I AM the documentary had its official debut in Chicago this past Friday and my dear friend Courtney had arranged for us to see it at a sold out AMC theater in downtown. The showing was followed by a Q & A session with director Tom Shadyac who is traveling to 50 cities in the US to promote his film’s message.
I AM is an utterly engaging, very introspective and inspirational non fiction film that poses the seminal questions of: “What is wrong with the World?” and “What can we do about it?” Thankfully, the movie also ponders insights into what is right with it.
Filmmaker Tom Shadyac, known to some for his Hollywood’s blockbusters such as “Ace Ventura,” “The Nutty Professor” and “Bruce Almighty”, shares the story of his quest for truth and continuous awakening after a cycling accident left him incapacitated, possibly for good. After a painful and prolonged recovery, he emerged with a new sense of purpose, determined to share his own awakening to his prior life of excess and greed, and to investigate how he as an individual, and we as a race, could improve the way we live and walk in the world.
Ultimately, after much consideration and contemplation, he changed his extravagant lifestyle, sold his 17,000 sq. ft. Beverly Hills estate, moved to a mobile home community, and re-started life, a simpler and more responsible life. Heard of that kind of an “awakening” before? Perhaps, however, the movie is a fresh reminder about the impact that we all have on life and our environment. It also invigorates the potential of bringing about positive changes in the world on a variety of levels.
Shadyac and a small film crew of four embarked on a journey to meeting with and interviewing a variety of remarkable men and women, scientists, psychologists, artists, environmentalists, authors, philosophers, entrepreneurs and others in his quest for truth. Amongst them are such luminaries as Dr. Noam Chomsky, historian Dr. Howard Zinn, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, physicist Lynne McTaggart, poet Coleman Banks, David Suzuki, Ray Anderson, John Francis, Coleman Barks, and Marc Ian. They engage in a fascinating dialogue with Shadyac and ponder some tough questions.
Not surprising, in the process of trying to illustrate what’s wrong with the world, Shadyac discovers that there’s more right than he ever imagined. He learned that the heart, not the brain, may be man’s primary organ of intelligence, and that human consciousness and emotions can actually affect the physical world, a point Shadyac makes with great humor by demonstrating the impact of his feelings on a bowl of yogurt at Heart Math http://www.heartmath.com/. Similar experiments by Dr. Masaru Emoto have documented the impact of love, beauty, truth, generosity, compassion and the like on water. For more see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAvzsjcBtx8 and here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masaru_Emoto. Now mind you, the human body consists of about 75% of water…
And Shadyac’s own story illustrates, as that of many who went before him, that money is not a pathway to happiness. In addition he learns that in some native cultures, gross materialism is equated with “insanity”.
He furthermore discovers that, contrary to conventional thinking, cooperation as well as collaboration and not competition, may be nature’s most fundamental operating principles. The film further illustrates that humans actually function better and remain healthier when expressing positive emotions, such as love, care, compassion, and gratitude, versus their negative counterparts, anxiety, frustration, anger and fear. Charles Darwin used the word love 95 times in The Descent of Man, while his most famous phrase, survival of the fittest, appears only twice.
We are all tied in a web of mutuality, all connected through “The Field” (see also Lynne Mc Taggart http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynne_McTaggart ) and if you see that we are all connected through a web of a higher order you cannot help but get pulled into the simplest of acts. A simple smile or a friendly “Hello”, helping the homeless person on the street, and if you can’t spare money, give them some time, ask them about their story, tell them that you care, reach out, tiny acts do matter and have a profound impact.
To serve as a brief re-member about the beauty of Nature, that essentially is at the root of all, I have assembled this visual excursion from my photo archives. Enjoy.
The challenges that humanity faces are complex and far reaching. From deforestation, overpopulation, depletion of the ozone layer, stark imbalance of global food distribution, to wars, terror and aggression in many areas of the world, Faith is knowing that if YOU shift, you shift the circle around you, and then a wider circle and then the world around you changes. That is the power you have that you are not told about, in kindergarten, in school or on your job. You do not need money to shift that, all you need is to open up your heart and spirit to feel and understand that, and when you do, you become a part of energy that changes things.
Everybody talks about the economy these days, and everybody has a theory how to fix it. But very few people talk about the fact that it is rotten at its roots, you can not have a system in place that promotes for you to take everything and all that you can and expect for it to last forever. It does not work in Nature and it will not work for us. And until we recognize that and wake up to it, and until we meet each other at our needs as opposed to our greed it is all going to stay the same. So once again, here too: If nothing changes, nothing changes…
Events of change have been occurring throughout history of mankind, that is evolution. But if we consider some of the monumental changes of the past 20 or 30 years, just to name a few the collapse of communism, the abolishing of apartheid, the ideological shifts in China, the recent uprising of the masses in Egypt and Syria, they all are a result of mankind’s awakening to follow their heart’s and spirit’s longing for freedom, equality and to elevate their basic quality of life.
The internet and libraries are loaded with information how we can improve the quality of life for the underprivileged people on our planet and how to apply changes in our life styles that will facilitate the conservation efforts to save our endangered natural environments. Much of it should not require to be read upon as it is rooted in our DNA. Most of it is basic common sense.
Hope is bestowed upon the younger generations by what we teach our children. If we are teaching them our way they eventually will continue to bring forth a world as we know it. And we, the generations that went before them, need to call that into question. It is NOT about win, win, win, accumulate, accumulate, accumulate status, status, status, external beauty, external beauty, external beauty…and it is also not about “Idolatry of magnitude” that is so wide spread these days. What is it about to you …? It is about you and the changes that you can facilitate.
The movie is a meditation on reality. So the question in all this is: “What is next for you to make this world a better place?” I AM isn’t as much about what you can do, as who you can be. And from that transformation of being, action will naturally follow. The power is in the moment not in the “…as soon as I…”
However, the very least you can do is to spread the word about the movie http://iamthedoc.com/