Transcribe your podcast

If you're like me, you're on a journey. You're looking for what brings you a sense of peace, inner strength, or simply put, what makes you feel your best. You know, life's not about the big moments or the grand gestures. Yep, there are Super Bowl Sundays, but there are also all the Tuesdays or Wednesdays in between. The small interactions you have in your day to day. Those those are the moments that make up your life. And I want my own life to be as intentional as it can be. And I think for me, one of the keys is to learn from others what they've already learned for themselves, to take little bits and pieces of wisdom of those I admire, and soak it all in. Take a tool from their toolbox and add it to my own. That's why I hand selected each of my guests this season. These are people I wanted to talk to for my own personal growth. And I hope you'll come along on this journey with me. You know, when you read a book and you cannot get it off your mind? Okay. For me. That was Rain Wilson's book. It's called soul boom.


I picked it up, I read it, I thought about it, I talked about it, and I said to myself, this is somebody I need to sit down with. Rain is an Emmy nominated actor, writer, producer, and New York Times bestselling author. He is best known, of course, for playing the role of Dwight, the annoying but lovable Dunder Mifflin salesman on NBC's hit series The Office. But, man, there is so much more to Rain Wilson than the hilarious roles he plays. Like so many of us, Rain is on a personal journey. In his latest book, Soul Boom Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution, rain opens up about finding and embracing his spirituality and how his profound faith has helped him to navigate the difficult times in his life. Looking at Rain from the outside, we see the high moments, the successes, the fame, the laughs on screen. But what we do not see are the struggles he faced off screen, struggles with mental health, including anxiety, addiction, and depression. At his lowest moments, Rain put in the work, looking within himself and turning to spirituality. What he found led him on a path to healing, shifting toward awe, curiosity, and gratitude, and inspiring others, including me, to do the same.


Reigns so beautifully shares his story, offering his unique perspective and insight with the heart and humor that only he can. He opens up about his childhood, from growing up with his father in the jungles of Nicaragua as a follower of the Baha'i Faith, to the moment he knew he was funny, his path to spirituality, and how he learned to find balance and inner peace. Well, now Rain is calling for a spiritual revolution, and I'm all ears, baby. I hope you will be, too. I'm hoda cotby. Welcome to Season four of my podcast, making Space. Hi, Rain. I've got your book dog eared with different colored thingies.


Look at that.


I know. The book is called Soul Boom, and I'm so excited to talk to you. I sat with Jenna after you guys were at the Aspen Ideas Fest, and she said you've got to read the book Soul Boom. Now, what made you decide to put this in writing to write this book?


Well, that's a complicated question. Do you have some time?


How long do we have? As much time as you need. This is your day.


Well, because there's no really easy way to answer that question, and it is really important. I think there's first of all, for me, there's a personal reason why I wrote Soul Boom, which is I've had a lot of mental health struggles through the years I've shared about this, especially in my twenty s, I had really debilitating anxiety attacks. I dealt with a lot of depression and loneliness and alienation addiction issues. And back then, in the 90s, therapy wasn't as ubiquitous as it is today. And there weren't really that many self help books or podcasts or YouTube videos or places to turn to talk about mental health. And no one used the terms mental health in the 90s. You just kind of like, sucked it up and got through it. And so I had grown up a member of the Baha'i Faith. My parents were Baha'i, and the Baha'i Faith is very inclusive of all different faith traditions. So as a Baha'i, we read from the Quran and we read from the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible and writings of the Buddha. And so I grew up with this very kind of universalist approach to spiritual knowledge and wisdom being out there in all of these different faith traditions.


And so when I was suffering this way in my twenty s and really lost, I turned to spiritual writings and kind of a spiritual journey to try and find some answers for how out of balance I was. And that really was the essential spark that started me reading these texts and studying these ideas and pondering them deeply. It came from my own personal struggle.


Let's talk about the Baha'i Faith a little, because this is interesting. I think a lot of people would hear it and Google it, say, what is that? Tell me a little bit more about your faith.


Well, the Baha'i Faith is I grew up a member of the Baha'i Faith. A lot of people became Baha'i's in the late 60s, early 70s, when people were really into spiritual explorations at the time. It was founded in Persia, Iran, in the 19th century, in the 18 hundreds. So it's the most recent of the world religions. There's about 6 million Baha'i's around the planet. That's not a very big number, but it's very widespread. So wherever you go in the world, there's Baha'i. You can go to Mongolia or Bolivia, or Iceland, and there's Baha'i's around, which is kind of cool if you need a place to crash. And basically, Baha'i believe that there is one God. This God goes by many names, allah or Gaia or the Great Spirit or whatever you want to call it. But there is one kind of all loving creative force that's beyond time and space. And the way that God communicates to humanity and helps humanity mature spiritually is by sending down divine teachers every once in a while. So Baha'i really view all of the world's major religions as one religion. It's one continuous, gradually unfolding faith that comes from the Creator, from the higher power.


