« Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

#14: RuPaul

When he was 28 years old, RuPaul Andre Charles found himself broke and living on his little sister's couch in Los Angeles. "It was a really, really, really dark, dark period for me." That’s when RuPaul, now the world's most famous drag queen, started his meditation practice.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Before we start it. This is your first time listening to the ten percent happier podcast a welcome and be if you like the showed do me a favor, take a second and subscribe rate. The pod asked- and if you really want to hook me up Tellson friends about how they too can find us now, here's the show It is then Harris I am a fidgety skeptical news. Man who had a panic attack live on good morning, America, that led me to something I always thought was ridiculous meditation. I a book about it called ten percent happier started in F, and now I'm launching this podcast to try to figure out whether there is anything beyond ten percent. Basically here's one of obsessed: can you be an ambitious person and still strive for enlightenment, whatever that means when I learned that my next guest wasn't meditate her, I was surprised in a very, very pleasant way. It rupaul
Equally, the world's most famous drag we ve been a household names, is the nineteen nineties and as I've discovered in researching him and reading his eye, autobiography reading his interviews and watching his reality, competition show, which errs on logo and is called repulsed rag race is extremely thoughtful person about the mind and for lack of a better word spirituality, so group operating meet you take my pleasure my pleasure. As listeners. You may notice a lot of background noise s because we're in Rupaul pop up shop in a mall in LOS Angeles, which is filled with Rupaul Chow. but which is delicious and a lot of his orders. Brown, gowns and t shirts Et Cetera, suggested, guess you're wondering about the background knows: that's why that is here. Is the question ask everybody first when and how, and why did you start meditated?
I understood at a very early age that this round that we see with our eyes and we see on television, isn't the only one. I learn that early on and we talked earlier about this. I was about fourteen, usually things these these happenings in life habits. Seven! Fourteen! twenty one, twenty eight, which is a huge one and then so and so forth, but about fourteen was a real breakthrough. For me, I understood that this was an all. There was, and I wanted to understand what that was my first, where Which drove me into hallucinogenic is finding that about. Ok, I gotta tell ya you taken ass, yeahs yeah fourteen, yes, really! No, no! No! No, not that not every actually! Twenty one is when I started to Isaac. Fourteen started doing you know pills and in smoking we essentially smoking when I was ten years old. Where are your parents of good
good question: where are they actually, my mother, my Father mother, Father split up with seven and my mother sort of state in a room for about two years silver two years she was just in her own place, eyes and we'd. Never speak didn't see her. She was doing her. These use heartbroken side. We were left to ourselves my sisters and I am but now I was that's where I first that's where I first went to win it sort of entry level into other realms is through you know, ST drugs What do you mean by other round other realms This table, where were leaning on, looks like it's solid, but it's actually not its energy vibrating at a high rate. If you got it physics level, sure sure, but you know, but just because
Your eyes, monoplane a plane takes off into the horizon, looks like the planes getting smaller and smaller is plain getting smaller. No, no just from where you're standing so understood. That, from the perspective I had at fourteen was limited, I understood that and so that was my first introduction into saying there are other round your pretty deep fourteen year old I've been ass, play video games and and and trying to get girls to kiss me a fourteen. Well, you know I think that you know if you ve been through a lot of trauma. If you, your heart, broken by the world, and you understand that the world is a hoax, an illusion you you have to seek some you become a secret and you, You are looking for something in that's that's what I found and you honestly you'll have to look far to find them information. It's not that it's not that, far beyond our comprehension, even at fourteen. What are they?
