There’s a secret that real actors know that novices don’t: it’s not the acting part that’s hard. It’s getting yourself to that audition, each day, every day, despite the distance, despite the rain, despite the competition and despite the doubts in your own head. What’s hard is doing the work and what keeps us from it is ‘resistance’. That’s exactly what’s been holding me back from achieving my highest potential as an actor – my own resistance. My acting guru, whom I went to recently for gyaan, opened my eyes and mind about not being fixated.
The factor that holds me back he said, is that I think too much. According to him, I needed to switch my mind off and turn my heart on. I needed to let go of my analysis of a script or character - the dos and the don’ts – and just act.
Don’t think, just act
Acting, like meditation, is about getting into a zone. A zone of no thought… where creativity flows through you.
Thoughts can be the biggest tools of resistance, the biggest hurdles to creativity. Some of the best performances are the ones which you come out of wondering what just happened, where you were 100 per cent there, rapt and lost in the magical moments in between “action” and “cut”. As an actor, a dancer and a writer, you truly come into your own when you master the ability to lose yourself.
From where, therefore, does our ‘best stuff’ come?
Creativity stems from love, for the love of the game, for the love of an art form – be it painting, dance, writing, acting or sport. But the ultimate source of creativity is divine. These flashes of creative genius seem to come from the unconscious mind. When inspiration touches talent, it gives birth to truth and beauty.
An artist also needs to realise that one cannot perform at peak levels at 100 per cent of the time. You also need to master the art of zoning out.
I am a huge advocate of the power of now, realising the importance of saving my energy and concentrating on a task only when I get to it.
I used to toss and turn on a night before a shoot, worrying about how it would go and pre-rehearsing what I’d do. My focus has now shifted to getting a good night’s sleep and having a refreshing shower.
I now zone out while driving to the studio, waiting in a queue, or digging into my lunch through my jam-packed days.
Compartmentalising helps me access my energy when I really need to switch on, the moments between “action” and “cut”.