I was rummaging around Crackbook a couple of days ago and came upon a link for an interview with Keanu Reeves from Esquire. So, click… the first paragraph…
“He sits in the black leather booth of a Paris brasserie, a porcelain cup half full of cappuccino by his elbow, thumbing the screen of his phone with his left hand, which is caked with slashes of dried blood.”
Okay, now I have to read the article. Here it is in case you want to read it: https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/a38241136/keanu-reeves-interview-2021/
The second thing that really caught me was the first image.
His eyes were looking right at the camera. Present. Very present. And even though he’s pulling his hair back, this is a photoshoot after all, there is also a sense of detachment. And still, he’s someone who cares.
Stories abound about this guy. Walking the streets with no one knowing him. Using public transportation. Even keeled. Unfailingly polite. A listener. Not just in the world but of the world.
As I read the article, I couldn’t help thinking…
I need some of that.
I Don’t Know Him
I don’t know him personally. I get my information from the media like everyone else.
He seems so “Zen” to me. Like nothing fazes him. Like he’s some sort of enlightened being. Yet, I know that any perception I have of him is going to be flawed. I don’t know the answer to the questions that come up.
- When did he become so Zen?
- Was there something specific that lead him in that direction? An experience? Or did the research for “Little Buddha” resonate with him? Or was it a reaction to all the craziness of this world we live in? Or was it something else?
- Is he really that Zen?
- How does he handle being so successful with being so Zen? (Important because I’ve decided to be successful myself, judgments be damned.)
I’d really like to just sit down and ask him not just these questions but also questions about how he sees the world. How to be both detached and compassionate at the same time. I find both hard to do.
But since he’s a workaholic mega star, and I’m a voice over actor who has yet to get her first gig, what are the odds that I’ll end up sitting at some table with him?
Maybe better than I think…
Buddhism: Plain and Simple
That desire to become more Zen, more Keanu, sent me back over the years to when I went to L.A. to become an actor.
I’d told myself that I didn’t want to be rich and famous. I just wanted to work. But that wasn’t the truth. There was a deep desire in me to be “discovered” and to make it big.
The problem is that it was just a couple of years after an acting teacher and his students attacked me in a class. I was an emotional mess. I had a chip on my shoulder. And I was so scared to act that I was in my head all the time. I couldn’t work. The casting director for CSI: Miami looked at me excitedly until she figured out my shit just wasn’t together.
I was supposed to join the Conservatory Program at The Second City. I was invited down by the artistic director to try out. But I just couldn’t do it. I wasn’t ready. I ended up going back to Seattle.
I realize now that the teacher who attacked me was just a bad teacher. I realize now that the students in the class were scared students, and they were stuck. I realize now that I need to be very careful who I allow to instruct me.
It took a long time to come to that conclusion.
During my time in L.A., all these people, seeing how out of whack I was, kept encouraging me to read a book: Buddhism: Plain and Simple. I got a lot of recommendations for that book!
After I made it back to Seattle, I sprung for that book. And I started the process of healing.
I want to be more Zen, more Keanu.
So, I started rereading it. 16 years later…
Part of me hopes that Keanu Reeves will one day write a book detailing his path and life outlook. But if he’s that Zen, he may never do that.
Fortunately, not everyone is so private with their lives.
I’m currently reading “Will” by Will Smith (with Mark Manson supervising).
I’ve always loved Will Smith for his talent and his commitment to his family. He always seemed like the person to try and emulate.
Of course, I don’t know him personally…
But his book, “Will”, is so open and vulnerable that I love him all the more.
His dad reminds me of my dad. My childhood may have been like his if my parents had stuck together, and if my dad didn’t have a thing against women. In many ways, I can relate to Will’s words.
Will Smith talks about each step of the way, how he felt, what he did wrong and right, regrets and successes. He’s so open that I worry that the media trolls will hurt his feelings.
I’m part way through but already I find lessons for my life in his words. Sometimes I get so excited I have to quit reading for a while.
I don’t know that he’s Zen, but he is awake.
I want to be awake.
I’m rereading Buddhism: Plain and Simple, and since it’s been 16 years, it’s like reading it for the first time. I hope it explains to me how to be more present. You know, the 7 Steps to Waking Up. LOL. And yet I know already those steps don’t exist.
Being awake isn’t about following a dogma, or ideology. It isn’t about group membership or labels. It’s just about opening the eyes and seeing. I know that. That doesn’t mean I don’t gravitate toward people like Keanu Reeves and Will Smith.
But I don’t know them personally… I can’t know their Truth.
It really is about Truth. Being awake isn’t about faith.
The truth is that I am so confused by human beings and the things that they do that I find myself being judgmental. I don’t trust that what I see is the Truth. I keep wallowing in it, trying to figure it out. It’s the software tester in me. Maybe I don’t need to figure it out. What do you think?
I guess that’s why it’s a practice, not an end goal.
Here’s to me trying to be more Zen! <glass clinking>
Oh, and don’t worry, the dried blood on Keanu was fake. He was filming the new Matrix movie.