I recently watched the documentary InnSæi, which is currently available on Netflix for anyone interested in watching it. The title of the film is an ancient Icelandic word with multiple meanings. It can mean intuition, the sea within, to see within, or to see from the inside out. The film explores the relationship between our mind and our emotions and how people are navigating reconnecting to their own intuition or emotions in a world which has become incredibly disconnected and stressful. The filmmakers interviewed everyone from artists, to scientists, spiritualists, teachers, and students.
The interviewee who stood out for me was one of my favorite artists, Marina Abramovic (there’s also a great documentary about her called The Artist is Present). Abramovic had a performance at the MOMA in New York where she sat in a chair for 736 hours and 30 minutes. Spectators were invited to sit in a chair opposite of her and spend a moment with the artist. In the brief amount of time strangers spent with her they felt a deep sense of connection. Many of the participants were moved to tears by the simple and intimate act of eye contact and the focus and commitment by Marina to be completely present with each person she sat with.
Another interesting part of the documentary was a class in London which teaches young students the importance of empathy and mindfulness using a practice they call “MindUP” which combines mindfulness practices like meditation with neuroscience and psychology. One of the students started off as the class bully but through practicing the techniques he was taught he became a much more peaceful and mindful individual, it’s not that he still doesn’t get angry sometimes but that he learned how to cope with his emotions in a social environment.
After watching this film I was left with this train of thought about what it means to practice mindfulness and what role it should be playing in our lives. If everyone was more mindful and spent more time with their emotions and practiced empathy what would the world be like? If someone were to ask me if I could magically change one thing without any limitations about the world we currently live in I wouldn’t even know where to start. We have so many problems; income inequality, racism, sexism, islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, police brutality, domestic violence, human trafficking, child labour, disease, access to health care, access to education, overpopulation, deforestation, endangered species, ocean acidification, climate change, pollution, access to water, hunger, war, feel free to keep adding to this ridiculously long list on your own. There’s a lot of really horrible things in our world and they are all so equally horrendous I don’t know if I could pick just one thing to magically wipe off the face of the earth without feeling incredibly guilty for not having chosen one of the many other issues.
These global issues have all been directly or indirectly caused by human activity. Many people do care about humanity and care about earth but there are also many people living in denial who are driven by greed and individual desires and just don’t care about making change. A lack of understanding, of knowledge, of empathy, of love, too often are factors that dig us all into holes that we spend so much time trying to get out of. So if I found myself in the position of being able to change one thing about society and about the world I would change us. If our collective mind and heart were bigger and we created a culture that was more mindful we would not only have a better relationship with each other but also with our planet.