So these great teachers like Krishna and the Buddha, like Abraham, Zoroaster, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, and now Baha'i believe in a new spiritual teacher who goes by the name of the title of Baha'ula. That title means the glory of God. Baha'i believe that all of these teachers are teaching essentially the same message coming every 500 or thousand years to help humanity evolve spiritually and move forward. So as a Baha'i, I am a follower of Baha'allah, and I study his writings and teachings, but I also study the Bible and love Jesus. I consider myself just as much a Christian as any Christian, and I also do the same with Islam and Buddhism. That kind of, like I said before, is kind of a universalist kind of idea of incorporating the inspiration from all of these faiths is wedded in my book, and it's very much Baha'i inspired.


It's so fascinating because I was just thinking, if the world had a view where we are all kind of coming from the same seed, so let's all get it together. I mean, this is what you're essentially mean. I thought about that before. Like in Jerusalem, sometimes you'll hear the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, you'll hear the Alakza Mosque, and you'll hear the Western Wall, and it's all the wailings and chimes within a 1 mile square, and you're thinking, wow, if these three are all right here in the entire planet Earth, this is the Pinpoint. There must be some kind of common ground. It just only makes sense.


I write about Jerusalem in the book, about a trip to Jerusalem that I took, and that exact experience of, like, it's a couple of football fields and it's the center of all the world's major religions and all of history. And it's this incredible, obviously, political flashpoint, the fact that they're all so close, and the Baha'i Holy Land is north of there, but not that far, haifa, Israel, and northern Israel.


So when we go back to your early life, because the religion was part of kind of the fabric of you, but your childhood was so fascinating to me to think of a little boy, because I have two little kids now, a little boy being raised without his mother, just with his dad's influence. I mean, your mom left and there. You were a toddler with your dad. Do you have any recollection of your childhood? What do you remember of those early years?


My mom left me and my dad, and so my dad being a kind of a he really wasn't a hippie, but a bohemian Baha'i artist type in late 60s in Seattle. He'd been living on a houseboat and working in a bookstore, painting murals, and he became a member of the Baha'i faith, and he decided to pack and up and move to the jungles of Nicaragua. So he took me, this giant, white, weird looking toddler from Seattle and moved to the Caribbean coast, the Mosquito coast of Nicaragua, in 1968, 69, and not long thereafter married my stepmom, who had also come down from the Seattle area. So I did have a mom kind of raising me. I don't remember my mom leaving or anything like that, but I do remember I have some absolutely vivid memories of living in coastal Jungly Nicaragua as a little kid and running around, and we had a pet sloth. Yeah, we had the monkeys running around, and it was pretty crazy.


Did your dad explain at what point did your dad explain that your mom because I don't know what memories you had of her, your birth mom really was not here, and here's why. When did you hear that story?


Well, that's kind of a crazy story. So he would never say why they split up. I would ask him, and he would just give the vaguest answers. Well, we went our different ways, and we didn't kind of see eye to eye and stuff like that. It was very vague. So later, when I'm a teenager, I have an interest in acting. And right around that same time, my birth mother, Shay, got back in touch with me when I was about 15. Called you or just called and showed up and started writing and actually sent me, like, a birthday card. And she kind of took an interest in me and wanted to get to know me.




Just that first.


The initial exchange, what was that like for a teenage kid who hadn't heard from his own mother in I don't know when to get a card?


I had seen her two or three times in the intervening years, but she would always say, like, oh, I'm going to be back in touch, and I'll see you very soon. And then I wouldn't see her for two or three or four years or something like that.


That's heartbreaking.


It was usually like a lunch or getting, like, a Popsicle or something like that. I was skeptical even at, like, 15, I was like, okay, sure. I mean, I knew she existed, and she was out there running around doing she'd had a really crazy life, really crazy.


Were you mad at her? Like, what were you it wasn't until.


Later that I did some deeper therapy work that I was able to kind of get in touch with some of the anger and outrage at that and what that had done to me, how it had affected me. But I will give this to her, and I'm not making an apology statement for what she did, because that's really horrible to abandon your kid. But she came back in at 15. As a teenager, I really needed a mother's influence. She was very savvy about emotions. She had been through a lot. She had done some therapy. So she came into my life right when I really needed her. She came in. She helped you. She helped me. She tried to love me as best she could. She really made an effort to fly me out and see her and come and visit and to share and to call every week. It took me years of kind of mistrust, and as I got to trust her a little bit more in college, she really played an important role in my life. And I think that's important for people to hear, because sometimes for parents I don't know if any are listening in this podcast, but I think sometimes for parents that for whatever reason can't parent their kid, you can always come back into their life and play an important role.


Better late than never, I guess you would say.


Did you ultimately forgive her in words or in your soul or yeah, you did.


Yeah, I have. I've done the work. I've done a lot of therapy and a lot of work around this stuff. And like I said, with the mental health issues that I mentioned earlier, so we have a great relationship to this day. She's a wonderful woman, really fascinating artist, thinker yoga teacher.


Is she proud of you?


She is very proud of me, yeah.


Wow. You talked about your dad and your stepmom. They were kind of who raised you along the way, so that's when you're formed. I mean, granted, the first two years are important, but from two on, you end up in this home with your dad and stepmom. What were you witnessing? Because I feel like sometimes we model our parenting, our loving relationships. You're like, oh, that's what love is. It looks like that okay, or that's how we behave. What did they show you?


