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Top Five Mystical Films

Song Of The Day: Cut Off Your Head / Jim's Big Ego
Word Of The Day: Gematria / A cabbalistic method of interpreting the Hebrew Scriptures by computing the numerical value of words, based on those of their constituent letters. (from the Aramaic 'gimatreya', which is from Greek 'geometria')

All right, I've been thinking about movies a bit more since my recent blog on Star Wars. Here now, is my Top Five All-Time Esoteric Major Motion Pictures. It's pretty easy to compose this list, since there are literally only a handful of films that even possess a developed sense of the Mystery, but they have been mind-blowing masterpieces, and I have listed them below. Think of this list as a papal dictate; It's eternal, issued directly from God THROUGH me, and wholly infallible. But even with God herSelf on my side, there must be a method to this ranking, and I will now tell you how I calibrate my system. There are four crucial items for a film making it on this list:

1, Was it ENTERTAINING? Setting aside the Mystery, did I get bored? That's why Waking Life is not on this list, it put me to sleep. Yeah, I know it was deep and brilliant, and it's all one huge Buddhist metaphor, but it was boring. What The Bleep did not make it on this list because for starters that chick Ramtha is just fucking weird, not Good Weird either, she reminds me of some Scientologist Branch Davidian Adi Da Devote. Here's a little note to the kids hanging at her table in the Mystical lunch room: STARING without blinking while you talk to someone is not an indication of the depth of your spiritual realization. It is a sign of your spooky perversion. Knock it off. Anyway, category #1 is HOW ENTERTAINING WAS IT?

2, Depth of REALIZATION. Category two in our candidate's challenge is measured by the "Depth Finder". What you do is simply take the ENTIRE contents of the film -its script, its direction, cinematography, the degree of stabilized awakening of each of its primary actors and actresses- and drop them into the Abyss Of Love (located in the non-locatable center of YOU, and if you don't know where that is, come back to this blog in a few more life times). Once you release the film into that Void, you count; One, Two, Three, Four, and so on. If a film bounces back up to you within 30 seconds, I hate to say it, but YOU do not have an adequate access to the Abyss, and the movies are being rejected for measurement because of your insufficient realization. If the movies bounce back within 60 seconds, they are being rejected because of limitations inherent in the FILM, and they cannot be considered for inclusion in our Top Five All Time Aweseom Esoteric Films.

3, Capacity to INHABIT and EXPRESS its realization. It's one thing for a film to possess great depth of ~!~?~!~ (Waking Life, What The Bleep), but it's another entirely for it to express the trans-rational insight with surprise, beauty, and a profound sense of Un-Knowing that leaves us in awe and wonder at the Miraculous way it all fits together once we detonate the Kosmic Question Mark in our heart. Also known as the Backward Step, this is true Zero-Point energy, as it emanates out of the value 'Zero' issued from the Point Of All Places. Again, if you do not have access to the non-locatable Point Of All Places or our numerical origin in Zero-Sum, in terms of conducting this research you are not a sufficiently advanced Human Biological Measuring Instrument. This is also why virtually ALL film critics and their criticism are irrelevent when it comes to these films and related discussions. These films are beyond their province. Period. Not one critic had a CLUE when it came to Mulholland Drive, because they are critics, not practitioners, they are not agents in the ~!~?~!~....yet. For now, relying on Leonard Maltin and Gene Shalit to tell us what Mulholland Drive is about is like giving a box of Rubic's cubes to drugged monkeys. It's an inappropriate combination.

