Posted on Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 by Hunter Stephenson
Everyone I know is compiling a list of the best films of the aughts, and 2001′s Mulholland Drive seems to be a lock on most (and if it’s not, 2006′s Inland Empire is the more pretentious substitute). But as the decade closes out, I do wish we had seen more “Lynchian” films from David Lynch, who seems occupied with experimental video, his son’s ambitious documentary projects, the advent of Twitter, and exposing as many people/fans to Transcendental Meditation as possible. So, if it’s a tad disappointing that the chain smoking auteur’s next film won’t hinge on creepy dream logic, it doesn’t qualify as a surprise that it will instead be a doc on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The founder and guru of TM died early last year, and true to form, Lynch adds that his doc on the man will “hold a lot of abstractions.”
Lynch tells Vulture that he’s prepping the film and will be heading off to the Maharishi’s native India to begin filming…
It’ll have to go in the documentary department, I think. I don’t think it’ll be a talking heads kind of thing, but we’re going to do a lot of interviews with people. We’ll interview — I hope — in India, a 97-year-old man who was with Maharishi from the beginning and get stories of times that weren’t so well recorded.
For the holidays last year, a relative gifted me with Lynch’s 2006 book, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, which eludes to the power and allure of TM in quizzical and often extremely vague tidbits. There is plenty of info about Transcendental Meditation online—basically sit-down meditation that utilizes a mantra to gradually enter new states and planes of consciousness.
Lynch claims to be a loyal practitioner of TM dating back to the early ’70s, and has invested and raised money to spread awareness and education via TM with the David Lynch Foundation that he founded in ’05. (All royalties from the aforementioned book are said to go to it). I’ve heard people compare Lynch’s involvement in jest to Scientology, but personally I find TM to be far more agreeable, not batshit insane, and a sensible alternative for many in the present day to all religions. And as stated in the linked interview, Lynch frequently expresses TM’s importance in light of the state of public education in America. There is something to this, I think.
In a recent interview with Vice, Lynch discussed the connection between finding ideas through TM and bringing them into cinematic form with Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire…
What do you call the place where ideas originate? The subconscious?
No. Everything—everything—originates in the unified field. It’s an ocean of pure consciousness. It’s the transcendent. And that’s what quantum physics says now: Everything that is a thing has emerged from that field. New things are always emerging and bubbling up from it. So an idea will come, but you will not know the idea until it enters your conscious mind. Now, if you expand your consciousness you can catch ideas at deeper and deeper levels, and they’ll have more information and more energy.
Similar to the current Dalai Llama, the Maharishi traveled around the world a great deal giving speeches about his teachings and beliefs, in addition to writing numerous books on the unified subject. His following in Hollywood is also similar, with Lynch being one of the most public supporters along with Paul McCartney and Howard Stern. And apparently Clint Eastwood is as well. One wonders if (and hopes) these guys will participate.
Lynch also updated on his animated “children’s film,” Snootworld, and said it’s still a ways off. If you’re unfamiliar with the project—there’s scant info on the film online—Lynch has said previously that it will be CGI. He’s continued to show interest in animation of late and this year directed the below video for Moby…