Well, this is another part of my struggle and a part of my mental health journey. My father passed away about three years ago of heart disease during COVID and I'm still very close to my stepmom Kristen. But the whole thing of, like, they did the best they could, here's the problem. They didn't love each other, and that's a problem in having a marriage and a family. And I asked both of them. They stayed together they got married when I was about three, and they stayed together till I left for college at 18. As soon as I left for college, they were like, Boom. How fast can we get a divorce?




So they stayed together for me, which I don't think is a good idea because here we are. I talked about the Baha'i Faith earlier. If you know anything about the Baha'i Faith, it's all about love and unity and creating bonds. So we would go to these Baha'i gatherings and we'd be singing and talking about love. And then he'd come home and they wouldn't barely talk to each other. They wouldn't hug. There was a lot of acrimony and resentment and anger. Seething, in the house and I'm this kid, we're talking about love and unity, but in the house we're behaving like a normal family would behave. We cook dinners together and we watch television, and there's a little garden in the back where we grow carrots and we walk the dog and stuff like that.


Totally normal, has all the trappings, but.


There isn't that love. So that'll really mess with your head, especially as a kid.


Is that why you kind of stiff armed the religion for a while?


I think that I saw a lot of hypocrisy there, and I needed to like a lot of kids do, post adolescents do. I just needed to jettison the religion of my parents and go on my own journey. And I moved to New York to become an actor. I moved here at age 20 and went to NYU and packed up a van and some boxes, and off you went. Off to the big city to follow my dream.


How did you know? Because there are ways that you deal with anger, emotions, and all that stuff that you learn. I mean, back in the day, people just swept their stuff under the carpet. Nobody was having in depth, meaningful conversations. They just want it to go away and we'll all forget about it. But how did you learn any of those life skills? Or what did you learn in terms of life skills from your upbringing?


Yeah, I was not very much good of that. No, not many good life skills. It really was like I said, I struggled with anxiety and depression and addiction, and then that kind of forced me after about a very serious depression, to go into therapy. It was about 20 years ago, maybe a little over 20 years ago, and that's when I started doing my work. So it wasn't until my late 30s that I started kind of like adulting. And I don't really feel like I found myself until my forty s. I just have a weird journey because I didn't become like a TV celebrity until I was like 39, 40 years old. I had been kicking around as an actor for a long time before the office took off.


So the bright eyed kid who packed up his boxes, went to NYU and saw like, stars. What were you imagining back then that your life would be like?


Well, in all honesty, the life that I'm getting to lead right now is absolutely beyond my wildest dreams. And I still don't quite understand it because I was this nerdy kid who played Dungeons and Dragons in suburban Know and played the bassoon in orchestra and I was on model United Nations and now I'm like this celebrity from being on a TV show, which is great. I'm so glad to have been on the office. It's wonderful. And some other work that I've done, but it's pretty trippy to become a celebrity. That's not what I was seeking. I was not seeking celebrity. I really wanted to be a theater artist. I wanted to be on Broadway and off Broadway. I wanted to be in a theater company and play different roles and be in plays. So I still love the theater, and I would love to go back and do more theater, but I had a much smaller vision of what my life and career would be.


Were you good from the jump? Like, when you began acting on stage, whatever, did you immediately go, yeah, this is it. I got this?


Yeah, it's funny. Like, a lot of kids from the was kind of raised by a television, so I'd get home from school and the TV would go on, so it was just reruns. And it was like watching those TV shows and those comic characters. I was like, I can do that. I want to do that.


Like, who'd you watch?


I watched know clinger or radar from mash, right? Or any of the characters on cheers or taxi was a favorite. Like reverend Jim from know, Bob Newhart's show. I loved all of the crazy comedic sidekicks lenny and squiggy.


Oh, yeah, lenny.


I loved those characters, and I was like, I want to do that. And I never really imagined that I ever would get to do that and actually be an amazing kind of sidekick comedic character. But was I good from the jump? I was good at certain things. I was good at being funny. I was mercurial. I was quick on my feet. But I needed to learn a lot about acting at school.


How did you know you were funny?


I made people laugh.


You do it.


But I moved to this new high school in Chicago from Seattle, and I took kind of my first acting class, and I did this exercise right from the get go, and it made everyone laugh. And then all the cute girls came up and were like, oh, you're so funny. Oh, my gosh, you should come sit at our lunch table. What's your name? I'd love to get to know you better. And I was like, here, I'm this pimply, nerdy bassoon playing kid from Seattle, and I'm in this new high school. I was like, okay, I think I'm going to do this. I'm sticking with that comedy that Matt.


Everyone cracking up.


Do you remember? It was an exercise called private and public. So you act how you would normally act in your room. Without anyone watching. That's good. And it's not supposed to be performative at all. It's just like you in your room, and then people just react. So I was in my room, and I put on an Elvis Costello song on the record player, and then I just started thrashing around and dancing and acting just ridiculous. So that brought down oh, my gosh.


