10% Happier: 'Jackie,' '20th Century Women' actor Billy Crudup

Crudup spoke with ABC News' Dan Harris about why he started meditating, how it has helped him overcome anxiety onstage and how he talks to his son about meditation.
1:32 | 02/22/17

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for 10% Happier: 'Jackie,' '20th Century Women' actor Billy Crudup
Harris and special edition of the 10% happier podcasts. And I guess today is Billy crude up I just learned the correct pronunciation of us and walking around for couple decades come Uwe Krupp. While I'll take either frankly rhythm yet sure isn't just any relatives friends and certificate as an actor you know our vegan for all of it but why is this a special edition. Because your hair off. Oh yeah my expectation. Your expectations of me I think our. You've overestimated no pressure OK no pressure whatsoever good. Will also it Eden willing we get a really. Big special guest that we put it right up on FaceBook live as well so where were this is most yes and I again note I want my good buddy FF. So evening soda talking about Lee's urine urine. And two of the movies that are getting talked about a lot during the award season this year at twenty century women and also Jackie. That's in both of them and last night just prepare for this so what's the first half of almost famous which. It's amazing. But also Yurman a theater. So so let's just start there for second okay how when where why did you start it well he you know. I'm sure you have the same reaction. Or have had a similar reaction before some because you are mad dictator on the if you came to it as an adult which is no one. I try you know and mean patent and mostly it's like it if it became a kind of triage situation for me which is similar I think. Which was similar to some of experiences that I read about in your book where. There all the tools they you had. Arrived at your successful adulthood with. Where suddenly not supporting. Your experience of living. Responsibly in happily in your adult life and down. I I can remember when I was a kid and also by New Hampshire that this will be of the this will be a very fractured way of speaking the entire time because when I was asked to come on into this immediately thought of like a million things that I wanted to stay and talk about. Because these are normally conversations that I only have with my friends and I guess that's for two reasons one when I speak publicly at try to keep kind of and opaque com. Reference are oak a paid version of myself out there because my job is to create the illusion that I'm somebody else. And I'm not really great at it anyway and I don't wanna put any more obstacles in the way of me succeeding and that so I don't wanna have. Com a public persona that people know a lot about me. On it seems like that is a counter intuitive intuitive idea. To being an actor it's. It's not in terms of being com. Famous in the celebrity mom and people kind of complete the two often so it's a confusing situation. But this was the first situations where I thought. Actually I really do want to go and talk. It detained about this because we also have a lot of mutual friends. But. My fullness is something that I ever I arrived act or has been. Circling around my. Mind her. I've been circling it for well a little while now and and I like talking about and thinking about it taking stabs at and getting it wrong and practices it practicing and failing in all of that stuff that goes with it. But I remember when when I was could say before when I was. Probably nine or ten my dad and who loved the ocean one of the tickets deep sea fishing and we are in North Carolina spending the summer and and damme. I'd never been deep sea fishing and and and you have to go about two hours off the coast of North Carolina tickets and it deep water. And the I had always imagined I guess that once you got past the breakers it was call out there and I was deeply disappointed and incredibly nauseous. When I discovered that the swells. Continue throughout the entire ocean and forever and that's sort of how I felt when I arrived at my adult life is. I expected to then. Parity I had all the trappings of that's success and adulthood. That responsibility. Ahead artistic agency I had money I had friends. I was in relationships and my family and you know was close to me it supported me. But there was an underlying sense that the seas and that was confusing to me and so I you know began to. Reach down and talk to people about it and I guess one of the things that they kept coming up was this idea mindful. You know. You did this thing that I loved one gets do which as you said about forty fat things that I wanna file. Aaron Norris are. But Willits and that there have been no letter okay. You're not an accident on things that immediately. Jumps out at me is is this idea of creating sort of an opaque. Personality and that there's a difference between folks who are famous for being famous celebrities. And folks who are no real character actors and and and make their. Make their living and end and not just for for money but really their it's their art form fit to have people project. On to them when they're on the screen. All all of your own. All of your own stuff right seats and you're I'm not seen UN thinking about all the stuff in your purse Latham senior and thinking that you always a character. Analysts say it out the minute I'm issue which was ten minutes ago. I was very surprised I expected due to be completely different I just watching jacking which you're a really tough nosed reporter. Hard nosed reporter toughness enough expression. And that's fine with me because I'm and use a lot of non inspections during this good you have full license to do that inventing all sorts of step program and this is sick place and so anyway you've succeeded is I guess my point is a really interesting strategy and they're not many other public figures second think of who pursued that strategy and one name comes to mind netting nine feature. Right about this back Matt Damon is kind of then that'll of the two well he. I mean he's an actor that I admire immensely and he's he's found a way to do both and pretty. The convincingly and charmingly. I I guess my. Experience and ridiculously successfully you know for. It's tough to do. Either of those well