The wrath of Netflix. I got three Netflix movies in the mail yesterday. I watched two of them. I don't usually talk about movies but I went through some emotional times last night.
Reign Over Me- Some people might not be able to look past Adam Sandler as Happy Gilmore or Billy Madison, but I was. Along with Don Cheadle, Reign Over Me had me in the in the soft, pink, and cushiony inner folds of an emotional wreck last night. For some reason this movie got to me. It might be all the great music (the boss mostly), it might be that Don Cheadle, Liv Tyler and Adam Sandler make a wicked combo, but I was destroyed by this movie. I even cried when the Charley broke down and told his post 9/11 family dying story. The movie made me think about my family and how I would feel if I lost them. It made me think about how even though those close to us might get on or nerves in seemingly unimportant ways they actually are the things that we remember about people when they are gone. My family is still alive, and those the things I remember. Give this movie a chance.
BARAKA- Then as if I was trying to beat myself up even more I watched Baraka. If you've never watched this hypnotic, spiritual, life changing epic documentary then you have missed out on one of the greatest joys/tragedies of humanity that has ever been created on film. This movie is essentially in a constant alternation between natural/tribal/religious images and scenes super imposed and paired with equal and similar scenes from industrial/commercial/modern scenes of humanity. There is a lot of time lapse photography and amazingly hypotic music from most of the regions of the world. Almost every religion is depicted in absolute intimacy. As I watched it I become more keenly aware of how undefined my spirituality is. I saw Muslims, Catholic Priests, Hindus at the River, Buddhist Monks in the Sacred City, Aboriginies dancing, and the famous Kekak tribe doing their crazy hypno-chanting dance. I have no rituals. I have no meditation state. I have no devout belief in anything that even comes close to paralleling these people's religious devotion. I am religionless (I know that is not a word but eh).
I've been wondering when the right opportunity would come up to talk about religion. Tonight might be the night. When I say I am religionless, I don't mean I don't believe things or don't have a connection to a spiritual level of life, I mean that I don't belong to a specific one. Sometimes I envy people who do. They have a set of rules, or guidelines, or rituals, or values for which to strive. They have a place to go. They have others who get it. The closest I've ever felt to religion is when I am hugging my brother, watching a sunset/sunrise, spending time in a natural habitat, swimming in a natural body of water, or listening to live music (preferably doing all of them simultaneously). That simultaneous intersection of these things is my sacred city, my temple, my mecca, my heaven and nirvana. Family, friends, the sun, water, nature, music and kindness are all I can really say I aspire to.
I am not sure what it feels like to believe in "God." I never have even from what I can remember as a child. I just know there are these moments in life, these brief overwhelming glimpses of joy and light, that happen when I am involved in these activities, thoughts and times. It is specifically these moments of glowing joy and wonder that drive me. They influence my musical pallet, my choice of activities, my choices in the company I keep, and what it is I seek in life. These glimpses of heat and light and energy are essentially beauty overcoming your heart and soul. The reason I love sunrises are because they are the only way I can define and show others what I'm talking about. That specific, exact moment when the sun finally cracks the horizon and send a sharp white light across the land, in your eyes almost blinding you, into your heart for just a fraction of a moment. It heals you, it warms you, it fixes you. It's the same way I feel when I jump into a lake, or a river, or the sea. Its the same feeling I get when I hug my brother after not seeing him for a while. Its the same feeling I get when I hear certain lyrics, notes and parts of songs of my favorite bands and musicians. It is that glimpse moment of light that I want to bask in. It is that first peak of the morning sun across your heart that I want to share. AND IT IS SO HARD TO DO. It is that type of warmth that I want to harness and radiate continually to everyone so that they can feel it too.
Some of you know this story. Before I left for Christmas break, I was walking to the mouth of the river here on the island to see the sunrise. At that time it was rising at the same time as the beginning of church service. I was happy to be outside and walking in the freezing air. I was walking next to a person from town (not important who), we were both a little sleepy still and didn't say much, rather, communicated with smiles. Where I was heading was on the way to church and we walked side by side for a little while, our boots squeaking in the snow. When we got to the end of the road the person headed for the church and I headed towards the sea. The person turned back and said, "Are you going to church?" I kind of paused for a moment and smiled and said, "Yes, but its over there." I pointed to the horizon that was beginning to glow and then walked away.
I just wish I wasn't the only one.