Josh Radnor on Moving Past 'How I Met Your Mother,' How Meditation Keeps Him Grounded

Radnor, best known for playing Ted Mosby, said meditation kept him grounded.

ByABC News
December 28, 2016, 11:24 AM

— -- Josh Radnor is best known for starring in the hit TV series "How I Met Your Mother," but since the show wrapped two years ago, Radnor has been focusing on going beyond being a TV star, crediting meditation for helping him figure out what he wants.

"There were things I did that were really small that have been so meaningful to me and just a couple of people will see them but it doesn’t matter to me because it altered me and changed me,” Radnor told ABC News’ Dan Harris during his “10% Happier” podcast. “Meditation is something that gets me back to being 'quiet' so I can hear that kind of guidance.”

Watch the full interview in the video player and download the "10% Happier" podcast on iTunes, Google Play Music and TuneIn.

Radnor started meditating in 2004 after he said he went through a rough breakup. At the time, he was a working actor who had a shot a few pilots for other shows, but before the pilot for “How I Met Your Mother.” The show went on to run for nine seasons until 2014, starring Radnor as the lead character, Ted Mosby.

Once he started meditating, Radnor said he never really stopped. He practices Vedic meditation, a form of mantra meditation, at least once a day for about 20 minutes.

“I look back and my life is a lot different than it was in 2004,” he said. “It’s a lot bigger. My career took off in different ways so I have to give a lot of credit to meditation… May be those things would have happened but I don’t know if I would have processed them in as sane a way if I didn’t have a meditation practice.”

Radnor said he’s grateful for the success of “How I Met Your Mother” because it boosted his career, but he said the show didn’t give him the “sustained euphoria” one might expect. Instead, he said it sent him in search of projects he would find more meaningful, specifically in writing and directing -- his 2011 film, “HappyThankYouMorePlease,” which he wrote, directed and starred in, was a Sundance Audience Award winner. Radnor said there's a part of him that is shy, and he wishes he could continue to work in this industry without dealing with the fame.

“It sounds silly to talk about being on a hit TV show as being a spiritual struggle but it was and it continues to be,” he said. “It’s a complicated thing, because you also can’t complain about it to a lot of people. It’s isolating… [but] after you have a very visible success, I think it’s OK to go away for a while or to do something quieter for a while.”

Since “How I Met Your Mother” aired its season finale, Radnor said he has been working non-stop on a variety of projects. He starred in the Tony-nominated Broadway play, “Disgraced,” filmed two seasons of “Mercy Street” -- the PBS Civil War-era miniseries in which he stars as an Army surgeon -- he worked on a couple of indie films, and wrote and sung on an album with his friend, an Australian singer-songwriter. Radnor is currently starring as a lead in the Off-Broadway play, “The Babylon Line,” showing at Lincoln Center in New York City until Jan. 22.

In short, they are all projects Radnor said “that just meant something” to him.

“Somebody asked me about a job I did and I said, ‘I don’t know if it changed the world, but it changed me,’ and that’s what I’m doing right now,” he said. “’How I Met Your Mother’ might be my great popular success, I mean, it might be. I hope it’s not. I suspect I’ll have some other things that will be seen and noticed, [but] I’m just going to keep making things that light me up.”

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