One of the delights to watch these days, in the news and in the cafes’, is the emergence of the non-dual message into the mainstream. I’m moved to share this from BBC News today:
“Comedian Russell Brand has fulfilled his role as an unlikely compere for the Dalai Lama in Manchester, as part of the Tibetan spiritual leader’s UK tour.
Brand introduced the Dalai Lama’s address entitled Century Of Dialogue – Stand Up and Be the Change.
During the event Brand and the Dalai Lama appeared to form an unlikely double act.
At one point the Dalai Lama playfully tugged Brand’s beard on stage, and the comedian responded: “Not really a lot I can do in a situation like this. I just have to go with it.”
Brand described the Dalai Lama as “intense and sort of mellow, which is what you expect of someone who meditates five times a day”.
He then said: “Going from junkie to Shagger of the Year…three times… to now introducing the Dalai Lama. It has been an interesting journey.”
The Dalai Lama described Brand’s introduction as “completely informal”, and Brand responded: “Did you pick up any spiritual tips?”
The Dalai Lama replied: “I think your openness transfers wonderfully.”
The comedian, who has been a long-term supporter of the Tibetan cause, thanked the Dalai Lama as the two-hour event drew to a close.
“I have found it very inspiring and helpful,” he said. “We need to look within ourselves.”
Is it going to be your usual self on stage?
“I don’t reckon, because just being with someone like the Dali Lama impacts you. So I don’t think I will be my usual self. I’m very conscious that I have to be very respectful and polite, like if it was the Queen or something. Or your nan.”
Are you a Buddhist?
“No, I don’t have any kind of theology or religion yet, I’m just learning all about it.”
I gather that you practice meditation.
“I do transcendental meditation, which is, I suppose, derived from Vedic or Ayurvedic principles, which is sort of Hindu principles. I also do a lot of Kundalini yoga.
“Them things, they take you there. You know how, if you tuned your radio in, you could listen to Capital Gold or Classic Gold? There are other aspects of consciousness that you can tune yourself into. These new ones I’m listening to are mental.”
What do those things give you?
“A sense that you shouldn’t worry too much about material things, about what everyone thinks of you, that we’re all one – and to be beautiful to one another.”
Did you discover them when you were trying to clean your life up?
“Yeah, I think I was steadily heading towards it. All of us have got it in us and we’re all heading towards it in one way or another.
“Then different things happen that take you in that direction – because you start to realise that all other forms of happiness are temporary, conditional, transient, illusory forms of happiness. Sexy happiness, druggy happiness, new jacket happiness.”
Are you worried that your reputation for wild and outrageous behaviour will be dented if people think you are serious and spiritual?
“I don’t mind having a reputation as a serious and spiritual person. I think that would be a nice reputation to have.
“I enjoyed having a reputation as being wild, but these days I try not to worry about what people think in the privacy of their own brain or what they write in the bizarre publicity of their own newspapers, because all of those things are meaningless.”
US movie studios are very keen to break into China – is this going to have an impact on your career in films if China takes exception to your involvement with the Dalai Lama?
“You’ve raised a point that I’d not previously considered. I suppose one has to ultimately think, what’s more important, the freedom of a nation or the career of one person?
“And I suppose, really, the freedom of a nation in most people’s minds would be more important. And I’m sure I’ll be all right with the old acting jobs for film studios. They’re just human beings as well. They want what’s right deep down. I know people who run film studios.
“I think they would want me to be on a spiritual mission in the end. What’s going to happen when all civilisation collapses? We’ll be baffled if we’ve got no spiritual structure to step into, so we’ve got to work on it.”
I’ll close with a spam message I received today from somewhere in the non-English speaking world…
“Possess a nice day!”