when you take my trauma, you Talkin about the actual he's divorce, your parents or being a gay kid in a world that was not as accepting as the world is now to all of the above. The under the gate thing is probably the smallest part of that equation. It was the Parents- and it was also the world I actually gave the keynote ex address at drag con MIKE convention that judges, but this past weekend and I talked about mother's day- and I talked about my mother and how She really died of a broken heart, not my my father. didn't break the world broker heart. She was a sweet, sensitive soul who, who, at five, she told me she said, drew don't take life to G Dese seriously anxious at rule? You are too sensitive it we many years to understand that she was trying to protect me from her own
The story line she didn't want me to be broken hearted by the world. The way she had. I talked about that in the in the keynote speech, but. the biggest hurdle I had to overcome at that age was understanding. At the world was hip critical, Minos, a little boy I was I I didn't really fit in, and nothing new, but I smart enough to figure out what what it would take for me to fit, and so I studied our society study. What everyone in doing so. I can figure out how to make it work. Why studied it and that the information I got back from my findings was that it is be it's all illusion its hypocritical, it doesn't have there isn't a standard, it all superficial, so no thank you MA am. I want nothing to do with your fitting in so I found the place for myself outside of society and
Well, I remember watching Monty Python on PBS in San Diego and I thought there's my tribe yet be irreverence? The people who are making fun of of identity just drag their outage AG. They make fun of their making fun of the Bible. They're making fun of religion they make of everything that I knew from it moment that was my that's where I belong to see you, you realized early on and then had it reinforced through as academics that there's more to the world amidst the I knew at what point did you start formally meditating? I believe the ice formerly meditating. Twenty eight there goes the seventh again. It was a really really really dark dark period for me, dark I was twenty eight didn't, have a dime, pre, fame, whirling audio about Rupaul. At this point that I had you know, I have had some local fame in Atlanta and I had moved up to New York earlier
the year before that and couldn't get arrested. I couldn't thing was happening so. after a series of horrible events. I wound up out here, in LOS Angeles, sleeping on my sister's couch, my baby sisters couch at twenty eight years old and it was horrible. So coming out of that. That's when the the meditation started. That's when I attempted to to take. I really didn't get any good at it and tell probably maybe seventeen years ago, seventeen years ago. I could. I could get a government Adam attitude in the morning in my more Where can I get a very early get a bit clock in the morning? I get up a stretch. Fifty five years old, I gotta stretch your great thank you. I pray and that religious, I'm sick, and that religious. But I will
because the act of Prayer De Constructs and over runs the system of my ego, the active bowing down an end physically acknowledging that there's something other than me and my ego immediately goes away. So I pray then I meditated so my The meditation is. Years ago someone tell me that if you imagine or river that's flowing water by and those are your thoughts and that you, the real you eternal you is actually sitting on the bank. Watching the river go by and that You have no judgment on those thoughts. You allow them. Let him come and go, but you the awareness of your thoughts. You are not your thoughts, so you can let your thoughts happen. Just the real you is the awareness and that's where that's
that was a major breakthrough for me with meditation and floating in that place, where you can lead go any judgment of. What you're thinking is. ouch my God is such a sanctuary, but can you Actually, Let us imagine meditating only for seven years, but I have a lot of trouble in getting to that. Place man you're describing mindfulness, which is the ability to step out of the stream of our thoughts in view with some non judgmental removed. But for me, as a crazy person I get up in those not at nine votes by the river and I'm off with it sure not get lost in there were no. Sometimes you it'll catch me and I'll get it, but I just bring myself back caught in it, it's That, in that's fine as completely fine- and you have you- normal meditation instruction or because you seem to love,
leave it at that of yet formal monetary note not formally. No. I have a meditation group that I go to at six thirty in the morning. five days a week! So prayer and meditation in your life on a daily basis is remarkable to me. Having had my having been lucky, I haven't been lucky enough to have some alot of formal asian training you you're like your spot on, even without it what you described as just trying to rest in an area that doesn't get caught up in the thoughts you get caught up, Easter again. That is textbook Buddhist. Invitation, and yet you you just didn't. It seemed to be the kind of came to it on your well. I didn't come to it on my own, you know I've always been seeker and I have always read books. Even when I was a kid I would read in the seventies are always self help, books and so from California, gems and Diego. So there's is this:
