Below are excerpts from a very interesting (and somewhat surprising) interview with Nick Nolte. Nick plays "Socrates," the spiritual mentor in the film rendition of Dan Millman’s book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior.
I attended a Peaceful Warrior seminar with Dan in 1988 and found him to be an impressive individual. I hope the movie does well — Dan’s message is timely in these non-peaceful times.
How do you distance yourself from the craziness outside and the craziness in your head?
You have to learn some techniques. First of all, you’ve got to be able to observe what your mind’s doing and not get into identification with every thought. Then you begin to see how scrappy the mind is. It will just come up with one thought after another, after another, after another, after another, forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. And I don’t believe that you can kill the mind, or go into the cave and de-brain yourself. I think you have to observe yourself. You have to find a way to see inside, and then it’s a matter of meditation, and then it’s a matter of either asking the right questions, or finding the right answers. We ask questions of ourselves to which there are no answers.
You’re into healthy eating—has that affected your spiritual journey?
Oh, absolutely there’s a relationship, a real symbiotic relationship with plants. I don’t think we recognize it, but we’re in a symbiotic relationship with every plant there is. I’ve always had my own garden that I eat from. It’s a much more intimate relationship to your food. And you can eat raw, or you can cook, but to go to the garden, to pick the spinach, to pick the peas… Kohlrabi has been my favorite for the last four or five years. It’s a Middle Eastern vegetable, and it grows above the ground in a ball, and it tastes a little bit like cabbage, a little bit like broccoli, but very faint traces of it, and it’s very crispy, very juicy, and you kind of want them very tender. You can cook them or put them raw into the salad. And it’s not like watercress. It’s as crunchy as that, but it has this wonderful, mild flavor that just cuts through. And then there’s Mexican squash that grows as a kind of a heart shape, and it grows off of vines.
Do you think that Hollywood will only be as spiritually bold as their box office?
That’s all they’re bold at. I’m sorry to say, but it’s just a fact of life. Somehow these men have been able to divorce themselves from what is good for the society and what makes money. When I see 70-year-old men, who aren’t far from my age, and I have known them for 40 years, sitting at "Godzilla," trying to pretend they really dig this thing, it’s pretty sad. I think it’s rather a sloppy business because it truly ignores a vast audience that is out there that would go to the theater—but not in the first week, not in the second, maybe the third week they might go to the theater. They have obligations in the adult world, but they might enjoy going to the theater if they got something that fed back cathartically into their lives.