As you probably know by now, Grapevine cover-star (and awesome director) David Lynch ventured to Iceland this month to preach the gospel of Transcendental Meditation and announce a nationwide project to bring “enlightenment, prosperity and peace to the people of Iceland.” We were of course intrigued by all this, and set up an interview with the man who’s self-portrait graces the cover of our latest issue. However, his answers didn’t make it back to us in time to run it in the print-edition of Grapevine, so we just did a little article about our experiences at his lecture (as well as a side-bar explaining TM) but they’re here now, ripe for your reading.
Grapevine: Can you explain shortly what Transcendental Meditation means to you personally?
Personally, Transcendental Meditation is a way to bring great bliss from within.
Does the practice affect all areas of your life – or does it inhabit its own special corner? Is it, for instance, reflected in your art in some way (for instance thematically or in the process of creation)?
Transcending, they say, is a holistic experience so it does affect all areas of life in the most positive way. With brain research, they see on the EEG machine a most wondrous phenomenon. When a person truly transcends (i.e., experiences the deepest level of life – the ocean of pure totality of consciousness within) the entire brain is engaged.
Transcending is the only experience in life that engages the full brain – total brain coherence it’s called. For me, it serves the work in the following ways: I have found that i have much more happiness in the doing. I have found that ideas flow more freely. I have found intuition (the #1 tool of the artist) growing more and more and i feel the heavy weight of negativity (anxieties, nervousness, worries, fatigue, depressions, angers, fears) lifting and therefore much more freedom in life and work.
Are there times where you are more involved in the practice, where you lean on it more heavily?
I have meditated twice a day for 36 years.
How did your brief visit to Iceland come about? Is this something that has been in the works for a while, or was it a spontaneous idea? Have you made such visits to other nations or regions over the years?
The visit to Iceland came about seemingly spontaneously. My Icelandic friend, Joni Sighvatsson [producer Sigurjón Sighvatsson], and I were talking on the telephone a month before my visit. We were both speaking of Iceland’s bankruptcy and thought Iceland could really use Transcendental Meditation and a peace creating group to bring peace, security, affluence and prosperity.
A whole bunch of things came together and it was really great to feel the receptivity and the growing determination of many to get these programs going in Iceland. Iceland is the 20th country i have visited talking about meditation and peace.
If i understand you correctly, you are presenting TM as a failsafe way to bring ones life to harmony. Does TM, then, offer “complete freedom from the world’s strife and confusion” or is it rather a “useful tool” for maintaining a well-balanced life?
Enlightenment does bring complete freedom from the world’s strife and confusion. But balance is the thing. Balance doesn’t mean a compromise. I think true balance brings totality – the full potential of the human being. Full potential of the human being is called enlightenment. Enlightenment answers all questions, ends all suffering and all negativity. Maharishi calls supreme enlightenment having 200% of life – 100% of all that which is unmanifest and 100% of all manifestation – totality, unity.
At your Háskólabíó event, as well as in press releases sent out prior to it, the word “science” got thrown around a lot. For instance, you emphasized that the project was “not an experiment, but rather a scientific demonstration of 50 years of research verifying the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation program for the individual and entire society.”
Furthermore, the TM program’s official web-site enshrouds itself very much in an “air of science,” if you will, taking on the appearance of a major pharmaceutical company rather than a foundation that’s presenting the ancient, spiritual act of inward meditation with possible religious connotations.
Appearances aside, i think many of our readers are interested in knowing whether you consider TM to be:
A) A plain, scientific method (something purely physical, an exercise program for the mind)
B) A religion
C) A form of spiritualism without any religious affiliations.
This is a very interesting and good question you have asked. For me, i started Transcendental Meditation for this thing called enlightenment and this thing called bliss. And i saw it as a spiritual path. We live in what they call a “scientific age” and many people think meditation is some kind of mysticism, some kind of Eastern religion, or some kind of path that requires renunciation or giving up of worldly pleasures.
Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation is for what they call the “householder.” that means men and women in activity. Nothing needs to be given up when practicing Transcendental Meditation. One just adds 20 minutes of meditation in the morning and evening and that does everything.
Maharishi wanted Transcendental Meditation to be researched from a scientific point of view and that’s why there have been the 600 or 700 research studies over the years. Many people find a comfort knowing that TM and its benefits have been objectively verified by science.
