Donovan, one of the most influential and creative pathfinders in pop music, is a firm advocate of the Transcendental Meditation practice – the technique he has used daily for more than 40 years.
Donovan on the benefits of ‘going within’
In a video interview recorded by the David Lynch Foundation, Donovan outlines the direct link between creative processes and ‘diving within’ through meditation.
He recommends Transcendental Meditation to all musicians and song writers, explaining that:
“If you want to get in touch with your creative juices, they are all going to be inside anyway. And in song writing – I’m quite a master of that by now – you have to create the circumstances for the music to come through you. The best way to do that is to dive deep down inside. A lot of musicians do it without meditation, and they do quite well. Once you learn Transcendental Meditation, though, you can get right down there, and like David Lynch says, catch those big fish. That’s the idea.”
Watch the David Lynch Foundation video:
In another interview, given to Billboard Magazine after his inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, Donovan talked about the influence of TM on some of his own songs:
“Happiness Runs” is the most direct one, which I wrote while in India with the Beatles and one Beach Boy (Mike Love) and Mia Farrow. (…) It directly references meditation because it says ‘happiness runs in a circular motion/thought is like a little boat upon the sea.’ Simple words, but profound. More rocking was the “Hurdy Gurdy Man.” In the 18th century the hurdy gurdy man played the instrument the hurdy gurdy and he traveled from town to town and he brought the news. So I related the hurdy gurdy man in the song to the teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who brings us songs of love.”
Donovan (also known as Donovan Leitch, b. 1946) is a Scottish singer, songwriter and guitarist who has developed an eclectic and distinctive style blending various genres (folk, jazz, pop, world music).
Donovan’s most well-known songs include “Catch the Wind”, “Colours”, “The Universal Soldier”, “Sunshine Superman”, “Mellow Yellow” and “Hurdy Gurdy Man”. Donovan performed and recorded sporadically in the 1970s and 1980s, undergoing a revival in the 1990s. He recorded the 1996 album Sutras with producer and long-time fan Rick Rubin and in 2004 released a new album, Beat Cafe.
Photo credit: contactmusic.com