4, CONFLUENCE. Above all else, these films must transmit ~!~?~!~ to us through a confluence of powers which transcend any of their constituent parts. Being ENTERTAINING (#1) is "necessary, but not sufficient" for the activation of depth of REALIZATION (to paraphrase Ken Wilber), which is necessary but not sufficient for the capacity to INHABIT AND EXPRESS the Backward Step, which is necessary but not sufficient for pollination of the God-Flower "IS" in the Human Being, and it goes on and on. The Zero-Sum is not beholden to its parts, but the Promise would never deliver without their accord. One missing part will fracture the Whole; If you have every other element in line, but you have a confused, deluded actor or actress in the lead, forget it. It's now going to be Vanilla Sky instead of Thin Red Line. The same principle applies to all four quadrants. I always wondered why Zoolander wasn't more successful (not that it's in the running for this list, but it's a tangential example), till someone pointed out that it was released at the time of 9/11, and the public just wasn't up for a funny movie, it sort of got buried. In one sense, the public is never ready for the movies in the list below, because they present such significant challenges to World Views, to our notions of Reality, our sense of identity; Their greatness comes from a willingness to question our basic assumptions, but do it in ways that are not half-baked (Phenomenon- Hey Jon, Hubbard called and the space ship will you pick you up at midnight) megalomaniacally indulgent (The Passion- hey, Mel, Manson called and he wants his brain back), judgemental (Saved- hey Brian Dannelly, Irony and Stereotype called, they wanted to thank you for hooking them up and let you know they gave birth to a 92-Minute baby they're naming Flatland), or careful to "protect us" from the death of our relative, finite self-identity (Life Or Something Like It- Angelina, Lateral Movement called and said if you just drop your selfish tack on romance and fear of death, it will reward you with the perfect guy and postpone your death). The truly great esoteric films -like truly great esoteric teachers- understand that the combination which unlocks our largest Love is not going to come from pandering to our shallow desire for comfort, or our self-reinforcing addiction to consolation in the form of Story Morphine coupled with pretty pictures. Great esoteric movies employ a creative algorythym which cannot be reversed engineered, duplicated, or even deduced.

Lastly, I want to point out that this is a list of the top five Esoteric films, meaning those exhibiting conscious participation in the Mystery through film. There are many totally kick ass movies that won't be on this list cuz they're just not Esoteric films. Garden State, Manhatten, Dr. Zhivago and a hundred others would make my list of Masterpieces, but that's a different list. And I do have to say that I think the list of films below are in a category by themselves, and it is indeed the Greatest of the Greats. It's hard enough to make a kick ass film, but it's a truly singular feat of Integral Genius to accomplish what the films below have done; Going deep AND wide with an utterly unique invention. I give you now, the Top Five Esoteric Films:

#5, American Beauty

It's all there, a panormic display of surfaces, lust, desire, greed, confusion, repression, hope and fear, all building into vortex of ultimate release detonated in that climactic the Death of Delusion. Each of these perfect characters are an aspect of our Self, dancing through the choreography of pain known as the human condition until we are finally left exposed, bare, and transparent to experience of Divinity hiding in each wound. This film is the magnificent embodiment of the Leonard Cohen lyric "there is a crack in everything, that's how the Light gets in...". Kevin Spacey's voice-over in the last moments of the movie stand as some of the greatest secret teaching to make their way into the hearts of millions in the history of our collective search. A Western film through and through, it carries all of the potency of the World's wisdom traditions in a truly Occidental fashion, celebrating and embracing our unique conundrum in this time and age, forging new Alchemical Keys for this culture, instead of going for the easy-cheesy formula of feeding more Eastern snacks to hungry Westerners that can't -and shouldn't- digest Eastern soup. And that in itself is an enormous gift that will go on for generations. American Beauty is the Dharma springing to life in North America, a midwife to a baby Buddha bouncing through suburbs and strip malls, using a midas touch to unveil the Reality Behind the Appearances in our fascination with the constellation of distractions we so often mistake for "meaning".

#4, Dancer In The Dark

Bjork's performance in this films is, by itself a miracle. It's exceedingly rare to find a performer so capable and willing to surrunder so completely in each moment of a song, to fearlessly explore and celebrate all the facets of being, and to harness it with gifts of expression that are truly historical. This is the musical difference between Bjork and Radiohead; While radiohead is chronically trapped and fused with the postmodern malaise, mesmerized by the innumerable shades of the Shadow passing over the planet, and admirably devoted to sounding a warning to the sleepwalkers, Bjork is actually able to lead us through it, to drop us profound hints left and right, that if you gaze into the Puzzle without clenching any certain lense, the vision changes. It is not only dark, it is not only light. While artists like Radiohead seem determined to expose the sinister Conspiracy at every turn, Bjork has found a freedom that allows her to look at things from any angle, since she's not ultimately married to any one view, she can see through the Shadow that is Radiohead's Eclipse. Bjork knows the way out of the Haunted House, but she doesn't sugar-coat it for us either. We get a real sense of what this Occidental Goddess is up to in Dancer In The Dark every time she bursts into phrases like these:

I've seen it all, I've seen the dark
I've seen the brightness in one little spark.
I've seen what I chose and I've seen what I need,
And that is enough, to want more would be greed.
I've seen what I was and I know what I'll be
I've seen it all - there is no more to see!

You've seen it all and all you have seen
You can always review on your own little screen
The light and the dark, the big and the small
Just keep in mind - you need no more at all
You've seen what you were and know what you'll be
You've seen it all - there is no more to see!

