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How Watching Movies Taught Me Mindfulness

By: Kelly D'Souza

movie theatre audience

There are times when I feel like I have awareness of how I feel in the context of a situation and of the various events that influence that feeling. But I often don’t know how to take that rubble of awareness and construct something of it. Most times the belief that I have sufficient awareness and am in sync with how I feel all the time is my rationalization that keeps me away from true self-awareness. This false belief of being aware enough is wrapped in red with a big sign indicating DANGER.

I usually watch a movie for the purpose of entertainment. It’s not rare to be hit by a movie like a train on a track. One of the movies that helped me distinguish between self-awareness and the rationalization of awareness is The Karate Kid. The main character in the movie, Daniel, resists the present moment and holds on to his irrational schemas until the end of the movie, when he dives into clarity and embraces the present moment. That scene in the movie also represents a winning moment in which he strikes his opponent (who appears to be physically more competent) in the face. I look at the irrational schemas we hold about ourselves and our awareness of situations that might not be true as the opponent. Being present and mindful helps us stand in an appropriate pose to strike down the cloud of obstacles.

The movie Inside Out is a great example of how we create memories with the dominant emotion of that memory painting all over it. The other emotions that are co-existing and are the true representation of the memory struggle to be in the spotlight. This movie was a personal invitation from a wide range of emotions. Sometimes believing I’m aware enough of feeling angry may keep me away from introspecting and realizing I was feeling hurt, fearful, and sad before anger walked in.

Mindfulness couldn’t be explained in a more simple way than in The Matrix, where the spoon couldn’t be bent outside the present moment. Just like you cannot change any event in the past, even if you spend your time thinking of it or fantasizing how you could have done things differently. I often spend time thinking of how my future success can make up for a past failure. But the truth is, the only moment I’m capable of changing is the present. And if I miss out on it, I’m missing out on my time to change.

There are a dozen other movies that highlight the topic of mindfulness. Do you have any in mind? Send us an email or contact us on our social media platforms to let us know.

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