'10% Happier': RuPaul

The world's most famous drag queen talks with ABC News' Dan Harris about how he started his meditation practice.
36:12 | 05/18/16

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Transcript for '10% Happier': RuPaul
Hey I'm Dan Harris I am a fidgety skeptical newsman who had a panic attack lives on Good Morning America to describe sentence. Slowly for cancer path that led me something I always thought was ridiculous. Meditation. I wrote a book about it long and half. And now starting this podcast. Try to figure out there's anything beyond 10% basically here's what. Can be an ambitious person who is nonetheless driving or enlightenment where that. Let's start the show. Hello again when I learned that my next guest was met here I was surprise in a very very pleasant way it's rue Paul. He was born ru Paul and curls he is easily the world's most famous drag queen he's been a household name since the 1990s. And as I've discovered in researching him. And reading is I've autobiography. Reading is interviews and watching you know his reality competition show which airs on logo and is called repulse drag race. He's an extremely thoughtful person about the mind and for lack of better word spirituality. So. Well great to meet you think coming on my pleasure my pleasure here's the question I ask everybody first when in how and why did you start meditating. 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 learned that early on and we talked earlier about this I was about fourteen. Usually things these and these happenings in of humans life happens 7142128. Which is a huge one. And then so and so forth but about fourteen. Was real breakthrough for me I understood that this wasn't all there was and I wanted to understand what that was my first. Were an act which drove me into who usage. And it it's but I expect it is fighting that but okay. To ask you to answer. It's fourteen just really don't no not not a for acute when he won its monitored to fourteen history doing. You know heels. And smoking we as anti smoking its tenure so how were your parents. Good good question. May actually my mother a father mother father split up when I was seven. And my mother. Sort of stayed in her room or about. Two years. So for those two years she was just in her own place in Wheaton Evers didn't see her she was doing it she's heartbroken. So we were left to ourselves my sisters and but I was. That's where our birds that's where it first went to win he answered entry level in two other realms is through. You know street drugs you know what you mean other realm. Other realms com. This table where remaining on looks like it's all but it's actually its energy vibrating at a high. Rate quantum physics sure sure but you know way but. Just because your eyes on a plane takes off into the rise it looks like please getting smaller and smaller is blanketing smaller. No it's just from where you're standing to understand it from with the perspective I had an at fourteen. Was limited understood that and so that was my first introduction into an existing programs. Pretty deep fourteen year old I've announced playing video games and NN. Trying to get girls to kiss me at fourteen well. You know I think that you know if you've been to a lot of trauma. If you be your heart is broken by the world and you understand that the world is a hoax an allusion. You you have to seek something he become a seeker. And the EU are looking for something and that's that's what I found and he's just look. Far to find this information. It's not that it's not that so far beyond our our comprehension even at fourteen. Would it do when you talk about trauma are you talking about. Acrimonious divorce your parents or being a gay kid in a world that was not as accepting as the world is now to all of you about the. Until the gate being is probably the smallest part of that equation it was that the parents and it was also. The world actually gave the keynote address at. Drag on Mike convention that just this past weekend. And I talked about Mother's Day and talked about my mother and how she really died of a broken heart not. My my father didn't break the world poker heart she was as sweet sensitive soul who. Who at five she told me she sit room. Don't take life too GD's. Seriously and she said brew. You are too sensitive. It took me many years to understand that she was trying to protect me from her. Owned. Storyline she didn't want need to be broken heart by the world when she had. I've talked about it in the key in the keynote. Speech. But. The biggest hurdle I had to overcome at that age was understanding that the world. Was hypocritical you know as a little boy I was I didn't really fit in and it's nothing new but. I I knew I was Smart enough to figure out what. What it would take for me to fit in so I studied. Our society study what everybody was doing so I can figure out how to make it work. I studied it and the information I got back from my findings was that. It is be asked it's all the illusion it's hypocritical it doesn't. There isn't a standard. It's all superficial so no thank you ma'am I want nothing to do with you or. Stating it I found a place for myself outside of society and at twelve I remember watching Monty Python on PBS in San Diego and a top. There's my tribe that's it he reverence the people who are making fun of identity. I just dragged their at a Jack they make fun of there may even of the Bible they're making fun of religion to me given everything that I knew from that moment that was my that's where I belong. ZEU realized early on and then had it reinforced through a second Alex. That there's more to the world than meets the idea at what point do you start formally meditating. Idol I. The I sort formally meditating at 28 either because of seventy can it was a really really really. Dark dark period for me dark. I was 28. Didn't happen design pre fame world renowned Knoedler room all this that I had you know I had some local fame in Atlanta. And I had moved to New York. Earlier. The the year before that and couldn't