WASHINGTON -- David Lynch is known for making dark films, dark music and dark coffee.
For the duration of these endeavors, he's also been practicing Transcendental Meditation. For nearly 40 years, Lynch has spent 20 minutes, twice a day, meditating. Since 2005 he's been spreading his practice with the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace.
The foundation held its first National Summit on Thursday in the nation's capital.
Lynch told The Huffington Post in an interview that the summit was used to share information about "resilience, the brain and meditation." At the event, veterans, doctors, cadets from a private military university and others attested to the positive role Transcendental Meditation has had in their lives.
World War II veteran Captain Jerry Yellin (Ret.) said that Transcendental Meditation is a "tool that allows us to connect with our soul."
HuffPost spoke with the head of the foundation about his experience, hope and goals for Transcendental Meditation.
The Huffington Post: When did you get involved in meditation?
David Lynch: I got involved with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1973, on July 1, a beautiful Saturday morning.
HuffPost: Do you remember what happened on June 30, 1973?
Lynch: I was looking forward to July 1.
HuffPost: Transcendental Meditation is a non-religious practice.
Lynch: That's exactly right.
HuffPost: But the perception is that it's religious. The reality is that it's the brain's version of yoga. Am I off with this?
Lynch: You're right. It's a technique. Transcendental Meditation is a mental technique, how we get to the big within, the unified field, that ocean of consciousness with all those positive quality, is with a technique by going deeper into the mind, deeper levels into intellect, on the border of intellect, then boom, you transcend that source of thought.
When you truly transcend, you infuse some of that and you grow into that consciousness, you expand that consciousness. All those positive qualities, that level of life, is unbounded intelligence, unbounded consciousness, unbounded love, unbounded happiness, unbounded energy, unbounded peace. It's there within every human being. You just need a technique to open that door to that treasury and you've got it.
HuffPost: You're working with a lot of soldiers suffering from PTSD and at-risk individuals. How can they be a part of this without a teacher?
Lynch: You need a legitimate teacher to teach you the technique. That takes about four days, about an hour and a half each day, then you have that technique for the rest of your life. You meditate 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes in the evening and you live your life.
You don't have to give up anything, believe in anything, change in anything. You'll just start feeling better and better and better.
When you start expanding those qualities from within. It's like gold is coming and all the negativity and all the garbage goes away. You live and work in more and more freedom, more happiness, more energy, ability to solve problems, understand things easier, relationships improve, all kinds of benefits come in health and work.
HuffPost: So you don't believe that you have to be in a dark space to create dark material.
Lynch: Negativity is the enemy to creativity. If you're truly suffering, you can't get out of bed, let alone create. It's so much bullshit and wrong understanding to think that the artist has to suffer to create. The artist has to understand suffering. The artist has to understand the human condition. You need to be filled with energy, the ability to solve problems. Filled with happiness and then those ideas have a way better chance of flowing. It's common sense.
Lynch: Intuition is another thing that grows. This area of within is an area of all knowingness. Agent Cooper had that intuition and a happiness in his work.
Lynch: It's not, but it is beautiful to me. People do go through the dark night of the soul and the good news is that they can come out of that dark night and the world is really, really beautiful on the other side of that. The only way, I see, to get through that darkness and walk away from suffering, is to contact that deepest level of life everyday and grow in that. Life gets better and better and better.
Then you can go into dark places, light places, here and there, understanding grows and you can tell stories or do music from that and do whatever you want. The stories hold all kinds of negatives and positives, that's what makes a story, but you don't have to suffer to show the suffering. There's a freedom that comes with this. Don't think suffering is necessary. Get that technique, get that key that opens the door to the deepest level and start enjoying life and then you can start doing work.
HuffPost: Are you a religious man?
Lynch: I believe in god but I'm not going to church each Sunday. I think all the great religions are rivers that flow to the same ocean and that ocean is the reality we all want. I'm for religion and for god, but if people think that Transcendental Meditation is a religion, it isn't. It's a technique that benefits every human being. It's for human beings to enjoy life. It's to find that happiness within and really boogie.
HuffPost: The cadets at Norwich University are now practicing Transcendental Meditation. One of the cadets featured in the summit no longer needs coffee to operate. You are a very big proponent of caffeine. Is there a disconnect between your love of coffee and Transcendental Meditation?
Lynch: I think for some people too much caffeine makes them feel not so good. If you're out of balance in any way, Transcendental Meditation will bring you more into balance. A lot of people, when they start meditating, they walk away from things that aren't so good from them. They don't try to do it, they just do it. It's different for each person. You don't have to give up anything. If you're shooting heroin or on methanphetamines, you might start doing that a little bit less or think seriously about quitting it and enjoy life more and keep on boogeying. The things that hurt us tend to leave us if we're bringing in that gold everyday.
HuffPost: Why did you begin working with the military?
Lynch: Well, Transcendental Meditation is a huge stress buster. It's a huge stress buster. When you transcend, the physiology settles down first behind the mind and the body is able to rest three times deeper than the deepest sleep. This is what happens to us when we transcend. We get rid of the stress that kills us, torments us. The soldiers, men and women, coming back suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, this is exactly the ticket for them. The research has shown that the soldiers say, "I got my life back again." Pharmaceutical drugs, illegal drugs, alcohol, it gives them big relief, it takes away the symptoms for a while, but a lot of them are a slippery road to hell. This evaporates the torment.
You teach the soldiers the technique. A lot of the men are ashamed to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a big sadness. There's no shame in having PTSD. It's like they had a bullet to the head and heart, there's no shame in that. Take this technique and get your life back together again.
HuffPost: If someone is shameful of PTSD, how do you sell them Transcendental Meditation?
Lynch: Everybody knows about Transcendental Medition. If daytime is a hell and at night they can't sleep and their relationships are going to hell and they hear about a technique that worked for other soldiers, they'll think, "Maybe this is going to work for me."
HuffPost: What about at-risk youths?
Lynch: There's lot of so called regular human beings that are suffering too much. Suffering is a relative thing. Each human being has a full potential. Unless you're supremely enlightened, which is a real thing for the human being, it's our birth right, Transcendental Meditation just accelerates the trip to highest states of consciousness and total fulfillment, the full potential of the human being. It doesn't matter how little or great you're suffering, the trick is to transcend everyday and zoom forward.
HuffPost: What's your meditation schedule?
Lynch: I'll wake up in the morning, have a cup of coffee, meditate then go about my business. I'll meditate again before dinner. Just add that 40 minutes to your life and watch things get better.
HuffPost: What about people that might not be able to spare that time, people that may have a weird work schedule?
Lynch: I got a weird schedule, pal, and I've never missed a meditation in almost 39 years.
The Morning Email helps you start your workday with everything you need to know: breaking news, entertainment and a dash of fun. Learn more