So the chicks were digging you. You go, this is a sweet spot for me.


Yeah. The rest is history. No more chess team. No more model United Nations.


What happened to the bassoon?


No more bassoon.


Oh, no. All right, so you do some work on the stage and that kind of work. I mean, that's instant right there. That's tough. How did your Broadway stuff go or your off Broadway stuff?


It went great. I had a lot of struggles, but I got out of school and I did Shakespeare in the park, and I did a touring Shakespeare theater company called the Acting Company, and then some regional theater. I was just working my way up, treading the boards, as they say so in the arena stage and the Guthrie Theater and just playing lots of different roles, comedic and serious roles. And then did some off Broadway, got a couple of small Broadway gigs. And then I realized, hold up, as many people do. If I'm ever going to pay off my student loans, if I'm ever going to even dream about owning a house or an apartment, I'm going to need to do some television. Then my sights kind of turned toward La.


Coming up, how Rain found happiness in ways he did not expect and began his own spiritual journey. Stay with us.


Hi, I'm June Diane Rayfield. And I'm Jessica St. Clair. And we would like to invite you on a hilarious and heartfelt journey each week on the Deep Dive. From navigating the chaos of motherhood and family to exploring the depths of grief and loss, we are just two best friends who process life together and with you guys, discover our secrets to finding joy amidst the madness. And get ready for unfiltered conversations about life, love, and everything in between. And nails. We talk a lot about nails now. Community is everything to us at the Deep Dive. We believe in the power of connection and the strength that comes from supporting one another. And we would love to have you with us. So be sure to join us every Wednesday on the Deep Dive from Lemonade Media, wherever you get your podcasts. Hi, everyone. I'm Jenna Bushhager from today with Hoda and Jenna and the read with Jenna book club. There's nothing I love more than sharing my favorite reads with all of you, except maybe talking to the exceptional authors behind these stories. And that's what I'll be doing each week on my new podcast, Read with Jenna.


I'll be introducing you to some of my favorite writers. These conversations will leave you feeling inspired and entertained.


New episodes of Read with Jenna are released every Thursday. Listen now, wherever you get your podcasts, when you start doing something you love, often happiness comes, or joy, however you define it. Did you, in those years, feel happy? Did you feel satisfied? Did you feel good about yourself? Or were you in a funk at times?


That's a great question. And that's really the source of the conundrum, because right know, I had an agent, I was working with great theater directors, I was living in New York City, I had a beautiful girlfriend who's now my wife. And on paper everything was fantastic. This is what I always I was living my dream. So why was I so unhappy? I was really unhappy. I was disconnected. I would wake up at three in the morning really not sure of what I was doing or why I was doing it. And I was having these anxiety attacks that would leave me shaking on the floor, sweating, really severe panic attacks. And it didn't make any sense to me. Because society, and this is the thing, is external society says, like, you follow your dreams, you're going to go to X college, get X degree, get this job, marry this partner and make X amount of money and live at a house in this particular cul de sac or whatever. And then you will be happy. You will continue to pursue these external things, and once you hit those, you'll be happy. So Americans think, Well, I'm not happy yet, but once I get this, or once I make this amount, or once I get with this person, or once I have that job, then I will be happy.


So here I was, I was in Brooklyn.




And I was just miserable. And again, that brings me back to kind of my own personal spiritual journey where I felt like maybe by jettisoning the religion of my parents, maybe I've lost something, some deeper purpose, some deeper connection. That's what kind of forced it's. Julia Cameron, who wrote The Artist's Way, a fantastic book. Have you ever done the Artist's?


It amazing.


Oh, it's so great. Yeah, it's amazing. You do these journaling morning pages. It shows you that everyone is an artist, everyone is a writer, everyone is a poet, and it just takes you on a beautiful, spiritual, creative journey. But Julia Cameron, the author of that, who I'm a huge fan of, she once said, I come to spirituality not out of virtue, but out of necessity. So that's how I feel like it was for me. So it took me a long time to figure out the balance of living at peace with myself, loving myself, knowing myself deeper. Because you have a kid that was abandoned as a toddler, that creates a rift in the soul. That's right. When you're you have that mother bond kind of situation going on and which is so crucial. But finally, like in my 40s ish, I found some kind of balance where I was able to really enjoy the craft of acting and also live a rich, deep, fulfilling, meaningful life.


Yeah, so interesting. I think about that stuff a lot. It's sort of like I feel like we're seeking some kind of enlightenment, like something more than the rush I'm going to get from getting that great interview with Rain or doing that show or, oh, we're traveling, we're going to the Olympics and all these fun things. And for me, I feel like there are high points. You got married, you had the baby. It's a girl. You won the award. And then there are the low points. The marriage is over. He died. We're sorry. But most days are neither of those. Most days are Wednesday. And if Wednesday is not fun and Wednesday is not fulfilling, then you can't count on the highs. Like, I used to wait for the vacation. It's going to be good when I'm on the vacation. I'll feel so good. And then you are good for then. But it's just like that whole middle, because most of our lives is Wednesday. It's not either of the other two. And I think sometimes I feel like I miss that. Like I got to pay attention and go, okay, let's have a good Wednesday, and let's make sure we get there.