get arrested I couldn't nothing was happening so. There a series of horrible events I wound up out here in Los Angeles sleeping on my sister's couch my baby sister's couch the 28 years old and it was horrible. So. Coming out of that. That's weighing. The meditation story that's way and at tempted to meditate I really didn't get any good at it and tell. Probably about. Me beats seventeen. Years ago. But seventeen years ago. I could get it going and economy AG this is me sitting alone idea in the morning I'm. My morning routine I get a very early here at 4 o'clock in the morning I get up and stretched 55 diesel I gotta stretch. Com you'll great I think you I. Pray and not religious. I'm seeing it and that religious but I won't right because active prayer. Dee Dee constructs and overruns the system of my ego active bowing down in and physically acknowledging that there's something other than me and night ego immediately goes away. So I pray and then I meditate. So my act of meditation is. Years ago some until mid if you imagine a river. That's flowing water by. And those are your thoughts. And that you the real you. Eternal value is actually sitting on the bank watching the river Guba. And that. You have no judgment on this thoughts you allow them that in coming go. But you are the awareness of your thoughts you are not your thought so you can let your thoughts happen. Just know that the real you. Is the awareness and that's where that's where it that's the major breakthrough for me with meditation. And sort of floating in that place. Where you can let go any judgment. What you're thinking he's such. My sister sanction. He can you actually look at I would like I'm Matt meditating only for seven years but I have a lot of trouble in. Getting to that place mean you're describing my opponents which is the ability to step out of the stream of our thoughts and view it with some non judgmental removed but for me as a crazy person. I get caught up in those thoughts are not votes by the river and I'm off with it should not get lost in that way. Sometimes it it'll catch me you know get in but I just payments of back. The continent its. That and that's fine that's completely fine and GT have you had formal meditation instruction or could you seem to have. Well laws livid that yet formal minutes and no I'm not formal no Ike I have a meditation group that I go to at 6:30 in the morning so there's prayer and meditation in your life on a daily basis and it's a. Workable to me having had my having been lucky in my hand and having been lucky enough to have some. A lot of formal. Meditation. Training you. Euro like you're spot on even without what you described as just trying to rest in an area that doesn't pick up in the thoughts he get cut up and you start again that is. Textbook Buddhist meditation and yet you who easy it's in the eighties kind of came to a Euro. I didn't come to it on my own you know. I've always been seeker and have always read books even when I was a kid I would reap grant in the seventies are all these self help books and sell. Income from California to him San Diego so. There's just this vernacular that I grew up went. In sort of you know all roads lead to two the self help books. Which always. Sort of you know hit upon those those elements so you know finding Eckart total in eight years ago. Really. Really solidified my practice. I really understood what it meant and it just it got me to see you Steve bring back Archuleta has them. IA. I read Eckert toll was related start for me of a finding meditation to and I act. Stumbled upon it doesn't mean it when he interviewed him in. But here's my beef and in my I can make fun of a little bit in my book which is. That he'd. He and this is not my quote exactly but a friend of mine has described in this correct. About the human situation but not useful in that he doesn't really give you a lot of practical advice fourteen means the voice and an under the ego. But. It's that's my problem with him at B seems like you haven't run into that. And it residue that is that the dissolution is this you allow that voice that voice isn't going by the way the voice is always there it's like the in this world we live in they're seeing in Yang black and white male female they are these two rallies. That voice that answered at double on one children Angel on the other. And then used that did the tried to completion of the Triad the conscious that the consciousness of those two elements. You're look you allow them to stich beat 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 see the onset voices 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. Unable to come myself I'm able to not react so. So. I drastically to the the elements that pop up in life. Traffic I'm still not so good with the traffic that's where the devil on my shoulder really does come up and what they do is I avoid traffic is my solution of that but. That's that's what it's done for me and the bigger the bigger one is that. In that place when I find that place where I am the awareness of my thoughts. Somehow some divinity I don't know what it is I don't need an import some divinity some clarity. Comes through in fact I can feel my whole body. Aligning I could feel my body able to repair itself because the blockage of my thoughts are or my pastor might. But I think my future's going to be. Doesn't exist in this place. And I can feel my body. Sort of healing itself repairing 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 more. It's it's you know one of the and we talk but this a little bit before we senator Roland vets. I admit with some embarrassment that before. Doing my research and you really. You know we'll have cultural blind spots. I think of myself as reasonably culturally literate but that the drag wrote something that I basically knew nothing about it certainly do you. Our but I I didn't really know anything but the culture and reading about you I realized actually there's for lack of a better word a nature spiritual component to the world drag management read you look a quote