Interview for David Lynch Foundation • Wednesday, April 1, 2009

David Lynch interviews Paul McCartney about Meditation and Maharishi

Interview of Paul McCartney
Published by:
David Lynch Foundation
Interview by:
David Lynch
Timeline More from year 2009

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David Lynch: First of all, its a real big honor to interview you, to talk to you Paul, and I’ve got to tell you I am not a professional interviewer. But I’m curious. So I’ll just ask you some things. And I’m curious – I assume some time in the sixties, set the stage, when did you first hear the word meditation and what did you make of it?

Paul McCartney: It was actually George Harrison’s wife, Pattie, who had heard that Maharishi was coming to town. And she said we should all go. It was one of those things.

And I was personally not in a good place. I think you know, just overdoing it in the sixties. So I was just not very – sort of – centered and I was looking for something. I think we all were.

So we heard that Maharishi was going to have a meeting and give a lecture. So that was the first time I’ve heard about meditation.

But we’d actually seen him when we were kids growing up in Liverpool. Because as you know he went around the world seven times to spread his message. And he was on TV. And we remembered this giggling little guy and we thought, we loved him. We just said he’s so cool! you know. And he was just on TV, and he was giving an interview and he would giggle – that fabulous laugh of his. And he was very entertaining and very attractive. So we all said that’s that guy! But then I say, he was giving a lecture.

David Lynch: Where was it?

Paul McCartney: In London.

David Lynch: But do you remember the place?

Paul McCartney: I don’t remember it. I think it was in Kensington, Chelsea or somewhere. But — so that was the first time I heard about it and we all went along to listen.

David Lynch: And in the talk — what feeling, you know, came over you about what he was saying – his message?

Paul McCartney: It was very interesting. It was very calming. And it seemed like something that was worth trying. He put it very well. He made it seems simple, he made it seemed very attractive, and so I think we were all just sold.

And I say his personality was a lot to do with Maharishi, you know. You know I think, you’d seen all the people who were maybe a little more serious and, it wasn’t a bad thing, but he put humour. He had a very infectious sense of humour. So I think that was very attractive to us, it was a great message, it was something we felt we needed, but put over in this way, it was very attractive.

David Lynch: Did Maharishi personally teach you?

Paul McCartney: Yes, so what happened then, we went to Bangor in Wales, and we attended a seminar there.

And, as you know there were always lots of flowers around Maharishi so there was always a very… Nature was very involved, you go the feeling… he often used to carry the flowers. There was this feeling of connection with nature, that was very grounding. And then eventually we went out to Rishikesh with him, which was more sustained.

David Lynch: How long had you been meditating when you went to Rishikesh?

Paul McCartney: I am not sure of the exact times, because it was forty years ago, but I would say a month or so… roughly that.

David Lynch: When you got to Rishikesh, you went to the ashram and what was the routine like? What was the experience like in Rishikesh?

Paul McCartney: It was great, it was very straight forward, very simple. The whole place was very simple, there was nothing fancy about it.

You would wake up, then go for breakfast in the morning, a light breakfast. You socialize a bit with the other members, and get to know each other. And then you would go back for your morning meditation… Go back to your room. We had little chalets kind of thing. Each of us had little rooms, which were very simple but adequate.

And, you would just sit, and you would meditate. And, then was lunch and again you would socialize and chat and stuff. Then you would meditate in the afternoons.

Sometimes Maharishi would have a meeting every so often with you, and you could talk to him about your experiences and he would help guide you.

In the evening there was a kind of question and answer session. That was slightly more formal, that was in a hall. And we were all just be with all the students, and Maharishi would come and talk, and then he would take questions, you would just listen about people’s experiences. And that was the kind – the sort of thing that happened each day.

David Lynch: How many songs did you write in Rishikesh do you think?

Paul McCartney: We wrote quite a few, between us. Yes, we had some good inspiration. And you know, and the time we weren’t meditating, we had our guitars with us, so we would do quite a little bit of writing, it was inspirational. It wasn’t all about meditation, it’s just you were focused.

But yeah, there was some very blissful moments, I remember one in particular, when I been meditating for a while. And I got to a really good place, and I remember the feeling was, that I was a feather. I felt like I actually was a feather floating over a hot-air pipe, a very nice feeling. And I remember that vividly. And I reported that to Maharishi, and he giggled: “Yes, this is good”, such a joy!

David Lynch: Fantastic.


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