In 2007, David Lynch published a short book on Transcendental Meditation, titled Catching the Big Fish. Roughly half the book is devoted to extolling the virtues of meditation in decidedly Lynchian terms: “I call [depression and anger] the Suffocating Rubber Clown Suit of Negativity. It’s suffocating, and that rubber stinks. But once you start meditating and diving within, the clown suit starts to dissolve.” The other half reads like a scrapbook of anecdotes (“There’s a scene [in Eraserhead] in which [Henry] is on one side of the door; and it wasn’t until a year and a half later that we filmed him coming through the other side of that door”), musings (“there’ a safety to thinking in a diner”) and filmmaking advice (DV, DV, DV). One of the most touching sections describes Lynch’s first and last meeting with the great Italian director Federico Fellini:
I was shooting a commercial in Rome, and I was working with two people who had worked with Fellini. So I said, “Do you think it’d be possible to go over and say hello to him?” And they said, “Yeah, we’ll try to arrange that.” There was an attempt on a Thursday night that fell through, but Friday night, we went over. It was about six o’clock in the evening in summer – a beautiful, warm evening. Two of us went in and were taken to Fellini’s room. There was another man in the room and my friend knew him, so he went over and talked to him. Fellini had me sit down. He was in a little wheelchair between the two beds, and he took my hand, and we sat and talked for half an hour. I don’t think I asked him much. I just listened a lot. He talked about the old days – how things were. He told stories. I really liked sitting near him. And then we left. That was Friday night, and on Sunday he went into a coma and never came out.
The book’s rapturous tone can feel surreal when keeping the author in mind. Just imagine Lynch saying out loud, to you, “when you dive within, the Self is there and true happiness is there… it’s bliss physical, emotional, mental and spiritual happiness that starts growing from within.” But in another section, Lynch addresses the obvious question: is he’s such a blissful guy, why are his films so dark? “I fall in love with certain ideas. And I am where I am. Now, if I told you that I was enlightened, and this is enlightened filmmaking, that would be another story. But I’m just a guy from Missoula, Montana, doing my thing, going down the road like everybody else.”
Lynch states that meditation changed his life. Coilhouse readers, who here meditates? Is it as healing as David Lynch says? Who’s never meditated properly, and doesn’t really get how it works (me!)? Lynch’s passion and clown suit metaphors make me want to try again.