Why was your mother so into Jesus?

Because she felt he was an extraordinary man. She didn't believe, of course, that he was the son of God. But she believed that he was one of the great humans, superhumans, on the planet.

That was a long time ago to have been Jewish and to believe that.

I know. My mother was the kind of person who was very much part of her tribe and very much a satellite of her tribe. She was the girl who left her family at the age of 17 and went to Washington. My mother was orphaned at three and then was brought up by my aunt Goldie. So, yes she belonged, but there was a part of her that didn't.

How do you incorporate Judaism and Christianity in your spiritual practice?

I've been practicing modalities of Eastern philosophy since about 1972. What I've learned through my meditation is a sense of equanimity, a sense of all things being equal. Then I went to Israel--and when I went to Israel, I had a very, very strong epiphany. Every now and then, I will light a candle; I will light candles for my mother on the High Holidays and my father and my relatives. I haven't been to the synagogue, at least not recently.

Listen   Goldie on
And when I went to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, I started to look at their society, I started to look at their people, I started to look at the ways in which they lived and what mattered to them as a society, as a people, what is their natural inclination in building a good society. Mothers and grandmothers took care of the preschoolers and created afterschool programs, where children can go after school to get them off the streets. These were incredible nurturing qualities, right down to making sure they had hot food. I looked at this and I finally realized, "Oh my God, now I see myself. Now I know why I sit and I watch my children eat and I'm sitting over them, watching them eat and wanting them to be happy because I'm feeding them." That's when I realized that was my DNA.

I integrate that knowledge into my spiritual practice. But who you are has not much to do with what you are becoming, because the qualities you bring to any faith--whether it's honed by family, religion, or lack of religion whatever it is--you bring it to wherever you're going. The idea of faith itself, that you believe or you don't believe in certain things, will continue no matter what faith you are in. You will learn to question all. So do I bring it to my practice? No, I don't bring Judaism necessarily into my Buddhist thought, because all that I have been is there already.

Is that the same for the Christian half of you?

Yes. The interesting part of my spiritual life is studying as much as you can. Islam and Buddhism and Hinduism and Shamanism and Judaism, Christianity--you try to learn what the precepts are, what the religion is, and ultimately, it's based in the same thought, it's based in the same outcome, you know.

(Whispers) It just has a different façade.

We go into religion in order to feel warmer in our hearts, more connected to others, more connected to something greater and to have a sense of peace. I think all religions try to do that, but they corrupt themselves. I like Buddhist thought because it breaks that down; it teaches you how to view your thoughts rather than be your thoughts. We live in this crazy world, full of jobs, and we have to be there, be-be-be--it's a very demanding, taxing world. The result of meditating is watching your thoughts, detachment from your own precepts of what is right and wrong, things that frustrate you, that you can't grasp and want to grasp onto.

How do you manage to stop grasping, especially in Hollywood?

Well, you don't detach. But your mind has the capability of detaching. Those are two different things.

Listen   Goldie on detachment
You find yourself attached to your own image; and you find yourself attached to other people's images. The trick is to become aware of these attachments and to become aware of the impermanence of them. The view of yourself is ever-changing because you're growing older, your body is changing, your face is changing, everything is changing-but you have a tendency, or want to have a tendency, to grasp onto youth, to grasp onto the ability to always look beautiful. And so the way to do it is to to release yourself from that because its outcomes are very damaging. So if in fact I see an ugly picture of myself, which I've seen many-

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