This week, on Rock and Roles, Danny brings on entertainment industry veteran Elliot Mintz to discuss spiritual practice, the industry, and politics.
Elliot Mintz shares how he found a balance between his inner life and career in the entertainment industry. As well as discussing some of those that has met in the industry, like Elliot, who are well along the spiritual path and working to use their celebrity to better the world.
Phases (opening) – Elliot Mintz, who has had quite a lively career, is introduced by Danny. At age 21, Elliot started in radio at LA-KPFK and has been the media advisor to many celebrities and musicians, most notably John Lennon during the last years of his life. Danny speaks with Elliot about where they are at in their lives, and the different phases of their adult lives.
From the beginning of Elliot’s career as broadcast, he dealt with spiritual teachers. Although it was in general part of the 60’s culture, the vast majority of shows did not include spiritually in their broadcasts like Elliot did. These spiritual teachers were drawn to Elliot , because no one else in LA would broadcast their message and talk about what they were doing. He welcomed them with opened arms because of the deep interest in what their teachings had to offer Elliot and his audience.
One of the more impactful spiritual teachers that Elliot interviewed was Ram Dass. Elliot had listened to tape recordings of Ram Dass’s darshans before they met, and was incredibly intrigued by him. Another teacher who made an impact like Ram Dass on Elliot was Alan Watts.
Practice (06:00) These teachers helped Elliot open his doors of perception and changed the way he interacts with himself and the world. Elliot maintains a regular practice of morning meditation.
“It has been said that the fundamental difference between prayer and meditation is that when you pray to God, you are asking, and when you meditate you are listening.”
– Elliot Mintz
This practice has played a much larger role in his life than the celebrities with whom he has worked with.
Before his experiences with all of the Eastern spiritual teachers, Elliot was raised in the Hebrew tradition. He honored his father’s teachings and went to Hebrew school.
“That in the world which does not correspond to the wishes of God is only due to our indifference to the teaching. It is easy to turn our back on the lessons.”
– Elliot Mintz
Disbelief (13:25) – Danny recently visited a friend who was still maintaining his decision not to believe in God because of the Holocaust. Elliot and Danny discuss how to think about this kind of belief. Elliot believes that if he would have a few questions to ask God about the nature of suffering if he ever finds himself in a position to.
Balance (16:25) – In their industry, Danny and Elliot have been doing business in a world full of vanity, ego, and challenging personalities. Elliot shares with us how it is that he keeps a remarkable balance while working in that culture. For Elliot, he operates on two channels. Channel A is who he is, and channel B is what he does.
Elliot observed that Danny exhibited similar balance during the years that Danny was most involved in the entertainment industry. Danny describes his choices of what to do in regards to his career and how he reacts to situations as being led by intuition. It was not all balance, though, Danny recalls the struggle with his ego and how he handled it.
There are many celebrities such as Yoko Ono and John Lennon that Elliot has worked with who stood out as having a strong inner life. Beyond the mega-celebrities, he talks about the smaller names you might not know who have equally deep qualities.
Instinct and Ego (30:05) – Danny discusses the lessons he learned from his spiritual teacher who taught him to bring his spiritual practice into every other aspect of life. As well as helping Danny not be a captive to his ego, and always questioning his motivation and intentions.
Elliot addresses the juxtaposition between Danny’s ego and intuition. Danny explains how he balances impulses and intuition. Both he and Elliot discuss the effect that their practice has on the way they deal with this balance.
“I am more comfortable in trusting the instinct as opposed to the intellect. I have nothing to prove to anybody. I want to spend whatever years I have left, and there are not many, in service. “
– Elliot Mintz
Zappa (39:10) – Recently, Danny watched a documentary about Frank Zappa who is ambivalent to his legacy. The two discuss Zappa’s uniqueness and Elliot’s impression of him over the years. Zappa was the first person that Elliot interviewed while working in radio. Zappa was an articulate politician as well as a visionary and innovator.
Multi-Generational (41:45) – Zappa aside, Danny touches on Elliot’s role in inspiring others. Over the years Danny has observed Elliot’s unique ability to connect with younger generations within the industry in particular.
This connection is due in part to Elliot’s interaction with their parents in early in his career and watched them grow as the years past. Sean Lennon is an example of this, who he met Sean a week after he was born.
The connection to the younger generation brought back the spirit of Elliot’s youth. He recalls the joy and energy that being in that scene returned to him.
Patriots for Profit (47:20) – Danny addresses the current political cycle and the reality of America today. The two discuss the effect that the mainstream media has in the country and the differences between the media today and when they were younger.
Today we are reached through social media from a screen six inches from our face. However, Elliot is less concerned how we are consuming media and the type of media we consume.
Originally, the news was part of a public service. With the advent of cable, with its advertisers and ratings, television news has become part of the entertainment industry and focused on profit instead of integrity.
Elliot asks “is it too late?” The well that was drawn upon in the past was fed with utopian water. Elliot’s concern, as the election approaches, is that perhaps the numbness we as a society feel is complete.
Photo via The Columbus Dispatch