macular that I grew up with and any sort of all roads lead to two. These self help books which always the sort of people hit, on those those elements, so Finding eckart toll lay years ago really really the five my practice really under good, what it meant and it it got me so assiduously you bring it back our television, I read. A cartel? He was really the start for me of a finding meditation too, and I stumbled upon him two thousand ain't, no one in interviewed him in, but here is beef with. Am I gonna make fun of me a little bit of my book, which is that and this is not my quote exactly but a friend of mine has described him- is correct about the human situation, but not useful in that he doesn't really give you a lot of practical advice for taming the voice in the head or that you know, but
So that's my problem with him, haven't you be seems, like you haven't run into that rough because they did. The solution is this: you allow that voice their voices and oil by the way the voice is always there. It's like the in this world. We live in their seeing in Yang black and white male female there. These duality is so that voice that that sort of devil on one children angel. On the other you that did they try to the completion of the triad, the consciousness, the consciousness of those two elements, you will you allow them to still be exist, but you don't act on them. You know that voice, my their voice in my head. It comes up all the time I say you, I say their voices. It thanks for sharing. Thanks for sharing keep coming back. What is the difference it's made in your life, the difference is I'm able to live It will become myself unable to not react so drastically to at the elements that pop up in life-
traffic, I'm still not so good with traffic. That's where the devil on. My shoulder really does come up, but what I do is I avoid traffic is my solution to that. But that's that's what it's done for me in. The bigger the bigger one is that in that place, when I find that play where I am. The awareness of my thoughts. somehow some divinity- I don't know what it is. I don't need a name for it. Some divinity some clarity comes through. In fact, I can feel my whole body aligning. I can feel my body able to repair itself because the blockage of my thoughts or might pastor my, but I think my futures gonna, Be- doesn't exist in this place and I can feel my body sort of healing itself repair. itself being at peace because it doesn't have that blockage. I could be wrong, but that's what That's what I feel like that's what that's what it's done for me. I think that's awesome,
You know one of the we talked about this a lot of it before we start rolling, but It was some embarrassment that before doing my research on you, I really you know we all have cultural blind spots. I think self, is reasonably culturally literate bit, but Dr World is something that I basically knew nothing about. A certainly know who you are but I didn't really know anything about the culture and reading. but you I realize actually there's a for lack of a better word, a major speed virtual component to the war the dragon. I want to read you up a quote from you because, I realize until I read your now. sadly, out of print autobiography Leonard I'll hang out is that there is renewed it that it is an inner exploration. You say here, I'm quoting: I want to present a whole incomplete picture, the yen, the Yang, the black, the white, the boy girl, the saying the insane, because we are all every man arraigned
of different roles and different people. Exploring the college and myself and in others is my life's passion. There is no such thing as normality. Each and every one of us, if we dare to be whole, is a gorgeous peacock. I love I've I on GM rather than twenty years, but That's exactly right: I love that that's exactly right and to you you think of drag as you are. A: u you I'll written more puts about this, but you are really getting at the mystery of identity. Yeah absolutely again when I was fourteen and I realized tat, it was all a hoax. Then allow me that revelation allowed me to have fun an end. You know the lesson I got from from people who was that life is have be taken tears and that gave me the good life to just have fun play with all the colors. There are no rules and you will be unchanged after this body is gone. Who you really are
unchanged, you know it's it's like oh that movie, what was it is at the heart of sorts? Inga movie, where they, the alien, comes a predator waiter, comes into any has five of enforcing the predators, killing people we are like that would come to this planet to experience what it's like to be a human on earth. Of course, it's once we get here all these other people say. Well, you gotta! Do this! you ve got it all you gotta do have you got to join this club? You gotta be this. I understood all of those rules as a hoax as allusion as something that I don't have to pay attention Do I freed myself that which allowed to go and play with all the colors. You know huge even as a kid I all kids playing they do dragging car hello cars do others No no restrictions, but unfortunately, if you choose that life there's no
other people who do that. Not a lot of people have heard spur to do to live from their heart too express themselves straight from their their desires. You know this Ruby turns into their parents? Eventually, you know, I don't think I am not my parents, s for sure. I do as somebody who is deeply interested in issues of figuring out what this. My, Body really is. Do you think I am missing out and something because I have never done and probably will never do drag, I think so there are aspects of your personality that you don't even know about and tell you get into drag I've seen straight men get into drag and its, see what they turn into whether there you know the cowboy
the coin queen or that the sexy slack queen or the you know the comedy queen or that the heckler, but what's interesting about that, is its like it. It's like tar playing only one note or in a car, that's got a gorgeous beautiful, the eight engine that only go around the neighborhood you have to explore. Or this life you owe it to this gift. looking at you, you're good you sure got a sexy low body there and you got good teeth and good hair. go go, go out there, you better drive a car I doubt it by heart before you, why don't you you know? So
