Tuesday, July 3, 2012


“Out of college, money spent,

see no future, pay no rent,

all the money’s gone, nowhere to go…”

“But oh, that magic feeling…

nowhere to go.”


I came back to the family home like

Dustin Hoffman at the bottom of a swimming

pool.* Strangely, which shows what

little grip I had at the time, I asked my father for advice.

He said: “Cut your hair, buy a suit, get a job.”

So, I cut my hair, got a suit, put it on, and looked at

myself in the mirror. What I saw

in the mirror almost drove me insane on the spot. I took

off the suit. The next day, I took a bus to Madison,

Wisconsin to live with my girlfriend….

,,,part of (maybe the real) reason was I wanted

to work with Broom Street Theatre in Madison

as an actor. In the early 70’s, there were around 300

Small, independent theatres around the USA that

were performing their own original works. Now, there

is only Broom Street Theatre. I saw them do

Woytzek, and a Kafka play, ____. I was hooked.

Somehow, I just started rehearsing with them in

what was to become “Hot Wankel”, which the

Director, Joel Gersmann, referred to as “the end of

theatre”…it was a grotesque, arabesque,

Grotowskian theatre of the absurd, four hours long.

One reviewer said the intensity nearly drove him

out of the theatre. We rehearsed every day,

for four hours, for eight months. We toured to

Minneapolis, Osh Kosh, and Ann Arbor.

In two of those places, some professor took

us home to party after the performance.

One of them asked:” Don’t you people

ever stop acting?” “Huh?” I never had to act

after that play.

I realized that for me, at that time, it was

the end of theatre. I checked that off of

my list. The only other item on the list

was “Buddhism”.

I went to a doctor’s clinic…for some reason.

I must have gotten lost and gone

through a few wrong doors, because, on the

way to the clinic, I went through

a room of cadavers on tables in a blue light….

must have been an anatomy

classroom. While I was sitting in the waiting

room, two guys were conversing

rather loudly. One was talking about this

Tibetian Buddhist teacher that wore

suits and smoked and drank liquor when he

was giving talks. It was if some

one had pulled a trigger in my mind.

I knew I had to meet this person.

I convinced my girlfriend to move with me to

Boston, to be near this teacher’s

center. I didn’t level with her, but I didn’t know

what I could say that would make any sense.

After we were in Boston a while, we visited my teacher’s

center in Vermont. I stayed in Boston…she

left and became a doctor.

I had an interview with the teacher,

Chogyam Trungpa, and she didn’t. I’m

not sure why. When I met Rinpoche,

instantly I realized I’d found what I’d

been looking for my whole life….but

that discovery itself…though it was

the answer….seemed galaxies away.

He said: “Don’t work so hard.” I said,

with a chuckle: “Yes, I am working

pretty hard…” He chuckled. After a

big silence, I asked him: “Isn’t there an

easier way?” He smiled and shook

his head no. Then, I went and met my

meditation instructor. He said: “How

did it go?” I said: “I was in the worst

possible state of mind.” Then he says:
“Oh! That’s great!” Then, I cried, the

hardest I ever have in my life, for about

half an hour.

Well, at that point…..what would you do?

Everything else fell into place like a

planned accident that took place

over the next forty odd years. You want

pictures? I lost all the great ones.

*Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate"


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