Arthur Radio Transmission #33 w/ kA

kA is the project of Brooke Hamre Gillespie (The Holy Experiment) and Santiparro Alan Scheurman (Santiparro,) two earthbound celestial beings who together create joyous, transcendent songs that lift the spirits, allowing them to soar through forests and fields, over oceans, up through the clouds and into the ever-expanding universe, where the planets are always singing. In between songs, the pair stops to reflect…

Brooke: That song came from the forest of Michigan. A lot of these songs come from the forest of Michigan.

Alan: Not just the forest, but the fire, the trees…

Brooke: The stars, all the animals… the purple beetle!

Alan: The spiders…

Brooke: The spiders. The spider water!

Alan: And the dragons.

Brooke: And the real dragons!

kA live on Arthur Radio from Arthur Radio on Vimeo.

In recent months, kA traveled to the West Coast to perform in an Alice Coltrane Tribute concert organized by friend Kyp Malone (Rain Machine). Alongside playing shows, they both lead ceremonies and music circles at Golden Drum, a Greenpoint, Brooklyn-based healing center whose practices are rooted in traditions of indigenous medicine healers from around the world.

STREAMING: [audio:

DOWNLOAD: Arthur Radio Transmission #33 w/ kA 10-23-2010

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Michael Brownstein on MEDITATION AS A SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITY (Arthur, 2005)

Originally published in Arthur No. 15 (March 2005)

Artwork by John Coulthart

What does meditation have to do with activism?
Plenty, says poet Michael Brownstein

I’ve been a Buddhist for many years, and I am also an activist, committed to overturning the profit-driven monoculture which is destroying our health, our Earth, and our soul. How are these two forms of awareness—awareness of what’s taking place in the outside world, and awareness of our internal processes—related? Can each aid the other in creating a sane, sustainable and just world?

Let’s look at activism in terms of the negative emotions generated—indignation and rage, but also frustration, sorrow, resignation. These are negative emotions because of the effect they have on us, the people who experience them. Not on the object of our emotions, whether it be the World Trade Organization, Monsanto, or George Bush. Negative emotions are reactive. Their only impact is on us. What difference does it make to Monsanto that you’re seething with indignation at something it has done or said? What difference does it make to the Pacific Lumber Company when you come upon a clear-cut old-growth forest in California and feel devastated?

Staying present with our emotions—anger, for example—means remaining aware of what we’re experiencing without becoming lost in reactivity. It means liberating the energy generated by anger from the object that calls it forth. In other words, it is a form of meditation. Then, the possibility exists to work with the situation from a place of clarity, rather than be submerged in confusion.

So, the first revolutionary act—or fact—about meditation is that it puts you in touch with what you’re feeling and thinking at this very moment. It puts you in touch with presence. Then you realize that you are the source of your emotions—not Monsanto or McDonald’s. This does not imply that we shouldn’t have these responses, but that we have to use them rather than be used by them. And the only way to do that is to become aware of their nature.

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“Twice a day for the last 32 years”: DAVID LYNCH on meditation, by Kristine McKenna (Arthur, 2006)

Originally published in Arthur No. 20 (January 2006)…

The Whole Enchilada

David Lynch was 27 years old and depressed. Then he started meditating…

By Kristine McKenna

In person, David Lynch bears only the vaguest resemblance to the image most people have of him. He is, of course, an artist of extreme complexity, but he’s not a weirdo, and the people who work with him adore him because he’s respectful and appreciative of their contributions to his art.

Lynch has been working under the radar on his latest film, Inland Empire, for quite a while; it commenced principal photography two years ago in Lodz, Poland, and features Polish actors Karolina Gruszka and Krzysztof Majchrzak, along with Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons, Harry Dean Stanton and Justin Theroux. It will be his first digital film, but it won’t be his last as he loves the freedom digital affords. “Film is over for me,” declares Lynch, who’s thus far handled the financing of Inland Empire, which is being produced by his longtime partner, Mary Sweeney.

I’ve been interviewing Lynch semi-regularly for 25 years now, and each time I see him I’m struck by his ability to retain the best parts of his personality; he remains an enthusiastic, open and very funny man, and he never fails to tell me something useful and inspiring. I spoke with him this past summer, ahead of his fall speaking tour of universities to promote the work of the new David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace…

Arthur: You’ve said in the past that your daily meditation practice is what enables you to maintain such a high level of creativity. What was going on in your life at the point when you were able to commit yourself to meditation?