That's such an important aspect of the spiritual journey. I think there's more to spirituality than that. But this idea and the Buddhists do it very well, of living in the moment, cherishing each breath, living in gratitude for what we have. All the faith traditions urge us toward being of service to other people. Kind of living in a humble awe of the universe on a daily basis. That's when we find the rich, meaningful connections that we can have with other people, we certainly find it in our family, but then there's a greater family and an ever expanding, ever widening embrace of what family is and service to others and community. But living in that rich, meaty stuff, that's where you find joy is in those little things and not in the vacation and the highs and the fame and the success and the raise and all of the stuff that we are so manically frantically chasing out there. And we're not turning inward the way we need to.


That's so true. I feel like in the mornings when I try to set my day, I do some meditation. I do an exercise where I go through and check on my I ask my body, my mind, my emotional self and my spirit, like, what do you need? One by one body. What do you need today? You need a walk in the park. You're going to do that? So write down that you're doing that walk in the park. Intellectually. What do I need? Like, I was listening to your book on tape. I liked listening to it. I have it. But somehow I liked you. I said, well, you know what? I'll take a little more of that today. That'll be my intellect, my emotions. What do I need? I didn't get to hug my kids last night because I got home too. And spiritually, what am I seeking in that moment? Like, what do I need? But I also write in my journal like, dear God, thank you for this precious day. It'll come only one time like this. Let me see what you have for me today. The lessons, the love, I'll write it out.


But when you have conversations with God, how is it? What is your communication?


I love that question. So I have a chapter in the book called The Notorious God, which is a reinvention, a reexamination of what God is. And I think that's a really important conversation to be having. In fact, I pitched a show on it. I created a show called The Notorious God, where it would be me going around investigating what God was and how to reinvigorate God in the modern world or the idea of God or the higher power. Of course, it was passed on by all of the TV networks. One of the things I explore in there is we have this idea of God, I call him skydaddy, where there's like this skydaddy on a cloud that's going to fix our problems. He's very patriarchal, very male, judgmental, like is hoda sinning and keeping track of it and judging us all and meddling. And this idea of God is very pervasive in the Judeo Christian world. It's a very immature idea of what God is and it's one that I needed to get rid of. So in my journey and in my studies, I just did a lot of prayer and meditation and investigation about what God could be.


And long story short, there's a lot more to this in the chapter, but I view God as being much more akin to something like beauty or love than an entity like a dude. Not that I don't believe that God has a consciousness and a will and that we can't turn to this beauty, love, art, truth, essence. That's something beyond our comprehension and we need to. My daily practice is a daily surrender to this higher power. And like you said, I think awe, curiosity and gratitude, especially gratitude, are really important and key components in connecting with a higher power.


Awe, that's interesting.


Yeah. Awe of when you think about like, wow, this planet. If this planet was like 1000 miles further away from the sun, we wouldn't have enough light and everything on it would die. And if it was like a couple of thousand miles closer to the sun, it would burn up. My lungs move. Look at the pumps in my body. I have this lungs going in and out. I have this heart that's going right and my brain is thinking and it is absolutely every breath is a miracle. I'm a living, walking miracle. Everyone on here on the streets of Manhattan is an unrepeatable miracle of God and the universe. And if you can find that, especially in nature, in the forest, in the sky and the stars, in the sunlight, in the hummingbirds, that is living in prayer. And that's just as important as any verbalized prayer. So the other aspect of that is gratitude. And in positive psychology, they talk a lot about gratitude. And I have a little gratitude text chain with some buddies. And every morning we text to each other five things we're grateful for. And it's amazing how I can just be like, grumpy in my coffee.


This thing was late and why can't I? And then I do five gratitudes. And it just shifts on your access just a teeny, teeny bit toward like, oh, this is what's working. And even it's like, I'm grateful for this water, I'm grateful for this new jacket I got. Or it doesn't have to be huge and profound because we have a tendency to look at the negative and it's important to be shifting towards awe, curiosity and gratitude. The great writer thinker Annie Lamott has a love her.


Which one?


Help. Thanks. Wow.




The three essential prayers. Help. Thanks. Wow. So we ask God for help, we thank God for what we have, and wow, that's the awe. Like, wow, I get to do this. And living in that, living in that kind of awesome gratitude, it's hard, but we get little touches of it and glimpses of it, and then it starts to seep into your daily get.


It's so funny you bring up Annie Lamont. First of all, we love her. You know, she's amazing. She sent me this little necklace and it said, God's got this because I was going through something with my daughter and she was like, wear it, never take it off. And I wore it and I never took it off. And she said the one prayer that she always prays is, god, I'm here and I'm available. She said, that's the only one. She said, that's all I need. And every morning I start with that, I'm here and I'm available. And then from there, things open for her. So there are things that she sees and when there's a need, she's there. And she said and sometimes it is just taking a second to pause and acknowledge all those things. Yeah, I love her books. Don't you love her?


I do. She's amazing.


