On David Lynch, creativity and Transcendental Meditation

Film director David Lynch recently spoke to a packed audience at the Universsity of Washingtton about his work, his ideas, and of all things - transcendental meditation.

With his lecture, entitled "Consciousness, Creativity, and the Brain," Lynch is on a nationwide college tour which is being billed as an effort to help students increase their creativity and overcome stress through meditation. The tour is also promoting the launch of The David Lynch Foundation: For Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace.

The director, who humbly greeted an ecstatic audience of 700, sported a gray streaked pompadour and '50s-style suit and tie. Lynch, who answered questions for almost two hours, says his sister turned him on to meditation and that he has not missed a practice in 32 years.

The 59-year-old filmmaker was born in Missoula, Mont. He is famous for his cult films such as "Blue Velvet" and "Mulholland Drive" and the upcoming film "Inland Empire." Eager fans lined up behind microphones in the seating area and asked questions covering subjects ranging from his hit TV show "Twin Peaks" to how he develops his movies to why transcendental meditation works for him.

Lynch claims that the practice gives him "complete bliss, a beautiful, wondrous place that has helped open up his creative potential," and that before he started the practice he was trapped in what he calls "a suffocating rubber-clown suit of negativity."

One bewildered fan asked the director if he is in such a state of bliss, then why do all his movies contain negative imagery and subject matter? Lynch replied that "It's not about where the idea goes, it's about properly developing it creatively that matters."

Lynch had two scientists with him to better convince people of the positive benefits of transcendental meditation. Quantum physicist Dr. John Hagelin talked briefly about relative understanding and how meditation can open up the brain from "the sharply localized attention, to that of unbounded awareness."

As well, neuroscientist and brain researcher Dr. Fred Travis presented a more convincing display with the help of a student volunteer, whose brain activity was measured and displayed on giant video screens while under a meditative state.

With lights down and complete silence from the crowd, the student was directed to start meditating. Almost instantly the two lines on the graph that were meant to be the student's frontal and back lobes showed an almost doubling in rhythmic activity and amplitude.

Travis also talked about how transcendental meditation could be used to treat chronic depression, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), as well as help violent criminals-who apparently close off certain areas of the brain that function as a filter for right and wrong.

Lynch again took the stage for more questions, including one on his recent use of digital film. The director The Manchester Guardian called "the greatest living filmmaker today" fielded one last question about manifest destiny by saying: "I desire now this meeting to come to an end-I desire human beings to reach their full potential-I desire human beings to achieve world peace."

Lynch's lecture will be rebroadcast in its entirety several times on the Web and can be found at www.uwtv.org.

Brian Kerin is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communications News Laboratory.[[In-content Ad]]