David Lynch: I was 27 and I was in the middle of the first year of Eraserhead and things were going great. I had this unbelievable place to work—the stables at AFI—I had all the equipment I needed, I had people helping me, I had money to do it, and it was like a dream come true, yet I wasn’t happy. That saying ‘happiness comes from within’ started making sense to me and meditation seemed like a good way to go within. I’d always thought yogis sitting cross-legged in the woods were wasting their time, but I suddenly understood that all the rest is a waste of time. Meditation is the vehicle that takes you to the place where you can experience the unified field and that’s the only experience that lights the full brain. It’s a holistic experience and it’s not a foreign place—it’s a field of pure bliss consciousness and it’s the whole enchilada. People think they’re fully awake when they wake up in the morning but there are degrees of wakefulness, and you begin waking up more and more when you meditate, until finally one day you’re fully awake, which is the state of enlightenment. This is the potential of every human being and if you visit that unified field twice a day, every day begins to feel like a Saturday morning with your favorite breakfast, it’s sunny, and you’ve got the whole weekend ahead with all your projects that you’re looking forward to doing.

There are many types of meditation; why did you pick transcendental meditation?

I lucked into it. My sister was doing it, then one day she mentioned it to me and I don’t know why—maybe it was the sound of her voice and the time that I heard it—but bang! I said I’ve gotta have that. Transcendental Meditation is the way of the householder in that it allows you to stay in the world. Some people like the recluse way and want to go into the cave, and there are mantras that will take you right out of activity and put you into that cave. But transcendental meditation is a way of integrating these two worlds and activity is part of it. It’s like dipping a white cloth into gold dye; you dip it and that’s meditation, then you hang it on the line in sunshine and that’s activity. The sun bleaches it until it’s white again, so you dip it and hang it again, and each time you do that a little more of the gold stays in the cloth. Then one day that gold is locked in. It isn’t going anywhere no matter how violent the activity, and at that point two opposites have been united at a deep level. In the west people think yeah, like I’m really gonna give up my dental practice and go to the cave, but you don’t have to quit dentistry. Meditate before you go to work and you’ll start liking the people that come in and you’ll start getting ideas about dentistry. Maybe you’ll invent something and get into the finer points of a cavity and honing that bad boy. Things get cooler.

If you were running the world, what’s the first thing you’d do?

I’d get people going on consciousness-based education. Stress levels in children are going way up and there are so many bad side effects to stress. Kids are on drugs, they’re overweight—they are not happy campers and being a kid should be a beautiful thing. Kids take to meditation like ducks to water. The so-called knowledge we try to cram down their throats is useless and that’s why there are things like cheating—it’s all a bunch of baloney. It’s a sick, twisted, stupid world now. It’s ridiculous.

What’s America’s problem?

It’s locked in an old, ignorant way of thinking. Things are pretty low right now but lots of people are working to enliven that field of unity in world consciousness. John Lennon described meditation as “melting the iceberg,” and when that heat starts coming up some people love it, but it can be too much for some people and they fly apart. So, it’s gotta come up gently—it has been coming up pretty gently, too, but the bunch running the show here in America are working overtime in a negative way.

How did you interpret 9/11?

You don’t get something for nothing and America’s been up to a lot of nasty business for a long time. But Maharishi [Mahesh Yogi, founder of the Transcendental Meditation movement] says instead of fighting darkness you should just turn on the light, so let’s turn on the light and start having fun.

What makes you angry?

There’s an increasing amount of censorship in America and that is not a good sign. It really makes you wonder what’s going on with this country.

Is man on the road to extinguishing himself?

No. Quantum physics has verified the existence of the unified field and Vedic science understands how it emerges—in fact, Vedic science is the science of the unified field. There’s a whole bunch of trouble in this world but the way to get out of it is there; just enliven that field of unity. It sounds like magic but it’s science—it’s the real thing and the resistance to it is based on fear. But it’s not something to be afraid of—it’s us.

Your beliefs are deeply optimistic, yet many people find darkness in your work; how do you explain that?

