June - Inspiration through Meditation

Over the last two years I have been culling through my entire negative archive and started printing images of and around my home town, Three Rivers, Michigan. The archive stretches back to my first days experimenting with film in 1989. This project has triggered many memories and inspired me to continue taking photographs around town but I never had a focus for the series and have felt lost and uninspired.

A vacation to San Diego and a long discussion with a friend helped to guide my focus to finding my story through these images. This lead to another discussion with another friend who suggested several books and topics connected to this idea of documentation. I am still in the midst of this journey of discovering how to tell this story but one of the tools I keep coming back to to help me make sense of all this information is meditation.

It is easy to get overwhelmed with other people's ideas and influence. As much as I can find inspiration in other's work, this is my story to tell and I need to keep it true to myself. I am trying to allow the information in but restrict the influence so I am not just mimicking others. Meditation has allowed me to keep my mind free of most of the clutter and to discover new ideas; to allow the thoughts of others to inform my creative process but not overcome it. I think this is one of the hardest parts of creativity.

We do not exist in a vacuum. We are all products of our environment: our family, our community, our religion, our language, our culture, we are but a piece of the entire human story. Our creations exist within this framework and are influenced by it. The proposition that someone can create something completely outside of that structure is a false narrative that denies us our humanity. But I do understand and also hold the desire to create something that is of myself, that communicates a part of my human story. That is the eye of the needle to thread and I find meditation can assist in this effort.

Letting the outside world to fall away in trance like moments allows one to connect with the true self. I am currently experimenting with the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique of reciting a personal phrase or mantra while doing my breathing meditation. It has been very interesting and I get glimpses of insight. The key is to finding the right mantra and most TM practitioners find it with the aid of a certified TM teacher. I meditated on the idea and one came to me so I've been using it with satisfactory results. Perhaps not true Transcendental Meditation, but something I've created by myself for myself!

As for inspiration, I find that it doesn't really come during the meditation itself, but it opens up the dialogue between the conscious and unconscious mind. It gives access to the ocean of the self within. This can allow ideas to bubble up to the surface throughout the day, often when I am least expecting. For this reason I always have pen and paper handy. Meditation is the method to release the ideas and not so much for creating them. Where the ideas actually come from is perhaps an unanswerable question and one I will leave to the philosophers.


Catching the Big Fish is a revelation for all want to understand Lynch’s personal vision. And it is equally compelling for any who wonder how they can nurture their own creativity.

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