What is the connection between the Transpersonal and Media?
Perhaps the very nature of any creative media is Transpersonal.
Film and video, as well as all the arts . . . are ultimately the
ideas, thoughts, and feelings of a "personal" mind (or
minds) being extended outward to other minds. At this level we
might say that the "medium is the message."
In the particular case of film, we have a medium steeped in
alchemy, mythology, illusion, magic, and transcendence. When
audiences first saw the image of a speeding train projected on a
screen in front of them, they leaped from their seats and ran out
of the theater screaming. A French magician made films in which
people disappeared, became transparent, and flew to the moon.
Like an ancient religious ritual we enter a darkened place in
silence. As we sit before the giant alter, a great light slices
the darkness and transforms the two-dimensional screen before us
into a three-dimensional world.
Beyond the transpersonal nature of the medium itself, are some
films more transpersonal than others? Surely films about angels
("It's A Wonderful Life"), life after death
("Ghost"), altered states ("Altered States"),
dreams (Kurosawa's "Dreams"), archetypes ("Star
Wars"), UFO phenomena ("E.T."), mystical realities
("The Last Wave") or religious experiences ("The
Last Temptation of Christ") are transpersonal in their
content. And films that deal with shifts in temporal and spatial
reality ("Field of Dreams" and "Groundhog
Day") weave the transpersonal into the dramatic structure
itself. Then there are the films which embrace the transpersonal
in the visual form as well as through the subject content and
dramatic structure. In films like Wim Wenders' "Wings of
Desire" and Lawrence Kasden's "Grand Canyon" the
camera transcends all boundaries, moving through walls and
floating through the air to capture the visceral reality of these
other realms. Of course these categories tend to overlap and most
transpersonal films are a combination of these elements.
I believe there is also a more subtle way that the
transpersonal enters the cinema. There are films that move us in
ways that are beyond just the stimulation of thoughts, ideas and
emotions; beyond content, drama and form. These films cause a
subtle shift inside us, they touch us on the level of soul or
spirit. Sometimes these films deal directly with transpersonal
realms; sometimes they are simple films about love and the human
spirit; sometimes they are dark journeys into the underworld.
The power of these films seems to depend on the intersection
of our own life's journey with the journey of the film. When this
connection is made it seems as though this film was made for us.
A chill moves through us and the notion of a grand design touches
our awareness. In this way any film becomes transpersonal. From
great works of filmic art to pop culture escapist adventures.
Somehow the divine seems to be woven into the light of the movie
projector. As the images and sounds dance before us, our
realities and projections meet. Sometimes we are moved and
entertained . . . and sometimes we are transformed.