for a long time so did sort of do both of them. I mean if you watch this stuff on camel he has spectacular. Kind of persona. Com there that has been they've been engaged in this dialogue for a long time that's really areas on. But when I was an undergraduate at the university North Carolina. I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I had an expectation that because. I got in school there and the only reason I got in the school there it was 'cause my tablet there MIA granddad went there I wasn't a I wasn't a good enough student to get in there from out of state without some help. And so I felt the burden of responsibility that mom. That that are not. Screw up this privilege you know I mean there's a lot of ways that I was born into privilege and back kind of responsibility is actually something that I want to talk about in terms of mindful message you get older term. Remember com are for I've read about. You said last night you watched. Half of almost famous and prepared for this move in Everett about a third of your book tempers and happier and I'm only 1% after soil protects seen as but it. But the you talked about. This sense of responsibility. And that that. And calm at a price of security security consider this it and I A I mean I would've have expressed that may be a little differently my grandfather was always like in Donald Kennedy had uttered on the you know just keep your nose down and if you are successful at something just keep trying harder and never be convinced that year. Never take yourself too seriously but never stop working hard you know the result there was never a sense of you're going rate you know Nam. Whatever you and if Dylan is good enough. I have an expectation that. You'll want to succeed in the world and so don't put that pressure that's not the way that I experienced life at all and so when I was in college. And I couldn't figure out what to do. Com. I kept getting really positive feedback about performances and I was only doing. Like its plays -- her. After school and taking performance classes this is sort of slide class you know like things that I. Enjoy I needed the attention again as sir it was a way that I fell useful people seem to keep encouraging me to do that. I think that down you mentioned something else like that in your book is you end up doing one of the things that people keep encouraging if you're lucky. On people who keep encouraging news to do Witten. And I had some very encouraging teachers who suddenly she keep performing. And when I finally finished. Undergraduate. Which was a semester late because I realized my junior year that I really didn't know when I was gonna do in history taking like nine hours a semester. Kind of got to the end of it was like that at. I guess I'm an have to go an extra semester because I really. I didn't plan this well and I needed the time really I think to figure out what I wanted to do and so back to your point about. How law I thought about my. Job as an actor. I decided to go to graduate school. And I thought I know I would at the very least take it seriously get a masters and so many of the people that I admired were teachers and I thought com. Well probably end up doing is teaching because I love performance feeling gauged Piet and and I've admired so many of my teachers. And the first day of graduate school I realize that. I wasn't interested in teaching in the same I was actually really interest in performing but I I needed to be around people who were serious minded about it and and on the where. Really interested in me. Whatever this craft wise you know however. However we got there whether it was through and security or and you know needing this year attention seeking all of that. However we we arrived at that moment when we're. In early twenties and we're gonna take a stab at it. There was you know group of us that we're willing to go 80000 dollars in debt and take out student loans and armed study the craft and begin to imagine ourselves as. Crafts people and Tom. Once I started getting opportunities. And I got opportunities almost right away I felt the huge burden to. Take them seriously and the tape that craft seriously and that was part of I think the invention for me if that and kind of ideology. Which is com. Two. Tried it. Flop fly below the radars much as possible so that I can do it. I can be the most useful at my job which is try and tell somebody else's story. On that's when I feel particularly useful. And not inventing my own story remember Matt Damon actually set me one time went on I was sort of lamenting the fact that it couldn't. Find it job that was really inspiring community certain peered every actor goes through at about every three months. Actually most actors go through that their entire life you know it's it it's an impossible profession for most. Of people who try. On he said when it's you right. Something. And just once they do. Nick who use the first thing you vote you got an Oscar for okay. I don't know how to write at don't have any way you know once you start welding or something about it I didn't that's it. The reason I go to people like Tom Stoppard and you know classics in places that is because I wanna be a part of on storytelling that's much more interesting than anything I could have to offer the best that I can offer is to be part of that system. And the weight it do that is to blend in to that story telling. And hopefully that comes about through kind of Tina suppressing your own. Behavior. In a way that. You can surprise people by being. You you always want to you always want people to imagine that's the only role you could have ever played and the so. I guess you know I mean I certainly have a publicist who thinks that idea is terrible. And down. But it it's it's quite interest thing to come in and talk about something. It. That's different than my career my approach to acting or that actual project that I'm working on. Because it does reveal something about me on but I guess you know. Part of it is I feel a little further along in my career and dumb. And this is also a kind of selfish endeavor for me except for the fact that than the one talking the entire time which is I'm really interested in how. You've come to this and the people they you've spoken to in the people that we. Sort of have in common have been