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Jeff Bridges: Hungry for Change

The veteran actor talks about his drive to feed millions of hungry children -- plus his approach to acting, fitness, and staying balanced.

Jeff Bridges' Approach to Healthy Living continued...

"Push-ups. I do those," he says noncommittally after a moment's thought. "And, you know, Pilates-esque kinds of things. It really depends on what kind of shape I need to be in to play a character."

And while he might not know whether he'll be called on to be flabby or fit from one performance to the next, one thing is certain: Bridges has the longevity gene. His parents, both deceased, lived long lives. His father, the actor Lloyd Bridges, died in 1998 at the age of 85. His mother, Dorothy, also an actor, lived to 93. She passed away in early 2009.

Bridges' Buddhist Practice

Bridges also works at balancing physical health with the spiritual and mental aspects of his life. He says he's been drawn to spirituality since he was a kid, and though he doesn't identify himself with one particular religion, he does say that "Buddhism rings my bell." He has been meditating for about a decade.

"For years, I thought about meditation but never got around to it. Then, I finally did get around to it." Though he doesn't practice it as regularly as he would like, he values its ability to help him tune into himself and the world around him.

"It's amazing how simple it is, how effective it is," he says. In a videotaped discussion with his friend Bernie Glassman, a teacher of Zen Buddhism, Bridges says that when he meditates, "I enjoy life more…that basic stillness is so beneficial to my life, to my work."

And it's his work, he says, that enables him to connect so deeply with the fight to end hunger. When playing a part, he is able to feel what drives the character -- what disturbs him, what inspires him, and what hurts him. It's one reason the issue of hunger has been so close to Bridges' heart. He feels what other people feel.

"As an actor, I put myself in other people's shoes," Bridges says. "I'm a representative for the human condition, for people who are working, busting their asses, yet are unable to take care of health issues and keep a roof over their heads.

"It breaks my heart."

 

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Reviewed on December 28, 2010

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