The movie, Avatar, presents multiple opportunities to consider spirituality. In this last posting of a three part series, I will consider the most dramatic illustration of spiritual growth which is embodied in the main character, Jake Sully. A former Marine who is left paraplegic from a battle injury, Jake replaces his twin brother in the avatar program. (Jake’s brother, a scientist, was trained for the program but had been murdered.)
Jake enters the avatar program knowing very little about it. Not only does his background lack a foundation in science required for program participants, but his mission is to engage in cultural and sociological research to learn and understand the culture and strategic vulnerabilities of the Na’vi – for which he also has no training.
Left stranded on Pandora, Jake first fends for himself until Natiri, a female Na’vi, comes to his rescue. While Jake clearly understands his mission, he is focused and conscious in learning all that he can about the Na’vi, their philosophy of life, and their culture. Jake sets aside his preconceived notions about the Na’vi and learns live as one of them.
In living with the Na’vi, Jake demonstrates for us what it means to live life in an open way that accepts people, events, and circumstances for what they are. He makes no attempt to change what he encounters but allows himself to be with the Na’vi and all forms of life on Pandora as they are. In doing so, he becomes one with the people and life on the planet. Jake experiences a fundamental change of heart which opens him rich possibilities in life.
We often attempt to make people, events, and situations the way we want them to be. Mindful living causes us to be aware and accepting of life as it is. In Taoism, there is a central concept called wu wei. Wu wei can be understood as effortless action or going with the flow. This concept is about living in harmony with life as it is. It requires accepting of life as we encounter it, not offering resistance, but allowing the current of life to take us along its way. Jake demonstrates this quality by his openness to life as he finds it on Pandora. It’s not the Jake gives up his personality but that as the unique individual he is, he opens himself to communion with a greater life energy.
In opening himself to something different than what he expected, he opened himself to something more than he experienced previously in life. In doing so, he experienced a fundamental change of heart and mind.
When we try to make life work the way we think it should, when we try to change others or life events for our benefit, we work against the harmony of life. Learning to be open to flow with life in its simplicity and complexity provides for us the opportunity to experience life in all its richness.
What are some ways you can be more open to experience people, events, and circumstances in a more accepting way? What prevents you from moving with the natural flow of life’s goodness? How can you foster a greater openness to people and your present situation in life?
© 2010, emerging by Lou Kavar, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.