Michael Bow: I Am A Determined Dreamer
Every desire we feel summons the life force—the frequency of the Divine to express itself manifested in matter. Without asking, without the birth of a desire, we cannot experience expansion. Every new desire brings the evolution into motion—propelling Everything That Exists, causing every particle of the Cosmos to eternally become more. Therefore, without a dream, there is no life. While the observation of others might influence our beliefs in what is possible or not, when we sense beyond matter, beyond the unseen, we can be the first ones to bring into life what has never been materialized until now. This process can be described as tuning into the frequency of infinite possibilities—consciously fusing ourselves with the new information contained within our dreams and deepest desires—allowing the energies that create worlds bring to bring fulfillment to us.
Artist Michael Bow, who stars as Simon Lau in the CW’s Kung Fu (also streaming on HBO Max), describes himself as someone who chases his deepest desires: “I am a dreamer. I always have high hopes. Even going into acting, I was told that it’s tough and that nobody that looks like me is on screen. So basically, all the evidence was counter to my dream. But although the odds were against me, I decided I still wanted to do it anyway and will continue making my dream a reality.’ And so, that’s what it is like to be I.
Pride in our cultural background comes with expressing our unique variety and resonating with that expression. These different expressions—created by us and continually evolving into new ways of experiencing ourselves—give our uniqueness embodiment in the physical world. However, from a wider perspective that expands beyond our physicality, we all are interconnected—We All Are One. In this vibrational state of no-space, no-time, no–body, we are not seeking to fit or seeing ourselves as separate from each other; we are looking for connectedness amongst all that is. We are all and everything at once. We just are.
“My family is third-generation Asian American. English was my parent’s and mine first language. I was raised watching American TV shows, American films, and Disney Channel,” says Michael, smiling. Once I grew up, I realized that the world saw me as different. In elementary school, some kids would tease me with silly Asian stereotypes. It was tough to reconcile because I wasn’t raised that way. But then I realized, ‘Oh, wait, not only am I Asian, but I also have two Asian cultures that I should be representing—Chinese and Korean.’ It’s like this whole cultural responsibility now that I have to deal with. So, it’s been a journey. I like being true to myself. I don’t want to fake it. I am also trying to learn about my Chinese and Korean cultures because I want to know more. I am proud of representing all my cultures. Because in the representation game, Asians were negatively stereotypical when I was growing up. So, I decided I didn’t want that to become the kind of representation Asians are mostly known for. When I do my acting roles, I don’t want to contribute to that. I want to become characters that we aspire to and characters that make you proud to be Asian.” Michael pauses, and then continues, “I directed and wrote a short film called In Between that deals with that feeling of being caught in between cultures. In school people looked at me as Asian. But my Asian friends saw me as super Americanized. I felt like not being accepted into either. So then, where do I fit?”
There are “two” ways to experience the creation of our life. We can allow the external environment to control our experience, giving our own empowerment away by creating from matter to matter. Or we can also consciously shift anything by looking within, creating the life we desire the most from energy to matter. To do so, we can use any tools we have to tune in inside of us, soften our physical senses, and from that inner state of being, synchronize our body, mind, and emotions with the possibilities we now can sense beyond our material world.
Michael says, “Being an actor is emotionally fraught because you’re putting yourself out there. And it’s almost like dating where you’re like, ‘Oh my god, please, choose me.’ But also, you have to be cool, like, ‘I don’t need you to choose me.’ It’s such an oxymoron of things that you’re going through. Luckily, one of my first acting teachers, Anthony Abeson, who’s he’s like the Yoda of my acting life back in New York, said, ‘Worry is a misuse of the imagination.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, wow!’ You’re worried about something when you’re in the waiting room, looking at the other competition, and wondering, ‘Oh, what if the casting director hates me? Or ‘What if I forget my lines?’ Worrying, it’s like this dark monster. But then you realize that I’m creating the monster. It’s not just this external thing. I’m putting the energy and feeding it with worry. Once I realized that is my energy, I could put it into something productive. Because, as actors, our job is literally our imagination. That was such a cool superpower way of reevaluating things. I started thinking about the character’s thoughts and, the moment before, how exciting it would be to get to jump in the scene. I slowly realized all these choices I made to go into acting actually have helped me in life too. If you think and worry about the outcome and end results, you’ll just worry yourself to death and be unhappy. But if you think about only the things you can control in this specific amount of time, that essentially creates new habits that can make you happily navigate life. Weirdly, that mindset has helped me be happier with life, too.”
Famous Yogi Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev once said, “Joy is a natural phenomenon. Misery is your creation.” Interestingly enough, we often tend to chase the things we desire to experience, believing that by having the things we want, we will finally be happy. We can experience the things we want like this, but it will require a tremendous amount of effort that eventually can bring us to misery. It’s not the things we have that bring us joy; it’s the state of joy and happiness that brings us the things we desire. Being in joy is natural to us, and that’s why anything opposite of it feels bad. Being aware about it and knowing that anything we desire in life is because we think it will make us feel good, then we can shift and nurture our emotional body unconditionally from the things we have or not. The experience of the desire is minuscule compared to the journey of discovering it in our experience. Don’t you want to also feel good and enjoy your journey?
