(Video link here.) How did we miss this surprising clip of Charlie Rose asking Bill Murray: “Tell us what it is that you want that you don’t have?” His answer in the first two minutes are truly wonderful, as he talks about “being really HERE“.

When Rose asks “What’s necessary for you to get there?”, it get’s really interesting. Murray talks about how “it’s all contained in your body“. As the camera pulls away at 2:45 to briefly show both men sitting across from each other, we see how NOT HERE Rose is, awkwardly scratching his ear as his foot moves up and down unwittingly (which, by the way, is common for many tv presenters).  Watch the whole interview here.

Murray’s wish is one that many people mull. When we try it, we find it curiously difficult to do, but a worthy practice: our connections to people and events become stronger, and our memory of those times-of-presence more acute.

The Guardian
The Guardian

From all we’ve heard, Murray IS serious in the wish he expressed to Rose, and has a number of personal practices. When asked “How does it really feel to be Bill Murray?” by an interviewer at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, Murray led an impromptu guided meditation, and made the question one we can all use to ground ourselves:

You can listen to it hear and/or read along:

Let’s all ask ourselves that question right now: What does it feel like to be you? What does it feel like to be you? Yeah. It feels good to be you, doesn’t it? It feels good, because there’s one thing that you are — you’re the only one that’s you, right?

So you’re the only one that’s you, and we get confused sometimes — or I do, I think everyone does — you try to compete. You think, damn it, someone else is trying to be me. Someone else is trying to be me. But I don’t have to armor myself against those people; I don’t have to armor myself against that idea if I can really just relax and feel content in this way and this regard.

If I can just feel… Just think now: How much do you weigh? This is a thing I like to do with myself when I get lost and I get feeling funny. How much do you weigh? Think about how much each person here weighs and try to feel that weight in your seat right now, in your bottom right now. Parts in your feet and parts in your bum. Just try to feel your own weight, in your own seat, in your own feet. Okay? So if you can feel that weight in your body, if you can come back into the most personal identification, a very personal identification, which is: I am. This is me now. Here I am, right now. This is me now. Then you don’t feel like you have to leave, and be over there, or look over there. You don’t feel like you have to rush off and be somewhere. There’s just a wonderful sense of well-being that begins to circulate up and down, from your top to your bottom. Up and down from your top to your spine. And you feel something that makes you almost want to smile, that makes you want to feel good, that makes you want to feel like you could embrace yourself.

So, what’s it like to be me? You can ask yourself, “What’s it like to be me?” You know, the only way we’ll ever know what it’s like to be you is if you work your best at being you as often as you can, and keep reminding yourself: That’s where home is.

And while you’re thinking about presence, check out Murray making an entrance on the Letterman Show (Video link here.)

via Open Culture

Thanks Holton!

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5 replies on “Bill Murray’s Surprising Wish + Meditation

  1. Do not criticize Charlie Rose!!! He is the one who brings these wonderful interviews to us.

    He is a great thinker, a great analytic mind and a beautiful heart.

    If Bill Murray is in the Meditation/Here place presently, it’s because he was lost in his life, burned out in

    an acting career where he played someone else and postured for laughs, etc.

    Some people reach integration early in life, Some people are naturally centered. Bill Murray is not a

    hero because he is doing mediation and says something like “being Here” in his 60s.

    Charlie Rose is a gift to our lives.

  2. One of the images of Murray I almost posted was this image Variety did in league with him as “Saint Bill” in which he mocks the perception of himself as a saint.

    Charlie is indeed a gift, though not without major flaws in my book, like everyone else. He puts himself out there daily allowing his flaws and weaknesses to be readily observed which takes serious courage! I also don’t underestimate the pressure he must be under to do what he does. What I wrote about Charlie was a comment not a criticism, an interesting view of two people relating, and of the difficulty of what Murray is talking about: being present.

  3. Wow, Sally, thank you for this clip. Because you recommended it, I watched, although typically I would not if Charlie Rose was the interviewer (it’s not just CR, most interviewers are shite). The man simply cannot keep his mouth shut to let his guests talk! He frustrates me beyond belief! Why have them on if you are going to put words in their mouths or finish their sentences for them or cut them off right when they are getting interesting? Argh! Thankfully, in this magnificent clip of Bill Murray, CR actually does let the man talk. And look what happens? Something interesting, and worth being passed around!

    Ironically, what Murray describes as wanting is the essence of his character’s arc in the film Groundhog Day (one of my all-time favorite films).

    FFIW, I can’t possibly see the value in criticizing Bill Murray for making his way on the path and working to become more present, regardless of his stage in life. Every moment any person is mindful is a moment in which the world becomes a slightly better place.

  4. Truth-be-told I find Charlie Rose too often takes over the conversation and doesn’t let his guests speak. I’ve also seen him appear to be completely out-of-it i.e. a drink too many. That said, when he’s on his game, or the right guest is handling him, true nuggets can appear, like this one with Murray.

    My fiance was friends with Murray back in the Gilda Radner days of Saturday Night Live and found him to be a rare true soul. For sure, he’s found a path because he needed too. And you are so right about Groundhog Day, which is a fabulously funny, DEEP film.

  5. Sally, thanks for that little tidbit about Bill Murray being “a rare true soul” – I love that description and it heartens me to know he’s genuine. I certainly felt he came across that way in your wonderful clip (which I’ve now sent on to many others).

    Yes, Groundhog Day is funny, wonderful and deep, no doubt about it. It often appears on lists of “Buddhist films.”

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