How the David Lynch Foundation helps people who have experienced homelessness

"We all suffer from anxiety and depression but when you find yourself in that position you might be more prone to it or it might be chronic”

The David Lynch Foundation runs programmes for vulnerable or disadvantaged people, including working with homeless charities, offering scholarships to those who could benefit from meditation but would not normally think it was for them.

“We have done a couple of pilot projects with a charity in Charing Cross in London,” says Deirdre Parsons, who runs the foundation in the UK. “We taught a number of staff and their clients and they found they were having success.

“Staff could supply medical advice, job advice, give someone shelter and a place to eat and do laundry, but when somebody had challenges again it might bring them back into homelessness.”

According to Parsons, the TM technique encourages inner growth and self-development.

“Fundamentally the real support comes from within yourself,” she says. “TM is a stress-reducing tool to help positive thinking. We all suffer from anxiety and depression but when you find yourself in that position you might be more prone to it or it might be chronic.”

Projects run in the United States have shown impressive results. Rashan Purdy learned the technique and found it transformative.

“Since the first time I meditated I felt like a totally  different person, a total 180,” he says. “You’re gonna have problems in life, period. There’s going to be obstacles, but they don’t affect me the same way they once did.”

Kevin Robinson agrees. “I always used to walk around with a grudge, an attitude, for the littlest thing,” he admitted. You know certain things people said really bothered me.

“Now it just brushes off my shoulders. I walk with my head up, I smile.  All the negative energy is just bouncing off. It’s like you put up a shield.”

Some of the revenue from David Lynch-related events at the Manchester International Festival will go towards a programme helping homeless people learn to meditate.

“We’re going to be working with [homeless charity] Lifeshare,” Parsons says.

“We’re hoping that some of the profits that come from the Manchester International Festival event we’ll be able to put towards some scholarships to teach some of the staff and some of the vulnerable people who might be part of their organisation.”

Read our exclusive interview with David Lynch in this week’s Big Issue – available now from your local vendor!

Main image: Josh Telles