Most of us are no doubt familiar with the expression, “Life is what you make of it.” It’s an adage that offers comfort in the face of disappointment and inspiration when undertaking new endeavors. Yet, as readily as we embrace the good feelings this saying imparts, how many of us truly take it to heart? Do we seriously believe the sentiment expressed by these words? And is the essence of this idea even possible, or is it oh so much warm fuzzy New Age hype?
For my part, I believe it really is possible for life to become what you make of it, thanks to the practice of conscious creation. This highly empowering approach to living maintains that we each create our own reality in conjunction with All That Is (or God, Goddess, Source, the Universe or whatever other term best suits you). This is accomplished by combining the thoughts, beliefs and intents we each formulate for ourselves with the power of our divine collaborator, thereby creating the conditions for manifesting the physical world that surrounds us. It applies to all areas of life, too, from romance to vocation to spirituality and everything in between. And, when the process is applied skillfully, it results in the life we crave.
While some may not be familiar with the term “conscious creation,” the concept is anything but new. Students of the ancient esoteric practice of alchemy, for example, will readily recognize the underlying similarities between that discipline and this one. Likewise, followers of the law of attraction, the personal empowerment concept popularized through the immense success of the book and DVD “The Secret” (2006), will see conscious creation’s uncanny resemblance to that practice. And those with a scientific bent will note the likeness between the principles of quantum physics and this metaphysical practice. But, no matter what one calls it or how one uses it, the process ultimately yields the same result, namely, that thoughts become things.
A number of important principles provide the foundation for this practice, and many excellent reference sources on them are available. They are perhaps best covered in the writings of author and consciousness pioneer Jane Roberts (1929-1984), who, together with her noncorporeal channeled entity, Seth, produced volume upon volume of material on the subject. But, as eloquently as these concepts are presented in prose, they are also brilliantly portrayed through an entirely different medium—the movies.
In many respects, movies are essentially the modern-day equivalent of storytelling, the time-honored practice that has long been used for instructing students in various philosophical, spiritual and metaphysical traditions. But, because motion pictures enhance their storylines with the high-tech wizardry of striking visuals and state-of-the-art sound, they bring their messages to life in ways that mere words often can’t. Their messages carry enormous impact, evoking strongly felt responses among viewers and conveying their messages with palpable degrees of substance and meaning. This is particularly true when it comes to cinematic portrayals of conscious creation principles; they leap off the screen at us with the vigor of the great white star of “Jaws.”
As a lifelong movie lover, I’ve found that films of all genres are capable of accomplishing this, too, including everything from comedies to dramas to science fiction and even documentaries. In fact, over time, I’ve come to discover that movies even can be organized into a sort of road map or outline for explaining the key concepts of conscious creation. Such an outline provides the basis for my previous book on the subject, Get the Picture: Conscious Creation Goes to the Movies (Moment Point Press, 2007, ISBN 978-1-930491-12-0). It’s also the focus of my online movie reviews for VividLife magazine (www.VividLife.me) and my web site’s ongoing blog (www.brentmarchant.com).
Many fundamental conscious creation concepts may seem like practical, commonsense guidance for everyday living, and that’s true, to be sure. But, when the principles are viewed collectively (with the concepts building upon one another and working synergistically) and applied with a heightened sense of awareness (a truly “conscious” outlook), they work together to provide a powerful means for approaching life. They generate a heightened sense of self-empowerment and self-awareness to help us shape our existence more to our liking. They enable us to address life’s opportunities, and to confront its challenges, more effectively and with a greater sense of fulfillment. Here’s a look at some of those key concepts and films that exemplify them:
1. Becoming aware of how we formulate beliefs. Since beliefs are the starting point in conscious creation, it’s important to know how they form in the first place. This involves becoming aware of the roles that our intellect and intuition play in this process. They provide the input that our consciousness evaluates and then uses to shape the beliefs we hold based on such assessments. Awareness of this overall process, as well as the individual beliefs we form through it, is crucial for one’s conscious creation proficiency; the better we are at this, the more effective we can be at making use of it. Movies that show this include the romantic comedy “Under the Tuscan Sun” (2003) and the ballet world drama “The Turning Point” (1977).
2. Going beyond surface perceptions. Because we tend to put more reliance on intellect than we do on intuition, we also tend to put a lot of stock into surface perceptions, those that we perceive with our five outer senses. But sometimes these impressions don’t tell the whole story. Looking beneath the surface provides a fuller picture, helping us to see that things aren’t always what they seem. It also helps us sharpen our intuitive sense, which, as noted above, is a key element in belief formation. These ideas are explored effectively in the family drama “Ordinary People” (1980), the French farce “King of Hearts” (1966), the riveting character study “A Beautiful Mind” (2001), the biting satire “Wag the Dog” (1997) and the heartfelt father-and-son fable “Big Fish” (2003).
