It has become apparent that there is a great need for a conscious shift in how the world is run...in how we are, and how we interact with the planet and each other. As filmmakers, if we want to create stories that come from a higher place, and that uplift society, we need to raise our own consciousness first.
We are hindered by the fact that so few people actually want to do the work. We live in a quick fix society... “Pop this prescription pill and you will feel better”. Never mind that this pill will only mask the problem and, additionally, will bring on a whole slew of side-effects with new problems you’ll need to take yet another pill for. Sometimes the pills or another medical intervention are our only option to get well or stay alive. Other times, this quick-fix method is chosen over a radical lifestyle and diet change which, when implemented soon enough, would bring powerful, lasting results, with the positive side effects of sustainable health and better quality of life. Many life-threatening illnesses can be greatly improved or outright cured with food, medical qigong, exercise, stress reduction, and other lasting changes. But that would require breaking habits we’ve grown used to, giving up things that aren’t good for us, and... well, effort and discipline. So, if people can’t even make the effort and commit to the changes that will improve, if not save their own lives, how can we hope they will make the changes that will save the planet?
That said, I am heartened that more people are speaking up now than ever before. I am appalled by the complacency I continue to witness.
Becoming an activator of positive change within ourselves and society won’t be easy. Everyone is kept so busy just trying to make ends meet. There isn’t much of a middle class anymore. Both parents are usually working hard. It’s time-consuming needing to regroup and implement a new way of living. It requires time, courage and dedication, especially when people around you are still in the old way. Yet, that is what we must do to create the changes that need to happen for this planet and for humanity. There is a saying, “heal yourself, heal the planet”. This is especially important for filmmakers. Because to make conscious media, whatever the genre, you first need to have gone through the exciting, often painful, and always much work...of having transformed, evolved and grown yourself.
But what is self-healing, and how do we raise our consciousness? It’s highly individual and different for everyone, but there are basic steps to start with. Rest assured that the benefits for having done so will bless your life, the lives of those you love, and the entire planet in ways you can’t even imagine. More and more people are on a path of awakening. There will be wonderful moments, along with fear and pain, as you grow and become more aware. People expect the long road towards enlightenment to be all bliss (again, like popping a pill), but if it were easy, everyone would do it. Still, if you want to improve the quality of your life, and the life of everyone around you, start the journey.
If this is your first time opening to the idea of elevating your consciousness, here are some basic suggestions. Many of these you may have heard before, it’s about implementation. Results happen with sustained effort and change.
It's important as often as you can, even with your busy schedule, remove yourself from the daily grind and take a walk in nature. It almost sounds too simple but bonding with nature has a profound impact. Take that quite time to observe, there is so much life around you. In this surrounding you can also better reflect and hear your own thoughts.
Meditation is another vital form of connecting to our higher selves and to something bigger than us. Look into a form that feels right to you. From the sitting in stillness, to the moving mediation in Qigong...there are multiple types of mediation to choose from.
Develop deep compassion and empathy: With empathy, you can admit your own pain and recognize it in others. When you practice compassion...and not just for a select few...you no longer see yourself as separate from others. Choose to recognize instead our connection and similarities.
Practice gratitude and kindness every day, it shifts something wonderful in your heart.
Have integrity in all you do.
Be selective of what you take into yourself, from the food you eat to what watch on TV and at the movies. What you absorb every day becomes part of you. This will be a challenge. Much of what is in the media is destructive in subtle and not so subtle ways. It will take an effort to find the shows, programs and films worth watching.
The list above is the beginning as you embark on this long, long journey of awakening to a higher consciousness. I know there are books out there that can help too, some are good, some can be misleading. A very basic book I was given at an event many years ago, which I’ve recommended to those who are at the very beginning of this trip is Living Deeply, by M. Schlitz, Vieten and Amorok. The authors are part of IONs, an Institute started by Dr. Edgar Mitchell. He was one of the astronauts to walk the moon, and on his way back he got to sit at the big window. As our planet earth came into view, he suddenly had a powerful spiritual experience when he saw the interconnectivity between the stars, the planet, and the people on it...between everything. He stated, “I realized that the story of ourselves as told by science—our cosmology, our religion—was incomplete and likely flawed. I recognized that the Newtonian idea of separate, independent, discrete things in the universe wasn’t a fully accurate description. What was needed was a new story of who we are and what we are capable of becoming.”
There’s another book titled, Ultimate Healing: The Power of Compassion, which I’ve just seen great reviews on, and I plan to check out in order to do a review of my own. Soul Power: An Agenda for a Conscious Humanity is a short book I love and can’t recommend enough, by Anne Baring and Scilla Elworthy. So, start reading and exploring.
