August 2009


moviesFor many years now Chameli and I have enjoyed a special moment in our month, when an envelope arrives containing a single DVD. It generally contains a feature film, a documentary, and occasionally a few shorts, chosen not for their popularity or celebrity status, but for their ability to transform and awaken us. The Spiritual Cinema Circle was founded in 2004 by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks, Arielle Ford and Stephen Simon. It is something like Netflix meets Esalen.

I have had some interesting talks over the last years with Gay and Kathlyn, and more recently also with Stephen Simon about what it is that makes a movie “spiritual.” I am delighted to tell you, there are no absolute conclusions. As you may know from the Translucent Revolution (which of course you have read cover to cover, right?!) my favorite all time translucent movie was Alan Ball’s American Beauty, which won five Oscars in 2000. You can read (or re-read) my critique of that film in the blog below this one.

american_beautyAmerican Beauty is not a feel-good, love and peace, happily ever after film. The protagonist, played by Kevin Spacey, is murdered at the end of the film by a semi-psychotic ex-marine. This is a film portraying dysfunction, alienation, and a pervasive degree of hopelessness. Yet…there is something about this film, and many like it, that transforms not the content of our experience, but our relationship to our experience. It does not change our experience from feeling bad to feeling good, but instead manages to shift us to a deeper dimension of ourselves, and of reality. The sub title of the film is “look closer.” Other examples of this kind of art, different in content, but widely appreciated as translucent in vision, are Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Roberto Benigni’s “Life is Beautiful” and Mike Leigh’s Secrets and Lies.

Of course my view is not the only view on what makes cinema “spiritual.” Another view, equally valid, is that we are all already too steeped in darkness, and what we need is more light, more healing and more “good vibes.”

I want to hear from you on this topic. Post me a comment below.

What is your list on the five most “spiritual” or “translucent” films you have ever seen?

Then please join me for a free tele-seminar this Thursday with myself and Stephen Simon, the founder of the Spiritual Cinema Circle, the producer of 20 movies, and the director of “Indigo” and “Conversations with God.” On this call you will hear Stephen and myself each share our list of the five most “spiritual films,” ( our lists are totally different, by the way!). There will also be lots of opportunity to ask questions and share your insights. Register here.

If you’d like to try out the Spiritual Cinema Circle, they have offered my friends  ( that’s you!) a free trial membership.  To check it out please look to the right of this post under my “blog roll” where you will see a link to SCC.

It often happens in life that you knew something could have gone better.

A job interview, a date, a public talk: you walk away down on yourself, convinced that you blew it.

And then sometimes it happens that things just flow.  No effort, no preparation, no big deal, and magic takes over.  This was one of those times.

Dr Emmett Miller lives in my small town of Nevada City.  He has a home video studio, and invited me over to do an interview.  We talked for about an hour, and had a great time.  I like what came out of it.  What do you think?

shatter1

As we deepen our practice of relaxing, waiting, and not knowing, we start to experience our points of view as if they were a variety of costumes. We dress ourselves up for play, like a child putting on a cowboy hat or a nurse’s outfit. And then we take the costume off again.

Most translucents share this fluid relationship to belief. They pick up and discard points of view, knowing them for what they are, just fleeting opinions that we can ride like a bus, and then get off when we need to. Through practice, we do not lose all beliefs; we simply melt them from solid to liquid states. We dissolve the stuckness around belief so we can embrace contradiction. Translucent living means living in paradox, while remaining at ease. To the dominant Iago trance, this fluidity appears flaky and lacking in integrity. The old model respects leaders with iron wills and concrete mind-sets.

(more…)

Generally I post stuff that is more interesting to you, at least that is my intention.  But today I’ve decided to post something interesting to me!  My oldest son, Abhi has developed a passion for photography over the last several years, and has emerged as one of the best photographers at his school.  Here is a collection I’d love to share with you of some close ups he took, using a home made lens, for a project last year.

If you like his work, he would like you to do him a favor.  Please go to youtube.com, visit his channel there, and rate his project  (one to five stars) and post a comment for him.

Enjoy a wonderful summer

with love

Arjuna

thinker21Here is a passage from my 2005 Bestseller, “The Translucent Revolution.”

We hold many of our beliefs to be sacred simply as compensation for this kind of fragmentation. I am a kind and tolerant person. Why would one need that thought? Many people are good, benevolent, and kind without ever needing to define themselves that way. We hold a strong belief when we struggle to keep its opposite hidden from ourselves as well as from other people. Who needs to repeat the thought, Money is flowing easily into my life? Who needs to tell people, I am very open and loving and friendly? Who needs to say, You can trust me? As Queen Gertrude says to Hamlet, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Belief differs from simple reality. Every belief has an opposite, with which it is in constant struggle. Reality has no opposite. It just is.
(more…)

modernmysticAmidst so much talk about the economy collapsing, global warming and a myriad of other problems, we are having a wonderful summer and hope you are too.  Over the weekend I went down to the Yuba River with my dear friend Brooks Cole.  It’s a magnificent place revered by Native Americans for centuries as a place of “sacred peace”.  I’m going to get a video up for you in the next few days.

Thank you all so much for the unbelievable number of responses I got about my new project.  I’ve read and digested every one and they have proven to be incredibly useful.  Last night I didn’t get back from SF until three in the morning; I was interviewing Bill Harris who is the creator of Holosync technology and Genpo Roshi.  If you don’t know about Genpo, he is a modern Zen master with an extraordinarily integrated teaching called “The Big Mind.”  I’ve conducted about ten of these video interviews now with great equipment in HD, and I will be doing three more shoots over the next week.  (more…)

blogenlighten

Here is a passage from my 2005 Bestseller, “The Translucent Revolution.”

Looking Beyond Enlightenment

There is an important distinction to be made between translucence and traditional understandings of “enlightenment.” Very few of the people I have talked to would seriously label themselves as “enlightened.”  At the same time, the overwhelming majority said that they were no longer seeking a state of enlightenment, although many had done so previously.  Most said they no longer had any idea what the word was supposed to mean.  This is in sharp contrast to the atmosphere of spirituality that existed even fifteen years ago, when most spiritual people were still following a guru, trying to win the cosmic jackpot.

Musician and songwriter Peter Makena and his wife, Aneeta, exemplify this change. They were both disciples of the controversial Indian teacher Bhagwan Rajneesh in the 1970s. (He has been known simply as Osho since a few months before his death in 1991.) Now Peter is less sure what the “E” word means: “ ‘Enlightenment’ used to have an elusive meaning, something like the Holy Grail. It represented a final end point, in my idealistic and dreamer-like search, of what human potential could be. Today my sense of that potential is more of a finger pointing, a hint, a direction, with no final product.”
(more…)

Next Page »