inspirational to me in terms of nick navigating. The middle of my life. And so I feel kind of privileged to get an opportunity to. You know. How to dialogue about. That's amazing thank you. I'm again at a fork in the road. After a candidate again we're gonna ruairidh just say too many things that are interesting. I guess I guess one of the things on a pick up on the Uga is a really cool and brave admission is that you can seemingly have everything. Right you you say you're a little further on in your career mean dude you arrived along time ago and ye you are you have everything that most people in this society aspire to. And yet. They're still chop yeah so what exactly it how is that true and how isn't mine promised help with that. Well I think it's true because. And one of the things that you allude to. Arm is the experience of constantly thinking about the pastor that historical parts of your own story. And imagining the future com when you will have solved the aspects of year history that haunt you and you will thrive in your future time. Strong maybe I would be even a little taller. And who I have all the things that I imagine her going to happen to register it according your Wikipedia page here an inch tall academy dissident so I must throw it tells it. I or my list today it do good I kept him one of my good friends is my director and impart friendly and I would often lament to him. During times of despair or or just like. Let's listen this I keep waiting for my excellent life to start. Because when you have. More privileged than you. Think it's fair really on and you have more success then. So many of your appears in so many opportunities most people get like one great role in their life and I've had. And multiple opportunities on stage and in movies. With phenomenal. Roles and that's a real rare thing. And down. I guess Rick kept thinking that that pressure and responsibility that I felt that was the the insecurity is the prices for security was going to dissipate. As I arrive. Into the Kama. Ocean armed and it didn't it in fact increased. And then there are other responsibilities that happened in new your adult life them. Those add to the pressures and by the you have success or failure in those they kind of it start to pile lawn and weigh you down them without. New tools to navigate them you're stuck with the same systems that you grew up way and I grew up in like I'm sure many people who are listening. Com. An American system of capitalist ambition you know that and it's not that. I have I don't mean in a pejorative way it's just a way of thinking which is that you know you keep striving you. You EU. Try to make the most of your opportunities you don't take things for granted you. Help people who are less fortunate than you are. There's not a sense of coasting in my idea of like success it's like grit and constant work and and a certain point if you. I tried to explain to somebody. Hey beat it looks much itself. But. I was trying to explain that the idea of arriving at a life that you thought was. What you had planned for. And not really knowing how to navigated. Being a public figure is a very different thing than being a storyteller. A mom. Having a responsibility. As a parent is. Unlike anything you could have predicted. Com. Trying to dear responsible. Citizen from when. You've depended upon people that you admired to do that before to be one of those people. Is a different kind of pressure so I think all of those things. A confluence of those things. Let me to start feeling that level of anxiety in a pretty significant way and down. I experienced it. Nam. And in the similar way to you with panic attacks. Com and navigating those. On stage you're having a month state I had. I have had some pretty interesting experiences with respect. Anxiety and performance. Not performance anxiety that's want to make that clear in a variety and performance. Com. At there does this and no no visitor uses going swimmingly at innuendoes totally fine here so calm. One of their first times. I experienced. Anxiety I was doing a mold for my face firm. Something. And they they pour all this latex over your face and give you a couple of that sounds horrible. I have never had any kind of claustrophobia. You know I I kind of always counted myself the summit is game for whatever I'll try something once a mind like an amana be good at it but. I'm I had two Brothers growing up and down. I don't allow myself to be intimidated very often about trying something you know like even if com. Even if it goes very very badly. Com but so. I had this latex on my face and the guy who was in charge of it said okay so I'm an assay. Are you okay and you give me a thumbs up if you're okay and to me a thumbs down if you're not. And I was on her name and when government and just do the late the next thing you know the worry about me. And the midway through sector you OK and knowing you know your eyes are closed them. Consider you okay. Getting the thumbs up couple more minutes went by this is probably fifteen minute process or so he said are you okay. Except when it's from eagle angry I was like why you keep asking me that you know like yes that's a thumbs up again. And then he's like the fourth then he's like are you okay and I'm can elect. Hey. And all this and my heart. Pounds my chest I can't breathe. I feel I've never had this feeling before. You know where you you just you want to have gone com. And I just. Puma thumb down and like. They immediately peeled the latex off. My face which felt like it had the consistency of a tissue I mean it was nothing it was not the oppressive. Amman. Wait that I was experiencing in my test and I just turned doom and I was in Paris this talent as a I don't know what happened. Distorted briefing music it's fine that happens in councils are. Yeah it's really strange. It can just Munich. Ten seconds and let's do it again because I'm not intimidate me. And I did it again and it was the longest fifteen minutes of my life just trying to keep it together. And if you've had panic attacks then you become aware of something called anticipatory anxiety and so there's this cycle that starts you know once you learn how to panic you get really good at a unfortunate. Your body. And it is it your yeah yeah is you can you breakthrough in LA and I. I so identified with that