There- are fundamental aspects of the human experience that I'm missing out on by not exploring all the colors of the rainbow. Absolutely me is your argument and which interesting to me about that is big part, because I feel myself constricting around the idea dressing up and running. I didn't I I don't want to do it, but a big part of, and I would call myself a Buddhist but not a religious one, part of Buddhism, is letting go, and I would have seems to me in my brief ex exploration of your world, that a huge part of drag is letting go. Lastly, because an I'm not different from a lot of it It's you come up. An unreal pause, drag re sort. Kids, you aren't on the show who, society is said, we don't want you once that happens. Then these PETE people able to explore other avenues and make a place for themselves, and they come to this discovery on their own because they ve been cast out. You know, so. You know,
I think it's it's so important to do its utmost a gift, it was it. It was a blessing for me to be cast out of. society and we know either since sense, though most people like yourself, don't do it because you're afraid of what other people would think, Azure sure- and you know when you care what other people think of you that freeze you so much because being that kid who was so beside by society. If they don't care about Me I'll have to care about what they think of me and so on. you do whatever I want, and you know if you're If you're afraid of what your mother, your rabbi or Europe, the people in the neighbourhood are going to say about you, you won't do it, This may be worth nothing just cause, it's my opinion, but I will say just having spent the past hour in Europe you seem pretty free, Ike, more free. I am pretty free
I could be more free. You know. I am not that, for you know in my with this man for twenty two years, but when I was young when I was in the car. hanging out. I was people still scared me, on an intimate level, because being that intimate with people scared me and it still skaters people are or f in crazy. You know and and we talk about this living in New York? I shall live there. I live here in your York in New York, I'm a very sensitive person. I've had to be very my mother's right, very careful about because people I'm around on their energy. I'm a medium, and I have to be careful of who I allow an end my persona in the media or whatever. Even with you, you know, I'm. I can protect myself with my
but the truth, my real self and very very sensitive and an I'm. An introvert, I said all that to say- I'm person, but I I wasn't very free in terms of being intimate with people. When I was a kid, I think you ve gotten better. probably not with George. You know. You know he told you you know I can t invites off with them, but has been very people I feel like I could do that with you think, is the role of dragged in culture, youth compared to the sham, and so the witch doctors in the court Chester. It's to remind people, do not take life too seriously. Not take life too seriously, which is huge and in my life you mean sort of the social and cultural contracts that are put upon us exactly exactly all of that.
What people have to say. You know whether you driving the right car, if I just is, does Europe? Does these pants make my ass look fat and yes MA am it does make your ass look fat and Hallelujah cause. I love a fat ass. let me ask you about another Rupaul quote we talk a lot in in my bike asked in my book about. Kindness, not in the sheriff empty platitude Ryan. the term, but it as a skill that you can develop in the new area of great quota buddy, you said, be kind illustrates the highest level of consciousness and deliberate optimism being kind says: I know the material world is an illusion and I choose to recognise the beauty, innocence and the source in every one my god, I haven't heard them, in years am. I am tearing up my were hearing that it which
I haven't read this book since I wrote it edit then, but I have already said: that's beautiful because its we must, as the pollyanna people thought, pollyanna was just a dummy because you didn't see the dark. She saw the darkness, she notion the very well enough, she chose to see the b? beauty in a situation the child of God is innocent. You know it is in the night of the Guantanamo Tennessee Williams play I know the movie. I ve never seen the play. There's a scene. Deborah car mom's Richard Burton Character, whose above was gonna, get some commit suicide and she tie him up and gives his in some tea that coms him down and he asked her. What? How is it that you know so much about the dark night of the how old is she so? I know I call it. The blue devil. I've been there,
and she turns away from him and heads towards the camera, I'm getting choked up thinking about and She says that the way that you overcome that dark night. Is you persevere? You you use you stand. You stand in a foundation because of those dark clouds will pass and its such beautiful thing because sheet acknowledges the darkness, but she uses to stand strong and let it go pastor. So, with the the kindness it's not in its not being ignorant it's it's actually being very aware of of what's there and what What what what you do in the face of this, this darkness. and everybody sees it- everybody has it. You know
