The further that I delved into the inner workings of my own mind (a labyrinth of unchartered territory exists in there I can assure you), the more aware that I am becoming of the layers of hidden anger and hurt that I have shoved down over the years. This anger has manifested itself in so many ways in my life in the past. It has been a merciless beast that has stood in the path of my own happiness, manifesting itself in unpleasant ways through my fear, boredom, ill-will, judgement and criticism. TM is forcing me to challenge those old ways and thought patterns, and it is creating a space for me to 'turn straw into gold.'
Just like the maiden that is locked in a room and forced to spin straw into gold in the fairytale Rumpelstiltskin, we too have the ability to use our problems and old default modes to discover a true inner wisdom, peace and love. In his book A Path With Heart, Jack Kornfield discusses this exact topic and the ways in which we can overcome these apparent obstacles to uncover a better and higher way of thinking.
It is perfectly normal to have and feel all of these emotions, even the most adept yogis and zen masters in the world still have a myriad of these emotions, they don't just cease to exist because you have found your enlightenment. All emotional states are an integral part of living and they are vital to our growth and development as a whole being. It is not the emotion itself that even matters, it is the way in which we approach these thoughts and feelings that determines how much energy we are willing to invest in them and whether we view them as either straw or gold.
Think of of it in terms of this ancient and extremely wise tale about a poisoned tree. On discovering the poisoned tree, some people immediately saw it as a threat and exclaimed that it should be cut down at once and destroyed. 'Burn it as well', they demanded, 'so that no more seeds can ever grow again and no-one will ever eat the fruit of the poisoned tree'. This reaction resembles our initial response to the difficulties that arise in our lives, when we encounter aggression, compulsion, greed, or fear, when faced with stress, loss, conflict, depression or sorrow in ourselves or others, our initial response is to avoid, destroy and remove the threat.
Other people, who may have journeyed further along in life will discover the poisoned tree and have no aversion to it at all. They know you must remain open to all things in this life. They will say, 'do not cut this tree down. Instead let's have compassion for the tree'. They will build a fence around the tree so that it may keep its life and so that others may not be poisoned by it. This approach shows a profound shift of relationship from judgement and fear to compassion.
And then there is a third type of person, who has travelled even further in life and has much vision and thought, and when they see the same poisoned tree they will exclaim 'Oh! A poisoned tree, perfect! Just what I was looking for'. This individual will pick the poisoned fruit off the tree and investigate its properties, mix it with a bunch of other ingredients and then use the poison as a great medicine to heal the sick and transform the ills of the world. Through respect, intelligence and an understanding that even from great adversity comes wonderful opportunity, this person will find value even in the most difficult of circumstances. This last person has mastered the art of making straw into gold, and we all have the opportunity to become that person by considering the way in which we meet our disappointments, obstacles, challenges and heartaches.
Through deepening my ability to listen to my inner self (mind, body and spirit), I am becoming more and more aware of my own negative reactions and feelings, as well as my positive ones. I am slowly learning that no state is any more or less valuable than any other, and that all aspects of life and living are valuable and precious. I am trying to learn the art of making straw into gold, and although it is going to take me a long time to learn to do that really well, I am learning none-the-less; which means that I am on a path of self discovery.
That fact alone, is much more than I could have ever hoped TM would offer to me. I have been very fortunate to be able to have the time to embark on this experiment of the soul and it is pretty safe to say that I will be continuing my practises. At this point I would also happily recommend a regular meditation practice (of any type, not just TM) to everyone, because we all need to get a little better at making straw into gold and nurturing ourselves.
Release Date: 1991
Rating: MA 15+
Running Time: 140 mins
Being a huge fan of The Doors is probably the reason that this film made my list, the soundtrack alone is pure gold. Directed by Oliver Stone, the film follows the events surrounding Jim Morrison, the larger-than-life lead singer of the 60's-70's band The Doors.
The movie depicts the band's rise to fame, with Jim Morrison's character placed under the microscope. Not only do we get a sense of his artistic and free-loving hippie ways, but we witness his relentless alcoholism, interest in the spiritual planes, obsession with drugs and growing fascination with death.
Val Kilmer delivers a powerhouse performance as Jim Morrison, and this is easily the best thing that I have seen him deliver to date. Meg Ryan is fine as Jim's long suffering girlfriend Pamela, and the overall cast do a decent job of getting across the frenetic, psychedelic and so often messy lifestyles that they lived as rock stars.
Due to the film's innacurate depictions of Morrison, the band, his close friends and his family did not approve of the film, so if you are chasing a more factual account of Morrison's life then you should probably see the documentary When You're a Stranger, which has original footage and factual information in regards to the band and Jim Morrison's death in 1971.
FINAL SAY: I am the Lizard King!
3 Chilli Peppers