Today, I regularly attend two Buddhist organizations, the Zen Center of Los Angeles and Against the Stream, but I also attend certain Christian functions. I try to cultivate a generous, kind spirit and am open to anything to help get me there.
My parents were wonderful Christians. They were religious, but they were not fanatical in any way. I was the one who took it to the extreme. I was told in Sunday school that you had to accept Jesus into your heart if you didn't want to go to hell. So of course I did that a thousand times. But the catch was you had to mean it with all of your heart.
I'm not on fire for the Lord, so I tried to make myself generate this fire for the Lord.
'Pyrapshere' began as a sketch for a variety show I produced called 'A Pretty Good Show.' My partner, Andersen Gabrych, and I expanded it into a full-fledged faux-religion, including a list of 21 tenets, sacred symbols, testimonials, and even a clothing line. Many people believed it was a real thing and wanted to join.
The term 'personal ambition' immediately puts me off. It feels like finding a sliver of onion in my ice cream. There's nothing wrong with a sliver of onion, but I don't want it in my ice cream.
Using phrases or mantras to encourage and comfort myself has been a powerful practice for me. For years, I would say to myself 'Remember the purple sky' when I was feeling anxious, which to me meant remember a sense of internal spaciousness and kindness toward myself.
I continued to suffer from anxiety and obsessive thoughts, although the thoughts stopped centering on hell. I moved into an ashram called the Himalayan Institute after college and studied meditation, which made an enormous difference.
There was a verse that said if you are lukewarm rather than hot or cold, God will spit you out of his mouth on Judgment Day. And I felt like, I mean, I don't know. I'm lukewarm.
When I went to college, I was so focused on this new experience of my life that I really just pushed down all of my fears of hell and damnation.
I've been able to sell a number of pilots. Most have been based on my personal experience, so basically, my pitches have been like 'Sit-'n-Spin' pieces.