In addition to the insane vulnerability she holds through the entire film and the desperate intimacy we come to have with her character's plight, she continually dunks us into the Music of the Spheres. Her character hears and experiences music everywhere, emanating from everything, reminding us that all we have to do is adjust our Self, and we become antennas, instantly submerged in a infinite song that's always there, we've just filtered it out, compressed the infinite into bite-sized bits that our separate self finds more manageable. In a beautiful turn of surprise, silence is an incredibly powerful felt presence in this movie, and shows up over and over in a way that amplifies all the emotional force of the struggle to maintain contact with that invisible beauty of the God-song. Perhaps most important is how richly varied that song is, at turns comforting, sweet, and then achingly bitter and somber. Listening and watching Bjork, I can't help be reminded how limited my frequency can become, as I give in again and againn to the seduction of parsing that Big Song into tiny phrases. But then remembering that, I'm inspired to surrender again into letting it just be what is IS, not what I want it to be. This film again, doesn't make any attempt to inject us with pre-fab spirituality or the easy insights, but it shines through with all the Shadow and Light of Love, because Bjork is one of those rare Prisms that is willing and able to include every luminous event in the spectrum, from black hole to effulgent super-nova.

#3, Thin Red Line

In the opening of this film, we hear the Narrative voice say something like "Who are you to assume so many forms?" as his character floats through a secret Eden in the jungle, and that phrase sets the tone for the entire film. Through the eyes of the lead character Witt, we perceive the Presence of the Mystery in everyone, in every thing, all within the most radical paradox humanity has produced: War. Through some of the most brilliant direction and cinematography ever produced on the big screen, we are allowed into the secret life of God, but not in any manner we might expect from our conditioned, programmed notions of the Divine. This is a film that opens the aperture in the audience, and without sidestepping the agonizing brutality, without denying the painful contradictions of love and life, lifts us above and beyond the limits of our brain and its endless battles (the war of separate selves, occuring all around, while in the midst of it, the Self abides and includes all equally, without judgment). In the middle of death, disease, darkness, the movie deftly opens parallel vistas, glimpses of some Unknowable going on about its business, bathed in light, adorned in color and beauty, continuing its inexorable flow of Life not only in spite of the darkness of war, but in concert with it, in participation with it in ways our heads will never grasp, but our hearts are always teetering on the edge of discovering. And this movie is a gentle push, sending us tumbling over the event horizon into a place of disappearing. In the end, when Witt meets his death and makes a conscious choice to let himself be killed instead of captured, it is in the heart, not the head, that we recognize that we resting in something that cannot be killed, it is unborn, undying, and after watching Witt live as this reality for so much of the film, we are there with him as he sees the enemy soldiers and himself, and the beauty of the jungle, and the millions of individual stories and lifetimes of insects, animals, plants, people, countries, planets, and all that ever was or will be, as ONE. As Genpo Roshi once said, "it's only confusing if you try to understand it." At the moment of death, Witt (short for "witness"?) radiates more than ever, released into everything around him, inlcuding us, and we are left with a palpable experience of that which is truly indestructable, and indescribable. How could we ever wish for more from a movie?