Films and paintings reflect the world and when the world changes the art will change. We live in a world of duality but beneath it is unity. We live in a world of boundaries but beneath it it’s unbounded. Einstein said you can’t solve a problem at the level of the problem—you gotta get underneath it, and you can’t get more underneath than the unified field. So get in there and water the root then enjoy the fruit. Water that root and the tree comes up to perfection. You don’t have to worry about a single leaf if you get nourishment at that fundamental level.

"Bliss is our nature. We're like happy campers, flowing with ideas": David Lynch at the NFT.

David Lynch: The American auteur was on stage at the NFT to discuss his oeuvre, his debt to transcendental meditation, the genesis of his latest film, Inland Empire, and why he went on the road with a cow

Thursday February 8, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

Mark Kermode: Just to start things rolling, and this is not specifically connected to Inland Empire which we’ve just seen, but transcendental meditation is a really big thing in your life. The last time we talked, it was entirely about how TM had changed and affected your life. In as much as it is possible to explain this complex subject in a pitifully small amount of time, please explain to us what TM has done for your consciousness and what you believe it’s capable of doing for the greater good?

David Lynch: How many people have heard of TM? Quite a few. Good. TM is a mental technique. It’s an ancient form of meditation that allows any human being to dive within and transcend and experience the unbounded, infinite ocean of pure consciousness. Pure vibrant consciousness, bliss, intelligence, creativity, love, power, energy – all there within. At the base of mind, the base of matter, is this field. And it’s there. Modern science has just discovered the unified field by going deeper and deeper and deeper into matter. And there it was: a field of oneness, unity. They can’t go in there with their instruments and everything, but any human being can go dive within through subtle levels of mind and intellect, transcend and experience this field. When you experience this deepest field, it’s a beautiful experience, and experiencing it enlivens it and you grow in consciousness.

You grow in creativity and intelligence. And the side effect is that negativity starts to recede. Things like hate, anger and depression, sorrow, anxieties – these things start to recede and you live life in more freedom, more flow of ideas, more appreciation and understanding of everything.

It’s so beautiful for working on projects. It’s a field of knowingness – you enliven that and you get this kind of intuitive thing going. It’s so beautiful for the arts, for any walk of life. In Vedic science, this field is called Atma, the self and there’s a line, “Know thyself.” In the Bible they say, “First seek the kingdom of heaven which lies within and all else will be added unto you.” You dive within, you experience this, you unfold it and you’re unfolding totality. The human has this potential and they have names for this potential: enlightenment, liberation, salvation, fulfilment – huge potential for the human being. And we don’t need to suffer. You enliven this thing and you realise that bliss is our nature. We’re like happy campers, flowing with ideas. We’re like little dogs with tails wagging. It’s not a goofball thing, it’s a beautiful full thing, really, really great.

MK: I’m right in thinking that your relationship with that has mirrored your film-making career – you started TM around the same time that you were making Eraserhead, is that right?

DL: That’s correct.

MK: And it’s something that you’ve done throughout your career?

DL: Yes.

MK: So the question that’s always asked is, if TM creates positiveness and all the things you’ve talked about – and I can see that it genuinely does – some people might ask what about all the darkness that’s in your films?

DL: Exactly. We are all different at the surface and one at the core, unity. We are one world family. On the surface, different – I like this, you don’t like this. And we catch ideas. Sometimes, we catch an idea that we fall in love with. And if it’s a cinema idea, we see what cinema could do to that idea and we’re rolling. Stories hold conflict and contrast, highs and lows, life and death, and the human struggle and all kinds of things. But the artist doesn’t have to suffer to show suffering. You gotta understand it. You don’t have to die to do a death scene. You just have to understand it in your own way, but understanding is the thing, understand this suffering, this anger, this character. And you go like that.

I thought when I started meditation that I was going to get real calm and peaceful and it’s going to be over. It’s not that way, it’s so energetic. That’s where all the energy and creativity is. Everything that is a thing has emerged out of this field. So it’s tremendous creativity. And you don’t lose your edge, you get more, stronger feeling for something and it can be magnified. And you don’t get sleepy and laidback in this kind of flat-line peace. It’s a dynamic peace. It’s very powerful, it’s where all the power is. So the thing is you can make all these stories but you’re separate from it. And that’s the key.

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