The Transformation of Russell Brand

Do you believe people can change? What does it take to change and what would convince you someone has changed? Remember Russell Brand, the controversial, formerly drug and sex-addicted, adolescent funny man who became a movie star with roles in mindless hit comedies and was married for a bit to Katy Perry? In the video below, a collection of interview highlights, Brand shares a message of spiritual revolution and idealism. Is it possible he has evolved into an enlightening force?

Watch as he describes how celebrity, our mainstream media, and corrupt political, financial, and social systems produce a mix of narcissism and consumerism that distract, bamboozle and pacify us – keeping us from being the people we know we can be. It is easy to be cynical about Brand’s transformation but his intense, quick-witted, rapid fire, self-deprecating, humorously delivered insights radiate love, empathy, and connection.

Wherever we are on the variety of political, cultural, and religious spectrums – liberal or conservative, 1% or 99%, religious, spiritual, secular or atheist, hawk or dove – it’s pretty clear something is very wrong with our existing paradigms. We may not agree on who is to blame and what the solutions are but too many of us are hurting and too many of us are angry, too many of us are living behind gates and cameras and too many of us are dangerously vulnerable, too many of us are yelling and too many of us can’t be heard, and too many of us are absolutely certain about the correctness of our own opinions and too many of us are so sure just whose views are heresy and dangerous, for us to be on the right path. Something is off.

Brand suggests that none of us are as free as we think. Even the most independent minded of us is not free from habits of the mind, distortions of the heart, our particular community’s truths and our culture’s dominant narratives. Ultimately we have to liberate ourselves and this takes work. Brand claims that the practice of yoga and meditation has helped him see the power of humanity, our capacity for transformation, and the possibility of love and unity being more than New Age pollyannaish imaginings or destructive religious and tribal fantasies.

As you watch this video illustrating the choices we are all being given to make right, ask yourself what do you need to be liberated from? What practices do you do to help you expand your consciousness? Be alert to where Brand inspires you, to what makes you uncomfortable and to what he says that you just don’t understand.

photo credit: Everett Collection /

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