part. Of your book and then it's or haven't you onstage so then arm I can remember the first time it happened to me on stage. Well. I may be getting the order wrong I believe it's happened to me. Three times on stage. Mom. Once I was doing a play called the metal children which was off Broadway at the vineyard theater. And Dunn misplayed by Adam Rapp and I had monologue and a podium. And it's but I must have been the second time because the first time. Hampshire and now western coast of utopia thumb which was a Tom Stoppard trilogy. There was like three plays about. Russian philosophy. Turn of the century and I had a monologue during that one and. Midway through the monologue I went up and going up is what actors say when you leave for the term for losing your lines. So during a monologue. There are other people to help you especially if like the end of the monologue is a really big thematic part of the story. And I I'd worked enough in the theater that. You go up a little bit sometimes but what feels like an hour for you is a millisecond the audience never sees it. And so the typically typically the best thing to do is take a breath. Actually like step back from where you are look at the person in front of you. And usually because of rehearsal because you've worked hard it comes. But this one like a step back. Take a breath and watching the actors who were on stage with me at that time go from pretend listening to realistic moved here because it may news something was up. I mean I usually the loose through this monologue. And so to have a break like that. So then I saw them looking at me. Then I could hear my breath under African out here in this. And then I started to have a panic attack and I just sat down actually during my monologue third some more breaths kind of and started to watch my mouth. Say the words. And I was kind of having an outer out of body experience but it was really the next day that was the biggest problem. Because it's such an on comfortable experience. And I took that approach. That I took with everything before that and whip the approach that I took. The first time. I had the panic attack with. On latex which is summoned to the muscle this and dom. Yes that's just no Bueno for very long arms so I had to start you know figuring out some other ways to get some help mark Epstein was a big help. Bomb. He was a mutual friend through someone ornaments on he's a therapist. Doctor mark Epstein who but he is a friend of mine Fred an epic. I guess your doctor and he he's written all these amazing books about the overlap between psychology and buddhism and he's the reason I got instant meditation and buddhism. Yeah and a big influence for me to for sure. And certainly the way that he talks about mindful medicine's. He processing your own history and and arm. I think it was during. The next time that I had a panic attack. Which was during the medal children. He prescribed at beta blocker who and dumb. It's it's a funny thing. Like magic beta blocker it is just explain what it is yeah stipulates eight based dates for high blood pressure and it but but. Everybody from. Concert pianist to surgeons. Anybody speaking of public to actors. News anchors. You can take him and it will prevent you from having the physiological. Impact of the panic attack it basically your heart rate cannot go above a certain level. So you can have a psychological parts of the panic which you your body won't. Mutiny the way it does when your not on Munis have perfect word word because. And and when you know that. You're. Body is not gonna become hysterical in no way it's easier to manage the psychological or is it. And that anticipatory anxiety becomes a lot less diminished and but then when she get past. Those actual moments once the play ends in you don't have to go out there anymore you're not having as much of this scoring side here whenever. Com. This then. Opportunity. Bribes to observe. What brought you to that moment in the first place how is it that I had done or have done I don't know how many plays that I Don and New York. With a lot of pressure on many of them some. Very difficult performances I can remember doing a play with Frances McDormand when time there was almost four hours long. I went up so bad during that. Because the dialogue was really repetitive and it difficult that is Serpo we had a two person scene. I I kept. Circling back to it's something the beginning got us into loop and essar which she just stopped and looked at me it's that I don't know what we're saying anymore. So I'm just going to save fits. And I looked at relic a popular take you to vote for getting out of there. So right navigated situations like that you know throughout you that's just part of pro pouring but I had never had that level of anxiety. Where I couldn't cope with it you know. And I think that was. Inspiration. For me. Kind of. Constituted to start considering the weight in my mind works was that when you got into meditation or you're already tasted I was first introduced to it calm my my son's mom when we were together Mary Louise was teaching. Merely Parker it was part orally of weeds Rea. Arm she was teaching yoga. At the time to and it's funny when the first and that she taught me in meditation. I. I approach it the way that I guess I approach everything which is with Brad did competitive. Antagonism yes that's absolutely love it it's just the way that the and I ages wanted to be good rate and went after five go for great actually terrific because. I think you I don't know if it was five or ten minutes afterwards she said. He didn't even swallowed during. You know you nailed it crushed that meditation don't ever want to do it again if that's. Don't know what it was about but at least there was still and it pressed her. But I. Ever since the end of college. I I I have had an interest in com. I guess religion in the ways. That I. Think about myself in the world and bomb. I had a lot of that different influences growing up but I read from the road less traveled when I was you know liking college and to me that was really interest thing to have. Met an alternate perspective for about how to manage relationships in your sense itself and bomb. If you're an actor you try to empathize with the lot of different kinds of people so it's good to have an open mind and take in new