||Name: Lyric Benson
MUM Degree: BA, Maharishi Vedic Science, 2006
Job: Singer, Writer, Actor, Activist
Album: Lyric's Love Light Revolution (2011)
Upcoming: Starring role in Cabaret at Sondheim Center, Fairfield, Iowa, March 29-April 7
Causes: Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment, The Wholeness
Working On: A new screenplay
You can read this profile to learn about Lyric Benson, the daughter of actor Robby Benson and singer Karla DeVito, but to really understand her, you may want to listen to "My Heart is the Sun," an exuberant, eco-psychedelic, hip-pop song that trumpets Lyric’s spirit in a way that the written word just can’t. Access the song, which is featured on her debut album, Lyric’s Love Light Revolution, on this page.
A writer, poet, actor, singer and activist/teacher, Lyric grew up the child of Hollywood success, but found her own unique path to creating and performing.
Her dad had been a film and TV star in the 1970s and 1980s (One on One, Ice Castles, The Chosen) who later became an in-demand TV director of more than 100 shows including many episodes of Friends and Ellen. Her rock singer mom had belted out songs with the bands Meat Loaf and Blue Oyster Cult, and soloed ahead of acts like Rick Springfield. (See the photo of Lyric and her parents, below.)
Lyric also worked in the industry, a screenwriter at age 18 writing scripts for a Hollywood production company affiliated with Sony Pictures. As an actress, she performed on TV shows including Evening Shade and Modern Love.
Though she loved the bright lights and the thrill of performing, Lyric yearned to experience the deeper dimensions of life. She recalls, “I would wonder, what's the meaning of all this? What is the point of existence?“
When she was 18, she read Autobiography of a Yogi, the story of an Indian guru's journey to enlightenment. It was a revelation. “Reading that ignited a level of urgency in me,” she says. “I really understood it. I felt I could function like that.”
A year later, she learned Transcendental Meditation, which gave her a way to deepen her experience of herself and life.
“It was incredible,” she says. “I was enthralled by the experience of silence. I had some health problems that went away. I had insomnia and suddenly I could sleep.”
Finding Herself at MUM
Lyric had heard about MUM, and in 2001 came to the campus on a Visitors Weekend. “I was immediately struck by how happy and kind people were,” she says. “The environment, the silence, the program … It was amazing.”
She enrolled, and in 2006 earned a BA in Maharishi Vedic Science. She spent the next several years focused on an inward journey, doing her TM-Sidhi® program (an advanced module of the TM technique), and immersing herself in studying and experiencing higher states of consciousness in a retreat program called Mother Divine. And she continued to write.
In 2011, Lyric emerged from the program with a desire to express what she had experienced in art and in action. “I took the poetry I’d been writing,” she says, “and put it into music.”
Working with her multitalented dad, Robby Benson, an accomplished musician and composer (who was the voice of the Beast in Disney’s animated feature, Beauty and the Beast), Lyric's Love Light Revolution was born in 2011.
In part, the album describes Lyric’s own spiritual journey. “First there’s love, the desire for union, to know who you really are in your heart,” she says. “The light comes in because there’s that aha moment — and that’s what transforms, that's what causes the revolution.” One fan of the revolution is Charlie Sheen (photo right, with album in hand).
In addition to her own creative work, Lyric heads up the Next Gen program for the Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment (GATE), supporting young artists and performers in expressing truth and consciousness in their projects.
But MUM has always remained close to Lyric's heart. “MUM was awesome,” she says. “It’s all about diving into the Self, experiencing that peace within, and then kicking butt in activity in whatever way you’re given to move and flow through life.”
Lyric’s parents, Robby and Carla performing
Lyric and Robby: