Friday, February 09, 2007

Creativity and the David Lynch Lynchpin

Posted for Sue

You share in your book, “Catching the Big Fish,” a conviction that TM enhances your creative process.

BUT, I did NOT have the same experience with enhancing my creativity with Transcendental Meditation! As a young art student, at the California College of Arts in Oakland, I got into TM. The year was 1971. Immediately I felt a riff with my art! I began to sleep in later in the mornings in order to have the subjective “clear” experience of “transcendiing.”

My attitude toward myself, my body, and people changed. I learned a new concept: “stress.” I learned another new concept: “energy.” I learned that “stress” and “energy” were realities that effected my daily life. I thought about how much sleep I got and became concerned that I got enough for my “evolution.” I felt my body resting in a new way and I felt a new sense of peace.

I absorbed a whole new mentality. I learned that this feeling of peacefuness was due to contact with the “Field of Creative Intelligence.” I learned that Cosmic Consciousness came from contact with this inner experience, and the inner experience
was PEACEFUL. I began to attribute good things happening to me to my meditating. My whole concept of life changed.

I was no longer a free agent diving into my classes with the enthusiasm of a new 18 year old freshman in college.

It was only because a teacher, the English teacher, suggested the TM lecture to the class that I even attended the lecture. I was not particularly interested in Eastern religions; I was interested in drawing and painting and being in college. I was happy!

But after I absorbed the TM philosophy and practice with the rigid discipline of twice a day meditation, I was not the same person.

I no longer felt interested in art. It happened very quickly for me. I came late to class. I got a “D” in Art History. I felt that TM held the keys to the kingdom so to speak, and everything else was not important. I sought other TMers for compamionship and a feeling of connection.

I dropped out of college by the Spring and sought work to cover the cost of a TM teacher training course. By the following Fall, one year after my TM initiation ceremony, I boarded a chartered plane from LAX to Luxembourg, and bus ride to La Antilla, Spain to learn the secrets to becoming a TM teacher. I learned how to do the initaion ceremony, puja, and experienced a lot more meditation.

When I returned home to Oakland one year later, the sights and smells overwhelmed me. Life had been speeding up while I was on another planet. I had lost the feel for my home town; I was a stranger in a strange land. My younger brother took one look at me
and went back to what he was doing. I wasn't the same. I thought I would be filled with a glow that attracts people; there wasn't a good glow!

I attended classes at another college; I couldn't connect with the classes or the people. One person mocked my religious conviction that TM was the way to release stress by declaring out loud “I go to the beach to relax!” I was a freak.

I no longer spoke the same language as people about me. I felt above them; I felt deep inside that I knew something that they didn't. I believed another new concept; “nature supports.” This meant that events in daily life would line up in support of us who meditated regularly and we didn't have to worry about our safety or our wellbeing, as “nature” would support us. I lost reasonableness.

TM philosophy and practice had taken over my mind. I sought refuge back in Switzerland in Maharishi's group-rented off-season hotels FOR TWO MORE YEARS. Finally, my family required I rejoin the fold and come home in December 1975. Back again...........

My mother got the creeps when I closed my door for my Transcendental Deep Meditation (the original name given the practice by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in about 1965). Soon, my mother, the gatekeeper, with the blessing of my father, the reasonable, dismissed me from the family home. I was old enough by then, 22, but entirely without real world skills or even the focus to get them in school.

My point is that I lost my entire artistic focus due my my practicing Transcendental Meditaion as taught by Maharish Mahesh Yogi.

When strictly practiced, one is not supposed to pay attention to thoughts during a TM meditation. One is supposed to ignore thoughts during TM!

This was the way I practiced TM.

BUT, you have divulged that you glean ideas during a meditation, and “catch fish” so to speak; this might be called the David Lynch lynchpin!

I think you have discovered a way of making TM useful to people! Pay attention to thoughts during a meditation! Oh my God!

Why not teach YOUR version to the kids in schools? It would be much cheaper; just hold a group meeting with the kids, give them all mantras (be sure to tell them where the mantras come from and that they are NOT meaningless), and let them learn to drift into daydreaming and be aloud to pick up ideas as you do! Otherwise by introducing TM in the schools, you may be introducing a method of disconnection to the kids. You may be introducing them to something that keeps them FROM their creativity! Wouldn't it feel awful to realize that that is what you have given the kids in schools by promoting TM? If such a thing happened to a single child, how would you feel?

I have a question for any artistic TM meditator besides David Lynch; HAS IT HELPED YOUR CREATIVITY?

My opinion is that David Lynch is an outrageously creative soul TO BEGIN WITH, with or without his version of TM.


Paul Mason said...

Don't worry Susan, your artistic skills are very much in evidence, you paint such a vivid picture of your experiences and graphically portray the conviction of your opinions.
If I ever had reservations about joining TM-Free this article alone is sufficient reason to be here. It not only illustrates the potential downfalls of getting into a cultish mindset, but very ably demonstrates the need to validate the usefulness of practicing a form of meditation.

Sudarsha said...

Hey, Sue -- this is a message that is going to be really helpful for many who feel stuck/lost in the hypocritical tar pit of TM!