ways of thinking. Com. And but it was really when it straight to work with mark. And and also my other friend Elizabeth Cottrell who. Missed a lot of introduced as she. Produced Jesus Jesus that's right you know wrote produced acted in Sheen are in graduate school together got change so that movie came out like 1999 if there yet he's got a bright red all right. On and she has been a major influence in my life and a myriad of ways she's a great friend and brilliant. Artists. But I'm also somebody who has always been interested in and mindful listen won't we'd always going at once and stuff and talk about maybe doing. Some other project together. And she would stay in each should go talk to my friend Joseph Goldstein you know he's a really. Interesting because that I guess the ways that I would speak about. The struggles that I was having with anxiety year or the ways that I was thinking about. Com. Ever see religion but. Ideology or whatever to her sounded familiar and so she kept encouraging me to. Pursue then I was going now IA announced. I don't have enough time for that I'm you know it sounds great but and done then she introduced me to Joseph Goldstein once at her house. And the first time I met this guy. Mom. The it's sort of a gravity around him burst into tears I really doesn't take much for me to burst and in tears this my kind of my job like him. Another interesting thing about being an actor is you have to be really thin skinned if you wanna be. Well. The kind of backdrop I like being. Is really thin skinned when your working your very available to the other actors. So others. What I would describe his summit called immediacy in your work it appears as though it's happening for the first time. The -- three really thick skinned when it comes out and people tell you that your piece of bleep you know and an aunt or worse nobody sees it nobody gets craft you know on. And that's a very strange. Experience. So can I just give. Just explain some of these characters to see you really hacked into like the Buddhist mafia on the East Coast because and so Elizabeth Cottrell is as as we mention she's. Film producer she's. Close wins doctor mark Epstein who you who. Whom be what became your shrink after had a panic attacks and then. Joseph Goldstein so that this is another name that you mentioned she's incredibly close with Joseph Joseph is. You know has been kind of semi facetiously referred to as the Pope of American buddhism he's just this eminent. Meditation teacher. And it was really a pioneer who helped bring. Meditation to the United States in back in the 60s70s he also is my meditation teacher and is all over my book and as a we use the guiding teacher on the 10% happier at me he's I'm extremely close with Joseph. So anyway just so everybody has the background you meet this guy and you had to breaking into tears and bursting into tears well I was going through particularly difficult time and dom. The way that I a genome. Managed that was. A lot of light gray you know liked it's. Keep it down you know or her find ways to think it through. Solving some you know. The idea just existing with it I can Rimmer mark saying at some point I think I said you know. Men if this anxiety keeps up like this. Our I don't know if I can handle you know and music. Yes you can. That was at the my whole life he sent. Conflict but hopefully it's no but. I apparently at that time com. Was under a lot of stress and Elizabeth was is always like incredibly. Incur urging and and what kind of diminish like the way that you just described him is the way that he exists in the world but the way that she would describe him to me would be like. Please mean for an Joseph you know he's he's a lovely person a brilliant thinker and the Q2 would really get along. And down. As soon as I met him there is there was that there a kind of gravity to his presents than I don't mean to sound calm. What's the were Pollyanna pollyannish pollyannish something. The audio it's going to be in that thinks that it's that let's go that okay arm but he he. He was looking right at me. And there was no hiding from. I've got us. Lots of social skills. To deflect. And to manage. Awkward situations. And thing you learn that as an actor you know in. Probably one of the reasons I am an actor and I moved around a lot as a kid so. Our I I know how to socially get through. Some awkward situations. This one went back kind of presence. It is. Open me right up like that's he was where he was so I had to be where I was which was a mess you know at that time and his perception that was. Was also. So like sympathetic and compassionate. That I think that was and moving to mean a different way to. Arm and mark is kind of like that you know. Not kinda mark is like that as well. Com and so. Those experiences I think. Allowances. Meets it imagined. Mom. Different. Practice applying learning applying different practices. To my life that my. Make things a little bit better and sustain your book but Allison and talk in the entire time that's the point of you being interviewed okay. As far as I understand it. If I had. I know none of my friends are listening to me this because it's that is what they hear all the time but they will shut this off a while ago but for sure. So. But I know I find it so fascinating. But I thought of this with respect yearbook tempers and happier. It for me it wasn't just. The idea of being a little bit feeling a little bit better. It's the fact that did the tools that I had and the mind that. Mean my mind in motion as an adult. Was actually taking me down. So it wasn't as though there was this plateau why it reached that I could be a little happier. I was actually starting to feel worse and worse and worse and worse here to justice and yes so it's really like about 40% have air you know that. Its limits and no I'm terrible at math and so yeah. I I hate that. I'm kind of stuck with this title that I pulled out of my rear end and but you're actually right in the use wood this was one of the 45 things you setting your first answer that I wanted to follow up that brought us right back to it which is. That the tools major bequeathed by the culture and by your own idiosyncrasies. That bring you to whatever success you achieve four. Whatever point you're at in your middle life. Don't serve you anymore at some point or that kind of serving you but to a big you reaching diminishing returns in certain areas. And yet they. And what meditation is useful for in my experience is to see where you're being an idiot and of course erectile lament. And that also see we're in nothings to be done like there's a certain amount of anxiety that is just part of your wiring or part of the conditions and which you exists in the world. And changes be within no way that doesn't make it worse and doesn't add there's a great little parable in buddhism and I'm sure you've heard which is the second arrow. Dudes walking through the forest you tip by an arrow. That Sox right so that you add on to the pain of death the first arrow with the second error of the you'll insert. Voluntarily which is why am I only always the gagging anybody Errol who did that I'm gonna find them. You know I'm not gonna make lunch now because I can hit by this Arab blah blah but right the second that that serve optional suffering that we layer on to. The the baked in pain of existence meditations just good for managing all of that's. I at that's my experience as well and if and when you asked me before when you said before that I meditate and and I kind of bristled at that. I think part of it is because as you are like in your infancy in understanding your mind. You realize that. Constant. Ways in which your mind leads you down crappy paths. Bomb and and is so in that way you actually the more in mind for you become at the beginning did worse you feel. About. You're uploading capability. On. And it. Beat because I had such. Smart influences. They never let me down the path that I was meditating to call my mind. There it was always the analogy of you're just gonna go and it like. Sit in the corner corner and watch the party going on and dumb. The second aero reminds me also to those you're not responsible for you're the first thought you're responsible for your second and Renault and that's an. That gets it a very. Weird. Non. Idea for me which is our I grew up. Hearing a lot about mine got and go with your gut follow your heart near instincts are always right and you know. I've come to believe that that's not probably as useful as it it sounds bombed and many of the things that feel instinctual. On the net fee old. Like gut reactions. Our our our responses through. Things that happen to you before you probably even conscious you know like before you could speak before you can but well well before you can remember where they're wired into your lizard brain and you inherited them from you know exactly. Thousands of years of evolution exactly and dumb. So. Having to let go of that idea that your guy might. Actually lead you. In. Direction that's not helpful for you sometimes. Has been an interest thing. Exercise as. I'm so glad you brought that up because I thought about this too and I don't have it figured out but he did at Malcolm Gladwell book. Blink. About the wisdom of the subconscious that that the decisions we make in redolent of a diets that are it's apparent arson as the Smart one. I feel like I'm the anti bush collect my ain't my gut instinct is always liked the dumbest thing like I'm always I'm. Ready to do the dumbest thing on first I had that experience he thought they were it's useful. Is. Creativity it's really useful com. It in making creative choices. Because what it allows you to do is identify what singular about view. Without. I intellectual icing it you can make choices you know you can all always. Invent things using your rational mind. But sometimes you can surprise yourself and surprise others by making creative choices that just. It and where your. We call it an acting like getting out of your own way. That's where it is useful for me it's not so useful for me when. Com living in New York City people don't follow my rules. Miles talked about like with my brother's place if everybody just cooperated. With my rules. I wouldn't have such a hard time take my son to school. Com and com. I came up with this thing with my friend part. The try to get out of that mind set. Because it happened so fast you know that immediate response but somebody cutting you off. Or. Somebody just driving in a way that makes me feel unsafe. And also when you have a kid when you feel unsafe and it makes them unsafe. I did not handle that well and that's. That toggle lizard brain you're gonna UI I know that feeling having Katie just lose it it's. Could be giving people the finger of course a so that he couldn't see him back there in the back a theft fact that that's a good effect at. But it is happening on this issue of of the gut and let when it's wise and when it's not and I haven't finished and figured this out so I'm not going to be dropping a whole bunch a wisdom here but just thinking just kind of put an outward fog. I feel like meditation is useful here may be in that there's some assertive. Innate wisdom that that. But you know when your guts giving and some level you know when your guts giving you a good idea what is giving of that idea. It for you as a reformer. And for me as somebody who is. You know wants to be spontaneous and in my podcast interviews or when a money air. If you can get out of your own way actually if you can stop then useless chattering and listen to whatever intuition you have actually you can make better. More authentic decisions at the same on by the same token though when your in traffic it's somebody cuts you laughing you don't wanna fault. Victim to the road rage that emerges right from your brain stem. He you'll. But there's deer is I feel to meet with to me in my experience what meditation does is is slick or thin layer of wisdom right on top of this so it. Win I'm getting a spontaneous idea. In him you rate meaning even their conversation with you were trying to like be right here and play ping W back and forth. It goes through the filter my phone listen if it's a terrible idea and the like some some percent of the time I'll catch it. And the same thing when I'm Wenham fueled rage I'm about to say the thing that's gonna elect ruin my marriage for the next 48 hours. I'll catch it some percent of the time and not do it they're coming from the same kind of place I think. Anyway that was a word salad no IA actually got something that it reminded me of. It's on the Joseph Goldstein said win