Top 10 Spiritual Gurus in Hollywood
by Jessica Cabot
Uh, I don’t know if you noticed, but life can be hard. This whole “being a human being” business is often confusing and frustrating – full of all those stupid life lessons. Most of us crave purpose, understanding, fulfillment, connection… the list goes on, but the answers to those means are often elusive.
Thus, I think it totally makes sense that “spirituality” is the new atheism. At least spirituality offers a quest into what the hell we’re doing on this planet. What fun is meaninglessness when we can fall down the rabbit hole of our internal worlds and search for the truth – even knowing we might never actually find it?
Perhaps answers are not the point. It’s merely the journey for understanding, or whatever Gandhi or Albert Einstein said. Yeah, I bet it was one of those guys. And who cares if people think you’re kooky for buying into astrology a little bit. One of the things you learn in letting yourself be a little crazy is how not to give a shit what other people think.
Being a weirdo can set you free, and thus, here is my Top 10 list of Spiritual Gurus in Hollywood – people who encourage me to be my weirdest and keep searching for answers even though maybe all of this is just a dream in Keanu Reeves’ head or something.
1. Gary Busey
Spiritual Lesson: Gary Busey gets a bad rap in this town, and I guess I understand why. Possibly because people think he is batshit crazy. However, I happen to share the same birthday with this man and as such my super-power in life is the ability to decode Gary Buseyisms.
Gary Busey, for most who don’t know, is awesome and inspiring. The reason he’s so crazy? Not drugs, as some suspect. On December 4, 1988 he got in a motorcycle accident (okay, maybe he wasn’t wearing a helmet, bare with me) and was declared dead. Dead! Gary Busey died, technically, and definitely suffered some brain injuries, but if you ask him he’d say (and I quote), “One night at the hospital, I was sitting in bed and saw the Grim Reaper standing in the corner… he pointed to me and said, ‘Relax, it’s not your time to go. You have been given gifts. These gifts are ready to be received by mankind. So get on your feet and improve.’”
I don’t claim to fully understand the nature of death or life, but I wouldn’t put it past the realm of possibility that Gary Busey might be able to connect to a different level of consciousness than the rest of us after the trauma he experienced. The shame is that his gift (like most gifts) is also his curse. It makes him alienating and difficult for most to understand. However, I still think that if more people let go a little, had a little faith in Gary Busey, and listened closely – they might just find that he has something revelatory to say to us.
The Busey Foundation is an organization committed to funding research and testing for Kawasaki Disease, an illness in children that involves the inflammation of blood vessels that can be fatal without early treatment.
He’s a good soul. And just check out his Facebook fan page – he’s constantly posting little gems of insight from whatever dimension it is he’s connected to.
Spiritual Lesson: I wish RuPaul were my dad. He’s the Queen of Spiritual Matters, in addition to being the Supreme Queen of Drag. Most people don’t know it but he is the Oscar Wilde of our day, except even better than Oscar Wilde because instead of Oscar’s mom issues, RuPaul has a love, respect, and reverence for feminine power. RuPaul just gets life – he wants you to feel strong and beautiful, but he also wants you to let loose a little and fly your freak flag. Get goofy. We’re supposed to be having some fun while we’re doing all this “living life” stuff.
Please do yourself a favor and check out RuPaul quotes and this video:
3. Russell Brand
Spiritual Lesson: My homeboy Carl Jung once said, “No tree can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.” I’d argue that Russell Brand is such a tree. His roots are definitely in hell (uh, he did some drugs in the past then got sober), but the rest of him is so far above the rest of us that he can see “the Truth.” What is especially wonderful about Russell Brand is that he is aware and cognizant of the great gift he has been bestowed with in his life. He uses his celebrity and perspective in such a unique way – calling out all the bullshit, bringing attention to issues we should all be aware of, and making us laugh in the process.
Check it out: Russell Brand takes over the morning news and makes it his bitch.