#2, Mulholland Drive

It's widely known David Lynch has been a meditator for decades, and that certainly goes a long way toward helping us decipher this film, in as much as "deciphering" refers to the intuitive apprehension of trans-rational insight. Mulholland Drive is perhaps the most mis-understood, mis-interpreted film to come down the popular pipe line in the history of Hollywood. I'm here to give you my Shamanic rendering of this unequaled masterpiece. Mulholland Drive takes place in the Bardo. The film begins with a death, and from there on out we are witnessing the constituent aspects of (separate) self unravelling in the subtle dimensions which comprise experience between bodily incarnations. Although those same dimensions of experience are present right now, right here as you read these words, the corporeal body acts as an effective filter, conveniently stratifying domains of experience into waking, dreaming, and deep dreamless sleep (thanks, Neo Cortex!). When the human body is removed from that equation, the self / other boundary, as well as that accumulated experience previously mistaken for "self" begins to come undone. All you believed begins to unweave as the contents of "ME" dissolve through repeated dunkings (bouncings) into the Divine, pure light of unfiltered, un-mediated ISness. And that brings us to a terribly FUCKING interesting news flash which should be of interest to any incarnated human being (that's YOU, in case you are wondering): #1, If you dont' meditate or practice some equivalent form of awareness training, your SOUL is going to totally fucking black out after you die. You will see all kinds of fun or terrifying lights and fireworks which you may (mistakenly) interpret as "others" or "events", but they are, without a doubt, the contents and epiphenomena of your very own SELF. If you have not stabilized (while incarnated) your awareness through waking, dreaming, and deep dreamless sleep, chances are, no matter what the fuck you "believed" while alive as a human being, you are going to disintegrate like the whispy, transient fuck you are, and immediately be spit back into another life time as a human being, or a rat, or a kangaroo, or whatever the hell your appropriate container may be. That's the facts, jack. We MUST develop and train our awareness until we are permanently stabilized in that Self which is not contingent upon any particular state (waking, dreaming, sleeping) or aspect of our relative self (sex, age, race, yadda yadda). That is, we must do that IF we want to be effective, active agents in the Mystery. Becasue, #2, There is no way to conduct ourselves as effective Bodhisattvas unless we have done so. If we're just going to fucking black out every time there's a state change, or an excarnation, or a shift in the vibrational frequency of form, then we're just more fucking flotsam jetsam that can't hold its Dhukkha in the Samsaric binge-drinking that is known as ~!~?~!~. If you want to see what it's like for someone to die and navigate the Bardo while they are not conscious of what's going on (what makes you think you're even going to realize you're dead?), then watch Mulholland Drive. And then do everyone a favor and start meditating. There are an infinite number of sentient beings, and the appropriate expression and inhabitation of our Love, our true, free real Self which is LOVE- is to work for the liberation of them all. Doing that effectively requires an advanced understanding of every nook and cranny in the caves of experience known as Being. We must become expert spelunkers through the catacombs of interior and exterior tunnels of humanity, through waking, dreaming, and deep dreamless sleep. Let's go. Let's wake up and serve LOVE, not the minutia churning about in that nexus of phantoms we call an "i". Mulholland Drive fucking rocks, because this is the stunning non-verbal directive emitted from every revelatory frame.

#1, I Heart Huckabees

Holy Shit. This little Miracle is #1 on the list because not only does it do everything the first four movies on the list do, but it doesn't even bother to take itself seriously. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!! Birth, life, death, love, clutching, release, evil, good- this movie infuses all the secrets of our personal stories with Nitrus Oxide, and puts them in a zero-gravity bumper car smash up. People smashing each other in the face with inflatable balls to conjure mini satoris, people fucking in the mud after existential break-throughs, people tugging at one little thread in that careful tapestry of identity and watching the whole thing unweave and catch fire- literally. This movie is fucking brilliant, and hilarious, and anyone who thinks it's one iota less "deep" or "profound" than the first four films on the list needs to get fucked in the mud by a French deconstructionist. You ever meet those "spiritual" types that take themselves so seriously, and exude such a pretentious fucking disgusting sense of importance and gravity? I mean BESIDES ME, mother fuckers! This film is the antidote to all those egotistical shits masquerading as liberated beings. You know what? The Mystery is not supposed to feel like a Mr. Yuck Face all the time. "More serious" does not mean "deeper". The CONCEPT and AFFECTATION of seriousness is every bit as shallow and transient as humor or levity. And that's one of the many gifts of this film, FINALLY someone has made a brilliant film about the deep questions, and is free enough to let it all go in the next moment. You ever see those monks spend weeks making sand paintings, and then blow them all away when they're done. That's all ANY of us are doing. That's the point, there's no one variety of impermanent phenomena that's any more enduring than the next -it's ALL vapor, the monks just know that, whereas the rest of operate under the assumption something will last, that there's something that continues "on" from our work. What "on"? The end of time does not exist somewhere in the future, it's RIGHT HERE. No-time exists right here, with "time", you just take the Step Backwards, and POOF! our bullshit world of concepts, events, identities, and the sum total of that lie known as History is GONE. There has never been a human insight greater than a laugh. The shortest distance to realization is in a laugh, and if you haven't laughed, your realization is not whole, not complete, and not deep. It's ALL the punch line. And what's so funny? All those opposites, the endless assemblies of binary tensions we built our bullshit lives around, were all, every last one of them, perfectly complimentary aspects of our very own ever present Self. now that's funny. All murder was suicide. All enemies were siblings. All shadows were beacons. All walls were windows. It is an incredibly auspicious sign that this movie was actually made, and made it to theaters, and did relatively well with the public. Perhaps we're ready to cross over the threshold in the popular arts, and have a few more bands like Live and U2, and have a few more books like A Brief History Of Everything, and have a few more movies like I Heart Huckabees, and Mulholland Drive, Thin Red Line, Dancer In The Dark, and American Beauty.

We are a culture pregnant with the greatest of possibilities. Let's start pushing.

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