3. Understanding the relationship of science and spirit in our lives. In many ways, the harmony between these two forces is a metaphor for the relationship between intellect and intuition. Grasping the one aids our comprehension of the other, and a number of pictures illustrate that, including the aforementioned law of attraction DVD “The Secret” (2006), the eclectic conscious creation treatise “What the #$*! Do We (K)now!?” (2004), the engaging sci-fi drama “Contact” (1997) and the metaphysical talkfest “Mindwalk” (1991).
4. Drawing upon the power of choice and free will. If we each create our own reality, then it would stand to reason that we also must be the ones making the decisions about how that reality materializes. This is where the power of choice and free will comes into play. Surprisingly, however, it’s a power we often lose sight of. Maintaining an acute awareness of it is critical to formulating the beliefs that allow us to create the existence we want, no matter how outlandish or unusual those choices may seem. Examples of pictures that illustrate this are the gut-wrenching drama “Sophie’s Choice” (1982), the edgy dark comedy “After Hours” (1985), the unconventional family drama “Housekeeping” (1987) and the futurist yarn “Brave New World” (1998).
5. Making changes when needed. When our beliefs don’t pan out as we’d like them to, it’s time to choose new ones. Being willing to evaluate our choices and to make changes to them (by rewriting the beliefs that underlie them) is essential to helping us achieve results more to our liking. Of course, we have to follow through on those changes in our choices to see them bear fruit; otherwise, we’re likely to remain locked in place, unsatisfied with our creations. Films that address such questions include the offbeat comedy-drama “The Truman Show” (1998), the gender-bending comedies “All of Me” (1984) and “Switch” (1991), the romantic fantasy “Peggy Sue Got Married” (1986), the quirky Woody Allen comedies “Zelig” (1983) and “The Purple Rose of Cairo” (1985), and the never-ending saga of “Groundhog Day” (1993).
6. Facing fears and living heroically. This is precisely what’s called for when making changes in our beliefs and in our lives. Without the courage to do this, we really will stay stuck in place. Many movies delve into this subject beautifully, but some of my favorites are the soul-searching sci-fi drama “Signs” (2002), the courageous leap of faith character study “An Unmarried Woman” (1978), the Alfred Hitchcock classic “Vertigo” (1958), the otherworldly romantic comedy “Defending Your Life” (1991), and a trio of contemporary heroic tales (all from 2005) “The Constant Gardener,” “Syriana” and “Good Night, and Good Luck.”
7. Assessing the evolution of our beliefs. Looking at how our beliefs change over time gives us a sense of how far we’ve come with regard to achieving a particular goal. By taking stock of our beliefs in this way, we can see where further changes may be needed. Films in the road trip genre are especially effective at illustrating this principle, and some great examples include the cinematic classic “The Wizard of Oz” (1939), the screwball comedy “Flirting with Disaster” (1996), the action adventure “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989) and the Frank Capra fantasy “Lost Horizon” (1937).
8. Appreciating the connectedness of all things. If we each truly create our own reality, then we indeed create the totality of that reality, including all its component parts. When we consider how intricately all of the various elements of our existence are interwoven with one another, it becomes clear just how careful we must be when making choices, formulating beliefs and effecting changes to them, for the implications can be far-reaching and unexpected. A number of movies explore this idea well, including the ironically titled “Six Degrees of Separation” (1993), the dysfunctional character study “American Beauty” (1999), the engaging gay drama “Hard Pill” (2005), the angst-ridden L.A. sagas “Grand Canyon” (1991) and “Crash” (2005), and the heartwarming charitable tale “Pay It Forward” (2000).
9. Exceeding our personal limitations. A chief aim of conscious creation is to create the reality we desire, something frequently achieved through spurts in our personal growth. Such advances can be realized by thinking the unthinkable, envisioning possibilities never before dreamed of, and imbuing ourselves with skills we never knew we had or thought possible. Also, it can involve allowing ourselves to wander the uncharted territories of alternate states of consciousness, such as those experienced in dreams, meditation and other unconventional states of mind. Imagine what’s possible with outlooks like that! Sci-fi and fantasy films are especially good at helping us see such possibilities, because they inherently push limits as part of their storylines. Some great examples are “What Dreams May Come” (1998), “Phenomenon” (1996), “Resurrection” (theatrical version, 1980; made-for-TV version, 1999), “K-PAX” (2001), “The Lathe of Heaven” (1980), “Brainstorm” (1983), “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004) and “Pleasantville” (1998).