Again, as an audience member, go to the trouble of being discerning in what you watch and take into yourself. It matters what you absorb every day. If you ate junk food all day long, you know your physical health would suffer...junk media has the same effect on the essence of our being, on our soul.
Money also talks. Studios will fund the films that get watched and bring in the money. Support worthy films and don't buy a ticket for those that glorify the wrong things or send messages that bring society down. Really ponder this, because we have gotten used to and normalized much. Especially be discerning of what your children watch. What they watch and take in, day in and day out, influences their development and who they become. There is a wonderful website to help you with this, www.CommonSenseMedia.org . Here you can get information on a movie, and a sense of it, before deciding whether or not to watch.
Opening ourselves up to the wisdom that there is more to this cosmos than meets the eye is an important step. No matter our religion, most of us believe we don’t just disappear after death...that a part of us continues. And that is something we so often forget in the midst of our busy lives, that we are spirit beings having a human experience. The world, the life we live is not an illusion but an intricate important part of the web that connects all there is. Every choice we make is of utmost importance, because it has a domino effect. The illusion we have created is that of what is important in this physical world...our priorities are often so out of whack. This illusion can be dissolved by the simple remembrance that we are spirit beings having a human experience. We are here to learn, grow and transform...and we have a tremendous capacity to do good, to heal ourselves and others. What we need to do in order to do that will not always seem fun or convenient, but the rewards are worth it. This is not a pill to pop or a “do one good deed a week” kind of thing...it is a lifestyle change and a change in the way of being.
We need to be careful though. Every religion, every spirituality can be distorted by self-serving people wanting to have control and power. We are taught to respect those in authority, but often the people with the lowest moral fiber are in the highest positions of leadership in a country. They distort information and misuse religion to attract those seeking and vulnerable. I've never seen so much corruption in a leader as the one we have in this country right now, and I've never seen so many people, nice people...believing the lies. I can only recommend to get your information from mixed sources. Lookout for red flags. Ask yourself, how is this person treating humanity and our planet as a WHOLE? How do they treat those in the lowest position of power and income...and are they stewards of mother earth? Are they truly public servants or are they self-serving?
Globally speaking, anyone harming people in the name of a religion generally is distorting it and doesn’t represent the average person of that faith. When you look at most religions you will find common threads running through them that speak of God; a higher intelligence, love, compassion, integrity, empathy, peace. So, if a group or a leader is creating separation, hate, inequality, harming our natural world, they are Not on a spiritual path, and they do not have your back. They may look like a quick fix, but indeed they will bring us pain, suffering and destruction. One will find that the stronger they become in their own spiritual evolution, the better they will become at recognizing lies, a lack of integrity and poor character. This is one of the many benefits in raising our own awareness.
So now, we as filmmakers are being called to start, or continue our consciousness raising work on the path to our higher selves, in order to contribute to the greater good through film and through stories that help to illuminate the path for others, and inspire appropriate action. Therefore, it will be both a personal and universal journey. Realize that it's a lifelong passage, and everyone progresses at a different speed. But, once filmmakers start on the path, there will be less films glorifying traits, choices and undertakings of the lowest vibrations. Because too often filmmakers make the worst people sexy or exciting, when in real life if we were around a truly bad person, we wouldn't feel excited, rather we would feel unsafe and repelled. In real life we call them creeps at best. Conversely in films, too often a good person is depicted as uptight or boring. In real life being around someone wise, loving, generous, and kind, is exciting and wonderful. We enjoy being around them. I often share philosopher Simone Weil's quote on this topic: "Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating."
Film is such a powerful tool. It can be used to uplift society or to numb it and bring it down. Though there are wonderful films out there right now, the media is still mostly doing more harm than good to our intellect, our soul, and society as a whole. It is time to change that way of being. Films can expose truths and lies, bringing a new clarity and understanding. Stories can be interwoven with wisdom teachings, and show us how to heal our inner wounds so we can get in touch with our higher selves, enabling us to live in harmony with each other and the planet.
Nelson Mandela spoke of this influence. He said, "The producers, directors and actors of films have in their hands a powerful and evocative tool for fostering understanding and, through that, tolerance in the world. It is furthermore a medium that is not bound in its reach. It can reach out to all strata and sectors of society and across national and linguistic boundaries."
The moment has come to step out of our comfort zones and onto the higher path that will lead to our personal transformation, and with that, the transformation and healing of humanity and the planet.