Why Actors Should Meditate
When we say someone has “presence” what we mean is that they are present—the concentrated focus of their awareness on the now is evident. This is an awareness cultivated readily in meditation. Not surprising then, that the list of actors who meditate is long and impressive – from Clint Eastwood to Naomi Watts, Jeff Bridges to Gwyneth Paltrow, Orlando Bloom to Eva Mendes, Hugh Jackman to Russell Brand.
Jeff Bridges has been quoted as saying he enjoys meditation because “…it’s good to block out external stimulus for a set amount of time because, for one thing, it enhances the experience when you are stimulated by something. It brings dynamics into your life. If you allow yourself to stop, you also realize how much stimulus is coming from within you.”
The dude knows what he’s talking about. From within you, man. This is where your choices originate— with one choice, the choice to be present, which may mean you ignore the ‘stimulus’ or to harness it. And in making that choice all your other choices become stronger.
We all want to make strong choices, bold choices, choices that come from within.
I started a daily meditation practice 5 years ago. I have not only had less illness and better sleep, but also have become more aware of my thoughts (both in character and in life) and have become more capable of relaxing at an audition, on camera, or in the presence of mind-blowing, potentially intimidating colleagues.
If you still aren’t convinced, there is also hard science around meditation.
The Scientific American claims meditation is “Like Valium and Oxycontin without the side effects.” Watch Richard Davidson’s Lecture here.
Neuroscience research reveals the ways mindfulness creates changes in the brain to improve focus and reduce stress–two things every actor needs to accomplish if s/he is going to succeed at a meaningful level.
If you are ready to raise your consciousness and your game, start with five minutes a day. Or, whatever amount of time is a realistic goal for you.
Maybe you’re one of those who can’t sit still and one minute seems like a lifetime. That’s okay. All the more reason to tackle it. After a few weeks increase your time. And after a few more weeks increase it again. Repeat this until you get to 30 minutes. If you are up for the next challenge, at that point you may want to start meditating twice a day!
There is no “wrong” way to meditate. What’s important is to be consistent. But there are many options, many types of “practice.” See what works for you. I started with these helpful free guided meditations from UCLA.
Or you can access information with these recommended Apps and Podcasts:
There are many sources for information on meditation, seek and you shall find.
Don’t just take it from yours truly and a bunch of A-listers— try it out for yourself.
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