10. Experiencing the joy and power of creation. As self-evident as this may seem, becoming more conscious of this state of being is tremendously uplifting. It allows us to experience being our own best, truest selves, living up to our potential for the betterment of our own lives and those of others around us, a notion sometimes known in conscious creation circles as value fulfillment. It’s a state of being that begs the question, “Who wouldn’t want to live a life like that?” We can see such sublime joy and tremendous power made manifest through such pictures as the gentle comedy “Being There” (1979), the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946), the inspiring, high-flying historical adventure “The Right Stuff” (1983) and the dreamy fantasy world of “Wings of Desire” (1987).
Consider what’s possible when all of these steps are put together, not only for achieving the existence we want to lead for ourselves, but also for the greater world in which we dwell. The satisfaction and rewards of such a life are truly worth experiencing. And to think it can all stem from the inspiration that movies provide us.
Now that’s quite a creation, if I do say so myself.
* * *
In many ways, I have employed the same general approach in this book that I used in Get the Picture. Each Chapter opens with a brief introduction to a basic conscious creation concept, providing an overview of its essence and its pertinence to the overall process. That’s followed by five movie listings that illustrate the concept at work. Each listing includes a plot summary and discussion of the relevant conscious creation themes, as well as credits information on principal cast members, directors, writers, year of U.S. domestic release and notations on major awards (Oscars,1 Golden Globes,2 the Cannes Film Festival, and, in one case, Emmys3). However, unlike my previous book, which profiled films across the entire span of cinematic history, this work specifically looks at movies released since I wrote Get the Picture, from 2006 through the end of the 2012 awards season.
There’s a logic to the order of the Chapters that will become apparent as readers go through the book. The concepts build upon one another, sometimes within a Chapter and sometimes from one Chapter to the next, showing how the different conscious creation principles fit together like the pieces of a puzzle. Due to the nature of this format, then, it probably wouldn’t be practical to treat this book like a catalog to peruse for a movie to watch; the book’s outline and contents don’t readily lend themselves to that. Instead, the book functions more like a cinematic syllabus, taking readers through a course on conscious creation as depicted through recent film releases. So I’d strongly suggest reading it in order rather than jumping around at random.
The pictures I’ve selected for each Chapter are what I consider to be some of the best recent examples of films that portray the conscious creation concepts in question. Some selections could easily have fit into more than one Chapter, and good arguments could be made for organizing them differently, but I slotted them where I felt they best exemplified the ideas at hand. Some of these pictures may not have been purposely made with conscious creation or law of attraction principles in mind, but the ideas are present in them nevertheless. This isn’t meant to give them revisionist treatment; rather, it’s to show how good they are at portraying these particular notions, whether or not their creators intended them to do so.
With all that said, I’d like to add a few other comments about this book’s nature and its contents:
* This is not an almanac of all of my personal favorite films of the past several years; that’s not the intent of this book. Besides, some of my favorites wouldn’t necessarily meet the criteria required to qualify for inclusion in this book.
* This is not an encyclopedia of all the pictures with metaphysical themes that have been made in recent years. Again, that’s not what I’m striving for here, given the book’s stated purpose.
* I have endeavored to avoid playing spoiler as much as possible. Although there may be hints at how the stories turn out (generally through the use of textual cliffhangers), I have done my level best to keep from blatantly divulging any endings. The only exceptions are entries involving biographies and pictures based on historical events, storylines in which the outcomes are already known and in the public record. Otherwise, though, I’m not telling; you’ll just have to see the pictures for yourself!
* With the specific exception of one Chapter’s film listings, I like all of the pictures in this book. Since I’m not fulfilling the role of a traditional movie critic here, and considering my objective of providing readers with good examples of films that capably illustrate conscious creation principles, it seems counterproductive to devote a lot of space to pictures I don’t like or wouldn’t recommend. I do include criticisms of specific movie elements where warranted, but this is not one of my priorities in writing this book.
* One entry was originally made for cable television. I have always believed that relevant small-screen productions deserve recognition where pertinent and have never hesitated to write about them when relevant. I do so here again.
* As was the case in Get the Picture, certain movie genres are lacking almost entirely here, mainly out of personal preference. Some may think me cantankerous or prejudicial for saying that, and I’d respond that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion—including me. Consequently, you’ll find no westerns (their testosterone-driven storylines rank about on par with professional wrestling), no horror flicks (their gratuitous, gore-dripping gimmickry makes me wish I’d skipped the concession stand on my way into the theater) and no musicals (most make me wish I’d been born heterosexual).
Conscious creation is truly a fascinating and empowering practice, and movies are great teachers of its key concepts (not to mention being a lot of fun, too). So sit back, pop some popcorn, fire up the DVD player and enjoy the show!
1 Oscar(s)® and Academy Award(s)® are registered trademarks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
2 Golden Globe(s)® is a registered trademark of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
3 Emmy(s)® is a registered trademark of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Excerpted from "Consciously Created Cinema: The Movie Lover's Guide to the Law of Attraction" by Brent Marchant. Copyright © 0 by Brent Marchant. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.