How fishing in deep water puts us in touch with consciousness itself
Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. They’re huge and abstract. And they’re beautiful.
Everything, anything that is a thing, comes up from the deepest level. Modern physics calls that level the Unified Field. The more your consciousness—your awareness—is expanded, the deeper you go toward this source, and the bigger fish you can catch.
—David Lynch, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity
WHAT CAN I possibly say about David Lynch (born 20th January 1946) that hasn’t already been said? Director, visual artist, photographer, musician, writer and, most significantly, long-term Transcendental Meditation practitioner: a modern-day Renaissance man if ever there was one.
I think I shall plunge into his artistry where I have been extremely impressed of late—his literary offering, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, a veritable enchiridion of ideas, expressed in inimitable Lynchian style.
Written in short, aphoristic chapters on themes as diverse as painting, filmmaking, meditation, consciousness, the texture of a dead body and other such profundities, it is an absolute treat for any aspiring artist who is also keen to dive deep for the so-called bigger fish.
Desire for an idea is like bait. When you’re fishing, you have to have patience. You bait your hook, and you wait. The desire is the bait that those fish in—those ideas.
The beautiful thing is that when you catch one fish that you love, even if it’s a little fish—a fragment of an idea—that fish will draw in another fish, and they’ll hook onto it. Then you’re on your way. Soon there are more and more and more fragments, and the whole thing emerges. But it starts with desire.
Little fish swim on the surface, but the big ones swim down below. If you can expand the container you’re fishing in—your consciousness—you can catch bigger fish.
Here’s how it works: Inside every human being is an ocean of pure, vibrant consciousness. When you ‘transcend’ in Transcendental Meditation, you dive down into that ocean of pure consciousness. You splash into it. And it’s bliss. You can vibrate with this bliss. Experiencing pure consciousness enlivens it, expands it. It starts to unfold and grow.
Life is filled with abstractions, and the only way we make heads or tails of it is through intuition. Intuition is seeing the solution—seeing it, knowing it. It’s emotion and intellect going together. That’s essential for the filmmaker.
Personally, I think intuition can be sharpened and expanded through meditation, diving into the Self. There’s an ocean of consciousness inside each of us, and it’s an ocean of solutions. When you dive into that ocean, that consciousness, you enliven it.
You don’t dive for specific solutions; you dive to enlighten that ocean of consciousness. Then your intuition grows and you have a way of solving those problems—knowing when it’s not right and knowing a way to make it feel correct for you. That capacity grows and things go much more smoothly.
The thing about meditation is: You become more and more you.
Ask The Idea
The idea is the whole thing. If you stay true to the idea, it tells you everything you need to know, really. You just keep working to make it look like that idea looked, feel like it felt, sound like it sounded, and be the way it was. And it’s weird, because when you veer off, you sort of know it.
You know when you’re doing something that is not correct because it feels incorrect. It says, ‘No, no; this isn’t like the idea said it.’ And when you’re getting into it the correct way, it feels correct. It’s an intuition: You feel-think your way through. You start one place, and as you go, it gets more and more finely tuned. But all along it’s the idea talking. At some point, it feels correct to you. And you hope that it feels somewhat correct to others.
It’s good for the artist to understand conflict and stress. Those things can give you ideas. But I guarantee you, if you have enough stress, you won’t be able to create. And if you have enough conflict, it will get in the way of your creativity. You can understand conflict, but you don’t have to live in it.
In stories, in the worlds that we can go into, there’s suffering, confusion, darkness, tension and anger. There are murders; there’s all kinds of stuff. But the filmmaker doesn’t have to be suffering to show suffering. You can show it, show the human condition, show conflicts and contrasts, but you don’t have to go through that yourself. You are the orchestrator of it, but you’re not in it. Let your characters do the suffering.
It’s common sense: The more the artist is suffering, the less creative he is going to be. It’s less likely that he is going to enjoy his work and less likely that he will be able to do really good work.
Light of the Self
Negativity is like darkness. So what is darkness? You look at darkness, and you see that it’s nothing: It’s the absence of something. You turn on the light, and darkness goes.
But sunlight, for instance, doesn’t get rid of negativity. It gets rid of darkness but not negativity. So what light can you turn on that removes negativity the way sunlight removes darkness? It’s the light of pure consciousness, the Self—the light of unity.
Don’t fight the darkness. Don’t even worry about the darkness. Turn on the light and the darkness goes. Turn up that light of pure consciousness: Negativity goes.
Sitting in front of a fire is mesmerizing. It’s magical. I feel the same way about electricity. And smoke. And flickering lights.
Stay true to yourself. Let your voice ring out, and let anybody fiddle with it. Never turn down a good idea, but never take a bad idea. And meditate. It’s very important to experience the Self, that pure consciousness. It’s really helped me. I think it would help any filmmaker.
So start diving within, enlivening that bliss consciousness. Grow in happiness and intuition. Experience the joy of doing. And you’ll glow in this peaceful way. Your friends will be very, very happy with you. Everyone will want to sit next to you. And people will give you money!