column which I've found infuriating because our and it in this was. The way that I responded to acting school to which was I want the answers men don't tell me that. I haven't paid you know this much money. To not get the key to acting Kate don't tell me that it's a process that lifelong process that I've dislike undertaking. And it it just Goldstein is that is similar kind of thing you know with. He eat he said well when it's useful news. You know when this is useful to U so. It doesn't mean my cutting off your instinct to eat when your Hungary that's probably a good incidents yet but it's probably not as useful. For me to. Try and teach somebody that I don't know how to drive the way I want them to. By screaming it. Own and it it doesn't take a long thick kind of figure out that that's not a great strategy so I think part of for me and and your. We we caught wisdom when people get older and they do well maybe you don't need to care about that or maybe this is something good to follow. Is. It learning the ways in which your. Mind. In your body. Helps you. Achieve. Values. Achieve achieve putting into the world the values that you. Hold com or that are in things that are important to you and trying to diminish a little bit the ways in which. Your mind and body. Encourage different kicks. Yes I think that's exactly right and it's not eighties not there's no formula that's at this is may have to. There's no forms so wrong it is wrong. Yeah what are you gonna do about it just is just the messenger we can't kill them. But I do what I do think is that they're each EU who. Would meditation helps you sort of get up cleaner signal to noise ratio so that when. Your instincts and urges and impulses and desires are arising you're like better at. Picking up the good ones and rejecting the bad ones and it's not going to be a 100% of the time. It'll just be so yeah yeah I thought I mean 100% time I've art you know. I am terrible that's by the way I just want to add. Anybody who says they're gonna meditation at the should be very dubious salute I mean I'm horrendous and it couldn't. Mark my behavior reflects it like when I can catch myself. Com. I counted as a complete triumph yes you home and it it only comes from like. But ton of work so it's like a kind of work for a little bit of a pale but what their there was. I was doing. What when of the caller some a guided meditation. And down. The woman said something to the effective. Eric give yourself a break just for just for just for coming in and meditating because ultimately what you're trying to do is be. More in the world and that's probably it good thing that's probably generous. Loving empathetic. Cynically responsible. Bomb. Good thing just trying. To be present. It doesn't you. I can easily follow it differ. Narrative in my head which is that it's selfish. They even me talking about it is a selfish. It acoustic experience that. Is you know revolting at their best. When. When you give yourself a little bit of a break about. That even trying to be mindful. Is. A nice thing to be doing. It makes the effort worth it I think for me. Absolutely no and I hear this a lot the idea that that somehow meditation is self indulgent or navel gazing. I think it's totally misguided. Am it's totally misguided. If when they say an oxygen masks come down they say put your own on first before you can help me but before you help or assist others for I think is the way they said. You can't he can't be useful or effective in the world if you're a complete mess does nothing you can do so. We're not talking about spending between three hours a day meditating just a few minutes today so the you're more sane and that's what you're contributing to the rest of the planet. That is he's definitely a public service well I agree and. Because were were also not talking about becoming monks what we're talking about how to we live in an American society. Arm with the values that we're given to us. And that are encouraged by the you know socio political system around us how to we live in that society. In a wave at that. Helps to mitigate some of our anxiety. Com and so that we can be productive ands. That's it and not an easy task you know we don't. We and we haven't been encouraged. In this. Culture to live in that way bomb ambition is really the the foundation. This culture and we we get a sense that to be a good American is to be an American who strives for some thing. Better than their parents had or to. Create bomb. A life for yourself that it is. Inspirational or something or takes the the best. Takes advantage of all the opportunities you think it and that's sort of what I was talking about terms of feeling that burden before is. I didn't often feel. Grateful. First I felt the burden first you know like. And I certainly didn't. Allow feelings of pride. Bomb or even. Acknowledgment that I was responsible for any of it. For a long time which. I is actually I think okayed it. Vick into the mix you know there's. A lot of ways to experience success and still have ambition without. Bridget with anxiety absolutely and and and a humble was where I think just getting back to the self indulgence vs public service that actually. He it will. You're gonna struggle with the things you struggle with right but you wanna be in the process like a good romantic partner you going to be a good dad you wanna be good your colleagues. I'm on the various productions in which you participate. And it can't. To me an inexorable outgrowth of understanding how insane new or is that you have empathy for everybody else she realized. All crazy right and that that just makes you better citizen it is does I totally agree I don't think there any two ways about it. I don't think there are too is that that's there there I go mixing up that's an up. And an aphorism. Before we go to Allentown later stunned you get thirteen year old Seles give him a shed out he's in their meditation right he is yet his mom introduced him to meditation and yoga and down. He takes great pride in the fact that he's you know been able to meditate before. And down. Are. So we. We tried it do it sometimes together now. And he's had lots of practice. With his mom but we were talking yesterday because he and I were on. Vacation in Jamaica and we are on the way back and and I was telling him about the company