Why filmmaker David Lynch says Transcendental Meditation is the secret to success

Filmmaker David Lynch is a daily practitioner of Transcendental Meditation.
(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

David Lynch says he hasn’t missed a day of Transcendental Meditation since he started practicing it 43 years ago.

The director and writer behind the cult TV series “Twin Peaks” and movies including “Mulholland Drive” was in Los Angeles recently to lend support to Georgetown University School of Medicine clinical psychiatrist Norman Rosenthal who was speaking on a panel about his new book, “Super Mind: How to Boost Performance and Live a Richer and Happier Life Through Transcendental Meditation.” Lynch, 70, told us in a one-on-one after the panel why he believes TM is the secret to … well, everything:

Why do you believe TM can make us healthier?


So many illnesses are called stress-related illness and stress can kill you. Look at what post-traumatic stress does to people – look at vets… Stress can shut down so much in a human being. If you want to get rid of it, you transcend every day.

What was happening in your life that made you more open to TM when you were first exposed to it?

I think there’s a thing in life or something clicks, either you’re fed up with suffering or you become a kind of seeker, you sense there’s something more to life… There is a line, ‘know thyself’… It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing to experience that... True happiness is not “out there”; true happiness lies within.

Los Angeles is a city where people are passionate about their creativity. How does TM enhance creativity?

You want more ideas, you want more energy to do the work and more happiness in the doing – where are all of these things? They are within... I think ideas are out there and you catch them like how you catch fish. The more consciousness you have, the deeper you can catch those ideas.

How do you define success in a a place like Hollywood?


There’s a phrase, “Man has control of action alone, never the fruits of the action.” It’s a story of Hollywood. You think, “This is going to be a blockbuster” and you put tons of work into it, tons of money into it, but your open at the box office is zilch. You just never know what’s going to happen. But if you believe in your work and do the best you can do, that’s a real success. Doesn’t matter what the world thinks, I mean it matters, you hope they love your film, but if they don’t it’s not going to kill you. If you sell out and make something just to make money and it goes bust, you’re going to die because you didn’t make any money and you didn’t do what you believe in.

What’s your response to people who think TM is cultish and too expensive, focused on bringing in money?

I wish it were free but the teachers of TM, they need a car, a house just like everybody else. And the Transcendental Meditation movement does so many things to set up things for peace and they need money to do that. That’s just the way it is…The David Lynch Foundation is set up to get Transcendental Meditation to [at-risk students and] people who can’t afford it. Write [us] a letter… Just meditate 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes in the afternoon and watch things get better and better… Once you learn the technique, it’s yours for the rest of your life.