Tom Shadyac: I AM Documentary

I AM, the movie documentary (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMj9N5Io0ts&feature=related) by Tom Shadyac was certainly worth watching last night, thanks to my friend Bonnie. The two main questions asked are “What is wrong with the world?” and “What can we do to make it better?” It probably strikes the right balance between information, science, opinion, and visual for a general audience.

The movie echoes the theory and practice of meditation–the oneness of life. Another recurring refrain is not taking more than your share in life (Shadyac calls taking more a mental illness, a cancer). In yoga and Jainism, it is called aparigraha or non-acquisition. It is a core principle, along with ahimsa or non-violence, in Jainism. The people interviewed in the movie emphasize that cooperation is wired into our DNA and how life evolves through cooperation more than competition (which will always be there as well). This cooperative living is still found in monasteries, ashrams, seminaries, and in sanghas. We find it alive in our local community as well and it is called neighborliness!

To people for whom meditation is well-integrated in their everyday living, the documentary may well feel like a general script, with the well-known quotes from the popular roster of names, that browses and surfs over various topics that are not threaded together too well to create oneness.

The title did not connect well for me with the content–does it come from the I AM meditation group based at Mount Shasta, California and is now slowly but surely spreading globally? Does it refer to the biblical reference (also in Vedanta) to God as I AM or I AM THAT I AM?  I would have liked to have known the thinking behind the title.

Still, it was fun to watch, get another perspective.  It was engaging and enjoyable.

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