Note: elephant journal is delighted to sponsor Conscious Good’s Mindscape Film Festival—a thoughtful collection of great messages well-told that this, our world, needs—now. Additionally Waylon Lewis, our editor-in-chief, is honored to serve as a juror for the selected films. ~ ed.
“Whether we succeed or fail we do so with the mind.” ~ Yogi Bhajan
Toxins of the Mind
Today, there are more people, fewer resources, more technology, and greater stress and anxiety. There are more chemicals and toxins in our food and water and the extent of the impact on our health and brains is still uncertain.
At the same time, we have greater access to tools (like meditation), healing modalities, research, scientific data, and inspirational stories.
Though I tried adopting a daily meditation practice over 20 years ago, it wasn’t until four years ago, in the process of earning my teaching certificate in Kundalini Yoga (as taught by Yogi Bhajan), that I discovered the healing power of a daily practice. Before that time, I over-drank and over-shopped to somehow cope and get by.
Daily Practice to Combat Toxins
Just as we are careful with what food we put into our bodies, we need to give ourselves every advantage in combatting the toxins of the mind.
I’ve adopted several daily practices that are essential for me to not just cope, but thrive:
>> Start the day with an inspirational reading to set a positive intention for the day.
>> Maintain a daily practice to connect to your inner voice and a higher power.
>> Every evening, write a list of 10 things you are grateful for.
>> Choose daily media carefully and with awareness.
Media as Remedy
So last year, Conscious Good partnered with the United Nations, who was overseeing World Humanitarian Day, for the Humanitarian Film Festival. Our festival was a huge success, reaching over 11 million people.
But the big success for me was when the woman I hired to help run the festival said, “Watching these films has changed my life. I went to yoga this morning and there was a homeless man in a wheelchair blocking the doorway. Others impatiently moved around him. I thought, ‘If I don’t help this man, who will?’ I spent the next hour helping him get to where he need to go.”
In fact, researchers have drawn this link. From a recent article in Psychology Today:
“Watching video clips with pro-social themes (like people helping others, cooperating, and being generous) can lead to more cooperation, more positive attitudes, less aggression, and more altruism.”
Many have embraced yoga and meditation as practices for a healthy mind-body-spirit. But what happens to that centeredness and positivity when we step off the mat? Why would we watch entertainment that feeds fear and anxiety and undoes our positive mind-body-spirit work?
We need media choices that support our practice.
“Watching a bad TV program, we become the TV program. We are what we feel and perceive. We must be aware of which programs do harm to our nervous systems, minds, and hearts, and which programs benefit us.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Several months after the Humanitarian Film Festival, I met with a media company that does a lot of work for Alzheimer’s research. When asked, “What can we do together?” the idea of a film festival about the mind was my immediate suggestion.
And so, Conscious Good’s Mindscape Film Festival was born.
There are many ways watching these films help us, and therefore help the world. These are stories that help de-stigmatize mental illness, explain brain diseases, trauma, and possible cures, and promote compassion, including letting depressed and/or suicidal people know they are not alone. And this explains just a few of the excellent films.
The online Mindscape Film Festival runs now through August 3rd. Watch the films and vote for your favorite. A tour of the juried films will travel across the United States for the months of August and September.
Want to attend a live screening of the Mindscape Film Festival? If you live in Boulder, on August 8th The Dairy Arts Theatre will have two viewings of the winning films. Get tickets here. Learn more about hosting your own screening or attending one of several Mindscape Film Festival Programs across the U.S. here.
Author: Trina Wyatt
Images: Conscious Good
Editor: Jessica Durivage
Copy & Social Editor: Catherine Monkman