Last year Anthony Meindl, Hollywood’s #1 acting coach wrote the inspiring guest post, “Where Does Art Come From?”
A multitalented, creative person, Anthony is also the author of the new book, “Alphabet Soup For Grown-Ups: 26 Ways Not To Worry.”
…and he is my youngest son’s acting coach!
Recently, I was able to ask Tony two questions…
What inspired you to write the book?
I think we’re really experiencing this amazing Renaissance in understanding spirituality and creativity in scientific terms. A lot of that has to do with the technological advances in neuroscience that show what our brains are doing when they’re engaged in creative acts and also which parts of the brain are activated during meditation. They are very similar findings.
We can all learn how to be more creative, emotionally expressive and joyful. We can all experience less stress and quiet the mind-numbing chatter that our left-brains create. This is science and it’s a spiritual practice. My work has always been about bridging the gap between the two and giving people accessibility to these parts of themselves that already exist. Oftentimes we aren’t aware of it.
The book came out of that desire to provide a funny, succinct, and hopefully useful set of practical tools for the average person who wants to change their life for the better, without feeling like they’re reading a how-to college textbook or a spirituality book that makes them feel badly about themselves because they aren’t yet living like a saint.
America seems to be in a “Great Spiritual Awakening”. Do you think that’s true? And if you agree, what do you think is driving it?
I think one of the exciting aspects of technology (and science) is that we can get information to so many more people so much more quickly now and this kind of global prevalence and awareness leads to new movements. So I think on one hand, there have probably been amazing spiritual awakenings throughout history (I mean it’s all relative to the time one is living in), but the ability to spread the message and awaken people at such a huge level has never been achieved before.
I mean the Buddha walked from town to town spreading his message. On foot. Can you imagine? And he still reached so many people and touched so many people’s lives. Great teachings will find their way no matter what. Like seeds, they’ll be dispersed and fertilized and grow. For sure. But the internet certainly beats walking from town to town any day.
I do think also that the U.S. has always been about freedom and expansion and forward-thinking and has possessed an innate adventure-some spirit. I think it’s sort of hard-wired in us as a people, to seek something new. It’s kind of in our bones. Something not yet explored. I think there’s always been an openness to examine new ways of thinking and because of that America has created a fertile ground for people to move beyond rigid constructs and established doctrine to create new movements.
“…it’s never been easier to share creative works with other people.” ~Anthony Meindl
But, also I find this interesting contradiction in the American lifestyle which in itself has perhaps contributed to a very serious discussion about – and exploration of – spirituality. That is, for many segments of American society, people have experienced prosperity, safety, luxury, material abundance – the middle-class American Dream. And for many of these people, they have discovered that having it “all” is still not enough – and is also perhaps a myth they’ve been sold, to begin with.
Our own material success has simultaneously led to our own disillusionment with the material, realizing that “things” are not the source of joy we were taught to believe. Suffering creates seeking. It forces us to dig and search for meaning and understanding in areas of our lives that have been left unexamined. If you’ve always had material riches you don’t realize that there’s an inherent unsustainability in that whole dynamic. Or eventually you do, because the bottom always drops out.
From a media standpoint, our culture is built on the advertising machine that says we have to have all these things it’s trying to sell us in order to be happy, or fulfilled, or hot, or successful. Well what happens when you have all that and you’re still miserable and in pain and not really much fun to be around? So I think for a lot of Americans, the spiritual search has come out of their deep desire to connect to something that has more meaning than a Starbucks latte made exactly-to-order – and that’s through creativity, and it’s never been easier to share creative works with other people.
Guest author: Anthony Meindl is an award-winning teacher/actor/director/writer/producer. As Artistic Director of Anthony Meindl’s Actor Workshop (AMAW – voted best acting school in Los Angeles by Backstage Magazine) – where the ‘right brain rules’ – he is endlessly inspired by his student’s fearless creativity.
* Thanks for visiting! You can see my art on my website, LoriMcNee.com, and let’s meet on Facebook Fine Art Tips Facebook Fan Page, on Twitter, Google Plus and on Pinterest. Be sure and check out and my fine art prints and notecards on Fine Art America.! ~Lori