David Lynch Visualizes How Transcendental Meditation Works, Using a Sharpie & Big Pad of Paper

Sec­ond only to the Bea­t­les, David Lynch has become syn­ony­mous with the prac­tice of Tran­scen­den­tal Med­i­ta­tion. And while the results were cer­tain­ly mixed for the Fab Four, Lynch, in all his idio­syn­crasies, has become the face of TM. He didn’t dab­ble with it mid-career. Instead, med­i­ta­tion helped cre­ate his career, as both his prac­tice and the film­ing of Eraser­head start­ed around 1972.

“…[L]ooking back,” he said in a Dai­ly Beast inter­view in 2014, “I was filled with anger and took it out on my first wife and made her life mis­er­able. I had a low-grade depres­sion, and wasn’t real­ly self-assured. If I’d gone for­ward with­out the abil­i­ty to tran­scend every day, I think the pres­sures of the busi­ness could’ve got­ten me.”

His career has been tran­scen­dent for sure, and as head of his epony­mous foun­da­tion, he’s spread­ing the word, bring­ing TM to schools and call­ing in fel­low cre­atives to extol its virtues.

But how does Lynch him­self explain Tran­scen­den­tal Med­i­ta­tion? In this video, Lynch, armed with a pad of paper and a Sharpie, takes us on a sci­en­tif­ic jour­ney down past atoms and pro­tons, and down to the uni­fied field the­o­ry of quan­tum physics. A “no-thing” out of which all mat­ter emerges. Sci­en­tists can’t take us into the uni­fied field…but the mind can. Hence, med­i­ta­tion.

“The mantra is the key that opens the door,” he explains. (What is that mantra? It’s a per­son­al one that the Mahar­ishi, or some­one high on the TM chain will give you after training…if you believe the TM pitch. Not every­body believes it needs be so pro­pri­etary, or expen­sive.)

With a mantra the mind can dive deep and then deep­er: “Each deep­er lev­el of mind and each deep­er lev­el of intel­lect has more hap­pi­ness,” he says. Go deep enough and the mind hits the equiv­a­lent of the uni­fied field, and there…transcendence.

“Pure, unbound­ed, infi­nite con­scious­ness…” he promis­es. “Tran­scen­den­tal med­i­ta­tion is just the vehi­cle to get you here.”

This can’t be the first time Lynch has drawn this dia­gram, but it real­ly is one of the best visu­al­iza­tions of how sci­ence and med­i­ta­tion have arrived at the same con­clu­sion. And it’s also why sci­ence is now study­ing the effects of med­i­ta­tion on the brain. For those look­ing for more on Lynch and med­i­ta­tion, we have you cov­ered.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

An Ani­mat­ed David Lynch Explains Where He Gets His Ideas

David Lynch Mus­es About the Mag­ic of Cin­e­ma & Med­i­ta­tion in a New Abstract Short Film

David Lynch Talks Med­i­ta­tion with Paul McCart­ney

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

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