Excerpt from an interview with Forest Whitaker for Allos Ego Magazine.
It’s all about me. My life is what I make it. I am a self-made woman. This is America. This is more than America. This is the modern world. This is not all I am. I am more than the sum total of my cells, my bank account, my degrees and my Facebook friends. I press against the boundaries of Self. I go to yoga and burn incense and give to charity. But I walk around like it’s you and me, us and them. Like we’re separate. Like what’s happening in Uganda doesn’t matter in Iceland. Like what goes on in Detroit has nothing to do with Tijuana. Like that homeless girl couldn’t have been me. Like one man’s suffering is not another man’s pain. It’s easier this way. But that’s not how Forest Whitaker lives. With gentle voice and bowed humility, with the kindest laugh you’ve ever heard, he is a peaceful rebel of modern individualism– he seeks connection in every face he meets, and in every story that crosses his path.
I want to know how he came to be like this, because I want to be like this too.
When I was very young, I was a bit of a hermit, on a quest to try to understand. Luckily there were a lot of people who would talk to me about life, about existence. There was an openness that was encouraged, from my mother particularly. To look at the world, at common experience, to recognize myself in other people, to try to understand the motivations of others, the complexity of humanity so that I would be able to exist fully. It’s about connecting with humanity and connecting to source, which is everything. All of my work is centered around finding the common spring, the common light that we all share. The unveiling of a character for me, is about shedding away external things that block us from our true divinity, who we are. Once I see that, then I can put everything back on, play the role or tell the story. But it’s the search to unveil the light, which is at the core of almost everything I do.
I guess I was searching for that for a long time, when I was starting my work as an actor. As an artist, I put on the masks and live different lives, reincarnate lives – because I try to live them fully enough to understand them – and by doing that I get to live many lives in this lifetime over – learning things, sharing with people I would never know, walking all over the world on this journey, you know?