"All grief comes from identifying with what's on the screen"

My 1st Movie Watching Experience with Living Miracles

I enjoy movie watching and remember the first movie I watched during a Living Miracles retreat with Kirsten Buxton & Ricki Comeaux.  I knew nothing about Living Miracles or David Hoffmeister and had never seen mwge.org. At the time I was equally dedicated to Mooji and A Course in Miracles. When a Mooji retreat fell through, I searched the Internet for a Course in Miracles retreats for the dates I was available. At this point, I was sure Spirituality was the answer to “solve my life.” I dived in with all I had. I put all my money and time into opening a Spiritual/Wellness center in France as I could not travel to retreats that had events in English. I started the wellness center as I was having panic attacks on a daily basis and travel was impossible. So I wanted to find everything available in my local area. I had started with Eckhart Tolle, moved through Byron Katie, Marianne Williamson, and many others. I even managed to attend one spiritual retreat. I had been to an Eckhart Tolle retreat in Italy though mostly by relying on Xanax. Four years after creating my center I finally felt able to travel. Although, I still had a lot of fear.

“Today I will have a peaceful day, I will make peace my only goal.” 


My first ACIM retreat with Living Miracles

The first two days during the retreat I was “fighting” panic. I missed a few sessions, pretending I had a migraine. I could not admit to my panic attacks. It seemed that I was not in the place of the love and joy. Everyone was hugging and bonding and seemed so happy. I was struggling just to be there. I remember at night I would hide  with my iPad under the sheets to watch Friends to calm myself to sleep. I felt like a spiritual failure. Tv and movies were a way for me to distract and calm myself. 

Then one evening it was announced we would watch a movie. I was thrilled. Movie watching I can do! I can get caught up in a story and forget to panic. It was a distraction tactic but whatever the ego uses the Spirit can use too. It is just a question of the purpose for which it is used.

My perception shifted and movies became a safe place. In this context, certain movies were viewed versus others . Nothing that would remind me of panic, people going insane, people trapped, trippy or psychedelic scenes, etc. etc.  I didn’t know what to expect from the movie night that was announced. I had seen and shown many “spiritual movies”  at my center and though I had some favorite documentary-style films like, "I am" and "The Power of the Heart," I wanted something I could really get lost in.  

I hadn’t realized the film would be a regular Hollywood film. So, I was thrilled when Kirsten announced the name of the film. It was one I had never seen and it was with a favorite actor, Will Smith. The movie was, "The Legend of Bagger Vance." I had never seen it because it seemed to be about golf and sports movies really did not appeal to me. 

Read David Hoffmeister's movie review on The Legend of Bagger Vance on mwge.org

Quote from The Legend of Bagger Vance

Rannulph Junuh: It's too long ago.

Bagger Vance: Oh no sir, it was just a moment ago. Time for you to come on out the shadows Junuh. Time for you to choose.

Rannulph Junuh: I can't.

Bagger Vance: Yes, you can but you ain't alone. I"m right here with ya. I've been here all along. Now play the game. Your game, the one that only you was meant to play. The one that was given to you when you come into this world. You ready? Strike that ball, Junuh. Don't hold nothin' back. Give it everything. Now's the time. Let yourself remember.  Remember your swing. That's right Junuh. Settle yourself. Let's go. Now is the time, Junuh.

Bagger Vance: Inside each and every one of us is our one, true authentic swing. Something we was born with. Something that's ours and ours alone. Something that can't be learned .... something that's got to be remembered.

How to follow guidance.

During the movie gathering, Kirsten gave an introduction, a set-up to point our mind in a direction as the ego can use the movie's storyline to distract the viewer.  She planted the seed of a new way to watch the film. The focus was not on the plot. There was a new plot: “Forgiveness, love, and guidance.” 

Movies seem to be about characters so without getting distracted and overwhelmed by my own story, I could watch someone else's story and be shown how to forgive my own perception. I could now see just how much “other people” are important and how fear and guilt get projected onto everyone around us. This helps us to face them by facing the people and opening up with the truth of what is going in our mind. They can help us let it go and move on. 

This movie showed me in a practical situation of playing golf, what it could look like. It showed me what is really happening in the mind when ego thoughts interrupt and you move out of the flow back to ego goals. It confirmed my feeling that spirituality is a part of life and not sitting off in a cave alone meditating and battling with thoughts. Instead, it is a practice in everyday life. It was looking at a life from a different perspective, not just the form or emotions but also the purpose, motivation, and presence of both ego and Spirit in every situation.

I could see how the character passion for golf was his way back to his true self. With a new purpose of healing, a new purpose of joy and inspiration the game of golf brought him back in contact with the one mind, with Spirit. This new purpose gave him the strength to face his fears and guilt off the playing field/golf green. Accepting the initial support from a little boy and then a holy spirit angel character (Will Smith) was all it took for him to slowly start to accept support from the community. This also helped him let go of his guilt and a symbol of unworthiness such as a  woman from his past. I could see how resisting love and other people was not a solution, I could see how the ego wanted to keep the mind in stories from the past. I could see how the little bit of willingness was all it took to set off an entire healing army. 

We watched with Kirsten’s guidance, how the character moved from guilt, pain & fear to forgive his experiences in the war and stop living in the past. He was brought back to the present moment in the game of golf. The more he followed the inspiration/guidance in the game, the more in the rest of his life he became more open, honest and trusting.  

It was so different to watch the lessons of A Course in Miracles play out in a sort of how-to example.

It was like the parables in the bible but in contemporary stories, I can relate to. I have never played golf and never fought in a war but with this new way of looking at it, I could see the true story is the same, I am believing in stories from the past and defending against a future to avoid the present. His unworthiness, his fear was the same as mine. Suddenly I had hope, I could see it is possible to wake up out of this dream. 

The next night we watched Salmon Fishing in Yemen. This movie-watching experience was lighter and very moving but the reactions of again joy and love from everyone else in the room left me feeling disconnected. The next day over a private cigarette break with Ricki I admitted to her, I have been having panic attacks, I feel very distant from the joy everyone else seems to be experiencing. She assured me that is ok, we are all in different phases/experiences and what I am facing is the death wish, the dark night of the souls. She said the movie you need is called “Revolver”. I wrote it down with the thought to watch it as soon as I get home. She told me about mwge.org and that I could watch it there with the commentary to guide me through it. 

That was it—the beginning of my new spiritual practice of movie watching.

I signed up to MWGE and watched Revolver. That one was really difficult! But to this day the “elevator scene” from Revolver runs through my mind whenever I am having a strong ego attack. Movies are still a safe way for me to bring up and face what’s going on in my mind. I also find the same movie watched many times, can bring different lessons each time I watch it. 

Now  I have had a year of regular movie watching through the weekly movie workshop.  Movie-watching experience is different from that first time and has gotten deeper and very direct.

Want to know more about how to use movies for awakening, take a look at our Movie Watcher's Guide to Enlightenment.

To join David Hoffmeister and friends on a weekly Saturday online movie workshop, sign up here.

About the author

Jeanne Wilmot

Jeanne is a Course in Miracles student and Living Miracles volunteer.

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