Where to begin…
Let’s begin at the end. Balance.
I couldn’t give you an exact day or at this point, an exact year, when I turned to meditation to increase my spiritual grounding. Like everything else, the beginning is the hardest part. You get frustrated that it doesn’t come naturally, you want to quit when you hit a wall without feeling like you’re making any progress. Then you get over that wall and you sense the progress. Then there’s no turning back. I can’t imagine my life now without taking time everyday to shut everything and everyone out for at least a few minutes and concentrating on my inner self. And yes, meditating may have the same purpose as praying but the two (to me at least) are COMPLETELY different actions. Praying is a very conscious action, meditating is an attempt to not be conscious of nearly everything but your natural biorhythm. So part one for me was making meditation a part of my daily routine.
Being an actor is obviously important to me; I love the craft. I’ve implied this in other ways, but I don’t know if I’ve ever said this as directly as I’m saying it right now: one of the greatest benefits that acting as a full time commitment has given to me, is that it forces me mentally to stay completely focused on the exact moment I’m in (or at least pretending to be in). Writing, directing, producing; they all can do it, but none with that immediacy. On stage in particular, if you’re somewhere else, you can bring the whole show to a halt real quick. I’m sure especially this is why I gravitate toward the Method and improv; you do all the research and preparation you can do ahead of time, but when the bullets start flying, you have to rely on whatever your instincts are telling you to do. And you don’t really have time to consider ‘Am I making the right decision?’ until after the fact.
So here I am now, with that commitment of staying 100 percent in the moment I’m in, gradually, and until now subconsciously, seeping into my ‘real life’. The natural tendency of the artist is to explore everything and everyone and try to get some understanding of the world to inform our stories. My free spirited nature will never lose that (I hope). But I’ve certainly become cognizant of ‘reigning it in’ somewhat. I’m aware of the positive impact everything I refer to here has had on my personal and professional life. If I could put a number on it, I’d say my listening ability has gone from 80 to a 95 (out of 100). I feel wanted, I try not to discourage it (as I know I’ve done in the past). I feel disrespected or being taken too lightly, I don’t hold grudges anymore; I just don’t get too comfortable. My all time favorite analogy about relationships (extremely simplified) asks: ‘How many deposits have you made in this bank (and therefore, when you want to take something out, are you going to overdraw the account)? What’s past is prologue, and I know I’m far from perfecting this skill (as it’s currently what I’m working on improving the most), but whether we’re clowning or talking business or sports or whatever, I can say with complete sincerity that whoever I’m conversing with at that moment has my full attention. Whatever we may or may not have been or done to each other in the past, whatever we may or may not do with each other in the future, all we have at this moment is right now. Let’s make the most of it.
May the Force Be With You.