Acting Without Awareness Pt. 1

December 27, 2021

 - By Kyle Secor

A young actor asked me about something they read online which encourages actors to cultivate awareness so they can sense when they are falling into old habits. The article said that by having this awareness, change would follow; that the actor and their acting, would get better.

Doesn’t everyone need more awareness, mindfulness or change?                                                                                                The me jumps all over that and says, ‘Hell yes, I need more awareness. My bad habits suck. I’d like to stop doing them.” 

We could go down a rabbits hole asking who’s the one who thinks they need more awareness. 

But it’s just a story. A story that imagines there are bad habits, better acting and something called awareness. We hear it so often, that we take it for unquestioned truth.

But, what if that story was unreal, you know, complete bullshit?

Let’s say that there’s a controlling me.

(Yep, I’m with you)

However, this me is an illusion, maybe the best illusion ever.

(Wait-what? Gulp, I mean, whatever, go on). 

It seems to be firmly in place. Not at all unexamined, or undissected - apparently, the illusory me has sought out different therapies, or meditations to calm the fuck down or get to the core of what it is, often in service to a character or script. The me, wants to examine the me, in order to discover there is no me AND be around to talk about it. There are apparently varying results from this kind of joy ride - but only ever for the me.

But, being an illusion, that whole set-up that anyone could ever change a ‘bad habit’ or become a better actor through ‘awareness’…dissolves.

Why? When the me/actor illusion is recognized, that whole seeking energy of "whats the next thing I can do to get better?" crumbles. What’s left is complete freedom. Seeking, or acting may still apparently happen, there’s nothing right or wrong at all. But, if it appears, it’ll be just what’s happening; unconditional freedom, which is whole, wild and complete just as it is.                                                                                      

That includes everything: acting and old habits, Meyer lemons and dirty cereal bowls, the sacred, the profane and the mundane. Everything.  

It's a mystery. No amount of instruction or teaching can grasp this mystery, or lead to something called ‘better acting’.  

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