Meditating on the Wild Side
Rock icon Lou Reed on his new meditation album, doing tai chi, and the greatest thing he's ever done.
BY: Interview by Valerie Reiss
Oh, that's really good. The activity is way up there, but it's also--the better your speakers, the better you can experience it. There's some really wonderful things happening in the bass area, the bottom, that you should physically feel if you have speakers that can carry it. That high end thing, that was enormous fun to play.
It was just fun to play. I'm a musician. It was fun to play.
That was using a Moog Analog Voyager. So, it's a real sound. It's not a sampled sound. It's actually created in the contemporary instrument. Very, very brilliant, smart instrument, to say the least. So smart. I think every musician in the world should have one of those. Share the knowledge.
And I don't know if you're comfortable talking about it, but I'd be curious to know what kind of meditation you practice.
My original meditation was taken from an herbalist acupuncturist named Dr. Shelly Peng. The other one I do is with my teacher, Mingyur Rinpoche. And he's got a book out now called "The Joy of Living." And he's a great teacher.
And is it kind of a breath focused meditation? Are you--is it a mantric or--?
Okay. And how often do you do it?
I do it every chance I get. I do it in the subway. I do it walking. I do it whenever I remember to do it.
And what do you think--why do you think maybe more people should be practicing meditation?
I'm not given to advising anybody to do anything, actually. So.
|Music to Enrich Experience|
I'm not the one to talk to that. I just put some music together for those who want to, to hopefully enrich the experience of doing any one of a couple of things--body disciplines, meditation, body work, different kinds of exercises.
Does it have a different effect, depending on the activity that you're doing with it?
Stabilizing. Strengthen your foundation. Energy.
And it seems like you have an overall approach to wellness. Are there other things that you do to keep yourself centered and grounded and clear?
Well, I'll tell you, you know, quitting cigarettes was a bitch. That's about the greatest thing I've done.
When did you do that?
A little over a year ago.
And what changed?
I would imagine, especially for meditation and tai chi, it's just so focused on breath that--.
Well, you know, up to a certain point, your body can take some of that. But, past a certain point, at least for me, it couldn't. And it was pretty contradictory to do breath-oriented things and smoke.
Like the people standing outside of yoga class with their mats and a cigarette?
Well, you know, if you're young and can do it, knock yourself out, you know. But, at a certain point, things change.
And speaking of that change, when you started doing tai chi, how did that change you?
|Tai Chi, Two Hours a Day|
Mentally and physically stronger. It physically changes your body and your energy and builds you up. People think I lift weights, but I don't. It's purely from doing Chen Tai Chi with Ren Guang Yi. I do two hours a day every day.
And do you really notice the shift in your--
Big time. I've been doing it for 25 years, so I'm not new to it. If I miss a practice, my body starts to hurt. It used to be the other way around.
And have you noticed a strengthening in your spiritual connection or your relationship to whatever--is out there?
|'I Would Never Advise Anybody'|
I'm not a great one to talk to people about spiritual relationships. I'm just talking about the physical body, mental strength. Spirituality is the domain of other people far more knowledgeable than me. I would never advise anybody about anything. This is just something I put together that helps me. And with any kind of luck, maybe it'll contribute to other people.
How you relate to New York as a meditative place?
|'New York Is a Great Place to Meditate'|
Well, New York is an island. It's a center of energy. It should be a great place to meditate in if you have some good music like mine to put all those ambient sounds into one cohesive whole. Okay?