4. Katy Perry
Spiritual Lesson: 13 year old girls and I totally get it. Katy Perry is awesome. Her whole persona and message is to love and be yourself no matter what people think. Except unlike the cliché aspect of those sentiments, Katy Perry is unique and quirky, and always reinventing herself. She’s also honest and vulnerable about herself in the hopes that others will relate and be inspired. If you listen to “Firework” you’ll immediately start to feel like if you survived middle school, you can survive anything.
You can watch her documentary on Netflix Instant and if you haven’t already I don’t know what you’re waiting for. You have no excuse!
Spiritual Lesson: Ke$ha in many ways feels like a grittier Katy Perry, but all of the color is still there. Ke$ha has dealt with bullies and naysayers, and her latest album, Warrior, has shown us that she has learned how to conquer these beasts. She admits in interviews that she went on a “spiritual journey” where she had a past life regression and realized all these other cool things about the nature of life. She’s into symbolism and the occult, but through her positive energy it all feels silly and fun. Just watch nearly any interview and enjoy uncovering the treasure trove of insights she has to offer. God, if only we could all be more like Ke$ha.
6. George Harrison
Spiritual Lesson: Though George is no longer with us, he really still is, and I think especially now as our world grapples for answers and peace in the midst of chaos. Thank God he took LSD and felt all connected to God, because his experience caused him to peer pressure the other Beatles to take drugs, thus opening one of the best chapters of their career. His post-Beatles work though is perhaps even more meaningful as he truly incorporated his spiritual knowledge into his music. If you listen to “Brainwashed” it’s basically the same thing as going to church.
Steal your friend’s mom’s hairdresser’s HBO GO password and watch the Martin Scorsese documentary…
7. Joan Rivers
Spiritual Lesson: Though Joan Rivers might not be overtly religious or spiritual, she’s a beacon of wisdom wrapped up in dirty humor and plastic (I had to. She would have done the same). Not only did she pave the way for female comedians by breaking barriers, but she sometimes made mistakes and then learned from them – coming out of her experiences with even more knowledge to give us. She knows the importance of hard work and perseverance, living as an example of what it means to count your blessings and sally forth. She also understands the true nature of creative work; it’s a “calling,” she says, not a race for fame, status, and power. I wish I could go on about how wonderful this woman is, but instead, just check it out.
And her documentary… Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work is on Netflix Instant so you have no excuse.
8. Fred Rogers
Spiritual Lesson: I’m getting teary-eyed just thinking about Mr. Rogers. Especially for my generation, he was one of the first nice guys we met – someone who thought we were special just the way we were. Talk about unconditional love. His show was so calm, positive, and whimsical. Plus we learned how crayons were made in a factory, which was pretty cool. Though it’s been a while since we all hung out in the neighborhood, I think now is still a great time to remember all the wonderful things we learned there.
9. Stephen Colbert
Spiritual Lesson: Stephen Colbert is my hero. I love him so much I don’t even know where to begin… he embodies kindness, hard work, but perhaps most importantly – he takes risks and speaks the truth in a world where secrecy and lies seem to dominate the atmosphere of our society. It’s thanks to him that more people are actually starting to watch… the news, and oh yes, he does deliver the news. He brings awareness and attention to important issues happening in our society, and as he once said himself, “comedy helps the medicine go down smoother.” He’s bold and fearless – always speaking up for the American people and delivering connection and hope to the masses when we are otherwise asked to live in fear.
For example, most recently Stephen called out all the shenanigans that is often prevalent in corporate culture by having a good time dancing anyway.
10. Bill Nye the Science Guy
Spiritual Lesson: One of the fun things for me about “spirituality” is that it isn’t all woo-woo bullshit with crystals and candles, although that can definitely be a fun part of it. Ever heard of quantum physics? A little string theory perhaps? Indeed, there seems to be a connection between science and spiritual matters in that good scientists admit that their work provides understanding to a few observations while opening up new cans of unanswerable worms. So again, I defer to childhood, a place where some smart adults cared about our futures and tried to teach us the ways of the world. Bill Nye was certainly one such smart adult – enlightening us about these mysteries of science. Today he is still in the world at large – warning us about global warming and reminding us about the importance of understanding the world we live in.