from you. And because. I knew I had to realize until I read you're. Now sadly out of print autobiography Lynn and buying out that there at three news it. That it is an inner exploration you say here I'm quoting I want to present a whole and complete picture the in the Yang. The black the white deployed to grow the seine the insane because we are all Everyman. A rainbow different roles in different people exploring the colors 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 dared people. Gorgeous peacock that I've it I was younger than twenty years some but that's it that's exactly right I love that that's exactly right. And see you do think of drag as eight UR. A U es algo Al recent Moore puts about this the you are erred. Really getting at the mystery of identity yet apps to the if I think again when I was fourteen and I realize that the it was all a hoax. Then at that allow me that revelation allowed me. Def fund with an end. You know that the lesson I got from them. People what was that life is not to be taken years and that gave me the license to just have fun live all the colors there are no rules and you. Will be unchanged. After this body isn't on who you really are is unchanged. You know it's it's like. You know that movie what was is this concerts and movie where the ailing becomes a predator which comes into and he has fight it out imports into predators killing people. But we are like that would come to this planet to experience what it's like to be human on earth. Of course it's once we get to hear all these other people say well you gotta do this you've got it is you got a joy that he got to join this club. You gotta be this in. I understood all of those rules as a hoax as allusion has something that I don't have to pay attention to a three myself that. Which allow me to go and play with all the colors you know. Due to it as a kid kids play and they do dragging. Cars I love cars that you wants it. No no restrictions. But unfortunately it teaches that life. There's not a lot of people who do that not allowed people have the hoods to do to live. From their heart she too. Express themselves straight from their their desires you know there's. It really turns into their parents eventually you know it I don't think I and give them not my parents that's for sure. As somebody who is deeply interested in. Issues. Thirst figuring out what this mind and body really is do you think I am missing out on something because I have never done and probably will never do drag. I think so I think that you there are aspects of your personality that you don't even know about and how you get into drag I've seen straightening getting dragged. And it's instinct see what they turn into. Oh whether there you know the cool way. It because it was the equally queen or that it that the sexy slot clean or the you know the comedy queen all of us. You know the but what's interesting about that is. It's like it it's like a guitar. Playing only one note or. You know a car. That's got a gorgeous beautiful. V8 engine that only goes around the neighborhood. You have to explore this life you owe it to this gift. I'm look at you you're you're gorgeous got a sexy little body there and you got a good T including air. You still can't go out be better drive current. Drive down to Baja California why should you know. So there are fundamental aspects of the human experience that I'm missing out on by not exploring all the colors in the rainbow absolutely needs Europe meant and which is using to me that that is. Big part because I feel myself constricting around the idea Jessica and I didn't I I don't wanna do it but a big part of and I I would call myself a buddhists but not a religious one. A big part of buddhism is letting go in and certain. I would have it seems to me in my brief ex exploration of your world that huge part of drag is letting. Absolutely because we're and I'm not. Differed from a lot of the kids to come and on route while stragglers are kids who aren't on the show who. Who who societies said we don't want you. Once that happens then these PP people are 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 and so. You know I think it's it's so important. To do it it's almost a gift it was it's it was a blessing for me to be cast out of society and that we you know. I've since though most people like yourself don't do it because you're afraid of what other people would think that your chair and you know. When you don't care what other people think of you that frees you so much because you know. Being that kid who was. Set aside by society if they don't care about me I have to care about what they think of me. So I'm free to do whatever I want and you know if your. If you're afraid of what your mother your rabbi or you're the people in the neighborhood are gonna say about you he won't do it. These may be worth nothing just as it's my opinion but I will say just having spent the past hour your presence you seem pretty free. I'd be more free. I am pretty free but I could be more free you know. I am not that we you know in my I've been with this man for 22 years but we know what's yet when I was. You know in the clubs and hanging out. I was people still scared me on an intimate level because it being that intimate with people. Scared me. And it's just take his people are. People are on at and crazy you know and an also had a talk but this living in New York. I still live there in the here in your LA and New York. I'm very sensitive personal had to be very my mother's right I'd be very careful about because people I'm around I take on their energy from a medium. And I have to be careful of who. I allow UN and my persona in the media or whatever even with view. You know I I'm I I can protect myself with my persona but the truth my real self and very very. Sensitive. And and from an introvert so I settle back to say I'm a free person but I wasn't very free in terms of I being intimate with people when I was a kid it in you've gotten better. Probably not but with George you know you know he twitching you know. I