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Guest Profile

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David Lynch

Filmmaker

Founder of the

David Lynch Foundation

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About David Lynch

Born Missoula, Montana.  Eagle Scout.

Episode Overview

David Lynch, filmmaker and creative genius, joins Alberto Lidji to talk about Transcendental Meditation (TM), consciousness, his foundation’s work and the ups and downs of his personal journey.

 

This episode is an absolute must-listen for fans of David Lynch and those craving wellbeing through meditation. David speaks from the heart, with abundant passion and an infectious self-assuredness about consciousness and the power of Transcendental Meditation to do away with the negatives in one's life while letting in boundless positivity.

We learn about the work of the David Lynch Foundation, helping bring TM to the world, and also hear about David's creativity, successes and failures -- and how he has overcome the most challenging times.

David lets us in on those earlier moments in his life when he felt unsatisfied with a success he perceived as hollow, and we also hear of challenging moments in his career, such as following the film Dune — a “giant failure” by his own account — where he notes that had it not been for that “inner strength from meditation, from transcending every day, I might have wanted to check out.”

 

Since 1973, David has been practising Transcendental Meditation — and he has never missed a meditation since then — meditating 20 minutes twice a day.  While skeptical at first, David notes that TM has quite simply transformed his life.  “Just meditate regularly, go about your business the same way you would, and watch things get better.”

Episode Transcript

This is a transcript of the conversation between Alberto Lidji, host of The Do One Better! Podcast, and David Lynch.

Alberto Lidji

Welcome on to The Do One Better! Podcast

 

David Lynch

Good to be here, Alberto

 

Alberto Lidji

Excellent! Tell us a bit about the foundation. Why did you start the foundation, I think you’ve been running since 2005.

 

David Lynch

The foundation was started to bring TM to the people. And Transcendental Meditation — and the idea is to raise money to get Transcendental Meditation to any person in the world who wants it.

 

Alberto Lidji

Ok. And tell us a little bit about TM, Transcendental Meditation, many people may not be familiar with it, others may have a bit of insight about it but not a great deal. Tell us a bit about TM and the influence it’s had on your life.

 

David Lynch

Ok. First I’d like to say I heard your podcast with Jeffrey Abramson, and it was so beautiful and you could run that again and people can understand what Transcendental Meditation is from that. It was a great, great talk. And Jeffrey is a great soul. And then you had Dr Tony Nader who’s head of the whole TM Organisation and he must have done wonders telling the people about what Transcendental Meditation is also, so… You know, Alberto, there are many, many techniques under the name meditation out in the world. And, people kind of think all meditations are pretty much the same, so they just pick one out of a hat and they’re off and running. This is not true and for me the key word is transcend. Now, what does that mean? There’s also a thing called science and science has progressed over the years to the point where maybe in the 1970s, I think, modern science quantum physics, so called discovered, the unified field. This field that underlies the whole field of relativity and it is all unified in that field. That’s why the called it the unified field. It’s ones. And Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who brought Transcendental Meditation out to the world — revived it and brought it out — this field that scientists called the unified field is a field of pure consciousness, Maharishi says. Pure consciousness and you mentioned Dr Tony Nader, he’s got a book coming out called One Unbounded Ocean of Consciousness, this book is a must-read for human beings around the world, anywhere.  This book is incredible, you’ve got to read this book, Alberto, ok?

 

Alberto Lidji

I’m going on to the Amazon website…

 