The kind of kindness I M talking about is interesting, talking to you in an and reading which you ve written and in which what you ve said, because you have it there's a kind of a decade of because, on the one hand, you have this very optimistic view about self improvement, What about love in the world, which I want to ask you about, but you also fundamentally dark view of the cosmos too? How do you square that? Oh, no, because we live in a culture we are world is polar opposite. That's. our electricity work. That's how Joe created with a man and a female we, I can absolutely love something love it so much the very same time hate it hated hate it. That is we are, and that is that being Opposition is the true true existence
There is no right or wrong: they co exist at the very same time, I'm acknowledging both I choose to live in the light. I choose to to focus on that, the child of God his innocence, but that's not to say that the charter of God has not asked to, because that that both are correct we'll have empty, both the correct one will bring a joy. One will bring. You pain, at the end of every episode of repulse drag race, which is now in finishing its eight season in normally popular the most popular show and Lobo network. you say, and I may get this court quote incorrect, but if you can't love yourself how you gonna love. Somebody, yes, is that you thing you say, or do actually mean I absolutely made it. I learn that at fourteen was, you know all of the things I talk about on the show, all of things in the books visit
things I and I learned at fourteen that was my by mitzvah. That was my breaking through. And understand was my aha moment all of these I understood, then I didn't come up with this stuff. it's, not a new philosophy, and not that I'm not that smart, it's wrong recognising the tools it takes to navigate this lifetime, because I was looking the tools of look invite. I thought I could find it in booze in alcohol. I thought it could find it. You know in Coming famous and rich and famous none of them things actually do that they can be fun, but they don't do that. We'll do that is understood, Fundamentally, who you are don't forget who you really are and who you really are a lot of people and ready to hear that and who you really are, as you are, God having an excursion the human body experiencing life on this planet and its view simplest, and once you understand that eating ok
so. How do you want to do this? I don't want do this I want to. If I actually Alan. What has is that he has a sting of what this luxury talks about. What, if you had the ability to choose what your dream was. Every night before you gotta get to choose what your dream was and then- after about two and you you could be a princess, you be a king or the hey. Man too much, but I guess boring we do at Random one. do at random, where I dont know what to be. because you know that every morning you what we wake up, beer, so all self again there. no consequences Ubr! That's what we're doing that's what it is. So when you look at it that way, you got. Oh, ok, I'm be a six foot. Seven black blonde drag queen who does
play by the rules of society or the matrix or you know all, stuff, doesn't do that, but somehow he's gonna get it. Ah kicker. hole in the whole existed in this. That's what I wanted I will do that when you used the word. What do you mean it doesn't have to? I dont know what it is. I dont care it doesn't matter. It's that thing that thing. That cannot be the thing that cannot be described. That's the thing it's it's that thing. I don't know what it's I don't care. I don't need to know only to know. Eventually gave back to loving yourself when you talk about that. What what It sounds easier said than done the unknown. If your parents to love you or the world doesn't love you well, how do you actually do it's it's a practice. You, you figure TAT, you make it. It is a practice every day that's. Why I first
aid to disengage my ego in the morning when I pray on when I meditate I need to first align myself with that thing. Which cannot be described. We simply part bought ECHO totally talks about calling it being in Oklahoma. Can can put up ownership on the word being aligning yourself with that, remembering who you are, who you really are- and you are God's gift to this world- is what you are so start there and then and then you go about this life with your heart, which is like a your own gps system. It's like seeing what do you like you like you like dogs, chocolate. Are you like milk chocolate? You know you like to dance Do you d like to laugh wool life has a lot of things you like water. You want to play with water. So that's where you start. That's how you love yourself and when you
enjoy and follow your own directive, you're GPS system can then love yourself. And then share that love with other people in talking it is clear that you had these moments kind of spiritual life, psychological breakthroughs, a key junctures in your life, where things were were adverse, fourteen when you haven't, got an existential crisis. Twenty eight when you hadn't yet made it and were sleeping on your sisters, couch and then there was another when an indicative in the year, two thousand, where you have already famous world famous and you these Citys stepped out of the public view. Why you do that and will with the contents of that crisis. What's import before any artist step away from the canvas and in fact, during the the Bush era, the second Bush era. It did that the feeling in our culture there was was there were certain hostility out there and
I was I felt like I had to defend. Life in interviews or in just in in in the public's. I thought you not. It's a step back to quit. Drinking and I knew I need to reconnect with with myself- and I I moved out here might still have the place in Europe, but I moved to allay, and I had parties that bark daytime part is I did quit drinking in doing drugs and got to know my nieces nephews and just got to see myself, it thinks I'm ambitious and for those holes others all those years. I hit the big time and I I just worked all time so I needed to do and down. In fact, Georgian. I am had a little melt down.
