A company business trip took me to the Florida for most of the week. The trip was completed with a stop in Alabama to visit family for a couple of nights. As much as I no longer find business travel to be enjoyable, the first part of the trip was more than a fair trade-off to see my Brother, his wife and my niece.
Arriving home late yesterday afternoon I was near a walking zombie. The meetings of the week started early and the evening dinners went late. Arriving home my state was near exhaustion. Too tired to unpack and too wired to go to bed at 7pm, I turned on the cable box to find something interesting to unwind and decompress with. I ended up on pay-per-view stumbling across a documentary called “I Am” by Tom Shadyac who directed movie comedies such as “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” “Patch Adams” and “The Nutty Professor”.
For some people there are events that happen which are deeply life changing. For Shadyac it was post-concussion syndrome after a 2007 bicycle accident in Virginia. A 2011 New York Times article stated that: the symptoms of a concussion (didn’t) go away. Something as simple as a trip to the grocery store was painful for Shadyac, whose brain was unable to filter various stimuli. After medical treatments failed to help, he isolated himself completely, sleeping in his closet and walling the windows of his mobile home with black-out curtains. As his symptoms finally began to subside, the director wanted to share his inner quest in the way he knew best: through film.
Shadyac gave away much of his fortune mostly through donations to worthy causes. He reoriented and simplified his life, sold his 17,000-square-foot home and moved into a trailer park in Malibu. Some think he “lost it” but after watching his documentary I think his experience enabled him to “get it”!
In the film, Shadyac does interviews with scientists, religious leaders, environmentalists, and philosophers focusing on two questions: ”What’s Wrong With the World?” and “What Can We Do About it?” The documentary is about “human connectedness, happiness, and the human spirit” and explores the nature of humanity and our world’s ever-growing addiction to materialism. In the trailer for the film Shadyac says he went looking for what was wrong with the world and found instead a lot of what was right about it.
Although some reviewers have not thought kindly of Shadyac’s documentary, I was moved to tears by what I saw and heard. I don’t think he worries much about what others think as Tom Shadyac has found his own personal truth, something most people never even brush up against, much less tell the whole world about. As the centuries-old wisdom in the “I Ching” says before a brilliant person begins something great, they must look foolish in the crowd.
Here’s are some of Tom Shadyac’s favorite quotes that shed light on his point of view and that of the documentary:
“…Our life might be much easier and simpler than we make it…Why need you choose so painfully your place, and occupation…? Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which animates all whom it floats, and you are without effort impelled to truth, to right and a perfect contentment.”
“Study to overcome that in yourself which disturbs you most in others.”
“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.”
“When we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
The final essence I am left with now some twelve hours after seeing Tom Shadyac’s ”I Am” documentary is my life is better when I am guided more by my heart than my mind. Within my feelings are the strongest and truest connections to my most authentic self. I have known for a good while my mind spins falsehood and fabrication with regularity, but my heart rarely does. The key for me is to tune out my egoic mind’s loud and constant talking when I can in order to hear and feel the soft voice of my heart. While my practice of that wisdom is far from perfect, my gratitude is large to simply have knowledge of it. I get better at living it every day.
When all your desires are distilled
You will cast just two votes
To love more
And be happy.