I am not a professional film critique. But what I do know, as an intense lover of films, is that some great movies are more than just great movies. There are many movies that serve as awakeners and catalysts of man’s higher evolution – psychologically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
In fact, some movies do this so well that I would consider them a sort of transmission – a subtle process that, when properly followed, can actually change us as human beings.
In terms of the Chakra system, each such movie can activate and awaken significantly one of our seven chakras. This means that by a deeply engaged watching one of our dormant, or relatively dormant, layers of spiritual perception and wisdom can awaken.
Any time is a good time to awaken one of the seven chakras. So there is not really a period in our life in which we don’t need a heart chakra movie or a second chakra movie. 🙂
It is my greatest joy to initiate this sharing of my all time favorite movies that have awakened my own Chakras and could serve as an inspiration for your Chakras too.
A great movie for your root chakra: “Gravity”
“Gravity” is a breathtaking movie that deals with attachment and letting go. But what makes it truly extraordinary in the way it confronts these issues is its setting: the whole drama takes place in outer space.
Our first chakra is intensely challenged by this surrounding as it literally pulls the rug from under our feet. There is nowhere to feel the comforting solidity of earth. Earth is just an astonishing view out there, while in space it is always dreadfully cold and indifferent, and one can only hover completely uprooted.
This setting prepares the true drama of this movie. On the surface it appears to be almost like a disaster-movie, one that tells the story of two astronauts who are suddenly left without their space
shuttle and without any proper way to return to earth.
But truly, this entire outer space drama is nothing but a brilliant allegory for one human being, Dr. Ryan Stone played by Sandra Bullock, who needs to come to terms with the loss of her daughter. She feels completely lost in space, unable to return to real life on earth.
She keeps wishing for some solidity in space, searching for an alternative space shuttle, yet whatever she clings to smashes into pieces. She needs to make the choice to let go so that she can reenter life and put her feet once again on the sobering soil of life as it is.
Our first Chakra knows the whole internal terminology of this movie: floating in space, desperately clinging, losing one’s ground, and needing to let go.
Above all, it can be reminded of its own ultimate lesson: agreeing to life’s ungroundedness, accepting that life is a place of constant change, and finding one’s solidity within one’s own conscious choice to be here and to fearlessly engage.
A great movie for your sacral chakra: “Pleasantville”
This marvelous movie is all about colors. The colors of life that we have lost and the colors that we could regain if we only followed the call of our second Chakra.
And when we speak of colors, in “Pleasantville” they do not serve as mere metaphors for feelings and experiences. One of the wisest things in this movie is the fact that it literally plays with black and white cinema, which is slowly turning here and there into a more colorful scenery. The red of a rose bush or an apple tree, or the warm skin colors of a conservative, married woman’s face as she is exploring after so many grey years the secrets of her awakening sexuality… It is only when we feel relieved with every color entering the screen that we realize just how much we need them in our very own life.
This sweet fantasy brings the story of modern teenage brother and sister who get mysteriously sucked into the reality of a highly conservative town of the early twentieth century. Everything seems perfectly pleasant in this town, even moderately “happy”, but it acutely lacks colors that only an unexpected life can bring.
The brother and sister quite unintentionally begin to revolutionize this first Chakra town, and so many among its inhabitants are surprised to find the colors they were unconsciously missing. New sexual experiences, experimental art, communion with nature, all bring to life the dormant excitement.
Interestingly, the ones who still remain grey – along with the highly patriarchal men who rule the town – are the brother and sister. “How can it be that all the girls gain their colors?”, wonders the sister, “while I remain colorless? After all, I am having sex ten times more than them!” All her modern, updated capacities don’t help her with getting any color, which wisely means that one can go very wild and still remain grey.
It is only when the brother and sister follow what they truly love, listen to their heart and express their repressed feelings, letting their true natural energies flow, that they too gain their colors.
Though this town seems very far from our relatively open-minded and experimental life, it still serves as a powerful wake-up call which reflects to us how deeply the wonder of life can be appreciated and felt. The business of daily life, with all its tensions and demands, can easily make us forget that life, real life, truly exists only now, and this movie, with all its intense love of life, is a blessed reminder of that.