of our relationship in force. We prepared it now, but all of those things happen and looking back, I realized I needed to do. That too understand. Why I do what I do fact up until that point my thinking, was, if I got rich and famous that will fill whole that void in my life. Well, of course, at the end of you know, when I realized that that wasn't the case but come and I guess I got into my got into therapy- I got I got closer into. You know what made me tat, great, so what you're here people who try to go outside the window, saying that Rupaul and you're not you're, not in rail. They know they know me know em the tv show out of drag, but looking back at that
It was so good for me to take time away, because what change does a siren going on we're actually at this at Hollywood Highland hearing, in LOS Angeles, where the pop up store is, so good for me to do that because I came back. My motivation had to do with love and music and laughter before When I got right, I wanted to become famous, I kind of wanted my father's approval Irene we did, but I understood after many years that he couldn't see me. He couldn't see me even if there is no He wasn't possible frequency around. No he's he's dead, both my parents, or did you ever get his approval? You know when you see when you make a lot of money. All sins are forgiven. You know, that's not real brutal, that's real brutal. No, it's not
It's not, and I really understood that he was a figure figment of my imagination- I've a vast imagination. So I imagine that his betrayal His abandonment of me here the home when Europe, seventy seven yeah, but he leaves and really never there. I thought that was a malicious thought. Well plotted. Attack on me, it wasn't It had nothing to do with me, so it took that time away to understand and that's when I did come back. I actually came back with a movie calls our booty, don't watch it it's it's totally rated x acts have sort of John Waters movie that I produce new start in its favour. I came back with that I start came back in a four with a radio morning, Dr Radio, in at Debbie, any w in New York and
and then, and all of those things lead to progress report. Your fascinated. And I learned a lot from you as we I'm down here any words of wisdom. You want to share with the eager me or the yeah. Here's some words of wisdom, Joe, where high heels in soggy grass at bath bad idea or get around duly noted, Elsa nation as well. You know it's important to live, and I know that you're you're afraid of drag. I do wonder if its, if it's more, that you're afraid of what your wife will thank you, children or, if it's that you'll it's so much you won't come back. I don't know, I don't know. I feel It's the former, but I don't wanna, be closed, minded and say it's not the lad. I feel like the former like I could you imagine, you're not coming back
it requires very drastic changes in my life or not or not, but I would certainly be a negotiation with my Y know: listen, it's did twenty first century, you know. Maybe she could do it too. Maybe it's a drag. Them drag family, that's dug the family. The drag together is a family that slays together are ok I'll, go discuss this with Bianca. Let you know I'll, send you an email or maybe I'll, advise her, never to listen to this all right. There's another edition of the ten percent happier podcast. If you like it, I would hit you up for a favor. Please subscribe to it review. and read it preferably five stars I want to also think to people who produce this protest, he'll handler Efron Sarah. And the head of ABC New Digital, then sober and heavy up a twitter Danby Harris
there's not a person in america- hasn't been impact in some way by the corona virus pandemic, but every community there are pockets of people whose suiting up every day. This is my last day of the cylinder stretch to drive off photos for what about these or America's essential workers, the people who are keeping moving. I turn into a home school mom and now in a new programmes from easy news, you're gonna hear from damage. I she went back to my office and saw a crime. It is not here and I can say that our community has found faintly Loreen. This is essentially inside the from the emergency room. The police cruiser to the Czech outline Yuki one. This pandemic sounds like the people putting themselves no one's way, there's always a risk of rivers. Hungary, kids, are really has been a right here is listened to the essentials inside the curve on Apple podcast repayment, podcast, em,.