Catching The Big Fish by David Lynch
I’ve been getting better at packing for my monthly teaching tours. I used to take 3 or 4 books with me. Now I just take one. This past trip, I chose Catching The Big Fish by David Lynch. This is a book that has come up over and over in my work, because people (especially in LA) get inspired to learn meditation after reading it.
It’s a short book, with daily musings and anecdotes related to Lynch’s film career and daily meditation practice (he claims to never have missed a day of meditation in 33 years).
Obviously, I found the parts about meditation much more interesting than the film stuff. But overall, it’s a short and interesting read. There are a couple of passages regarding the meditation that really stood out for me:
One was, “The world is as you are.” The Veda teaches that our individual consciousness is the lens through which we experience our world. For instance, if we’re in abject suffering and misery consciousness, that’s all we can see wherever we look is suffering and misery. Yet if we are in abundance consciousness, then we detect abundance everywhere, even if we’re looking at the same situation.
The other passage from the book that I really liked is about Van Gogh and the notion that his famous bouts with depression led to the creation of his greatest masterpieces. Lynch challenges this popular assumption with the suggestion that Van Gogh’s best work was likely the result of the little bit of happiness that he had. In other words, painting didn’t make Van Gogh happy. Rather, happiness inspired Van Gogh to paint. If this is true, Lynch theorizes, then imagine how much more prolific Van Gogh would have been as a painter had he been a happier person?
All in all, Catching the Big Fish was a great read, and it inspired me to go back and revisit some of Lynch’s movies. I’ll also borrow some of the simple language he uses to illustrate the inner workings of meditation. I find some of it quite brilliant.
Mr. Lynch now partners with the Transcendental Meditation organization to bring meditation into primary schools. I can only imagine how prolific we all would be today had we begun daily meditation in, say, eighth grade?