Just a brilliant and funny she's like you. She's funny and deep. Usually you get funny or you get deep. You rarely get both things. And this, by the way, your book is full of all kinds of great humor. So you talked about being on your knees, depression, addiction. That's the lowest of the low. Just to even start with the first step up, how did you go from a pile on the floor to what was the first step because there are people listening who feel like that they're at that low point in their life.


Well, I did things kind of backwards. So normally you're on your knees, you're like I need help. And you go to maybe a twelve step program or you go into therapy and those are great and have helped me tremendously. But for me it started with the God question. Actually in the 90s when I was on this spiritual kind of quest and journey, I really needed to know if I believed in God or not. This is why I did this pondering and searching and reading and I decided that I did and that's when I started in prayer. So I started in prayer. And I feel like then that led me to get some therapy, because I knew that just things were really out of whack and I needed to kind of look at my behavior patterns and look at the trauma from my childhood, which is really important to unpack. And I want to make a really important point know, I've talked about this sometimes, and it's funny, like in the YouTube comments, it's kind of like, oh, you're blaming your parents? You're blaming your parents. I'm not blaming my parents. My parents were a product of their time.


They were going through whatever they were going through. But whatever trauma was perpetrated on us by parents because parents are doing the best they can but they make a lot of mistakes. But we do need to unpack that to achieve a greater sense of balance and to understand ourselves better.


How did you explain God to your kids? Because my kids recently were like I don't see God, I don't see God. How do you explain the concept? How did you explain the concept?


That's a great question. I don't remember any specific technique. But I think that I talk about in the book how America is so bifurcated of the red states and blue states and whatnot. But there is also a tendency like the blue states, the coastal cities meditate but don't pray. And in the red states they pray but don't meditate a little bit. So I think it's important to do both. So we did from a very early age pray and meditate with my son. We would literally sit in stillness and silence and openness and just kind of measure our breath and seek to still the mind, quiet the mind and be in the moment. And so many things open up when you do that and so much access opens up and then we would pray and deeply pray and I don't know how I would describe God. I think that for me so much of my connection to God is in nature. So I know that when we would be outside or be in nature we can just witness the beauty and mystery and majesty of the divine all around us. Again, it's not some sky daddy.


Yeah. You said your dad passed during COVID What did you lose when he died?


Well, he was my principal bond because I went with him as a child, so he was my dad. But our connection was really ferocious and deep and ancient, and it was a profound loss. I write about it in the book because I had an incredible realization when he passed, which was, in the Baha'i faith, you prepare the body for burial. It's similar to the Jewish faith and many other faith traditions. So myself and his then wife, his widow, we washed the body in preparation for burial. And when I was there with his dead body, which is terrifying and sad and overwhelming, but it's actually very healing. And I think there's a reason why humans, through time, prepared bodies for burial, because when you're witness to the body in that way, it became so abundantly clear to me that that was not my dad. That body was not my father. That body was a vessel. He his essence, his light, his spirit, his heart, his soul inhabited that body for his 79 years, and it had passed on. And I didn't feel like, oh, his life was, like, snuffed out, but it had moved on and moved forward, and that brought me some peace.


Like, we're we're going to bury the body. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The vessel is going away now, but absolutely heartbreaking. Took me several years to I won't even say get over it, but to really effectively process the grief there. But at the same time, I still talk to him, and I still really believe that those that have passed are on a different level of consciousness and a different plane. You can call it heaven if you want, and they're there for us. And I have conversations with him, and I feel his presence, I feel his spirit, and honestly, I feel his help, too, and I can call on him for help and assistance.


You're still looking for guidance from your dad?


I still am.


Yeah. We all are, I guess, right?




Did you have all of the meaningful conversations that you wanted or needed to have with him before he died?




You did?


I did. I keep coming back to this phrase like, I've done the work, and you can say, well, the work never ends, but I, for whatever reason, have an insatiable curiosity about figuring out why I am the way that I am and what the hell happened to me. And I don't understand people that just don't want to go and don't want to dig, don't want to know. I want to dig deep with tremendous curiosity into my parents and grandparents and the choices they made and why did they do the things they do, and why do you always behave this way? And I remember one time I was very fortunate to be able to do some therapy with my dad. I've never told this story before. Wow. To just get to under, dig into some family stuff. And I said to him, when him and my stepmom would fight, which was frequently, he would always look out the window and it would be like, see a tree or something. And he would go like, isn't that a beautiful tree outside? And it would drive me crazy.


Wait, after the fight, in the middle of it, in the middle of it, they'd be fighting.


And then he'd be like, oh, what a beautiful bird. Look at there's a little sparrow. And I asked him, like, what are you doing? Why did you do that? That was so weird for me. You're ten, 1112 years old, and you see, like, is this how people act? What's going on? So my dad told a story about how he had had a really traumatic childhood. His mom died. He was really abused by his dad. He was left alone with his kid's sister for weeks at a time with no food in the house they'd have to go borrow food from. Like, it's kind of like Charles Dickens kind of stuff. I mean, it was really, really bad. And he said that when things would get really bad, he would always kind of look for something beautiful, and he would long for the beauty of that thing, and that would take him out of his pain and his agony. And then it all came together. Of course he's fighting. He's in this really loveless, terrible marriage, and they're fighting. And so he's looking out the window and looking at a pretty bird or a pretty tree. And that's how our trauma as a child affects us and how it guides us and interacts with us as adults.


