Jeff Bridges in Tricycle, and now Utne re Meditation, Chögyam Trungpa, Lojong.
The Dude abides? Jeff Bridges has been an easy idol to keep since Fearless and Fabulous Baker Boys and that movie with Robin Williams, awesome…and Tron of course way back (was one of the first movies I ever saw on my own with friends as a punk kid). Farther back, the Last Picture Show was killer. And these days, of course, the list is endless—he’s everywhere.
And now, in addition to being interviewed while going on a retreat with Roshi Bernie Glassman, one of our favorite people since I got to study with him a bit at a Vajradhatu Seminary (created by Chogyam Trungpa, who gave me my bodhisattva vow name), Jeff is talking about Chogyam Trungpa and the lojong slogans. Excerpts from Utne:
A few excerpts:
Turning pages, Bridges begins, “I just saw the word joy, and I see it’s underlined twice, and I’ve got a star beside it, so let me read this aloud and see if it’s interesting: ‘As you are dozing off, think of strong determination, that as soon as you wake up in the morning you are going to maintain your practice with continual exertion, which means joy.’ We were talking earlier about anxiety, excitement. That’s an exertion of sorts. But you can have that same exertion, but have this joyful attitude. Like I can study my lines for the day because I’m anxious about it, or I can just have fun studying lines. This word joy—another one of the slogans is ‘Approach all situations with a joyful mind’—I find in my practice that joy is a big part of it. My parents were very joyful people. Whenever my father came onto a set to play a part, you got the sense that he really enjoyed being there, and this was going to be a good time. And everyone was just—[raises his arms] raised! When you relax like that, you’re not trying to force your thing onto the thing. You’re just diggin’ it. My mother was the same way. That’s what I aspire to.”
So there’s joy on the one hand—and you mentioned negative things as an opportunity to wake up. Is this playing out in your acting in True Grit?
[Long pause] It’s difficult to talk about the work, because it’s like a magician talking about how the trick is done.
How about your character, then, the drunken, overweight U.S. marshal who teams up with a 14-year-old girl to track down her father’s killer?
I don’t know if it has anything to do with the lojong thing, but most things do, in a weird way. A bunch of things are popping into my mind. [Pause] “True grit” means that you’re courageous. The habitual tendency when things get tough is that we protect ourselves, we get hard, we get rigid [makes a chopping gesture]—bapbapbapbap. But with this lojong idea, it’s completely topsy-turvy. When we want to get hard and stiff and adamant, that’s the time to soften and see how we might play or dance with the situation. Then everything is workable. In True Grit, my character—all the characters are that way.