coming in here what we're Gannett talk about and some of the things that I've been thinking about. And dumb. I said. What are some of the things you think about you know when you meditate and down. He said well you know I try to. Think about a word Horry try to think about my breath on that sometimes it's really hard you know my mind is really busy. And yes about me and I said you know. Well. The breath is the thing that I try to go to two and I had been at some teacher told me at one point. The your mind is gonna drift away thousand times your job is just to bring it back a 1001 accident just bring it back to the press and mark said something. Because our. There was the idea that you just watching your mind emotionally watching the party standing in the corner watching the party. And not getting drawn into the party. For me was a way of I've just identifying the feelings like so saddened answer you know me ray anger or whatever whatever feelings were being generated. And and mark said. Something to be effective. Arm I Disco like feeling there's a feeling there's a sound there's a feeling. And I was continuing to think about that and I think it was in com. Joseph's book artful piece on where where he said something to the effect of a feeling is being known so. Not identifying. With that as you being the one who generates I was explain to a and I've kind of an empirical are I like science to me. I. Astronomy is one of my favorite things and it learning about astronomy is one of them was one of my everything's an adult and I said to a less than. So I've got this new thing when I think about when I meditate which is that like. The universe is knowing sadness or something like US an extension of the universe because. Wall we're made up of molecules and stuff and humans came about through evolution so there were there is a way to describe this experience. As just being universe kind of knowing these things and then. You know and in Austin. Thirteen year old fashion he looks him in the planning goes. So you'd just you'd just scored the biggest touchdown a dad can ever score which is yours thirteen year old son thinks your cool and Smart who both have. I'm not sure a home for an at a second at least at least Fernandez said yeah but I love that point it is true mean is that. The the point of meditation or one of the points is to see all the stuff in your head with some nonjudgmental removed so that. When you were hit by realized it doesn't own it anger shows up in England away and in the desire to eat and 75 cookies shows upbeat it doesn't. You don't actually just yanked around by it is much. But then there's a deeper level which is like OK so what is. Let's aware of the what is right aware of these emotions what is aware of all of these thoughts what you step out of the party who is that person looking at everything else and that's that's a huge mystical gradually not student like when Marcus as threatening a gash in market Bart to say things like. While no one really eager you know like there it is in being experienced her something you know abstract like that I suspect. It but that did this how do you process that you don't mean I think it's a useful. It's a kind of frustration. Confusion. Now we're getting to deep and edible stuff here but this is. This confusion about who were what you are where if you close your eyes and look for Billy. Iraq at a find him right. If you look for if you listen to sounds and then try to find whatever what's hearing those sounds. It. Solved without a thinker writer and Wright who is there right who's there this is the mystery of consciousness this is that it will. And I think as I understand it. It is a useful confusion that can be generated that overtime. Kind of cools you out Marie you said before that. You know there's a wisdom that emerges and old people. That use their little list some elderly people that they're a little less caught up in everything. And that one of my favorite meditation teachers younger guy named Jeff Warren. My age 45. In two he's based in Toronto and he talks about the fact that meditations about bringing that wisdom of an older aging gracefully into. The earlier part of your life right it's a that's the you do your basically just trying to. Generate some of this them emotional agility around all of the crapping your own head and then. And then when you push it a little deeper your house democratic great this kind of useful confusion about who is this anyway who who's in here anyway and that can all just katic Liu. Useful confusions. A fantastic. Herman thing. I don't have anything to add to that surprisingly. What it would unbelievably. Pleasant surprise you are is a guess this is so cool city or documentary that hatred it is absolutely my pleasure it is. Am a fan of the thinking that. Is going on right now on the year encouragement of that I think it is. Pretty rat. Thank you. Anything that them if are for listeners and viewers want to know more about you wanna learn about what you're coming up what is what kind of worked years you've got coming up work and we go well I hope that. Bomb. I will give up any more secrets about who I am anyone. But. I will be in a movie called alien. Inning covenant coming out at some point soon. Which. It's awesome to be a part of an alien movie Ridley Scott and Michael fast manner and that was one of the first times will was really excited about me being all the news isn't yet Tennyson while. Mean most the movies are like. It's sitting around adults talking about heart stuff and he's like yeah that that's what I want city. This is one where I get the you know run through stuffing be chased by aliens and down he was super fired up about that so. I've heard up to ominously it guarantee it Billy thank you very much total pleasure thank you for having me you're the best aren't really appreciate it thank you thank you.

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

{"id":45667097,"title":"10% Happier: 'Jackie,' '20th Century Women' actor Billy Crudup","duration":"1:32","description":"Crudup spoke with ABC News' Dan Harris about why he started meditating, how it has helped him overcome anxiety onstage and how he talks to his son about meditation.","url":"/Health/video/10-happier-jackie-20th-century-women-actor-billy-45667097","section":"Health","mediaType":"default"}