David Lynch

Ok, good, you can get a pre-order right now. It is a quantum leap in knowledge for the people and I’m telling you consciousness will be the word that defines the 21st Century. It’s all going to come out that it’s all about consciousness, and this field that underlies the field of relativity is a field of unbounded, infinite, eternal, immutable, immortal consciousness. This field is a field that never had a beginning — imagine, it never had a beginning, it always was, it is now, and it will be forever. This field of consciousness can manifest and produce all that we see and experience. This is the big truth of how it all works, that everything is spun out of consciousness. So there is the relative — the field of relativity — and the non-relative absolute. And, this field of consciousness, as I said is always there. It’s deep within, it underlies the field of relativity. It’s like waiting for us. For some reason, during these last many, many years we’ve lost contact with this field. And, Transcendental Meditation is a mental technique, an ancient form of meditation that very easily and effortlessly reunites us with this field, takes us on a little boat deep within and and when we transcend, we transcend into this field and experience it, and every time we experience it, we infuse some of that and grow in consciousness; expand whatever amount of consciousness we had to begin with and this consciousness within has qualities, so in this field within this consciousness has the qualities of abounded intelligence, unbounded creativity, unbounded happiness, unbounded love, unbounded energy, unbounded peace. Within every human being, we just need a technique to get us there. Now if you imagine the field of relativity going from the elementary particles all the way up to the big giant galactic structures in the universe — the many forms of meditation… let’s say there are probably not any bad forms, they might give us some benefits. There are concentration forms, but they say with brain research they say that concentration forms of meditation… basically you’re concentrating on something the same way you’re concentrating on any project you’re working on or any book you’re reading or anything you’re studying or whatever. It keeps you on the surface of life. It doesn’t take you within. Then there’s contemplation forms of meditations. They might take you a little bit within, give you some relaxation, give you some comfort, some benefits, but they don’t take you all the way within. In Transcendental Meditation you get a mantra, and this mantra is like, I say, like a law of nature, designed for a specific purpose, and that purpose is to turn the awareness180 degrees from out to in — within. Once we’re pointed within we will naturally and easily dive deeper. Why is it natural and easy? Because they say the human being always wants to go to fields of greater happiness. And, when we’re pointed within we begin to dive because each deeper level of creation has more happiness, more charm, and it pulls us like a magnet to the source of everything and when we get right there at border of intellect and the unbounded ocean of consciousness we naturally transcend because because that’s the infinite amount of happiness — boom, we’re in there! Sometimes you just stay for a millisecond, sometimes you stay longer, but you’ll infuse some of that consciousness every time you transcend, and like I said, you’ll start to expand whatever ball of consciousness you had to begin with. And, you’ll start expanding all those positive qualities. It’s the all positive field with these fantastic qualities and you’ll start to expand all those. The side effect of expanding consciousness and those all positive qualities is negativity starts to lift away. Now, so you’re getting all these positive qualities coming up and the added benefit of negativity leaving, so what are these things of negativity leaving? — stress starts to go, anxieties, tensions, worries, sadness, all these things you call negative things, depression, hate, need for revenge, bitter selfish anger and fear, all these things start to lift away. They say that consciousness you could say is like light and negativity you could say is like darkness. And, darkness isn’t anything really anything — it’s just the absence of light. So you start ramping up this light of consciousness.. automatically darkness goes. So, people who practise Transcendental Meditation and transcend every day, they start seeing stress start going. And, stress is a thing that even a little bit of stress is not good for us. There’s stress related illness, people can die from stress. Andy, there’s so much stress in our world, there is so much negativity in our world. So, here is a technicue to bring in the gold, these all positive qualities, and say good bye to the garbage, and it works because you’re transcending. Like I said, transcend is the key word, it gets you to the treasury within. That ocean, unbounded that is always there but we just don’t know how to get there. We need a technique that works, and with brain research they can see when a human being transcends they see what they call total brain coherence — all parts of the brain start talking to one another, when a person transcends. When I was growing up they said we only use 5% or 10% of our brain and everybody who heard that wondered what is the other 90% for? Here’s the thing, human beings are build to utilise the full brain and here’s a technique that enlivens that whole brain working together and higher states of consciousness can come into our toolkit. We can start opening up higher states of consciousness. We can start unfolding our full potential which is enlightenment. Like we read about in a book in the old days, probably in India, where people gained enlightenment. That was the one thing that got me — one of the two things that got me started on meditation…

 

Alberto Lidji

Which was ages ago, right? It was in the 70s, 1973 I read…

 

David Lynch

July 1st, 1973 I stared, about 11 o’clock in the morning…

 