can keep it's hell with him but. It's been very few people I feel like I couldn't do that way. We think is the role of drag in culture you've compared to the shamans that the witch doctors in the Dorchester man it's to remind people to not take. Life too seriously. Not take life too seriously which is huge and in my life you mean spirited the social and cultural contracts that are. Put upon us exactly exactly all of that. What people have to say. He you know where these driving the right car. If he does is does your does he do these pants make my. Ass look fat and yes ma'am it does make your ass with fat and hallelujah Kazaa a level of fat ass. Let me ask you but another. Ru Paul quote. And we I talk a lot in in mind. I Kasten in my book about. Kindness not in that. Truth empty platitudes Raddatz at the term but it as this guilty in development and you actually agree but buddies it. Being 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 recognize the beauty. Innocence and a source in everyone's only I haven't heard that in years. Mud and tearing up my America we're hearing that. It puts. But I added read this book since I wrote it and I read it then but I have a read it since. That's beautiful because it's it's the same as as the Pollyanna. People thought that Pollyanna it was just a dummy because she didn't see the dark she so darkness seniors she knows very well. In. But she shows to see. The beauty in a situation. The child of god is innocent. You know it is yours is in the united iguana. The Tennessee Williams play. I know the movie of nerves in the play there's. A scene where Deborah Kerr. Columns. Richard Burton's character who's about who was Connecticut's and commit suicide. And she tied him up and gives gazans and T that calms him down. And yes or why how is it you know so much about. The dark night of the soul she's relying on call at the blue devil I've been there and she turns away from him in heads towards the Cameron getting choked up thinking about it. And she she says. That the way that you overcome that. Dark Knight is you persevere. You you use you stand. We stand in a foundation. Because of stones dark clouds will pass. And it's such a beautiful thing because she acknowledges. The darkness but she chooses to stand strong. And let it go pastor. So Witten. The kindness. It's not in it's 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 that's the kind of kindness and talking about it UC trustees. Talking to you and and and reading which you've written in which which you said because you have it is a kind of that the economy is the one hand you this very optimistic view that self improvement you talk a lot about love in the world which I want to ask you about. But you also the kind of fundamentally dark view of the cosmos to how do you square that. Well no because them we live in a culture we are world is polar opposites that's how electricity works that's how. Children are created with the man and a female we I can absolutely. Loved something you love it so much. And at the very same time. Needed made it. Hey that. That is what we are and that is that. That being in that position. Is the true. True. Existence. There is no it's right or they co exist at the very system and acknowledging both. I choose. To live in the light I choose to to focus on that the child of god is innocence. But that's not to say that the two out of guys knuckles built up up up gazette that both are correct and half will happen to both the correct one bringing joy. One will bring you pain. At the end of every episode. Ru Paul drag race which is known at it and finishing its eighth season and enormously popular the most popular show in the logo network. A you say and I I may get the score. Quote incorrect but if you can't. Love yourself how you know of somebody else. Yes it's just a thing use today or do you actually mean I absolutely made it I learned that. At fourteen it was you know all the things and I talk about on the show all the things in the books. Visit these things and I learned at fourteen that was my bun that's that was my. Breaking through an islanders that was my aha moment. All of these things I understood that I can come up with this stuff it's not a new philosophy and not that I'm not that Smart. It's recognizing. The tools it takes to navigate. This lifetime because I was looking at tools I was looking fight I thought I could find it in booze and alcoholic not a could find it. You know in on becoming famous and rich and famous. None of those things actually do that they can be fun. But they don't do that what we'll do that is. Understanding fundamentally who you are. Don't forget who you really are and we really aren't lot of people are ready to hear that who he really artsy or god having an excursion. In the human body. Experiencing life on this planet. And it's very simple it's and went to understand anything OK so how do you wanna do this they would do this. I want to. If I had that actually. Alan watts has this he has just being with its lecturing talks about. What if you had the ability to choose what your dream once every ninety free that if he could to choose what you dream was. And then after about two and you proceeded princess he'd be a keen Europe night immediate. He meant after about two might you be boring. Why would you at random when we do it random where I don't know what amenity. You know it because you know that every morning he will you wake up you be yourself old self again and that would be no consequences UPS. That's what we do that's when it is so when you look at it that way oh OK I'm that'd be. Six. Foot. Seven. Black. Lawn drag queen. Who doesn't play by the rules of society or. If you know the matrix or. You know all of that stuff doesn't do that but somehow he's gonna kick. Kick up hole in the hole existed in the step. That's and I wanted to tell you that. We use the word got what you mean it doesn't happen I don't know what it is I don't care it doesn't matter it's that thing. That being that cannot be the thing that cannot be disguise. Debts that