The Unified Field -- the deepest level of transcendental bliss -- is far below the shallow waters of everyday life. This is where the biggest fish can be caught and where David Lynch mines his creativity. And though he is catching big fish, his new book -- Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity (Tarcher/Penquin) -- is packaged in short, neat chapters. It's as if he collected his thoughts randomly and then arranged them in linear order after the fact. Although, if you know anything about Mr. Lynch's world, you know that linear is not part of the equation. So that simple conceit might have been the work of an editor. Lynch has an "aw-shucks" normal-guy-next-door voice that is capable of conveying deep and passionate feelings in a simple, concise, and direct manner. And again, while his films may lack the linear narrative quality that most moviegoers expect, his book can be picked up any time and read in any random order -- though it does seem rather chronological -- and find Lynch-inspired insights into his rigorous practice of TM (Transcendental Meditation) and why he feels it has shaped his entire career and artistic methodology.
While many may feel he's only scratched the surface of demystifying his movies, this book displays some of his influences and allows the reader to understand how he brings his creative ideas to reality. I found the chapter "Heroes of Film" fascinating and insightful, though I wanted him to go deeper and share greater detail. He name checks Billy Wilder, Kubrick, Fellini, and Hitchcock, and even shares two quick stories about Fellini and Kubrick (Eraserhead), at least allowing the reader into a little corner of David's room. Certainly these auteurs -- as well as his love of abstract painters -- shaped his artistry. As a fellow meditator (Taoist) and one who understands that "knowing thy nature" is paramount to finding inner peace, I particularly enjoyed the one-sentence chapter entitled Identity:
"The thing about meditation is: You become more and more you."
Just dwelling on that sentence is meditative in itself. Lynch -- like his friend Donovan Leitch, the other DL -- is fanatical about Transcendental Meditation and consciousness-based education. He's even set up a foundation: the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace.
He'd like to see TM as a mandatory component in primary and secondary education, one that affords the young practitioner a way into a blissful state and, ideally, a more harmonious worldview. This book offers those not familiar with Lynch or the practice of TM an easy way in. You can pick it up and read it randomly, gleaning lessons at your leisure. As he states in the chapter "All Together Now:"
"Where the attention is, that becomes lively."
And I dare say that this simple little book will draw the reader's attention to David's vision over and over again. Just don't overanalyze it. Go with the flow.