Alberto Lidji

And never missed a day…

 

David Lynch

I never missed a meditation, twice a day, since then. But I heard this term enlightenment and I thought is it possible that it even is real and that you could get it. And, I thought, no, it’s maybe an Eastern thing but I live in the West, I’m not going to get this kind of thing, and… but Maharishi is a world teacher. He went around the world 10 times, taught in over 100 different countries and, so it’s there for any human being that wants it, and it works, and the benefits are profound, and now more and more people in the world are seeing this as a true thing, and so we’re getting to the point now where pretty soon I think that everyone will be meditating with Transcendental Meditation, because it works, it’s easy and effortless, a 10-year old can do it, a 110-year old can do it, and you can unfold your true potential. Walk away from suffering and negativity and enjoy life fully, realise your dreams and start dealing with a full deck.

 

Alberto Lidji

And in your case, a creative genius like you, and TM, how would you say it’s … in practice, what are the tangibles are that you would say, look because of this I’ve been able to do A, B or C, it’s just changed the way I go about things?

 

David Lynch

That’s a very good question. I was creative before I started meditation but I had many, many worries. A kind of…. well, I’ll tell you a story. I’ve had so much good luck in my life… I was accepted to the Centre for Advanced Film Studies — American Film Institute’s Centre for Advanced Film Studies. I came out to LA in 1970 from Philadelphia, which is called the city of brotherly love but was really the city of fear and corruption, and filth and insanity when I was living there, but anyway… I came out here and I went to school in a 55-room mansion in the best part of Beverly Hills and I was able to take over the whole stables and make my first feature film. The stables were horse stables, garages, maids quarters, hay loft and I was able to build sets there — I had a mini-studio, a mini-sound stage — sound stages. And, the first day I got hold of the place and the green light to make my first feature, I went up to what they call the equipment shed, which was off the main mansion, where I was down below in the stables area. I started loading up my little Volkswagen with equipment. I had all the equipment I needed. Carloads of equipment. And I thought I should be the happiest person in the world. That afternoon, I’m standing at a table looking at a wall in front of me and I realised that my happiness was only a surface happiness. Beneath that was hollow. It was like… I said what? There was so much missing, there was so much mission, I said what in the world… that really hit me. And, so I felt like in a way, any strength I had was a surface strength. Everything could fall apart in a heartbeat. And I had these worries and kind of melancholy swimming in there. I didn’t feel self-secure, self-assured, and I… in this business and pretty much any business, you can get killed so easily, railroaded, runner by a steam roller, and so for me Transcendental Meditation brought in this gold that gave me self-assuredness, it gave me a happiness in the doing of things, and you see that many people work and go about their day doing things but they’re not really happy in the doing. They do it for the reward, the money or whatever, but it’s our life going by. So, it would be so great if we enjoyed all the moments, enjoyed all the things. This happiness comes in and it doesn’t go away when you transcend and bring it in… more and more, it builds up and you’re able to take what comes along better and  better. And, you start enjoying the doing, you start getting more energy to do the things you want to do, you start getting along better with people because this universal love starts flowing in, and relationships get better. I’ve still been divorced three times, married four times, but I’m friends with my ex-wives, I love them so much. I loved being married to them, it’s just we live in a field of change and these things happen, but it’s how you go through life gets better and better, and I always say the event of our life may stay the same, but how we go through them gets better, and this has been my experience. And, it’s serves the work… you know, wihtin us in the treasure, is unbounded creativity, so common sense would tell you, if you’re able to visit that field of pure creativity, unbounded creativity, you’d get more creative. Get more intelligence, get more energy, get more peace, get more love — all these things are there for us. It’s commons sense that it’s a good thing for the human being.

 

Alberto Lidji

Now, if you hadn’t jumped in and embraced TM, you mentioned you had a creative streak before you started TM, what do you think your body of work would have looked like if you hadn’t done TM?