Okay, I could cry for an hour hearing that story. I don't know what it is about that story. Oh, my God. That told you everything about him. Like, you learned the whole nut right there. How about him going to therapy? Most dads wouldn't think about it, believe me. How did that happen?


He resisted tooth and nail. He hated therapy and psychology. He thought I was just such a hippie weirdo going to that stuff. He was so old school about it, but I was going through a really hard time, and he bravely showed up, and he said he was very judgmental. We went to this place called PCs in Scottsdale, and you're doing intensive retreats. And he said he was really skeptical. But then he came in and he just had a wonderful experience, and it was very warm and he learned a lot. Here's another story around that my dad would play opera music and classical music nonstop. I mean, just like from the second he woke up, he'd put on albums, operas and classical music, and he would be singing it, and he knew all of the composers. And for me, of course, as soon as I discovered punk rock, I was like, in the Black flag in The Clash, and I just wanted anything other than classical, and I asked him about that as well. And his mom died of tuberculosis when he was nine years old, and she left him her record collection of classical music.


So he had this little phonograph and this stack of classical records and opera records, and he would play them over and over again as a memory of his mother. So, again, these direct connections of trauma in his life and how they affected and interacted with me, like, we take this stuff, we carry it forward in such interesting ways.


Thank God you dragged into therapy. That is so amazing, though, that was able to be uncovered and that you learned everything. Because, like you said, when people write in the comments, oh, your parents did the best they can. You know that better than anybody. I mean, you're like reading this stuff, so lo and behold, you're a dad, so now you got to start parenting. So when you started, what was your blueprint? You knew that this was what you had grown up with. It wasn't what you wanted. You'd been to therapy. So who were you modeling your parenting after?


Not my parents. So my wife and I, my wonderful wife of 25 years, Holiday Rhinehorn. Fortunately, we were very much on the same page, and we wanted to raise him as consciously and as lovingly as possible. I wish I could do some things different. When I look back in retrospect, I was still too much of a workaholic when he was a kid and trying to seek my own self esteem from work and success in showbiz. And so I was really hyper driven in a way that took me away from him a lot. And I wasn't always the nicest guy because I was fried and not terribly happy through lots of that. But, yeah, it's been a wonderful process. And it's really difficult to raise kids in this day and age. I think it's always difficult to raise kids, but now they're up against so much. This mental health crisis with young people is just staggering. Oh, my God. Yes. I do a lot of talking at college campuses, and I talk about my journey and mental health and spirituality and a little bit about the office, and I see it. Kids are hurting. Young people are really hurting.


So when you tell them that at the peak of your career, when you were at the office, when everyone thought, wow, Dwight's riding high, and you weren't happy even then, when you that was like the mountaintop, how do you tell that story and what do you hope that the kids will take from that?


Well, that there is never an external solution to finding well being. We're never going to find it outside of ourselves. Try as you will. I mean, at that point in time, I had, like, marriage and money and fame and a great job and creativity and a nice house and anything beyond my wildest dreams. I won't say that I was miserable on the office. That's not true. But I was still out of balance, and it wasn't enough. And us humans have that. It's never enoughness ishness where it's just like, I just wanted more. It's that lust and that greed in our hearts. Which isn't necessarily like lust for sex and greed for money, but it's that if we don't feel like we are enough, we will just try and put all of these kind of like square pegs into round holes and stick bandaids on us and try and we're hungry ghosts, as they say in Buddhism. Hungry ghosts stuffing our faces with what we think will fill us and fulfill us. But it doesn't really. So fortunately, while I was going through that, I was also digging deep in my recovery program and in therapy and in my marriage and was able to kind of set the ship right for.


The mental health cris that you see for young people. I mean, it's very concerning, and I think people say I have anxiety, and you're trying to figure out what's the route, why? What are we talking about here? And people take certain medications, or they do this and they do that. Everyone's got their own trip, but how do you see it going forward? And what are you kind of hoping that, I don't know, what do kids need that they're not getting? Because I don't know what the answer is.


I don't know what the answer is either. There's a couple of things I've learned along the way. I loved your description about, like, what do you need in the morning? Body, mind, and spirit. What do you need that's beautiful? I think that anxiety itself is not the problem. Anxiety is a helper. Anxiety is there to say you need something.




So usually we're not in touch with that, so it just manifests as a right. But if you listen closely and deeper and get better at it, the anxiety can tell you it's like, I need a hug. I need a nap. I need reassurance. I need to connect with someone. I need to be in nature. I need to get a better night's sleep. It can be a helpful warning sign of an unmet need. So what you have in an anxiety crisis, like what's going on right now is you have an entire society vibrating with unmet needs that people aren't aware of. And I truly believe Hoda, that in spirituality, whether you're a Christian, whether Muslim, whether you're a Jew, whether you're a Buddhist, Baha'i, that there are spiritual tools that can help fill those unmet needs. When you have a connection with your higher power, when you are able to surrender, when you're able to say, Thy will be done, not mine, when you are able to use meditation, awe, curiosity, gratitude, these tools and to sync all of that up with some kind of higher purpose in service to others. These are the tools that humanity needs right now on a societal level.


