Director, Tom Shadyac
Tom Shadyac’s documentary I AM had its network premiere New Year’s Day on the OWN network’s “Super Soul Sunday.” I watched it that day, watched it soon thereafter, and just watched it for a third time. It’s a little depressing that every time I watch it, I hear hundreds of new bits of science, inspiration and wisdom that I swear I hadn’t yet heard.
The good news is I am forced to watch it again. The better news is that just watching this documentary feels really good. As much bad news as it contains about our “wants” killing us and our planet, there is also a lot of really great news confirming that our heart really is always connected to the truth, and that there is hope, that even the smallest of loving gestures makes a difference.
Shadyac interviews a stream of renowned scientists and spiritual leaders, including the great Rumi translator Coleman Barks whose words finally hit my heart: “We should be suspicious of what we want.” Barks was referring to this Rumi jewel that he translated:
Who makes these changes?
I shoot an arrow right. It lands left.
I ride after a deer and find myself chased by a hog.
I plot to get what I want and end up in prison.
I dig pits to trap others and fall in.
I should be suspicious of what I want.
Barks goes on to speak about how society says “We are meant to multiply our wants.” And, yet, as others in the movie echo with science and wisdom, it is our purest nature is to take only what we need. Shadyac says: “Nothing in nature takes more than it needs.” What does take more? Cancer.
We are lucky that this extraordinarily successful film director had a “Come to Jesus” moment in his life. He was pushed to uncover that he was part of “the cancer” of what is wrong with our world today: the competitive, constantly seeking outside ourselves for bigger, better, and more.
Science and spiritual wisdom are all saying the same thing in I AM: the heart is the primary access point to happiness.
As Coleman Barks said of Rumi’s poems, “They were meant to open the heart. Rumi said “What was said to the rose that made it open was said to me here in my chest.’”
Shadyac was suspicious of his own motivations, and where his heart sat in the scheme of things, long before he made this movie. Let’s not all have to go through a traumatic brain injury to grow suspicious of ourselves. If you find yourself affixed to the hamster wheel of wanting more and more, or even if you might have an inkling to have your heart opened up a little bit, you may be sparked by this movie.
You haven’t missed I AM. You can see it repeat on OWN, you can buy it, rent it. Go to www.iamthedoc.com. It’s a feel good thing. And, if you pass it on, it’s a do good thing.