A filmmaker, a foundation and meditation

It shouldn’t seem strange or out of place. In fact, when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. It’s like connecting the dots.


David Lynch, modern-day renaissance man and filmmaker extraordinaire, has established the David Lynch Foundation. And what exactly is the David Lynch Foundation?


In a nutshell: a non-profit thought center, based on Transcendental Meditation, that is currently attempting to reach out to students of all ages who in any way are stressed-out or depressed.


Lynch, who will be giving a speech devoted to the foundation at the University of California at Irvine this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (the speech will be webcast free to PSU students at Hoffman Hall at the same time), has been practicing meditation for 32 years and has only recently decided to become a public advocate.


“Transcendental Meditation is a technique directed towards several levels of the mind and the intellect,” said Lynch in his unmistakable drawl. “It’s an attempt to reach a pure ocean of consciousness. And as one’s consciousness begins to grow and unfold, it becomes a beautiful thing. The enjoyment of working increases, awareness increases.


“It’s a great thing if you’re an artist or a writer.”


Lynch drew an analogy.


“It’s like having a lawn. And the lawn is brown; you need to make it green. The lawn is there and you have to water it, daily. So, I meditate for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night – watering the lawn – and it does so many things for me. It’s amazing. I’m able to appreciate things more. I’m able to experience bliss, happiness, enjoyment, fulfillment. And all on a deep, resounding level.”


Heady stuff. But when considering the abstract concepts and imagery in Lynch’s oeuvre,

it all begins to ring a bell. Take a look at any of Lynch’s films, such as “Mulholland Drive” or “Lost Highway,” and his brilliantly surreal, “lost” worlds in which meaning continuously doubles over and is redefined suddenly have definition.


Lynch, who for the last two years has been shooting a new film, “Inland Empire” (starring Laura Dern, Harry Dean Stanton, Jeremy Irons and Justin Theroux), excitedly went into detail on how his daily meditation techniques both influence and open up his creative process. Moreover, Lynch was so excited to discuss the affect that meditation has had on his artistic life that his unbridled exuberance was almost instantly contagious.


“I think that artists, filmmakers, reflect the world in which they live in their work,” Lynch said, the words proudly spilling out of his mouth. “I get ideas and cinema is able to translate those ideas. And yes, stories have to have conflict. But the filmmaker doesn’t have to suffer to show suffering. There’s a great deal of both positive and negative things in my stories and my characters. And I think that meditation is something that helps make it all such a thrilling process.”


Lynch’s passion for transcendental meditation and the foundation that he has established to promote it isn’t just concerned with artists, though. It’s there for anybody who is interested, especially students. In fact, Lynch, a well-known recluse who has never bought into the glamour of Hollywood, has stepped out of his artistic world to get the word out to anyone who will listen. And his foundation is now working with several big name universities across the country – Michigan, NYU, Brown, Harvard, American, Emerson – to establish centers where students can learn as much as they desire about the benefits that Lynch so passionately declares are to be found in Transcendental Meditation.


“It’s a busy world and there’s just so much stress involved for students nowadays. This is a way for people to see things differently. It won’t happen overnight. But, eventually, it works and the difference that it makes in one’s day to day is just wonderful,” Lynch said.


“I’ve seen students, in Detroit for example, whose inner happiness and overall lives have improved immensely as a result of this whole thing. We’re just trying to help people and I think it’s a really great idea.”


Intrigued? Skeptical? Either way, the words are coming out of the mouth of the same man who created “Twin Peaks” and “Blue Velvet,” so it can’t hurt to explore the possibilities.


David Lynch’s speech will be webcast on Saturday, Nov. 5, in Hoffman Hall. Attendance is free, but tickets are required to enter. Call 503-725-3307 for more information.