'The Fast and the Furious' star Michelle Rodriguez on her spiritual journey to Mexico and lucid dreaming
Off the movie screen and away from the paparazzi, there are a few things you might not know about actress Michelle Rodriguez.
For example, Rodriguez, known for her roles in "The Fast and the Furious" movie franchise, never finished high school, but is quite a bookworm.
"I have books everywhere, all kinds of books, from all kinds of subjects on anthropology, you know, mysticism, occultism, you know, science, politics, you name it. Psychology, big on that," she told ABC News' "Nightline" at her Los Angeles home. "That's how I learn, because I never had a formal education. So, you know, I know how to extract the things that will be valid if I'm ever trying to talk about this in the future."
"A lot of my friends in the party scene or social scene are thinking I'm crazy," she said. "Everybody's poking me. They're like, 'Michelle, when are you coming back?' My agent, you know, my friends are like, 'Michelle, you know, you haven't partied for two years. We're worried about you. You're just locked up in your house.'"
"I'm trying to figure out who I am and why I'm here," she said.
Her journey most recently took her to Mexico.
"I can't run away from who I am. I can't wear masks anymore. This side of me that you're probably about to see will be new, for a lot of people. Because, just, nobody's ever been interested. So I've never shown it to anybody," she said, laughing.
"Nightline" recently traveled with Rodriguez to the ancient ruins of Mexico where she took part in a five-day intensive spiritual boot camp, working one-on-one with renowned spiritual teacher Sergio Magana, whose book "The Toltec Secret" has caught on around the world.
Magana, an expert on the indigenous Toltec tradition who claims to have taught more than 100,000 students, specializes in lucid dreaming.
"[Lucid dreaming] is when you're conscious of sleeping in your dream and you are awake. You're in control," Rodriguez said.
With lucid dreaming, the belief is that if you are ware that you are dreaming, you can influence your dream. That will plant an idea or even redirect your subconsciousness and bring about real change to your waking life.
Rodriguez said her goals for the boot camp were to find techniques to tap into the subconscious and to be able to identify patterns that were disruptive in her life.
"I think whenever you learn something new, you've got to really push it. 'Cause otherwise it's just a phase, a fad. I don't want it to be a fad. I want it to be something that I can incorporate into my every day," she said.
During the boot-camp experience, Rodriguez said she tried hard not to get lost in drawing connections to her previous research and explained why this journey was so important to her.
"I want to be able to see the beauty in everything. I can't do that by partying around the world and living extreme and having sex with hot people, or, like, you know, hanging out with powerful people," she said. "I'm putting all of my value outside of myself by doing that and I want my value to be inside."
Some of the work with Magana delved into her personal demons, she said.
"I had some ancient primal anger. I've been working on that anger for years," she said. "I was able to leave a lot of [that] there. I felt it like coming out of my chest, my brain, everything. ... I feel a lot lighter."
When asked what made her most angry, Rodriguez said it stemmed from her being a woman and growing up "in the ghetto."
"I had to pretend to be a guy just to have freedom to do what I want without having to marry someone, you know, or be somebody's girlfriend," she said. "I was like, 'That’s pathetic, dude, you know, that I have to pick up a gun or hang out, you know, with all these violent people in order to be free.' And, that's kind of what I felt most of my life. And, I realized it was obviously all in my mind."
A month after the boot camp, Rodriguez, who returned home to Los Angeles, said she was happy with the work she'd accomplished.
"It was amazing. I got to learn all these great tools that I get to use for the rest of my life. I was blown away just by the history of the place," she said of her trip to Mexico. "As far as letting anger in, there's a door there now and that door cannot be opened very easily -- as easily as it was opened before."
Magana said he too saw improvements, and their work and friendship continues.
"She told me that she feels a lot lighter, that she's more clear about the path to take, that she has decided to go back to work after the [sabbatical] and that she's deciding to also do her own projects," Magana told "Nightline." "It's a huge change."News - 'The Fast and the Furious' star Michelle Rodriguez on her spiritual journey to Mexico and lucid dreaming