Like millions of people around the world, I recently saw the new James Cameron film Avatar. While I was blown away by the visual beauty, the out-of-this world effects, and the revolutionary technology of the movie, it was the deeper message of Avatar that had the biggest impact on me.
As someone who sometimes arrogantly criticizes "mainstream" culture for being too shallow or not "getting it," I was both humbled and inspired watching this film - knowing that its direct and indirect messages of awareness and interconnectedness are not only being shown to millions all over the world, but that there is an intense hunger and desire for them (as evidenced by its record-breaking success).
As a culture we are waking up on so many levels. With all that is going on in our country and our world these days, many of us are asking deeper, more meaningful questions about life, work, money, relationships, peace, our planet, and so much more. Many of these important issues were addressed directly and profoundly in Avatar. When I left the theatre, not only did I feel that I'd just seen an incredible movie, I felt as though my life had been impacted and altered in a positive way.
The film is a wake-up call - reminding us of the dangers of greed, unconsciousness, disconnection, insensitivity, violence, and arrogance, both globally and personally. It's also a bold call for each of us to re-connect with that which is most sacred to us, to focus on what truly matters, and to remember how connected we are to each other, all living beings, and the environment in which we live.
Three of the most important messages we can take away from Avatar and use in our own life, work, and relationships are:
1) Honor the sacred - A central theme of the film is the way in which the Na'vi (the native species of the moon Pandora where the story takes place) honor the sacredness of their land - specifically Hometree (where they live) and the Tree of Souls (where they worship). They have a deep sense of reverence for these important places and for all of Pandora.
How well do you honor your own space? How much reverence do you hold for where you live, where you work, where you eat, the planet, and more? So often we forget that the "sacredness" of any place is more about how we relate to it, than about the space itself. We have the ability to bring a sense of sacredness to anywhere we are, at any time.
2) Connect with Spirit - The Na'vi worship a mother goddess called Eywa. Eywa is the center of the Na'vi's universe and their reverence for her is displayed in a beautiful and palpable way throughout the film. In all that the Na'vi do, there is a direct connection back to their relationship with Eywa. There are breathtaking scenes in the film showing large groups of Na'vi chanting and praying around the Tree of Souls - as a way to honor, connect with, and access Eywa's power, wisdom, and love.
How consciously do you connect with Spirit in your own life? We often get so busy that we don't take the time to connect with Spirit in a deliberate and meaningful way in our daily lives. We also sometimes get too caught up in the external - thinking we have to go to a specific service or gathering, practice a particular form of prayer or meditation, or do something else externally in order to tap into our connection to Spirit. While any of these practices can be important, none of them are necessary - we can connect with Spirit at any time, in any place, and for any reason.
3) Remember our interconnectedness - The way the Na'vi live in harmony with their land and all living creators is one of the most profound and awe-inspiring elements of Avatar. There is a deep respect and appreciation for all living creators and for all elements of nature that the Na'vi truly embody. A great example of this is how the Na'vi warriors bond with their Banshees (the four-winged creatures they fly around on). Once they bond - which they do both physically and energetically - they are bonded for life and work together as one. The first few scenes in the film where we see the Na'vi warriors connect with their Banshees literally took my breath away and had a visceral impact on me as I sat in the theater.
How consciously interconnected do you feel towards other people, living creatures, and our planet in your daily life? It's so easy for us to get caught up in the illusion of separateness - we think, talk, and are reminded of all the ways in which we are different, disconnected, and isolated from one another, living creators, and the earth all the time. However, most of us have had experiences in our lives where we've felt a deep sense of interconnectedness - not just with people we know and love, but with all of life. In those moments, we've seen, felt, and touched the depth of our true nature. When we consciously tap into this, we remember that at the deepest level - we are all one.
Avatar is a film that not only broke new ground in film making technology, visual effects, and box-office success - it's a movie that challenges us in a personal way to remember who we really are and why we're truly here.
Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info - www.Mike-Robbins.com