Transcendental Meditation

“Bad boy” Russell Brand on meditation: “It changes consciousness!”

The British stand-up comedian, actor and author Russell Brand is one of the most colorful celebrities practicing Transcendental Meditation.

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SOBER FOR THE LAST 14 YEARS: “Every year’s a landmark for me,” Brand says. “Every December 13, I remember waking up in my flat having been up all night on crack and heroin, missing my train and then fare-dodging and being picked up by the founder of drug and alcohol charity Focus 12, him giving me a cuddle and then going into treatment.”

Russell Brand has never shied away from a provocative yet honest comment about … well, anything, really.

Impulsiveness and a certain type of flamboyant self-destruction have been his trademark for years.

So, no wonder that his latest book, Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions, in which Russell Brand puts his own spin on the 12-step program is just as raw and uncensored.

“My qualification for writing this book is not that I am better than you, it’s that I am worse. I am an addict, addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, money, love and fame,” Brand says. So no preaching from a mountain top, but a candid view from the gutters.

Love and other drugs

14-years ago the now world-famous comedian hit a rock bottom. His addiction to heroin had cost him his jobs on TV and radio, his friends and girlfriends. Luckily, his then-manager and friend Chip Sommers told him without sugarcoating anything: carry on like this and in six months you’ll end up either in a prison, lunatic asylum or graveyard.

But for Russell Brand getting rid of drugs was like cutting off one of Hydra’s heads only to have two new ones grow in its place.

“The situation got out of hand when I was clean,” he recalls how his sex addiction became severe.

“Drugs then sex then caring too much about other people’s opinion of me. Drugs are just the obvious one. If someone is a crack addict or a heroin addict, they get into problems real quickly.

But if you’re obsessed with what other people think about you or you’re obsessed with social media, it consumes your life,” Russell Brand explains why the more “socially acceptable” forms of dependencies are just as harmful and more difficult to spot.

“If you don’t deal with the source, the condition will migrate and morph and attach to something else.”

Getting to the root of the problem

Recovery is an homage, a tribute to the 12-step program which helped Russell Brand tackle his pantheon of false gods one by one. As part of the journey, he had to dig deep within himself and reveal the muck he’d been trying to cover up.

Many skeletons were carried out of the closet: being abused as a child, body image issues, feeling abandoned by his father, blaming himself for and being angry over her mother’s battle with cancer.

He made peace with his past, forgave and asked for forgiveness. Most importantly, however, he learned through the exercises and practices how not to fall into the painful trap of self-centredness.

“Where I have found this program most rewarding and yet most challenging is in the way that it has unraveled my unquestioned faith that I was the center of the universe and that the purpose of my life was to fulfill my drives, or if that wasn’t possible, be miserable about it in colorful and creative ways,” he writes.

With the book, he hopes to convey that for him, none of the external solutions, whether fame, money or pornography worked. What got the job done was acknowledgement of his own flaws and weaknesses and to his own big surprise, spirituality.

WATCH VIDEO: Russell Brand talking about Transcendental Meditation, and the true meaning of spirituality:

Bob Roth Interviews Russell Brand on “Success Without Stress”

Meditation, “a shower for the brain”

One of the cornerstones of recovery for Russell Brand has been Transcendental Meditation (TM).

“It changes consciousness,” the comic muses about his daily session of TM, which he also describes as “a shower for the brain.”

“It’s really good if you’ve had addiction issues. It’s highly psychological, and very beautiful, and overwhelming, and real, and trippy!”

For him meditation is a non-negotiable part of his recovery: “Meditation is extremely important. If you neglect that part of your life, you are really giving up the thing that is perhaps the most important thing there is in the world,” he argues.

Through meditation he’s learned that he is not his thoughts, he is not his feelings. He can simply witness them.

“In that meditative space I’m relieve of the constant thinking, the constant fear, the anxiety of being alive and not feeling like I’m good enough, the ongoing terror of death that lurks like a specter…”

The practice allows him to rest from engaging in the world, its people and opinions: “I enjoy having a quiet space inside myself in which peace and serenity are not contingent on the behavior of others.”

“For me it is vital that twice a day for around half an hour, I am not totally immersed in the outside world, whether that’s my relationship with my girlfriend or my relationship with my phone. I have always lived in my mind. We all live in our minds and we have allowed them to become poorly tended. Meditation is a way of cultivating the environment in which I spend all my time,” Russell Brand explains.

Craving for the connection

Meditation also gives him for real what drugs only imitated – a sense of connection.

“In active addiction I am disconnected. That is one of the defining characteristics of this condition. I look to reconnect, to recalibrate by using drugs, alcohol, technology, sex, food, domination or some other external stimulant,” he writes in his book.

Step 11 of the recovery journey centers on prayer and meditation, to detach from external activity and seek a different kind of connection.

“When I fixate on the object of my addiction in any given moment, it is because I believe it will give me relief from disconnection. Even if it will ultimately make things worse, I will feel the connection.

This is why addicts relapse even though they have strong evidence that the action will not be successful. Once they are in the traumatized, cut-off state they revert to the only plan they know to ameliorate the feeling,” he lays out the mechanics of the addictive mind.