they. It's it's that thing I don't know what is I don't care I don't need to not Huntington. And language that we gave back to loving yourself when you talk about that what what. It sounds easier said than done oh yeah notice if your parents and love you Warren where the world doesn't love you would Heidi actually do that. It's a it's a practice you view fake it to you make it it is a practice every day that's why I first need to. Disengaged my ego in the morning when it pray and when I meditate. I need to first. Align myself with that being which can not. Be described. Simply Pollack on Icrc toll talks about calling it being you know nobody can conservative put it. Ownership on the work being. First aligning yourself with that remembering who you are we really are and you are God's gift to this world it's what you are so start there. And then. In then you go about. This life. With following your heart which is like it's your own GPS system it sexing what do you like. He like Eli dark chocolate do you like melt chocolate you know he liked to dance. Do you BI he liked to laugh will light has a lot of things you like watering her play with water so that's where you start that's how you love yourself and when you. Enjoy and follow your own directive. Your own GPS system you can then. Love yourself. And then share that love with other people. He in in talking you it's clear that you've had. These moments kind of spiritual slight psychological breakthroughs a key junctures in your life where things were were at adverse. Fourteen when you're having an existential crisis. 28 when you hadn't yet made it and were sleep in on your sister's couch. And then there was another one in the coming year 2000 where UN authority famous from world things and you use it stepped out of the public view. Why did you do that and we'll with a contents of that crisis. What's important for any artists to step away from the campus and in fact during the bush here the second bush here. It did that that the feeling in our culture was was there was certain hostility. Out there and I was. I felt like I had to and my life in in your views or in. Just in. In in the public what I need to step back. I need to quit drinking. And I knew I need to reconnect. Waited. With myself and I. And lived out here lights the place in Europe and moved to LA and I had. Parties. Are part daytime parties. I did quit drinking and doing drugs. And got to know my nieces and nephews and just. Got to see myself because I am ambitious and for those holds all of those all of those years I hit the big time in. I worked I just worked all the time so I needed to do that and in fact George and I. Had a little meltdown of our relationship. Chris we prepare it now but. All of those things happen and looking back I realized I needed to do that. To understand. Why. I do what I do fact up until that point. My thinking was if I got rich and famous that will fill that hole that void in my life well of course at the end of you know when I. I realized at that wasn't the case. But coming and I I got into. I got into therapy act I got closer into. You know. What made me tech right. So good for me to do that because when it came back. My motivation had to do with love. And music and laughter before. When I got when I wanted to become famous I kind of wanted my father's approval. I really did. But I understood. After many years that. He couldn't see me he couldn't see me even if there was no he wasn't possible for his duty around him know he's he's dead heat both my parents are dead do you ever get his revoked. And you know when used when you make a lot of money all sins are forgiven him you know that's not real world that's a real group. No it's not it's not and I really understood that he was taken figment of my imagination vast imagination. So I imagine that he is. Betrayal of me his and in that means he let them on yours and seven that you he was really never there. I thought that that it was a malicious. Thought out well plotted. Attack on me. It wasn't it had nothing to do with me so it took that time away. To understand it so when it did come back I actually came back with a movie called star booty. Don't watch it it's it's a toll rate it exits at sort of John Waters movie that I produced and starred in. It's back to cut. Connect with that. I did start came back in 04 with the radio. Morning drive radio in at WNEW. In new York and you and and then and all of those things lead to records. Group lawyer fascinated. It's been I've learned a lot from you as we. Wind down here any words of wisdom you want to share with either me or the audience. The here's some words of wisdom don't Wear high heels in Saudi grass. Bad bad idea OK Aaron duly noted Annie ossetian a well you know. It's important to live that I know that year a figure afraid of drag. It's if it's more that you're afraid of what your wife will think and your children or if it's that. You'll love it so much he won't come back. I don't know I don't know I feel like it's the former but I I don't wanna be closed might consider its outlook last. I feel like it. Well Mike that you mentioned not coming. That would require drastic change. Sort. A blow would certainly be negotiate. And it's the 21 century you know maybe she could do it to make it to direct phallic you know dragged Sammy that's dead but family that drags together as a family that's laced together. Aren't okay. I'll go home and discuss this with the ethics like you know a Canadian now. Or maybe I'll advisor never to listen to this for to. Such a pleasure ru Paul thank you very much think you. Iowa I also think the producers of this podcast Joshua and Sarah Amos stance over Loren F front. And to remind everybody if you like what we're doing subscribe rate us review us in you can send me suggestions about questions when asked deeply when I have on the show on Twitter at can be Harris. And we'll be back with more gas more guided meditations very very soon thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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