We also need them on a personal and individual level. And there's a great deal of truth and wisdom to be found in man's great spiritual wisdom and faith traditions that we've kind of because humanity's kind of abandoned religion, we've kind of lost sight of things that can really help us.


Coming up, what Rain is making space for at this moment in his life, after the break.


Hi there. It's Kelly Ripa, and I have a new podcast called let's Talk Off Camera. You might know me from your TV, but now we're turning the cameras off and getting real uncensored, unfiltered, and maybe a little unhinged with celebs, experts, friends, and more. Trust me, you won't want to miss a single episode. No lights, no camera. All action. Listen to. Let's talk off camera with Kelly Ripa. Wherever you get your podcasts.




This person's trapped in the wrong story, and we got to get them out of that story. My name is Kevin Miller. I'm the host of the self helpful podcast.


So many of the books that we read about family relationships, it's based on a theory.


Join me as I curate and translate the most effective self help wisdom to help you elevate your personal experience and improve the way you show up for others.


The title of this podcast is Making Space. So we try to make space in our lives. I try to make some space in the morning because my day gets kind of jammed up and crazy. So let's pretend you have a blank slate day. Your wife's, busy kids in school. You open your eyes in the morning, and the day is yours. You don't have a workday. You can do what you will with this day. How would you spend that one day?


That's a great question. I've never been asked that before. Well, my favorite mornings are mornings that I can really spend on my kind of physical and mental and spiritual health. So if I'm able to get up, I have this long driveway that's on a big hill. And if I can run up and down my driveway wow, that's good. Starting with that.




And then do some workouts, like in my garage with some weights or whatever like that. And then if I can do a cold plunge, I have a cold plunge.


You do that. How long do you sit in there?


I only go in for, like, three or four minutes. Yeah.


How do you get through the three minutes?


You breathe.


Are you no music. You just get in there?


No, you just breathe, and you accept the cold. You embrace the cold. Fight it. Yes. You're just like, this is just a sensation.




It's just a sensation. And then you enjoy the breath. Savor the breath. And then it's incredibly revitalizing. And then I do some meditation and prayer and some spiritual reading, which I think is also really important is reading from the holy texts of the world to glean some greater connection from people far wiser than me.


Do you read from the holy books or do you have other books that.


Keep I keep a Bible on my desk. I also keep the Dhammapada, the writings of the Buddha on my desk. I also have Baha'i books that yeah, all you know, there's a lot of contemporary wisdom thinkers like Han and Know have some wonderful ideas and wisdom. And then if I really have my druthers, sometimes I get too busy as a producer and with scheduling and stuff like that. But at heart, I'm still that dorky theater artist. And so I like to do something creative like write some poetry or write a script or start writing an essay or even making a video or taking some pictures or something like that. And then usually I'll play some tennis or some pickleball because that's awesome.


That sounds like a really good day. Are you an early bird or do you usually sleep in?


I would love to sleep in, but my problem is I wake up at 630 every morning.


Every morning. And when's bedtime for you, I'm going.


To age myself here. I'm going to bed at like grandpa hours. Like ten, 3011 at night.


That's late.


That's late. Well, you're a morning show host.


Host, by the way, all of us. If we're not in bed by 08:00, it's over. And even on weekends, I make it till nine, and then I tip over. What are we going to do? 1030. Wow.


Yeah. You're on 1030 at night? Yeah.


All right.


Living like a rock star.


You got to get Rain wilson's book. It's called soul boom. Why? We need a spiritual revolution. Rain, thank you so much. Hold up. Talking to you.


Oh, I love speaking with you. This was so much fun. Thanks for having me.


Thank you. Hey, guys, thank you so much for listening and for coming on this journey with me. If you like what you heard, and I hope that you do, please give Making Space a five star rating and review on Apple podcasts. And make sure you tell your friends. Follow us on Apple podcasts spotify, or wherever you're listening right now. Making space with Hodakati is produced by Allison Berger and Alexa Kasevecchia, along with Amanda Sidman, Abigail Russ, Kate Saunders and our production assistant is Megan Silio. Our associate Audio engineer is Juliana Mastrarilli. Our audio engineers are Bob Mallory and Catherine Anderson. Original music by John SDS. Bryson Varnes is our head of audio production. Missy Dunlop Parsons is our executive producer. Cherise Williams Laredo is our senior producer.


Hi, I'm Tom Yamas. And for me, the news is so much more than a headline. It informs, it inspires, and it still matters. To cover it, you have to be in it. We'll take you to the front lines of the story where it actually happened with NBC News journalists on the ground from all over the world. We cover what you need to know and bring your newsfeed to life in primetime and streaming live. It's your news playlist. Join me for Top Story weeknights at seven Eastern on NBC News Now.