Amanda Palmer Discusses the Launch of David Lynch Foundation Music

Playing music coincides directly with the essence of meditation, and therefore it's no surprise that the two are again linked with today's launch of the David Lynch Foundation's newest venture -- DLF Music's "Download for Good."
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When we make music we don't do it to reach a certain point, to get to the end of the song or composition. The journey or the playing itself is the point.

During which we come to feel our basic inseparability from the whole universe, wipe out identification with thoughts and escape the interminable chatter that goes on in our heads.

A simple reminder that the point of life is always arrived in the present moment. That the future is a concept, it doesn't exist. Tomorrow never comes. The time is always now.

It's in this way that playing music coincides directly with the essence of meditation, and therefore it's no surprise that the two are again linked with today's launch of the David Lynch Foundation's newest venture -- DLF Music's "Download for Good."

The David Lynch Foundation works to implement Transcendental Meditation programs into intense settings like schools, prisons, homeless shelters and the military as it's been proven to combat ADHD and traumatic stress, while leading to a more overall sense of peace.

Download for Good is available now on iTunes and features exclusive tracks from 30+ artists including Alanis Morissette, Ben Folds, Iggy Pop, Peter Gabriel, Maroon 5, Moby, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Tom Waits, Slightly Stoopid and many more with all proceeds benefitting the foundation.

I could go on and on about why I love this cause, but rather than trying to describe it in my own words, I had the opportunity to speak with another contributor in the project that has more Twitter followers than @Jesus -- Amanda Palmer.

Brandon Deroche: How'd you get introduced to DLF?

Amanda Palmer: Being a yogi and a meditator, my interest was really piqued just by the existence of the foundation. What really inspired me was reading David Lynch's book a couple years ago when it came out -- Catching The Big Fish. A fantastic book.

BD: Why do you feel it's important to spread the word about meditation?

AP: That's a hard question to answer because I don't generally run around waving the big "everyone should go and meditate" flag. I've just found that it's personally helped and affected my life in such a positive way that I'm always happy to talk to anybody about it and encourage anybody to do it. Same goes with my yoga practice.

I started doing both when I was a teenager, but then really started taking my practice seriously in my early 20s, and started taking my yoga practice pretty seriously right alongside the rise of the Dresden Dolls.

I found that it was this invaluable tool for keeping steady on the road and the whirlwind of all that was happening to me. Especially the constant traveling, the bizarre schedule and the constant lack of grasp on reality that happens when all of a sudden you're thrust into the rock and roll machine.

I think it's really great to turn younger people on to meditation. Older people seem to get into it often very naturally. They'll hit some crisis or they'll hit some point and someone will grab their hand and say "maybe instead of doing this or that there's actually this really simple process of just practicing awareness that can actually have an effect on your life and start undoing things." But, if you start that practice early, you build a bedrock of mindfulness that is useful in every single area of your life as you grow up.

I was really pleased to see that someone was out there trying to spread the word of meditation to younger people. I think it's one of those things that will hopefully just make the world a more peaceful place fundamentally instead of just trying to undo all the damage.

BD: Meditation as a cause is a very personal, inward-facing thing. How does its impact compare to more outward social action?

AP: I think it always has to start from the inside out. That's always the way I looked at it when people approached me to support political causes. I'm happy to speak my mind, but I actually feel like the most powerful thing I can do is stay as mindful and as centered as possible as an individual. Then projecting myself as a writer and as a performer, that message I think just gets carried right along with the art, or just in your presence with people, or my blog writing and for the constant search of actually being in the moment. It infects and infuses everything I do. It's not something that I need to jump around yelling about because it's just simply inherent in the work when you're doing it.

BD: Would you say then that meditation has impacted your creativity?

AP: It's been a huge support for me. Lynch talked about this in the book -- mindfulness and creativity are just undetachable bedfellows.

The ability to tap into a creative impulse is directly tied to the ability to focus on the present moment. That isn't to say there aren't some artists out there who some of the most distracted and distractable people I've ever met, but just in terms of controlling your access to the creative buffet that is your own imagination, meditation is one of the key tools.

BD: How would you combat the "hippie dippie" stereotype that meditation has?

AP: Luckily I think that prejudice is gradually falling away the same way people are starting to realize health food isn't just for hippies -- it's for people who wanna live. (laughs)

The thing about meditation is that like so many other things it's gotten sort of drowned in symbols and rituals and extra ideas, but at its basic core you don't need anything. You don't need any of the trappings, you don't even need a meditation position, you don't even need to sit in a chair. You just need to drop into your body at whatever moment you're in, whether you're sitting and looking at your computer or running a marathon, and find the present moment. It sounds stupidly simple and that was always the point. It is stupidly simple.

A lot of people who meditate like making meditation special, and it's not fucking special. It really is just the act of being present, but it's really tempting to make it special. People love doing that. All of that wisdom is as old as the hills, and I think comes right back to the very basics of what the wise old Buddhists and all sorts of what have you have been saying since the dawn of time which is don't make this special. Just be here now.

BD: Why'd you choose to contribute the song "In My Mind" to the compilation?

AP: The song in itself is a commentary on the act itself of living in total distraction, so I thought it was perfect for the compilation.

BD: Is there anything you want to add?

AP: That David Lynch is the shit. (laughs)

I think it's fantastic and people can take a deep lesson from the fact that David Lynch is one of the darkest, most disturbing filmmakers of our time. I saw him speak not too long ago, and as he pointed out, meditation and mindfulness aren't about lightness and happiness and fairies. They're really just about being with what is and being able to access the different access places. I think in order to be able to go to the darkest places you really have to be present, and you really have to be mindful, otherwise you get trapped there.

Neil Gaiman, my husband, says the same thing all the time about how horror writers are sometimes the kindest people he's ever met. Romance writers are sometimes the obnoxious, the most pent-up. There's really something about believing someone who is able to access some of the darkest places and how they keep their balance when they dip down into the depths of the human soul.

And this guy and the fact that he meditates should give you a clue about that.

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