After we posted “Relaxing: The ‘Big Lebowski’ Approach,” we got an email from a man named Gary Silvia. He introduced himself as a Reverend in the Church of the Latter-Day Dude, and said he thought Making Love Sustainable readers might be interested in knowing more about Dudeism and its relaxed approach to living.
We agreed, and we emailed Reverend Silvia some questions asking more about Dudeism and how it can help us live fuller, happier lives. What we got back are some wonderful insights into intimacy and connection rich in references to one of our favorite films, “The Big Lebowski.” As Reverend Silvia says, “A Dudeist doesn’t work at intimacy, a Dudeist abides in intimacy.”
Read on for the interview.
Making Love Sustainable (MLS): What is Dudeism’s attitude toward intimate relationships? Or, another way of putting it: How would a Dudeist deal with the work and responsibility of being someone’s significant other?
Reverend Silvia (RS): Well, Dudeism’s attitude toward intimate relationships is that they are a natural, zesty enterprise. As for the work and responsibility involved in being someone’s significant other, that sounds exhausting. When intimacy is shared through honesty and joy, it really is not “work.” Is bowling work? It takes energy, it takes following some rules, you have to interact with others, but we still do not call it work, because it is play. Intimacy is a game we play together, and when it is played well everyone wins. A Dudeist doesn’t work at intimacy, a Dudeist abides in intimacy.
MLS: At Making Love Sustainable we talk a lot about how having good, satisfying relationships with other people has to start with having a good, satisfying relationship with yourself. But this seems to be difficult for many people, especially in this time. What does Dudeism say about why we struggle to get along, abide, with ourselves?
RS: Yeah man, one has to dig their own style before they are able to truly dig someone else’s style. In Dudeism we seek to take it easy, this is a lot like mindfulness, taking it easy is a non-judgmental acceptance of things the way they are. This includes accepting who we ourselves are. Being honest with ourselves about who we are, and accepting that without judging helps us abide. People have to be honest with themselves, so they can be honest with others. The Dude knew who he was, “I’m the Dude, that’s what you call me.” Knowing ourselves in a honest and accepting way helps us know others in a honest and accepting way. Doing this can turn a friendship into a special friendship, maybe even one that leads to conception and perpetuates this whole derned human comedy.
MLS: Has your life changed since you adopted a Dudeist way of being in the world? And, if it has changed, what are some examples of how?
RS: Life has changed a bit for me since embracing Dudeism, I am definitely more calm and focused on what’s really important to me. The take it easy ethos of Dudeism has really helped me keep from getting too wrapped up in things, both good things and bad things. Life is full of ups and downs, or strikes and gutters as it were, and you just can’t let yourself be blown all around by the winds of change. I realize that this moment will change and that whatever is happening, good or bad, is going to end and something new will begin. I can then be more in the moment, appreciating the good times more because I am less worried about them coming to an end. Also not letting the bad things bother me too much, because they will also come to an end.
MLS: You’ve said a lot that I think will help readers of Making Love Sustainable abide in Dudeism. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any Dudeism resources readers might find interesting?
RS: I’d like to take a few minutes and clear up a few things about what Dudeism is, and is not. We are not a boys club, we pride ourselves on being totally neutral where gender is concerned. For instance the word dude can apply to male or female, or anywhere in between. For us a dude is a dude regardless of physical traits or sexual identity. Also Dudeism is not anti-marriage, one of our main functions is to help people get hitched. Performing weddings is a major reason some become Dudeist priests. I can also say my marriage of 22 years has not suffered from me becoming a Dudeist, if anything we get along better, she is my special lady friend.
If people want to learn more about Dudeism they can visit our website at Dudeism.com, there they can learn all about our philosophy and see what we are about. There is a growing library of Dudeist literature out there, The Abide Guide and The Tao of the Dude to name a couple. We are always welcoming.