The wonderful part about a well-made documentary is it allows you, for a brief moment, to step inside someone else’s story and see the world through their eyes. The hope remains that information presented through documentaries will widen the perspective through which you see the world, and increase awareness of the different possibilities.
As always, it is important to keep an open mind because “just when you thought you’d considered all the angles, life goes from a square to a cube.”
The following list are notable documentaries that focus on spiritual growth for the individual and the collective whole:
Sensitive: The Untold Story: Based upon the national bestseller, The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, author Elaine Aron, Ph.D. defines a distinct personality trait that affects as many as one out of every five people. According to Dr. Aron’s research, the highly sensitive person (HSP) has a sensitive nervous system, is acutely aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment and processes information in a deeper, more reflective way. Often misdiagnosed as shyness, introversion, autism, or Asperger’s Syndrome, the highly sensitive person lexicon identifies pivotal information and validation for those who are inaccurately labeled.
Belief: A collaboration between Oprah Winfrey, the OWN Network and part2 pictures, Belief presents a diverse range of 28 stories of faith and spiritual journeys as seen through the eyes of believers. Witnessing stories that highlight one of the most basic human needs – a desire to find purpose and meaning in our lives, this docuseries is a pleasant juxtaposition of how diverse and yet similar we all are. Although there are many notable highlights, my big take away is the reverential manner in which the beliefs are presented and how much sincerity and sense of connection is captured.
Paul & The Word: What do I want for myself? What have I cared too much for? What have I cared to little for? What have I agreed to that is no longer true? Paul & The Word is an introduction to Paul Selig, and the reluctance Selig was called to release in order to share the channeled messages that come through him. The Guides, as Selig refers to them, relay high vibratory messages that are piercingly fundamental in the aim to remind you of your true purpose. According to The Guides in Selig’s channeled text, The Book of Knowing and Worth, “What you call to you is always a reflection of what you believe should be. And every time you say who you are, your world confirms.” Having gained profound insights from what I’ve read thus far, I look forward to Selig’s most recent text The Book of Mastery as it is sure to continue to build upon the spiritual growth platform.
How to Die in Oregon: “Thinking and talking about death need not be morbid; they may be quite the opposite. Ignorance and fear of death overshadow life, while knowing and accepting death erases this shadow.” Taking an intimate look at Oregon’s battle with the legalization of physician-assisted suicide, How to Die in Oregon is a powerfully emotional account of what happens when the patient, the family and the physician navigate the choice to make preparations to die with dignity. Painstakingly compelling and compassionately presented, How to Die in Oregon presents a neutral exploration of the implications associated with how some choose to die with dignity.
Revolution: “In an effort to uncover the secrets to saving the ecosystems we depend on for our survival,” Rob Stewart discovers nothing less than a revolution is required to save life on earth. There is something about climate change that elicits an illusion of “someplace else-ness”. Ocean acidification is quietly happening out of view as we speak. The ocean can seem like “someplace else” when you consider not many people will notice there are fewer sharks, fewer coral reefs and fewer stable ecosystems. Revolution brings all of this to the forefront of the distant conversation. There is no “someplace else” where the effects are being felt. It’s happening all around us. As I watched the visually stunning scenes of Revolution, the hope and optimism conveyed by Stewart and his fellow activists is contagious. This is an undertaking for all to embrace as we recall Franklin D. Roosevelt’s quote, “Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from revolutionists.”
Awake: The Life of Yogananda: Introduced to America by Paramhansa Yogananda, the author of the most-read autobiography of all times, Autobiography of a Yogi, “Yoga, the timeless science behind all true religions, consists of systematic and definite steps to realization of the soul’s oneness with Spirit.” Chronicling the original purpose of yoga and the union it is meant to create with divine intelligence, Awake clarifies we should “use the body because you have a body, but it’s really about the mind.” Initiating more than 100,000 men and women during his thirty years in the West, Yogananda emphasized the underlying unity of the world’s great religions, and taught universal methods for attaining direct personal experience of God through Kriya Yoga. Although for many yoga has become something you do with your body for aesthetic purposes, Awake reminds us “when the eyes, breath, and heart are quieted, another world comes into view.”
THRIVE: What on earth will it take for a substantial grassroots movement? What else has to happen for us to behave as if it really is not just about our individual self, but every human being on the planet? THRIVE is the documentary you probably don’t want to watch, but need to watch. THRIVE delves deep into hidden structures in place within society that are perpetual impediments to a thriving interconnected populace. The first hour of THRIVE is quite disturbing. With an in depth presentation of the length that is taken to keep certain groups of society in subjugated positions, it’s hard not to feel dis-heartened. However, the second half of the documentary offers suggestions of what can be done and what is already being done to disrupt the imbalanced status quo.
Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds: “The true crisis in our world is not social, political, or economic, our crisis is the crisis of consciousness: an inability to directly experience our true nature, an inability to recognize this nature in everyone and in all things.” In today’s society, we have strayed too far into the realm of thinking; what we perceive to be the outer world of form. As a result, we have lost our connection to our inner worlds. This balance is the birthright of every human being. It is the common link between all religions, and the link between our inner worlds and our outer worlds. Exploring the vibratory field that connects all life, this has been the most consistently suggested documentary to be included on this list.
Finding Happiness: An innovative blend of drama and documentary, Finding Happiness is the story of fictional journalist Juliet Palmer, an investigative reporter specializing in stories that expose corruption. Palmer receives an unusual and unwanted assignment from her boss to explore a spiritual living community. With a unique story directly from the heart and soul of each person who has lived it. Finding Happiness explores if it’s possible for people to live in harmony, collaboration, compassion, cooperation, peace and love together in a conscious community. According to those who have done precisely this, in a community called Ananda – which means “joy”, it is most definitely possible and happening now.
Mindfulness: Be Happy Now: “The art of simply being present. From Oprah to Phil Jackson to Anderson Cooper, it has been embraced by some of the world’s most successful people. Featuring testimonies from Deepak Chopra, Thich Nhat Hanh, Sharon Stone, Oliver Stone, and more, this documentary shows you how to embrace mindfulness in your own life. Like mindfulness itself, the film is simple, direct, and effective.”
For more information on spiritual growth documentaries and films, log onto Top Documentary or the International Documentary Association.
Most of the listed documentaries can be viewed online at no charge, on video demand for a nominal fee or can be purchased for home viewing.
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