David Lynch

It’s impossible to tell, Alberto. But, I think looking back I might have been in trouble with certain things. For instance, my film Dune to me was a giant failure. I did not have final cut, I didn’t have creative control, and it was… I felt I sold out, and it wasn’t the film I wanted to make and it was a commercial failure. So, I don’t think if I… didn’t have that inner strength from meditation, from transcending every day, I might have wanted to check out. And, there are things that happened at other times in my life where… you know, I was going through something that was giving me nightmares, and the nightmares were horrible but then I’d wake up and I’d wish I could go back into the nightmares bad as it was, because being awake during these things was even worse. So, this inner strength that comes from transcending every day, building that consciousness more and more, and those qualities, saves us and it gets us through tough times. So, I it’s I say money in the bank to get this technique.

 

Alberto Lidji

And tell me, so this ties in very nicely with what I wanted to ask you next. The work of your foundation, you do a lot of work with inner city kids, inner-city schools, veterans who are suffering from post traumatic stress…. give us a bit of insight into the work of the foundation itself, how your’e reaching these individuals, where you operate, give us a flavour for the foundation.

 

David Lynch

Well, I always say I’m just a pretty face up front. But there are many people, Bobby Roth is the CEO, he runs the show and then there’s a whole team of people. We’ve done programs for the homeless, for veterans, for Native Americans, for prisoners, for schools, children suffering, people suffering from autism, bipolar, ADD, ADHD, so many programs but it boils down to everybody is a human being and there are many people suffering in different ways, and what’s been proven is transcending brings great relief and in many cases it brings an end to that suffering. So, the prisoner starting to meditate, one of them said the bars of my cell disappear, I feel freedom, I feel so great. Homeless people, they start getting things together that will lead to them not being homeless any more, and the vets who are suffering from post-traumatic stress, this stress is one of those things that keep them with nightmares, it affects them, of course, it affects their wife or husband, their kids, and the friends, and they get this and almost from the beginning, boom, this pressure comes off and they, you know, a lot of them start crying and say I can’t believe how good I feel. And, they get their life back again, you hear commercials on TV where there’s different things like, even, oh I got my life back again from soap or whatever… we feel the relativity so…. this gives a person their life back. Transcending, so many benefits and it’s like I said the Foundation aims to get it to human beings that wanted, and everybody to a certain degree or another is suffering, these days particularly.

 

Alberto Lidji

And, it’s not just the anecdotal side, right. You’re quite focused on backing research to…

 

David Lynch

Everybody wants research. In a way I’m sick of research but… you go to a different school they say let’s do a research project but we’ve got 50 years of research showing one benefit after another. But, a lot of people rely on that and then some people say, well yeah but the research was done by people that you were preaching to the choir and stuff like this, so let’s do another piece of research. Fine. But, the point is all these research studies show in the end benefits and people walking away from suffering and so, yes, there are books and books of research and people can look up this and see the different benefits that have been proven throughout the years. That Maharishi was teaching and, you know… it’s just a fantastic thing.

 

Alberto Lidji

Now in your case, you have… not only an incredible track record but you’re obviously a very busy person because you can’t possibly put out so much content and creativity without putting the time into it. Yes, as you pointed out you’ve never missed a meditation, and I guess the question the question I’m going to is, what if someone says, yes, this meditation thing sounds OK but who’s got time for it, I’m working…. what do you say to that?

 