When asked about seeking happiness, Michael says, “I listened to a podcast about this actor making it big. And then the interviewer was like, ‘Oh, you must be happy right now?’ And the actor responded, ‘Honestly, I’m depressed. Because when I first moved out to LA, I hoped I would be on one TV. So, I was hoping, hoping, hoping, and so I was basically sad. Then I got one role in a TV show. I was happy for a second, and then I was sad again.’ The actor continued with his story, ‘Well, now I hope I get a recurring character in a TV show.’ Then he got the recurring role. He was happy for a second and then sad again. And then he’s asked himself, ‘Why am I sad again? Okay, now I want to be in a movie. I’m going to audition and audition.’ He got to be in the movie. He was happy for a second and then sad again. And he realized that he was unhappy 90% of the time. He was only happy for a moment when he got the role. But then, all of a sudden, he would go back down again. So, he was saying essentially, as a cautionary tale, he wished he enjoyed the journey more the whole time.”
It takes a person to include themselves to the potential of being seen, heard, and represented in the frame of the desired image to change not only his or her own experience, but to create the infinite ripple effect to inspire others to do so. How can we expect to be included into something that we believe we cannot be included in? How can fighting against something for not being heard or seen bring more love? Every change we have ever experienced in the collective, started with one or a few people becoming the essence of that change themselves.
About inclusion, Michael expresses, “Inclusivity, to me, means you’re including these people who are not necessarily being included. And that means so much because film and TV represent who is allowed to be included. Even a couple of years ago, when there were no Asian characters on shows, it showed the world that you don’t have to include them in leadership positions. And as romantic leads, you don’t have to include them because they’re unnecessary. So that’s what that’s showing. But it’s not a hard thing. Just include an Asian character and let them do their thing.”
Our heart is like a magnet attracting to us everything we are becoming. When we lead by heart, we aminate our love, directing it to everything and everyone we give out attention to. Michael so beautifully recognizes this: “I’ve dreamed of becoming an actor since I was a little kid. So I always go back to that little kid that was always so happy and believed in that dream. That’s the heart. As you change and grow older, checking back in your heart will always show you if you are on the path to that little kid’s dream.”
About infusing his essence through the process of becoming Simon Lau in the CW’s Kung Fu, Michael says, “It’s funny; it’s almost like a loop. Because the role of Simon was written as this one-time thing, I wanted to infuse a bit of myself into it. And then also on top of that, I am also the ideal version of myself: a very charismatic, fun, loving guy in this challenging circumstance. In doing that, I thankfully got positive feedback about going back to the show, as the audience wanted to see more of that. Now weirdly, putting my ideal version of myself through Simon gave me more confidence, too. I can feel safe infusing some of that in my own life, knowing that I’m doing something right. Simon’s actions and thoughts resonate with people. And I could feel free to, I guess, be a little bit like that myself.”
Imagine us being alone. Without relationships we wouldn’t have any feedback; therefore, we would seize to exist. When we feel good, we want to share it with others. When we feel accomplished, we want to celebrate it with others. When we feel in love with life, we want to amplify the frequency of that love with one another.
“Being part of the series Kung Fu specifically, it was such a great experience. Better than I’ve ever experienced because, as an actor, you usually feel alone on an island against the world. Because you’re trying to get this role and try and try and try and try. Being on the set, it was like, finally being off the island. I’m swimming in the ocean, and everyone is in the water. We’re all one while creating this amazing thing together. You are just having the time of your life; that’s how it felt. On top of that, I knew many of the cast members years before the show. Almost like this familial love and pride I’ve only ever felt with my brother and sister. We’re all doing this together—it’s self-fulfilling. Honestly, it’s basically when you are experiencing amazing food for the first time. But instead of doing it yourself, you get to share it with others simultaneously. That’s been amazing to be able to do it and to share that feeling,” candidly says Michael.
Then Michael continues praising his experience of embodying his character Simon: “I’m a big nerd for TV show sci-fi characters. So, whenever I see a cool character on a show, I want to see more of them. They’re doing something different that resonates with me. With Simon, I wanted to create that dynamic. I’m in a rare position where I am now that character I usually admire. It’ll be so cool when I can create that for someone else, an intriguing character that you’re watching. A character where I want to know more of his backstory. I want to see what other circumstances he would be in and how he’d react. It’s such an interesting thing because Simon is this charismatic K-pop star that also has magic blood. We’ve seen him trying to get assassinated. And now we’ve seen him in the spirit world. Where else do we want to see him?”
We resonate so much with superheroes, because we all have the supernatural abilities to create a magical life. Our superheroes are not far from what we can create: doing good in the world, experiencing the connection with our greater power, becoming strong and infusing our action with unseen, but limitless forces. Michael says, “I want to be a superhero. I’m a big superhero guy. The biggest thing about acting that I love is being able to explore worlds that don’t exist. That’s the magic trick of acting. We truly believe that man is Batman. We truly believe that the Death Star is flying through space. I want to be one of the first Asian superheroes because I feel like we haven’t seen that yet. Especially a superhero with powers that aren’t necessarily tied to his alienness.”
Being aware of our own empowerment can lead us to experience and integrate our divinity in physical form. Once we do that, there is no way back, because we can’t unknow what we know. It’s time to take the reins of your in your hands. Michael expresses, “I realize my optimism is what has gotten me so far. That’s an aspect of myself that I realize I admire in myself and others. Everyone’s handed certain cards in life you’re dealt. So there are two ways to go about it. You can be like, ‘Oh, man, these are the cards I’m dealt. Got it. I’m Asian, and I’m an Asian actor. Nothing’s ever going to get better, blah, blah, blah.’ Then there’s the other side of it, where it’s like, ‘Okay, I recognize that this is the hand I’ve been dealt. But what can I do with that? In what ways can I utilize it and change my destiny? My destiny? Is that written, or am I in charge of it?’ That I feel is optimism.”
Are you creating your life by default, or, like Michael, seeking optimism and consciously choosing with joy to move in the direction you want to experience?
Cover Photography // Stefanie Michova