It is such an interesting time because quantum physics for instance has now discovered and verified the existence of the unified field at the base of all matter and mind – at the base of anything that is a thing. This unified field is the same field that one experiences when transcending. Quantum psychics says that everything that is a thing has emerged from this field of unity in a process they call “spontaneous sequential symmetry breaking.” ancient Vedic science – the science of consciousness – has always known about this unified field. And Vedic science knows precisely the numerous steps consciousness goes through from the unmanifest level of unity to all levels of manifestation. It is so great to see that with each step forward modern science takes, it verifies the ancient Vedic science.
The unified field is for quantum physics – and Vedic science – the home of all the laws of nature. These laws hold everything and we’re coming to a point where the spiritual aspects of life can be written in a physicist’s equation.
Transcendental Meditation is not a religion, it’s a mental technique that opens the door for any human being to the unified field – the deepest level of life. It is an ancient form of meditation and a real gift because it gives “effortless transcending” because the mantra Maharishi gives turns the awareness 180 degrees within. And once pointed within, one naturally and effortlessly dives deeper because each deeper level of mind and intellect has more happiness. The human mind always wants to go to fields of greater happiness, so it effortlessly dives, and at the border of intellect, effortlessly transcends and experiences the ocean of totality of consciousness, infinite happiness, bliss, unified filed, transcendent, home of all the laws of nature, constitution of the universe, etc, etc.
It is the experiencing of the unified field that does everything for the human being. Intellectual knowledge is great, but it will never bring total fulfillment. It is this profound experience of unity – of bliss – of pure consciousness that is missing from our lives. Once a person gets this experience on a daily basis – reestablishes his or her connection with this oneness, then things really begin to change for the better. Every time we experience this deepest level of life, we infuse some of it and we begin to rapidly unfold our full potential
This ocean of consciousness within has qualities; it is an ocean of infinite intelligence, creativity, happiness, love, energy, peace. All these qualities begin to expand. The side effect of the expansion of consciousness is negativity begins to recede. Things like tension, anxieties, stress, sorrow, depression, hate, anger and fear begin to lift away. This brings freedom, and those all-positive qualities expanding bring great benefits to all aspects of life. So it is a scientific and spiritual path. People from all religions practice Transcendental Meditation as well as agnostics and atheists.
Experience this field of unity and watch things get better.
Is there a system of ethics connected to the practice of TM?
Aside from the above, are you yourself a man of religion? If so, does TM in any way affect your religious practices, or are the two completely separate?
Religious people who practice TM say that because understanding grows, they understand their religion more. And because appreciation for all things grow, they appreciate their religion more.
What about the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi? How closely did you follow his teachings, especially those unconnected to TM? I am referring, for instance, to the Maharishi Vedic sciences, in terms of their approach to health, architecture, agriculture and music.
Maharishi, among other amazing contributions revived the ancient Vedic knowledge and put all the Vedic texts back together into a systematic science of consciousness. Veda means pertaining to total knowledge. It is a huge science – so beautiful – telling us so many things for a life to flow with mother nature. But again if Maharishi had only brought Transcendental Meditation, that effortless technique that allows us to experience pure consciousness, that would have been amazing in and of itself. Get that experience and all the rest will follow.
Did you consider any of the cult allegations that were widespread in the seventies and eighties?
Of course I experienced the discomfort of this false accusation. I always wondered why people called TM a cult. I never felt I belonged to some group. I took this technique as a personal thing. I never wanted to be in any club or group. I wanted to go my own way, make my own decisions.
Expanding consciousness actually glorifies differences. All diversity is appreciated fully in the light of total unity. Meditators do not all become the same, on the contrary they each become more and more themselves. However i have found a common link between meditators – I like being with them as they all reflect a great deal of happiness.
These days, all of these misconceptions about TM are disappearing and only a few strange voices rail against this meditation for reasons unknown to me. So many varied human beings have benefited from this technique that anyone with even an ounce of intelligence can see that it is the most positive of practices.
Finally, can you share your favorite memory of your brief visit? What stood out, if anything?
I was very impressed by the numerous paintings I saw in almost every building I entered. It seems that everyone in Iceland is an art collector and appreciates art. This was very impressive to me and the rapidly changing weather was astonishing also. I was also impressed by the camaraderie among Icelandic people – and their hipness.