Interestingly, remaining aware during "meditation", that is, not drifting off into dreaminess, muzziness and suchwhat (the old weasel may call that transcending, but it's just mind-numbing), while it is not TM, is much more likely to actually develop mind and creataivity as well as freedom from what drags us down.

Usually beginners in other, more time-honoured traditions, are taught to simply be aware of the movement of the breath, in and out. This keeps the awareness grounded in one's own personal reality.

While I have no idea what such a broad, all-encompassing term like meditation is supposed to mean, just following the breath and experiencing body and mind gently relaxing into increasing awareness can be called being grounded in own's own personal reality.


Anonymous said...

I have a question for any artistic TM meditator besides David Lynch; HAS IT HELPED YOUR CREATIVITY?

From the MUM Web site, Department of Art and Design, two student testimonials:

“Transcendental Meditation has changed my art work from an activity done in the heat of emotional turmoil to an activity done with rich feeling on very quiet levels of my mind and heart. Because of this easy state of mind, I find I’m more creative and more expressive, and also more mentally clear. As a result, each step of the art-making process has become easier and more and enjoyable.” — Patricia Innis

“During Transcendental Meditation I experience unbounded awareness. This has a nourishing quality which gives me energy and lets me feel more whole and complete. This is the basis of my creative process.” — Thomas Johnson

Also, the town of Fairfield is home to a surprisingly large number, for a town this size, of art galleries featuring the work of local artists. They may not all be practicing TM, but most of them probably were when they came to Fairfield.

Judy Stein (not an artist)

Gina said...

Thank you Judy for keen observation and appropriate quotations.

Your intelligence and commitment are admirable qualities. I admire your tenacity to read and consider viewpoints contrary to your own.

Your quotes above exemplify potential hazards of cult mentality.

Typical cult-thinking attributes "all good" in life to the guru or the method espoused by the cult leader.

In actuality, talented creative accomplishments derive, in fact, from the individual themselves. The TMers you quote on the MUM site probably were creative on their own. They now attribute their creativity to TM (as does Lynch, as did the Beatles for a few brief months).

In cult thinking, all "bad" or "negativity" in life is attributed to individual shortcomings.
Actually, dysfunctional dynamics originate from a circuitous closed theology and group dynamic. The problems are then blamed upon individuals' negativity or stress.

Some (like Susan) find their creativity diminished when under cult influence. Others (like myself) found their social circle shrink.

The point is merely to be aware that TM needs a warning label, just like wine contains a warning label.

Some are more vulnerable than others to cultic influence / coercive persuasion. Nothing more.

TM's inocuous presentation is as benign and attractive as "People's Temple" early revival meetings under Jim Jones. The People's Temple in San Francisco at least helped many poor and aged through their nursing homes and civil rights activism, prior to their flight to South America and mass suicide/murder.

Fortunately, MMY does not have the extreme paranoia streak of Jim Jones.

Sadly, society at large tends to ignore the threat of cult seduction and influence until confronted with the extreme drama of Jonestown or the deaths in Waco. Nonetheless, staunch limitations from the True Believer syndrome threaten inner freedom.

Fortunately, MMY is a more astute and focused business man than was Jim Jones. He maintains his compsure through global expansion, and would not request followers to speed up their evolution to enlightenment by ending this incarnation en masse.

Unfortunately, MMY's composure allows others to normalize the group dynamic and limiting mindset of the TMO.

Judy, your insights are excellent. Your comments bring pertinent points home for consideration.

Thank you,

Jai Freedom-of-mind,

Anonymous said...

Your quotes above exemplify potential hazards of cult mentality.

Typical cult-thinking attributes "all good" in life to the guru or the method espoused by the cult leader....

...Talented creative accomplishments derive, in fact, from the individual themselves. The TMers you quote on the MUM site probably were creative on their own. They now attribute their creativity to TM....

Couple of points. First, I was responding to Sue's question as to whether other artists practicing TM had found that it had helped their already-existing creativity. I can't recall hearing any TMer claiming TM had caused them to become creative; nor did the TMers I quoted suggest such a thing (nor does Lynch, for that matter).

Second, the tendency of TM practitioners to attribute all improvements in their lives to TM appears to me to be reflected in reverse by the tendency of angry former TMers to attribute all deterioration in their lives to TM. It seems to me that if the first is open to question, the second is as well.

You write, "Some are more vulnerable than others to cultic influence / coercive persuasion." I agree. But presumably you would characterize this vulnerability as an individual shortcoming. If so, why should it not receive at least some of the blame for bad experiences with TM and the TMO?

Although not all the research cited by TM as proof of TM's benefits is of high quality by any means, some of it is very good indeed. There is not an equivalent body of research, either quantitatively or qualitatively, showing that TM is harmful. (That's at least partly because the TMO has the bucks to fund large numbers of studies, as well as the ability to attract research grants from institutions such as the National Institutes of Health, of course.)

The bottom line is that the burden of proof at this point is on those who believe TM is harmful to support that claim. At present, such support doesn't go a whole lot beyond anecdotal reports such as Sue's.

"Cult thinking" is certainly a hazard. But in my observation, many TM critics have their own problems with this kind of thinking; and they have significantly less data to back it up than the TMers have to back up theirs.

Judy Stein

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