Miranda Rae Mayo, actress on NBC-TV’s “Chicago Fire,” raised Baptist and Mormon before being introduced to “New Thought” at aunt’s church, embraces meditation and “mindfulness,” believes “God is pure love . . . pure light, abundance.”
Miranda Rae Mayo plays a firefighter on “Chicago Fire,” which is filmed in Chicago.
Grew up in Fresno, moved to southern California after high school to make a go at an acting career.
“Acting is technically just lying, so I guess I’ve been acting since I was about 7,” she jokes. “But professionally . . . for about seven years.”
She’s 27, “also a singer-songwriter: I play the cello.”
“I remember going to a Baptist preschool” at age 3 or 4, “and I remember we didn’t go for very long. But Jesus was always a part of my early religious experiences due to my father’s religious beliefs . . . He was brought up Baptist.”
Around 7 or 8, the family “started going to a Mormon church because my mom was brought up Mormon.
“Essentially, us going to the Mormon church was my parents’ final attempt at trying to keep their marriage together. My mom felt like she was kind of in a rut and didn’t know what to do and . . . thought, ‘Hey, let’s go back to our roots.’
“But I don’t think that religion can necessarily fix something that’s just not meant to work out, and they ended up getting separated.”
The congregation “was very unsupportive, and so we left and then started going to my aunt’s church,” considered New Thought or religious science.
What does that entail?
“I believe that there is a universal presence that is the kind of magical undercurrent in life that we all feel and is connected in, through and as everything. That’s what I think God is.”
Sort of a positive force in the universe?
“Yeah, just like, this energy, this essence. . . . I personally have a hard time with a lot of the creation stories that revolve around the creator being a white man. It seems very limiting to me. So God to me is . . . so limitless and magical and loving and beautiful. I believe that God is pure love.
“We are incarnations connected to this presence.”
Merriam-Webster defines New Thought as “a mental healing movement embracing a number of small groups and organizations devoted generally to such ideas as spiritual healing, the creative power of constructive thinking and personal guidance from an inner presence.”
Attends services in Chicago at a “spiritual center” where there are “affirmations,” congregational meditations, speakers, songs.
Meditation is a tool to connect with that higher power.
“I think that sometimes we need to shut our mind off consciously and connect to something greater so we can allow for inspiration to come through. . . . The most magical life and experience you can live is an inspired one.”
“What I also get from it is this ability to focus and be ‘present’ . . . That’s where inspiration comes from . . . being present, not in the future, not in the past, being exactly where you’re at.”
Meditation also brings “complete relaxation” and helps on set.
“Feeling connected to my higher power just allows me to be a lot more joyful and giving in my everyday life.”
What does the afterlife look like?
“I don’t know,” but “reincarnation makes a lot of sense to me.
“Energy cannot be created nor destroyed, so it doesn’t make sense to me for our life force . . . to just disappear.”
“I think it’s really important” to have some sort of faith system.
In the Baptist tradition, “love the music, love the passion.”
In Mormonism, “love how much of an emphasis there is on family.”
Doesn’t agree with religions that emphasize “there’s only one” path.
“There are so many different ways to arrive at enlightenment.”
“I understand that in society we need rules, we need structure . . . I just don’t like the shame aspect of it in certain religious communities.”
“I believe in conscious creation, that my thoughts create my reality. But, at the same time, I don’t believe that ignoring something will make it disappear.”
Listen to previous “Face to Faith” podcasts:
- Bears outside linebacker Sam Acho: ‘I want to be a light to my teammates,’ Sept. 17, 2017
- Top Lutheran bishop Elizabeth Eaton: If hell exists, ‘I think it’s empty,’ Sept. 10, 2017
- Author Scott Turow: Feels ‘a deep faith’ in ‘the power of good,’ Sept. 3, 2017
- Cardinal Blase Cupich: Some of ‘greatest Christians I know’ have no ‘faith system,’ Aug. 27, 2017
- Gov hopeful Daniel Biss: Faith that fuels divisiveness is ‘dead wrong,’ Aug. 20, 2017
- Lutheran scholar Martin Marty on faith, Luther, the state of religion: Aug. 13, 2017
- Chicago Sky’s Amber Stocks: Message matters more than the denomination, Aug. 6, 2017
- ‘Hood’ and ‘holy’ minister Marilyn Pagan-Banks: Not alone ‘even when you make bad choices,’ July 30, 2017
- Author Patrick T. Reardon: ‘Embrace the pain of life as well as joys,’ July 23, 2017
- Paylocity founder Steve Sarowitz: Baha’i ‘made sense to me right away,’ July 16, 2017
- Candidate Chris Kennedy: ‘I’ve seen the Holy Spirit at work,’ July 9, 2017
- Jail warden Nneka Jones Tapia: ‘I think God is all around us,’ July 2, 2017
- Sox outfielder Melky Cabrera: ‘Let it be God’s will if we lose or win,’ June 25, 2017
- The Mekons’ Sally Timms: ‘Not the kind of atheist who’s down on religion,’ June 18, 2017
- J.B. Pritzker: At times, ‘your faith has to overcome maybe logic,’ June 11, 2017
- Daoud Casewit, American Islamic College president: ‘We’re as American as we are Islamic,’ June 4, 2017
- Public Defender Amy Campanelli: My clients ‘are not evil people,’ May 28, 2017
- James Lovell: ‘We go to heaven when we’re born,’ May 21, 2017
- Michael Magnafichi, one-time ‘rising star’ in Chicago mob: ‘I do say prayers,’ May 14, 2017
- Ald. Ameya Pawar: ‘There’s always the opportunity for redemption,’ May 7, 2017
- Sir the Baptist: ‘I want to be the first hip-hop chaplain,’ April 30, 2017
- Singer Shemekia Copeland: ‘Hell, yeah’ God loves the blues, April 23, 2017