There are countless talented writers and filmmakers with important messages to share, whose only goal is to help educate and enlighten. They are not looking for Hollywood deals, except perhaps as a means of spreading their ideas about consciousness to the masses. I went to Sedona to attend Illuminate, a festival dedicated to such independent productions, with an emphasis on transformation and healing.
Illuminate is “the world’s premier film festival for conscious cinema. Dedicated to spreading enlightened ideas and pushing humanity forward, Illuminate is poised to become a landmark destination event and centerpiece for conscious content.”
All of the films and events at Illuminate were focused on consciousness and transformational themes, with an additional dimension of healing rifts and schisms within ourselves and within society.
The award winning feature SOLD was the opening night film, with Gillian Anderson (of The X Files) and the director/writer Jeffrey Brown in attendance and available for questions after the showing. SOLD is the story of a Nepalese girl who is sold into an Indian brothel, with Anderson playing a photographer who sees her plight and works, along with a team of rescuers, to free her. According to Brown, while the film goes through many of the material aspects of her situation, including brutality, it is really about healing and consciousness.
Brown stressed the need to use this consciousness to heal the massive spiritual rifts on our planet – and to save our species – by honoring the divine feminine as sacred healing energy.
Another young filmmaker, Fenullla Jiwani, explained that the young girl who was the protagonist doomed the systemic brothel from the moment of her arrival by bringing with her the light of a different level of consciousness. Fenulla is an Indian actress, writer, and producer, with several films devoted to transformation and consciousness already under her belt. One of Fenulla’s films, echoing SOLD, is about the casting couch in Indian Bollywood productions.
There were also seminars about empowering the creative process and other issues of concern to filmmakers.
Barnet Bain is the producer of such films as What Dreams May Come and The Celestine Prophecy, and the author of The Book of Doing and Being. At the festival, he spoke about his current passion for “rediscovering creativity in love, work and art” (the book’s subtitle).
Barnet removed his eyeglasses and held them up as a symbol of the massive inner conditioning our young selves undergo which teaches us the “agreements” of our reality and also squashes the inner life that is the womb of creativity.
Barnet said that our imaginations are structured and that filmmakers and artists need to develop an intimate relationship with their structural conditioning. For Barnet, the “big game” is only Consciousness.
He compared our left brain of logic and reason – comprising a world of mental stories – to the tiny sliver of the electronic spectrum that is visible – leaving an infinitely vast subconscious netherworld of chaos and emotion to be explored via conscious cinema.
The real work for Barnet is the pursuit of oneness and healing of the self. He offered that the love affair with intellect is fundamentally disruptive and that all is received in the body as a gift.
Emotion is energy in motion. Thoughts are scary but they are not actual emotion. Rather, they are our conditioned thoughts about our sensed emotion in the body.
He listed the three main imperatives of the ego/mind:
Am I good enough
Figuring out what is the destiny of soul
When the Ego dissolves (see Dying to Know next) the destiny of the soul can unfold. That is the premise of his work and actually also the mission of the festival – to open to consciousness through cinema.
This was the film that drew me to the festival, and by the end I had laughed and wept with equal intensity, which is quite unusual for me.
The film sets the record straight, as the director said, of how Ram Dass and Timothy Leary were turned into caricatures by the popular media, and it provides a real context and background for their massive contributions as individuals, as friends, and as co-journeyers.
What the movie did for me, besides give me a profoundly helpful perspective on death (“die before you die” – something I have also heard from Eckhart Tolle), was help me to connect my dots and fill in many blanks. It helped me to understand the source of my seeking and also such a huge part of the tradition of wisdom, along with Alan Watts and others.
My need to figure out what else is “happening” is so much more understandable now knowing and understanding (as I did not at the time) the true force of their impact – how they paved a trail that culminated with my own inner discoveries.
As Gay Dillingham said after the movie ended, the discoveries of these two men are now in our “Zeitgeist,” but as I watched the film I had to remember my own shock and subsequent guilt when these realizations first hit my own nervous system – or awareness system as I like to call it.
Ram Dass was such a big shot in his field and described how he dropped all of his roles, letting them fall away one by one, as the chemicals dissolved his ego.
But Tim Leary was so profound and hysterically funny that I felt in him such a kindred spirit. He reminded me of Steve Jobs in many ways and his testimony in front of the Senate is both brilliant and heartbreaking, especially when one considers the cluelessness of the politicians he spoke with. Where Ram Dass let the rules and roles of society dissolve, Leary just never even considered them – a complete iconoclast, through and through.
Among the delicious ironies of the film and the only one I will mention here is that when Leary was imprisoned they gave him the Psych Profile that he himself had created as a famous psychologist.
This film blindsided me because I “happened to meet” the director on the first day of the conference. I was immediately intrigued. Down to Earth is brilliant in its depth and simplicity, but for an audience steeped in technology this film takes you to the edge of the earth, and the revelation that we are all One is made so apparent as to be self evident. At the fringes of the film are the darker forces that threaten our planet. Seeing this film will be a great step in our “collective” evolution
The wisdom keepers made me think of Eckhart Tolle’s mention of “frequency holders” in A New Earth and the role of even unheralded individuals in our destiny.
Saturday night’s main event was a showing of Paulo Coelo’s Best Story, a biographical tale about the author of The Alchemist.
A sense of purpose and community was created through a Conscious Filmmakers’ Summit moderated by Kia Kiso, where we brainstormed and charted trends that would support the vision of transformative media in the future.