A particularly beautiful quote for our second Chakra is the following one: “I know you want it to stay pleasant around here, but — there are so many things … that are so much better. Like silly, or sexy, or dangerous … or brief. And every one of those things is in you all the time, if you just have the guts to look for them”.
A great movie for your solar plexus chakra: “Whiplash”
If you feel it’s time to awaken your 3rd Chakra – the Chakra of willpower, determination and self-overcoming – try this powerful and intense movie: “Whiplash”.
“Whiplash” is the neck injury caused by a sudden jerking of the head backward or forward. Some of us might have experienced it as a result of a car accident, when our car collided with another’s and we were violently thrown back or forward. “Whiplash” is also a breathtaking Jazz piece that the young Jazz player Andrew would struggle with all his might to virtuously play throughout this film. And most definitely, “Whiplash” is the very sweeping energy of the movie itself: it feels more like a car accident out of which we either come completely miserable and lost, or fully elevated and transformed.
The center of this movie is a drama in which only two are engaged: the highly ambitious Andrew who dreams of becoming a great Jazz drum player, and the even more ambitious conductor Terence Fletcher who is his teacher at the prestigious Shaffer Conservatory in New York.
At times it seems unclear whether this Fletcher is completely insane or a visionary who is wholeheartedly devoted to extricating excellence from his young students. He treats them sadistically, in a way that would most probably repulse you, but then gives away his inner drive and we cannot deny the beauty of his single-minded passion.
Andrew struggles to please his eternally displeased Master, to at least elicit some vague smile of satisfaction in response to his efforts. But really, Fletcher and Andrew, like in all great movies, are just representations of two halves of our own self: the part that pushes us towards excellence, self-overcoming and bringing out our best self, and the part that desperately tries to reach the goal and sometimes just wants to give up and accept its limitation.
In “Whiplash” these two halves are eventually united as one victorious 3rd Chakra. It is an inspiring and deep going transmission that realizes the aspiration of the 3rd Chakra as a form of love.
A great movie for your heart chakra: “Selma”
There are great, great hearts out there that never cease to remind us of our truest call as human beings: an uncompromising devotion to something that is bigger than our own personal life, call it life, the future of humanity, the higher reality or God.
When our hearts are filled with such devotion, we have no question about the meaning of life. We are life’s awakened meaning, and we feel it in our bones. We know we’re doing the right thing.
Martin Luther King Jr. was, no doubt, one of those great hearts.
Despite all human weaknesses of the kind we all share – fears, desires, wishes to withdraw and give up, and so on – he was one with his sacred mission: to combat racial inequality through nonviolence civil disobedience. Just like his other great heart contemporary, the unbelievable Mahatma Gandhi.
Like Gandhi, King was of course aware of the assassination threats surrounding him. And like Gandhi, he didn’t waver. On the day before he was eventually assassinated, the 3rd of April 1968, he addressed his own fear of death in a gathering, as if he knew this would be his last speech:
“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind.
“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you.
“But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord”.
“Selma” is not about King’s assassination. It beautifully and intensely concentrates on a fragment of his struggle: the Selma marches. King picks Selma, a city in Alabama, as a powerful symbol, as blacks are cunningly prevented there from fulfilling their rights to vote.
This movie manages to transmit King’s being in a way that no heart can remain indifferent to. Less than a mere story, it is a call to be as big as him, or least to be less small than we believe we are.
A great movie for your throat chakra: “Where the wild things are”
For the throat Chakra I have chosen the movie “Where the wild things are”, directed by my all-time-favourite film director Spike Jonze (“Adaptation”, “Her”, “Being John Malkovich”).
“Where the wild things are”, based on the extremely short children’s book by Maurice Sendak, is an unbelievable inner journey for your 5th Chakra. On the face of it, it tells the story of the nine-year-old Max, who holds within him many unspoken, undigested feelings and emotions: frustration, loneliness, fear, and sadness. His parents are divorced and his mother has a new boyfriend. Incidents with his sister and teacher at class trigger him even more. He feels rage flaring inside him.
One night, when his mother invites her boyfriend, he wears his wolf costume, acts like an animal and throws a tantrum. His mother yells at him, and he runs away through the front door. Max’s journey into his own psyche is about to begin. From now on, he enters a world made by his own imagination to help him encounter these unexpressed feelings inside and make sense out of them.
