At my husband’s 50th birthday party, his friend gave him a gift certificate to the movies and told him with deep seriousness, “You have to use this to see Avatar. As soon as you can.” Brett smiled and thanked him – then we mostly forgot about it.
Probably just a lot of hype, we’ll get to it when we do. So on Saturday night we finally did – and our three hour stay at the Carmike near Target evaporated in a swirl of magic. I’ve been drifting in a pixie dust afterglow ever since. You probably already have an opinion about Avatar – it’s been out for 2 and a half months – but I can’t help it, gotta say my piece!
One of my yoga students scoffed in disgust when the movie first came out. “They go watch a movie like Avatar,” he said of people in general, “Then they just go back and keep doing what they’re doing – nothing changes!”
What? A tough marine is depicted in a movie as converting into a tree hugging dirt worshipper and nothing has changed? Okay, let’s break this down – before Avatar, the biggest grossing movie was Titanic – made by the same guy. So about 13 years ago, James Cameron and all the people he influences with his work are caught up in a soppy love/disaster story and that’s what captures the generic attention. Not so interesting really to us yoga types. Now the same guy shifts his awareness into a visionary, futuristic, gorgeous mythic epic (I’ll have to put the Hollywood blow-up-shit part out in the parking lot), which is essentially about the elevation of consciousness. He comes out with the highest grossing movie ever, and nothing has changed? BTW, us yoga types have perked up a bit.
Consciousness is shifting. This is one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever witnessed in the mainstream. People responded to this movie not only because of the effects or the 3D glasses, but because something is shifting within us. We are ready to move forward – in fact, we don’t have a choice. Our minds must expand if we are to evolve, if we are to survive. People responded to Barack Obama because he promised us “Change you can Believe in.” Regardless of the lukewarm delivery of that promise, regardless of whether most teenage boys just enjoyed the shoot-’em-up violence of Avatar, and regardless of the wars and environmental devastation we are mired in – something much larger than our own little craniums can fathom, is shifting.
This is the change that is on the lid of every third eye out there – consciously or not, Consciousness is changing. Avatar is monumental because it is the aesthetic expression, as always, out in front of rational discourse, of the shift that we are undergoing.
And if consciousness shifts, then actions will necessarily follow. I’m not saying the Age of Aquarius is upon us and we should all get out our love beads and start dancing in Golden Gate Park. I’m not saying it’s all good and getting better. I’m not saying stop trying to transform yourself and the world. We have to keep supporting this shift in every way that we can. But if the mass consciousness is welcoming this kind of entertainment, we can be sure there will be a response.
The title of the movie is in Sanskrit. The avatars are Krishna blue. I’m thinking Mahabharata here, not Second life. Everything on Pandora is connected by what Sigourney calls a neural network. Psycho-neuroimmunology depicted macrocosmically. Pandora has almost what Teilhard called a noosphere – a bio-active atmosphere of consciousness. We are not alone in our quest to make things better. It doesn’t have to do simply with how many petitions you sign or protests you attend or letters you write or checks you send to Haiti – that’s all important, but there is a support, there is an Avatar – there is a force that is helping us.
A guy with stunningly long dreads at the checkout at Earthfare told me yesterday that the movie has been slammed as un-american all over the media. Hmm, now if they had taken out the real bad guy, the corporatist who pushes the bulldozer at Jake, then I could see why the powers that be might get their knickers in a twist – but he gets off without even a slap on the wrist. What planet is he going to exploit next – maybe that’s where the sequel is going? I thought they might make a slave out of him or at least send him to Pandora rehab and make him wear a loin cloth.
Here’s the other thing – because there is contention and polarization around this movie, you can be certain it matters. Those who say it’s un-american are doing this consciousness shift a great service. And if they keep pushing, the momentum will continue to grow. The question is what exactly is un-american about cooperation, sustainability, intuition, interconnectedness and the fight to maintain those principles? The military, I want to reiterate, is not the problem, it’s the guy who controls them.
The sky seems bluer today and I am enjoying the smell of my tea more than usual. There is a reality that waits patiently for us to take notice. Madhuvidya, is what I would call the essence of Avatar, the sweet secret knowledge that everything in every moment is an opportunity for swimming in ecstasy.
Great review. Can I take this to Waylon at Elephant Journal and suggest he publish it there?
I had a slightly (!) different reaction to the film. Here are my comments at the good discussion at “It’s All Yoga, Baby” http://bit.ly/5A50gP :
“Cowboys and Indians in space with spectacular special effects. The cliches of the over-the-top-battle scenes overshadowed any other meaning in the film.
I did love the breathtaking scenery and the creativity of the flora, fauna and characters, but why did I feel like I was emerging from the Terminator?
I personally did not see anything the slightest bit Yogic here. Yoga is the antithesis of magic spirits and primitive nature worship. It emerged as a more direct and rational approach to spirituality, while still full of wonder and awe.
Just my opinion. I’m very happy for those who saw bigger things in Avatar.”
To which Roseanne politely responded:
“Bob, are you sure your 3D glasses were working properly? You really didn’t see anything bigger in there? Not sure if I’d consider yoga “antithetical” to magic spirits and nature worship… it’s not all direct and rational, there is definitely some magic in the tradition…”
And I replied:
“Yes, my 3D glasses worked great. Good questions and a big issue we’ve stumbled upon here, probably too big for a quick answer.
But yes, I personally believe the the Upanishads, The Bhagavad Gita and especially the Yoga Sutra were the earliest attempts to see consciousness in a highly rational and, for the times, a scientific way.
Rational and scientific don’t exclude wonder and awe and unfathomableness. Einstein himself, the ultimate scientist, often sounds like he’s coming right out of the Upanishads when he writes about spirituality.
But being in awe of the wondrousness of nature and feeling one with it, which is at the heart of Yoga, is very different than inventing arbitrary magic spirits and worshiping them with elaborate religious rites presided by priests, as shown in Avatar.
This is what the early Yoga sages were rebelling against, in my opinion.”
Just linked to your review above at “It’s All Yoga Baby.” See my last comment there.
Thanks for your comments Bob. Of course you’re right, it’s gratuitously violent.
I could definitely go the terminator route with it, but as I said, I decided to put the violence in the parking lot and swim in the bliss of the rest of it.
It was Terminator in the 1980’s and then Titanic in the ’90s and it’s definitely Avatar in the 2000s!!
am I the only soul who noticed the sushumna, ida,and pingala rising inside the hometree? If that isn’t yoga…what is?
Definitely a lot of helixing going on in that tree – glad you noticed!