David Lynch

OK, so from the beginning Maharishi would get this… you know, people would say, Maharishi, we’re practical people, we don’t have time to sit for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon, we’ve got all these responsibilities and things… and you know, it’s again you go back to common sense. You figure the benefits you get from 40 minutes of the day, diving within, is so fabulous, the benefits, and it helps you during the other 23 hours and 20 minutes, you know, so it helps you immensely. It’s money in the bank to take that time. And it’s so easy. They say we waste way more than 40 minutes a day anyway. So, and it’s so easy to do, you just make it part of the routine. So, basically if you get up 25 minutes earlier in the morning you’ve got that time to do your meditation, and in the afternoon before dinner sometime in the afternoon you sit down and do 20 minutes more. And then it becomes part of the routine, no problem whatsoever. So easy not to miss a meditation, and even if people don’t meditate, or even know about it, or even maybe dislike it, there’s something about… you ask a person, oh Alberto do you have a little room I could go to to do my meditation in quiet, and you know, noise is no barrier to meditation but it’s nice to have a private place. In the end you would say, sure I’ll find you a place, no problem, there’s something about it. And, everybody, we kind of know that this kind of thing is important for the human being. There’s something about it, and we help each other get that time to do our meditation. And, that person is so much nicer to be around. If you’re around a person who’s filled with negativity, filled with this anger, you don’t even want to be in the same room with them, let alone sitting next to them and… and if you’re with a person filled with bliss, and packed with love, it’s so beautiful to sit next to them. And, it’s common sense.

 

Alberto Lidji

What was it like launching the foundation? You’ve been around for over 10 years now. Tell me about the journey.

 

David Lynch

Well, you know, Alberto, I hope we’ve brought happiness to a lot of people and that’s the journey. Getting Transcendental Meditation to the people. And, pretty much everyone. I say no one will ever be sorry they started. There are a lot of people that start, they love it, and they kind of think.. .and they start feeling better, and they think the feeling better is enough and they stop meditating, and little by little the stress will start creeping back … they’ll never lose what they gained but at the same time, they’ll lose that refreshment they got from each meditation. They’ll lose growing more and maybe they didn’t grow enough to overcome this kind of stress, or this kind of test, so obviously common sense again would tell you it’s better to stay regular in your meditation. You’ve been given a technique that brings profound benefits. If you you utilise this technique and grow, and grow, and grow in consciousness. This word that will define the 21st Century - conscious. There is a Vedic line: consciousness alone is. And this is something that people are going to realise. Consciousness is all that there is. Everything is spun out of consciousness, it’s one great giant show of consciousness, and we are that. And, the sooner we start making friends with that idea the better off we’ll be. Everything is great, everything is A-OK, there is nothing to worry about. But you want to expand that consciousness and those all positive qualities. That is the thing for the human being to do, and it bring a better and better life.

 

Alberto Lidji

You’ve mentioned… I saw an interview with you a while back, and somebody had asked you about success and failure, and you said something along the lines of, well, failure you can only go up; success, you know, when you’re up there you’re feeling like, well, at any minute things could crumble, and you worry. And, I imagine in this case, TM must have been a source of support, because you’ve experienced tremendous success…

 

David Lynch

Yes, you know, like I said, success is beautiful but then you can always… you know, what about your next project, what about your next thing. It can be a failure and you fall. So people worry at that point and get funny. Failure, it’s a horribly thing to go through but afterwards you say, wait a minute, there’s only going up from here, I’m sort of free. And that freedom can really serve the creativity, serve the next thing. Now there are different degrees of all these things. So, we all know people that hold on to the sadness of a failure and they can’t let go. And, if they could practise Transcendental Meditation that sadness would lift a lot faster. They say many things are like a line on granite, you can’t let it go. And then you start meditating, they say it becomes like a line on sand, you know it’s there but you can see it… it’s able to go more quickly than the granite for sure. You meditate even more and it becomes like a land on water. You can still get angry but you can’t hold on to it. You can still get extremely sad but you can’t hold on to it. So, it doesn’t make you numb to things but it saves you from having those things kill you. And you still feel it, maybe even more, but it does’t hold on, and you’re able to go forward. Just meditate regularly and, more often than not, the things that aren’t good for us will fall away naturally; the things that are good for us we’ll start gravitating towards naturally. You don’t force anything. Meditate regularly and then just go about your business… not like a goody, goody two shoes, not like holder than thou, you just meditate regularly, go about your business the same way you would, and watch things get better.

 

Alberto Lidji

Wonderful. Well, I have to say it has been a great pleasure speaking with you today, David. It’s been great having you on the show today. Thank you so much for speaking with such passion and such a great energy.

 

David Lynch

Bless your heart, Alberto. It’s good talking to you. Thank you very much.