Interconnecting Do You Mind? to The Short Films of David Lynch
The practice of meditation is thought to be as old as civilization itself. Meditation has lots of forms and uses. It is popularly used today as a way to relax and find balance and peace in your life and look inward in search of enhanced consciousness. Meditation is a common practice in many religions including; Judaism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism as well as being popular amongst non-religious practitioners. We can see from how long meditation has been used that our natural human craving for clarity in life has not faltered through the years and this craving only seems to be growing with the distractions of technology in our modern society.
One form of meditation is Transcendental Meditation, first conceived in 1950s India, is a mantra-based meditation technique with the goal of achieving a higher level of consciousness. As opposed to traditional techniques which encourage you to clear your mind to achieve clarity; Transcendental Meditation encourages you to have a free flow of thoughts that you observe passively – thus experiencing different levels of consciousness. Many who have experienced this liken it to “watching clouds float by” while being detached from your normal stream of consciousness where you are able to truly self-reflect in a way that was impossible before.
The most important information about Transcendental Meditation is arguably the health benefits which it brings. These include reduced risk of high blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease, reduced anxiety as well as improved overall mental health and creativity (Spero, 2015). It is, therefore, no surprise that transcendental meditation has swept the world with millions said to be actively practicing the technique by the 2000s (Yogi, 2008).
Transcendental meditation boasts some very notable proponents for the practice including the likes of filmmaker David Lynch. Lynch, who founded a charity to make Transcendental Meditation widely accessible, states that “the beauty of Transcendental Meditation is that it gives effortless transcending. It is not a trying form of meditation, not concentration, nor contemplation. The act […] is so easy because it’s just natural – the mind wants to go into fields of greater happiness. The deeper you go, the more there is, until you hit pure bliss” (Lynch, 2011). Although Lynch has a deep passion and commitment to Transcendental Meditation for his mental well-being, he also uses it as a way to “fish” for ideas for his filmmaking (The Atlantic, 2017). Themes of Lynchian cinema include tapping deeper into the unconscious, unearthing into something hidden in our dreams and creating a dream-like quality in his work not just limited to aesthetics. Since starting Transcendental Meditation in 1973, the filmmaker has not missed a single meditation, claiming that the practice has given him access to unlimited reserves of energy, creativity and happiness deep within – perhaps this is why he is so prolific.
FASE 22; a film festival created, curated and run by the current BA Film and Screen Studies students is hosting 7 screen events as part of its programme. The programme ranges from retrospective screenings of European animators, cult classics accompanied by homemade food menus, prize-winning short film competitions as well as two more events that focus on meditation and mindfulness and filmmaker David Lynch. Do You Mind? Is an immersive screen event comprised of a series of short films which will be introduced and accompanied by guided meditation sessions. FASE22 will also be hosting The Short Films of David Lynch a screen event showcasing five short films made by distinctive, surrealist filmmaker, David Lynch, preceded by a Lynchian zine-making workshop. If you are one for yoga mats, detoxing and relaxation, Do You Mind? (Friday 28th January) will guide you from the small screens of our digital devices to the big screen of creative, experimental filmmaking. The experimental short filmmaking of David Lynch being shown on the big screen (Monday 31st January) highlight the relations and effects of meditating on creativity, with Lynch’s ‘fished’ eccentric ideas presented through differing techniques. These two events especially give context to one another and prove that mediation, filmmaking and creativity can impressively go hand in hand.
Spero, H. (2015). ‘The 8 Benefits of Transcendental Meditation’. 17 June. Spafinder. Available at: https://www.spafinder.com/blog/mindset/8-benefits-transcendental-meditation/ [Accessed on 9 November 2021].
Yogi, M.M. (2008). ‘Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’. 7 February. The Sunday Times. Available at: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/maharishi-mahesh-yogi-xdwdbpbrxcd [Accessed on 9 November 2021].
Lynch, D. (2011). ‘Why I Meditate’. 22 November. HuffPost. Available at: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/transcendental-meditation_b_1106504 [Accessed on 9 November]
The Atlantic. 2017. David Lynch on Where Great Ideas Come From. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFsBaa_MEzM [Acessed on 9 November]