Enjoy the Magic of Mindful Movies - dummies

Enjoy the Magic of Mindful Movies

By Shamash Alidina, Joelle Jane Marshall

There’s no better way to expand your mindfulness experience beyond the physical boundaries of the United Kingdom and to expand your insights than to enjoy movies that are mindfully inclined.

Movies for children:

  • Kung Fu Panda (Mark Osborne, John Stevenson, 2008). This modern animated film often refers to the power that comes from looking within and the significance of living in the present. Hi-ya!

  • The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939).The characters of the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion all overcome their self-limiting beliefs to discover their true natures. A tenet of mindfulness is that you already have the qualities that you seek within you; this film also teaches that.

Movies for adults:

  • Dead Poets Society (Peter Weir, 1989). Robin Williams plays the role of an English teacher in a traditional school. His love for poetry is infectious, and the inspired students start a secret society to pursue the kind of ideas that are often referred to in mindfulness, like living in the moment and overcoming fear.

  • The Dhamma Brothers (Andrew Kakura et al, 2008). A documentary film about a meditation programme in a prison in Alabama, this is an interesting look at the cultural issues around bringing mindfulness to such a place, and the personal transformation that occurs as the prisoners engage in intensive ten-day mindfulness retreats.

  • The Matrix (A. and L. Wachowski, 1999). Neo, a programmer by day and computer hacker by night, has a sense that the world isn’t quite what it seems. He goes on to discover the world he’s been living in has been all created in his mind by a giant computer, but felt real, just like a dream.

    The movie is full of metaphors and you gain new insights each time you watch it. Teenagers often enjoy this film, and it can get them thinking about how they construct reality in their minds.

  • The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont, 1994). Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman deliver exceptional performances in this highly rated film about an accountant wrongly accused of murder and sent to Shawshank Prison. His mild-mannered approach hides an inner wisdom and fortitude, and in his time at prison he uplifts the attitudes and lifts the spirits of those trapped inside.

    It’s a story about the importance of finding hope, letting go of fear and seeing situations differently – ideas often explored in mindfulness.