WHYY in Philadelphia, Terry Gross, Fresh Air, Feb 3 2010:
Starting at 28m mark.
Did you practice meditation?
Not seriously. I just tried to learn to be quiet a little bit. I actually went to a monastery. A Buddhist monastery to learn something about meditation. I have never practiced it with any great discipline, but I did find it to be, even in its probably shallowest and least-disciplined form, I did find it to be somewhat helpful because however fortunate my lifestyle is, it is not always the most restful.
What made you go in the first place to the Buddhist monastery? What did you want?
Restfulness. I've always been very attracted to the randomness and the unpredictability of my profession. I enjoy not knowing what's next. I enjoy the passionate commitment to something that is going to be gone soon. It's a strange creative promiscuity if you like. Where I move on to the next thing and commit myself with equal immersion and delight in something as if the one before just never existed. I think it's very exciting, but it can create this kind of upheaval because there's no continuity. And however thrilled I am by what I'm doing. However stimulated I am by it, it can be difficult to get back to a sort of a core. One of the things you're doing is taking on different people's lives. You're changing character. You're changing personalities. I find it's not always easy to shake them off. Before you shake one off you're taking another one on. I think for an actor getting back to a sense of who you are without all of that I think can be quite a challenge.
This was about 15 or so years ago. There was quite a bit of upheaval on a personal level. I was single at the time and it seemed that I was always at my happiest when I was employed -- I think there's something perfectly healthy about that -- but I was always happiest when I was engaged in something that was distracting me. I think it was, I felt it was time to discover how to celebrate life or to take joy in life when I wasn't distracted.
I don't really relate to the upheaval sentiment. And I'm not an actor. But the constantly distracting myself sentiment resonates with me. It's too bad the interview ended there. I would have liked to hear more about what meditation taught him, and how.
I consider it most likely that mine is a brain chemistry problem. Probably most expeditiously corrected with medication, not years of monastic study. But I have yet to solve that riddle, so don't know for sure. Stay tuned. I should get this one figured out sometime in the next 40 years or so.