David Lynch tours to tout the benefits of Transcendental Meditation in schools

Glenn Gamboa
Newsday (MCT)

David Lynch doesn't want to be the spokesman for anything.

The Oscar-nominated director still prefers to let his movies - such as "Eraserhead," "The Elephant Man," "Blue Velvet," "Mulholland Drive" and the recent "Inland Empire" - speak for themselves.

But, in recent years, as he learned more about increasingly stressed-out children and violent schools, Lynch felt he might be able to help by bringing Transcendental Meditation, which he has practiced for 34 years, to schools.

"Schools have tried many, many, many things and nothing on the surface is working," Lynch says from his office in Los Angeles. "But when a student or a teacher truly transcends and experiences this deepest level of life, modern science's unified field, watch what happens. It transforms the schools. It transforms the kids ... It works. Now, more and more people are hearing about this thing that they thought was so weird. Meditation for students? It's too weird. People think it's a religion, it's mumbo-jumbo, it's a cult. It's none of those things. It's a mental technique that works."

Such a "weird" technique would obviously have its opponents, who either complain that it's a covert way of putting prayer in schools or that it wastes time in an already-crammed school day. So Lynch decided to throw his support behind the idea, establishing the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace and going on the lecture circuit to discuss the idea.

"I don't like doing this," Lynch says. "I really like the people I meet, but I don't like public speaking."

His talks are essentially question-and-answer sessions. He estimates that 75 percent of the questions are about meditation and about 25 percent are about his movies and his 1990s TV series "Twin Peaks." By discussing the impact Transcendental Meditation has had on his life, Lynch ends up explaining more about his work than he ever has. And, of course, he ends up confronting questions about the dark, often puzzling, imagery of his work.

"People always say, `David, if you're so happy, why do you think of those things?"" he says, laughing. "When you expand your consciousness, who would want to just turn into a goody- two-shoes? You just get more and more you, a stronger you, a happier you. You're still going to fall in love with certain ideas."

Those ideas include mutant children, breathing-challenged voyeurs, various severed body parts and murder mysteries - a few of the subjects of David Lynch movies - but in the grander scheme of his mind and the expanded range of possibilities that come with his expanded consciousness, they become less upsetting.

"Stories always have contrast throughout time," he says. "The whole range of human condition, that's what makes a great story. It's not just one happy line going through. The artist doesn't have to suffer to show suffering, he just has to understand the thing."

Lynch says he hopes that all his work with TM can make the contrast between his work and the outside world even greater.

"You can tell all kinds of stories and people can leave the theater a happy camper and still have had this experience, while a lot of times, even if it's a troubling film, people leave the theater into a world that's worse than that," he says. "It's kind of important to create things, but it's also important to get our world straightened out."



The David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace was founded in 2005 to offer scholarships to students and funding to schools that want to provide Transcendental Meditation programs. His appearances are generally fundraisers for the foundation and he hopes to keep the money raised in the area. "The greatest thing would be for me to do a talk in an area and then have the money go to a school there," Lynch says. "But that's not always possible."





Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.


Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.


The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".


Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.


Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Mobley Laments the Evil of "James Crow" in the US

Austin's Mobley makes upbeat-sounding, soulful pop-rock songs with a political conscience, as on his latest single, "James Crow".


Jordan Tice's "Bad Little Idea" Is a Satirical Spin on Dire Romance (premiere)

Hawktail's Jordan Tice impresses with his solo work on "Bad Little Idea", a folk rambler that blends bluesy undertones with satiric wit.


Composer Ilan Eshkeri Discusses His Soundtrack for the 'Ghost of Tsushima' Game

Having composed for blockbuster films and ballet, Ilan Eshkeri discusses how powerful emotional narratives and the opportunity for creative freedom drew him to triple-A video game Ghost of Tsushima.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Love and Cinema: The Ruinous Lives in Żuławski's L'important c'est d'aimer

Żuławski's world of hapless also-rans in L'important C'est D'aimer is surveyed with a clear and compassionate eye. He has never done anything in his anarchic world by the halves.


On Bruce Springsteen's Music in Film and TV

Bruce Springsteen's music in film and television captured author Caroline Madden's imagination. She discuses her book, Springsteen as Soundtrack, and other things Springsteen in this interview.


Alt-pop's merci, mercy Warns We May "Fall Apart"

Australian alt-pop singer-songwriter, merci, mercy shares a video for her catchy, sophisticated anthem, "Fall Apart".


Tears in Rain: 'Blade Runner' and Philip K. Dick's Legacy in Film

Blade Runner, and the work of Philip K. Dick, continues to find its way into our cinemas and minds. How did the visions of a paranoid loner become the most relevant science fiction of our time?


London Indie-Poppers the Motive Impress on "You" (premiere)

Southwest London's the Motive concoct catchy, indie-pop earworms with breezy melodies, jangly guitars, and hooky riffs, as on their latest single "You".


Vigdis Hjorth's 'Long Live the Post Horn!' Breathes Life into Bureaucratic Anxiety

Vigdis Hjorth's Long Live the Post Horn! is a study in existential torpor that, happily, does not induce the same condition in the reader.


Konqistador and HanHan Team for Darkwave Hip-Hop on "Visaya"

Detroit-based electronic/industrial outfit, Konqistador team with Toronto hip-hopper HanHan for "Visaya", a song that blends darkwave and rap into an incendiary combination.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.