Recently I went to see the movie “Interstellar” with extended family.
I hated it. In fact, I came awfully close to walking out.
It wasn’t because of the gaping plot holes or the limited character development. Or even because the characters were hard to care about (at least I found them so).
The movie actually did contain quite a few redeeming features. The acting itself wasn’t half bad, and the special effects were pretty decent. And the film did at least attempt to carry an inspiring message.
So why did I object so strongly to viewing it?
In a word, energy.
In my experience, every piece of art – including music, film, and visual art, will affect your psychic energy in one of three ways: it can bring it up, it can pull it down, or it can remain neutral.
For me, the experience of watching “Interstellar” amounted to nearly three hours of wading through a relentless morass of hopelessness, tension, and anxiety, underscored by an emotionally harrowing soundtrack played at a volume that frequently exceeded the pain barrier.
By the time I walked out of the theater, I felt like I had been dipped in psychic lead. In fact, the pall didn’t lift until this morning when I went out for a 6 mile cross country ski with my teenage son and my dog.
Now, I suspect I’m more sensitive than most, so maybe these things bother me more than they do most people. But the frustrating thing to me is not the temporary discomfort I felt while in the theater. It’s the fact that this movie is now a permanent part of my consciousness.
Think about that.
Our experiences shape who we are. Even virtual experiences.
Every violent moment you have ever witnessed on film. Every sinister image you have ever viewed. Every harrowing, stress-inducing melody. They’re all there, inside your mind.
Even if you’re no longer aware of them, they become a part of you, whether you want them to be or not. They sink, quickly or slowly, from your awareness only to crop up again at any moment, woven into fragments of dreams, splintering into your thoughts as a byproduct of coincidental or synchonistic happenstance, or more subtly, nudging into your subconscious from the misty depths of unawareness.
Fortunately, the same is true of positive experiences. Your mother’s hug. The sudden heart-lifting flash of a bluebird on the wing. A painting by Monet. The smell of damp earth and unfolding blossoms in the spring.
These things, too, once experienced, are with you forever.
And they color your world, your beliefs, your actions.
Now I’m not saying we should avoid all dark* imagery. Darkness is simply the other side of light. To deny or defy darkness is dangerous folly.
For instance, what kind of favor would I be doing my teenage daughter if I shielded her from the reality of homicide, rape, and predatory people?
Too, it is often impossible to realize new heights without first experiencing – or even embracing – the depths of darkness.
The challenge is, to keep it balanced.
And by balanced, I don’t mean equal parts negative and positive energy. Unless you enjoy stagnation.
To maintain a positive presence and realize positive growth in your life, it’s best to tip the balance of what you experience in life towards the positive.
My personal feeling is, that you don’t have to do anything special to obtain your recommended daily allowance of negative energy. It tends to bounce around pretty abundantly. In fact, I hate to say it but in our modern society we seem to be weighting our exposure in the opposite direction – more negative than positive!
Which brings me back to my experience in the movie theater. When you find yourself, as I did, overloaded with darkness and negative impressions, it’s important to seek out a bit (or a lot) of positive energy to counteract it. Getting out in the fresh air in nature with loved ones did it for me.
What helps get your energy flowing in a positive direction?
*By dark, I mean psychically or emotionally negative. For instance, a literally dark image – like my Pleiades Woman on this page – can actually feel uplifting or positive. And the opposite is also true.