For the genius Spike Jonze there is no real division between the real world and Max’s imaginary world. So he doesn’t take the trouble to let us know we have entered a different realm: Max’s inner world, which is really our rather messy inner world.
All of Max’s wild impulses, frustration, anger, fear, loneliness, take the form of a very, very strange group of huge creatures. They are all in a strange, unclear state, and they somehow strangely expect little Max to be their leader and to help them find joy and relief.
It is hard. And the movie is quite an intense process, only pretending to be a children’s movie. There are dark moments, in which it seems like these inner forces can find no release, no proper expression, and so are doomed to remain in anguish.
“Where the wild things are” is a wildly imaginative drama about our very own throat Chakra. Each one of us has different voices inside, some of them contradict each other. When we suppress them, they transform into rage and deep tension. When we try to listen to them, they express in a scary chaotic way.
Can we give all these caged feelings voice without ruining ourselves? Can we release them properly? And can we become their leader, finally finding one voice to harmonize them all and find peace within ourselves and with our surroundings?
If you watch this movie from your innermost, in its wondrous way it will give you the answers.
A great movie for your third-eye chakra: “The Truman Show”
Awakening the third eye – the 6th Chakra – doesn’t always have to occur under special mystical circumstances. It can also happen by watching closely a very wise movie.
One such movie is the “Truman Show” – one of the best movies ever made about reality, illusion and the huge gap between the two.
Our 6th Chakra is used in the process of spiritual Enlightenment as the invincible sword that pierces through the many layers of the world’s illusion – the world as it was created by human thought – to reveal the absolutely real world behind it all.
In the brilliant “Truman Show”, created by director Peter Weir, we enter a completely fake world made wholly for the sake of a reality TV show. What makes it even more unusual is that its main participant, Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey), is the only one who doesn’t know this truth.
Since birth Truman was basically designed and destined to serve millions of hungry TV watchers as an engaged participant in a life drama that is not really his own.
Everything around him on this island called Seahaven, including his “wife” and closest friend, is there just to strengthen and deepen his illusion. Even his childhood traumas are nothing but intentionally implanted memories.
What begins to evoke suspicion that this is not just a brilliant critical view about reality TV shows is that above this fake world Truman’s God and maker, A TV producer named Christof, hovers over, watching his beloved creation and doing anything he can to prevent Truman from knowing who he really is.
Slowly but surely we understand that in a way we share Truman’s illusion as well as Truman’s inner tormenting discomfort – the constant feeling that no matter how much his life is “nice”, it is still not “real”.
This is the birth of a seeker of truth. Will the seeker break through illusion and find the real world, outside the box of limited perception? Only if he is bold enough not to listen to that voice inside telling him that only death awaits him on the other side.
Beyond this inner voice, it is freedom that awaits him, not death: the happy realization that he alone has created his world of illusion and therefore, he alone can free himself through the power of right perception.
A great movie for your crown chakra: “2001: A Space Odyssey”
There are very few movies in the history of cinema that can awaken your crown Chakra like “2001: A Space Odyssey”, the 1968 masterpiece of genius film-director Stanley Kubrick.
It is a science fiction movie, but don’t expect thrill and action: this is an utterly meditative, silent and reflective cinematic journey.
Watching this film without any guidance and supportive interpretation, you might end up feeling this is more like an unsolvable riddle, or an elusive experience that is meant to leave you somehow touched and dumbfounded at the same time.
Really, “2001: A Space Odyssey” is a movie about the nature of consciousness: what is human consciousness? Where did it come from? And what is its greatest evolutionary potential?
To answer this, Kubrick leads us through a dazzling cosmic journey, starting with a tribe of man-apes millions of years ago all the way to the “far future”, when men are comfortably travelling in spacecrafts throughout space.
What initiated the mystery of human consciousness, giving us the ability of the self-reflective mind? All along the movie a mysterious and divine black monolith appears over and over again to help humans rise to a new level of consciousness: first the man-apes, then the space-travellers…
And when, in the middle of the movie, we might start suspecting that human consciousness is after all no more than a highly efficient computer – the monolith once again leads one such space-traveller through a journey beyond time and space, beyond aging and death, towards the peak of human consciousness:
Moving from human consciousness into cosmic consciousness.
For this is the seed that lies deep within it and awaits blossoming since the dawn of humanity.