Actor Spirituality - "No heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and eternity." - Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

So I've got this gig at the US Open, which is pretty cool.

I'm doing brand ambassador work there, which is a pretty sweet gig. But for the company I'm helping to promote, there are two groups doing the work that needs to get done. There's the marketing agency through which I got this gig. And then there's this group called Team Challenge. They're all lovely, sweet human beings, and it wasn't until a few days into working there that I found out that everyone from Team Challenge works 12-15 hour shifts, and they do it on a volunteer basis. And there's an excellent reason for it: They're all ex felons and drug addicts, and this is part of their rehab.

And I think that's incredible. Everyone who is going through that program is caring and wonderful and really wants to make their lives better. They tell people about the group when they can, and they always emphasize how it saved their lives.

There's just one thing about them that threw me when I first found out about it. It's a Christian program. Which is, like, whatever, people can have whatever religion they want. And especially for a rehab program which needs the faith in a higher power thing, Christianity is a pretty obvious way to go, especially in America. So, you know, cool.

But it got me thinking about my own religion and spirituality. And I kind of have two. One is my Judaism. I come from a religiously-agnostic-bordering-on-atheist-but-culturally-Jewish family, and I mostly go along with that? Kind of? But I also take it one step further. Because I also have what I call the "actors religion" or "actor spirituality."

It's the belief in some kind of higher power that helps guide us all, but no one really knows what it is. It's just the belief that there is something to the universe that is greater than we are. And maybe it's the collection of all of our spirits, or maybe it's just the energy of the universe, or maybe it's something else entirely.

If you've ever read books written by Paulo Coelho, particularly The Alchemist, you understand what it is I'm talking about.

It also feels a little weird to have that kind of spirituality here in New York. LA actors are famous for it, for believing that "if it's meant to be, it will come to pass" and when someone gets their break then it was "their time" and everyone else around them will have their own time soon if they just keep working hard and believing in it. In New York, the exact same events are described as "dumb luck."

It also feels weird because I also 100% believe in science. I take the scientific explanations for things as fact, fully understanding that these explanations can change as we discover stuff in the world around us... but also knowing that the things we accept as true today come from logic and evidence.

But I still have that religious/spiritual side to me. It's comforting to believe that I'm not going through life alone. That I'm connected to other people and/or the universe around me. It's also nice because it doesn't have that many hard and fast rules beyond "don't be an asshole," which has fit in very nicely with my belief that, if there is a god, he/she/it/they won't stop me from going to heaven just because I chose to do things with my life and enjoy the world he/she/it/they created instead of going to to a building and praying to him/her/it/them once a week.

Such a lack of structure probably wouldn't work for someone in rehab. And for people who do need or even just like organized religion, then that's totally fine and great. Organized religion has done some incredible things throughout human history.

But I just wanted to bring up the idea of the actor's spirituality. Because I think that unorganized religion is kind of cool, too.