancient teaching. It works if you’re a human being.

"You sit comfortably..."
You sit comfortably, you close your eyes, and you start your mantra. And that mantra, word, thought, vibration, turns the mind within, and you start to experience subtler levels of mind, intellect, and then, there, at the source of thought you transcend, and you experience that ocean of pure consciousness—sometimes called “pure bliss consciousness” or the “absolute” or “being” or “divine being.” Pure consciousness there, at the source of thought, and the source of thought also happens to be the source of a tree, a fish, a star, a universe. It’s the source. It’s the self. In Vedic language, that pure consciousness—that ocean of pure consciousness—is called “atma,” meaning, the self, the self of us all. And when you experience this pure consciousness, you enliven it, you unfold it, and it starts to grow in the individual. So whatever consciousness you had when you start this process, now that consciousness is growing.

You’re really and truly expanding your consciousness. You go beyond the field of relativity and you experience the non-relative absolute. You go beyond duality, and you experience oneness. You go beyond boundaries, and you experience the unbounded, infinite, eternal, unified field, pure bliss consciousness. And also, this field has the qualities of pure intelligence, pure creativity, pure love, pure energy, power, pure harmony, pure coherence, dynamic peace. It’s all there, and you can unfold that and grow in that.

As Maharishi teaches, mankind was not made to suffer. Bliss is our nature. Life should be blissful, and blissful doesn’t mean just a small happiness. It’s huge. It is profound. It’s like totality. This atma becomes brahma, totality. It’s there, it’s our potential, it’s our birthright to enjoy enlightenment. You just need to unfold it.

How do you take that sense of bliss and transcendence that you achieve while meditating and keep it with you beyond the 20 or 40 minutes a day that you’re meditating and make it really part of your life?

On the EEG machine, Dr. Fred Travis [a professor at the Maharishi University of Management] was showing the brain waves of a beginning meditator and a meditator of, I think, eight or 10 years. The experience of transcending is exactly the same. Transcending is transcending. So you see the total brain engaged in the beginning meditator, and you see the total brain engaged in the 10-year meditator. But the difference is, the beginning meditator doesn’t carry that inactivity in waking, sleeping, or dreaming. Whereas, the 10-year meditator, they see that even engaged in activity, the total brain, more and more, is holding that transcendence. Holding those qualities engaged in activity. And cosmic consciousness is when you have that 24/7, locked in.

And so, it’s something that grows. And as it grows, on the way to enlightenment, each day gets better. It’s not like you have to wait and wait and wait and suddenly you get the full present on Christmas—it gets better and better and better on the way to the full enchilada.

Do you feel like that highest level is something that you will achieve in some point in your own life?

I doubt it. I just know things are getting better. I’m not that worried about it. I just know that I truly believe, based on experiences that I’ve had, that it is completely possible. It’s very special. It’s divine. It doesn’t happen overnight.

"You’re in a elevator, and they snipped the cables..."
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