“Through humility this step bypasses our erroneous and illusory methods for temporary self-salvation and connects us to the truth we have always sought: we are, in fact, connected.”

TM is something which has worked for him; other people might find other ways and means to break the vicious cycle of blind stupidity.

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INSPIRED: Russell Brand meditating with David Lynch, the movie director who is offering free TM courses to those most in need.

Behind the diversity of facades, says Russell Brand, is hidden the same authentic message.

“The elegant simplicity of Lao-Tzu, or the charming voluptuousness of the Vedas, the passion of Catholicism, the potency of Islam — everyone is saying one and the same thing. “We are all one.”

“Don’t get confused by your own conflict, don’t get confused by your anatomical and biological drives,” he advises based on his own painful yet immensely insightful experience.

“Breathe. Take a look inside yourself. There’s an awareness behind your fear, there’s an awareness behind your desire.”

Step 12 – give back

For Russell Brand writing this book is part of Step 12: once you are further down the path, you can help those taking their first steps.

On top of popularizing the 12-step program through his book and TV appearances, there are other recovering addicts for whom he is available 24/7, whenever they have a difficult moment they need to talk through.

“It’s like I’ve been to a college of mental illness and now I’ve graduated,” he admits. “I want to help more people get into recovery. I want to help people become conscious of their addictions. I want to help people look at the world differently and pursue goals that are for their benefit and not to the benefit of other people.”

When it comes to Transcendental Meditation Russell Brand is generous both in his words and his actions and wants others to experience its life-changing impact.

For his last stand-up tour, “Messiah Complex”, the comedian sold limited number of VIP packages to benefit the David Lynch Foundation, a charity providing Transcendental Meditation classes to people in at-risk communities.

Each package included a meet-and-greet with Russell Brand, a personal photograph autographed by him, a copy of David Lynch’s documentary Meditation, Creativity, Peace, and Lynch’s book, Catching the Big Fish.

“I have become a better person through Transcendental Meditation, and I want to help bring this gift to others.”

We’re all in this together

Russell Brand has never prioritized making people comfortable over telling the truth as he sees it.

“What unhealthy habits and attachments are holding your life together? Are you unconsciously dependent on food? Bad relationships? A job that doesn’t fulfill you? Numb, constant perusal of your phone, looking for what?” he provokes his readers to examine their lives with brutal honesty.

“The reason you must tackle your addiction no matter how moderate it may seem or whether it be socially sanctioned is it will, in the end, fail you. Because the drive, the fuel, the impetus behind it is legitimate and its goals are legitimate: connection. In the end it will not settle for a simulacrum. It will be found out,” he writes.

“I know that drugs, sex, money, fame, other people, beautiful places, desirable things are all placebos, I’ve looked inside the capsules.”

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A SHARED PRACTICE: Though Russell Brand’s marriage to the pop celebrity Katy Perry ended in divorce, at least one thing still connects them. Encouraged by him, Perry also learned to meditate, and has been going strong ever since. Read more: Katy Perry on her daily meditation practice

“There’s a great deal of unaddressed pain, a lot of unconscious happiness that the world is dealing with. And it manifests on an individual level as addiction and attachment to anything.

We are trying to solve inner problems externally continually. In fact, consumerism depends on that idea,” he points to how in this day and age most of us are somewhere on the addiction scale.

But Russell Brand harbors hope, both for the individual and the world.

“I believe it’s possible for people to be happy. I believe it’s possible for people to be connected,” he sums up his mission.

“By personal change we can change the entire world,” he says with full conviction and then quips, just as Russell Brand would do: “I know it sounds deep, but it’s actually from Rocky 4!”

On the forefront of a spiritual revolution

Russell Brand is generous both in his words and his actions — he now wants others to experience the life-changing impact of meditation.

For his latest stand-up tour, “Messiah Complex”, Brand sold limited number of VIP packages to benefit the David Lynch Foundation, a charity providing Transcendental Meditation classes to people in at-risk communities.

Each package included a meet-and-greet with Brand, a personal photograph autographed by him, a copy of David Lynch’s documentary Meditation, Creativity, Peace, and Lynch’s book, Catching the Big Fish.

Brand says, “I have become a better person through Transcendental Meditation, and I want to help bring this gift to others.”

But he is far from being a sectarian in his approach.

TM is just something which has worked for him; other people might find other ways and means to break the vicious cycle of blind stupidity.

Behind the diversity of facades, says Brand, is hidden the same authentic message.

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RECOVERY: Freedom from Our Addictions. 288 pages. 2017. Sold on Amazon

“The elegant simplicity of Lao-Tzu, or the charming voluptuousness of the Vedas, the passion of Catholicism, the potency of Islam — everyone is saying one and the same thing. “We are all one.”

“Don’t get confused by your own conflict, don’t get confused by your anatomical and biological drives,” advises Brand from his own painful yet immensely insightful experience.

“Breathe. Take a look inside yourself. There’s an awareness behind your fear, there’s an awareness behind your desire.”

Sources:

“Russell Brand on recovery from addiction and his ‘villainous’ baby daughter,” Today.com

“Russell Brand Candidly Opens Up About His Heroin, Sex Addiction and His Marriage to Katy Perry,” US Magazine