Meditation 103 Session 60 with Michael Imperioli

Imperioli, for what it’s worth, gets it. “It’s hilarious that most of these people got to know me as this psychotic, murderous, drug addict, and now they want to sit and meditate with me,” he told LA Yoga in 2022. “I mean, listen, fame is such a bizarre thing. If you can at least turn people on to something meaningful, something that may somehow be beneficial, that’s good.”


In our modern era of Reddit AMAs, Instagram Lives and TikTok tell-all challenges, the kind of celebrity interaction fans crave has taken on a different tone. Everyone wants to leer still, of course, but nobody wants to be so explicit about it: immersive observation trumps voyeurism, nine times out of ten. Gone is the early-00s appetite for upskirt paparazzi shots; post-pandemic celebrity fodder is about touting what kind of couples therapy you attend, what your mom did with your money as a child star, or the simple act of welcoming Architectural Digest into your home (refer to Imperioli’s own apartment tour here).

Meditation is far from the only non-acting pursuit Imperioli has taken on in the last few years: there’s his indie rock band, Zopa, and his series of novels. But as he sits in silent meditation, as unfazed by the intermittent sirens wailing outside his window as the invisible collection of students on the Zoom, something especially endearing is at play here, a certain level of intimacy (however mitigated by the distorting grain of the internet). Sure, you could cry proselytization or exotification, but if there’s one thing Imperioli doesn’t come across as, it’s bad faith. Throughout the session, it remains apparent: this is his practice, his daily life pursuit, and he has chosen to open his doors to the public.

At the end of the session, Imperioli and his wife initiate a Q&A; questions range from his favorite books to indigenous spiritualities (which Imperioli humbly admits he hasn’t explored, citing the dangers of becoming a “spiritual shopper.”) He’s thoughtful and honest—at one point, he calls meditation “very easy to learn, but not easy to master.” He encourages a new attendee, who reveals this was their first time ever meditating, to keep at it and keep up with practice: Imperioli promises they hold a review session that breaks down Tonglen meditation, in full, at least once a month.

When asked about indigenous traditions, Imperioli muses on a quote from author Dan Millman that feels applicable beyond spirituality: “If you desire to dig a well to reach water, your efforts are more fruitful if you dig one 100-foot-deep hole than if you dig ten holes, each 10 feet deep.” Given his career spent embodying men who dig themselves into countless, gaping holes of oblivion, there’s something poignantly heartening about joining Imperioli himself, the man behind the mythos, as he seeks water from a deeper, more substantive well.