The theme of healing permeated the conference and there were practitioners of various kinds available throughout the conference. One pair of sisters, Jewels and Shondra, gave readings, and Jewels, who works in Tarot, will be seen on an upcoming reality show – look for her in “Real Psychics of Sedona.”
There were other excellent movies that deserve more attention than we have space for here, all with significant social and culturally transformative and uplifting themes. Please check out the Illuminate web site for more information.
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Woody Harrelson Shares A Powerful Video: ‘Thoughts From Within’ He Calls It
- The Facts:
Woody Harrelson shares some spoken word with a deep message.
- Reflect On:
How do you view our current world? Does it truly resonate with you? Is it something you want to support? If you could put your energy into a world of thriving abundance, would you? Then why so much energy into the way things are?
I sit here today having been reminded of a Woody Harrelson video after watching a movie he acted in. I recalled the first time I saw this video. It was one of the first realizations I had, about 9 years ago, that many celebrities also go through life with trials and tribulations of the average person. Perhaps not in all ways, but certainly in many. This is an obvious thought of course, but sometimes not all that common.
When I saw this video, I remember thinking, wow, I love what he is sharing, and coming from his place of influence this truly has a powerful message. This is an awesome video made by Woody Harrelson sharing some powerful thoughts from within.
In the video Woddy lays out a spoken word masterpiece that touches on all of the main aspects of our current society. If you truly take the time to listen, there is much to reflect on. And of course, there is an inspiring side of it all too.
This one is a bit of a throw back, but it’s a good one. Enjoy it!
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Josh Radnor From How I Met Your Mother Just Started A Conscious Band with Ben Lee
You might be here because you are a fan of the hit TV show, How I Met Your Mother, or maybe you have fond memories of blasting “Catch My Disease” in your car on a hot summer day. Whatever the reason may be, you are about to discover a lesser-known side to actor-writer-director Josh Radnor and Australian singer-songwriter Ben Lee—who now form the musical duo Radnor & Lee.
In this very first episode of Uplifted Life’s new Redefining Success Podcast, Kosta Stoyanoff and I had the privilege of having a conversation with both of them over Skype only a few days before they left for their Brazil tour. We talked about their new musical venture, the effects of having achieved success and fame at a young age, what true success ought to be, spirituality, meditation, self-development and more! Playing the hosts was definitely out of our comfort zones, but we are glad we did it and were able to extract some valuable insights from these two amazing human beings.
There is a rumor circulating that they are a religious born again band because they don’t shy away from using words like word God in their lyrics. The truth is that they do not subscribe to any particular label and are simply fascinated by life’s bigger questions. In our 30-minute conversation with them, we found them to be incredibly grounded, intelligent and wise individuals who simply strive to get back to the basics of what really matters in life and care about becoming the best and most compassionate version of themselves. It was awesome to chat with two public figures who choose to use their influence to spread a positive and conscious message through their art!
Our intention with the Redefining Success Podcast is to collect gems of wisdom from individuals who see beyond our culture’s materialistic idea of success and have discovered a more fulfilling, whole and healthy view of what it means to lead a truly successful life. We believe that doing our part in helping rewrite the cultural story surrounding success can inspire a positive change in how we lead our lives—from our relationships to the way we do business.
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Hope you enjoy the conversation and make sure to share it to inspire others!
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The Oldest Song In The World – A Sumerian Hymn Written 3500 Years Ago (Listen)
Music is a very special gift that people from all around the world, from various cultures and from every socio-economic class, enjoy. Human beings have been creating and listening to music for thousands of years, it is almost an essential part of our being.
Music has the power to evoke powerful emotions, it can lift us out of a bad mood and put a smile on our face, give us the energy and encouragement we need to get that workout done and more. We connect over music, we make music together, we meditate and zone out to music, and we even ‘trip out’ to music. What would our lives be like without music? Most likely Rather dull , and it seems as though the ancients felt the same way.
Below is a video of a hymn that is said to have been written thousands of years ago, it may even be the oldest song in the world. This version is played using computerized tones, but if you can, imagine it being played on stringed instruments. Either way, it still has a joyous and almost comical feel to it, check it out.
Is this something you could jam to? Or at least is this something you could imagine your greatest ancestors rocking out to? Regardless of how you feel about the song, it’s pretty awesome that we actually have the equivalent to sheet music that was turned into a potential soundtrack for the ancient times. Essentially, this gives us the ability to glimpse into the past, an opportunity we may not have otherwise received. Sometimes what is put into words isn’t as powerful to our senses as actually hearing the same song that our ancestors may have listened to.
Here’s A Little History
In 1972, after 15 years of research, Professor of Assyriology from the University of California, Anne Kilner, was able to transcribe one of the oldest known pieces of music notation in the world. The music was inscribed on clay tablets that contained signs of the “Hurrian” language. These tablets had been excavated in the early 1950’s from the Syrian city of ancient Ugarit – now known as Ras Sharma. One of the tablets contained both words and music and has now come to be known as the oldest preserved music notation in the world.
Kilmer was able to transcribe this piece of music into a modern music notation, other people have also attempted to transcribe this music and the interpretations tend to differ a little bit. The tablets date back to around 1400 B.C. The music is a hymn to the moon God’s wife, Nikal. The tablets also happened to contain instructions for a singer as well as a harpist and how to properly tune the harp.
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