Nick Nolte can be my spiritual director any time!
In "Peaceful Warrior" he plays a mysterious philosopher/auto mechanic with powers of mind-over-matter that are heart-stopping. The student who is, apparently, ready for his enigmatic instructions, Danny Millman, is a gymnast at U. of California/Berkley, played with convincing swagger and dark good looks byScott Mechlowich. Danny sarcastically nicknames Nolte’s character, "Socrates" (we never learn what he calls himself) and finds himself drawn back to the "FULL service" gas station as the sign proclaims (and Socrates emphasizes as our purpose in life) despite his contempt for someone who has "settled" for being a "grease monkey."
This movie is about the possibility of human transformation, how we suffer avoiding it and how magnificent we are when we surrender to it. Since Danny’s dream is to make the US Olympic Gymnast Team, the lesson is very much about the miracle of human incarnation, the fusion of body-mind-and spirit. The spirituality that Socrates lives and teaches is not about leaving the body behind so one’s spirit is free to soar, but allowing that spirit to breathe into every cell of our bodies and gather the totality of ourselves into a fully integrated, fully alive, fully grace-filled human being. We are treated to demonstrations of how magnificently the body performs on the rings and pummel horse.
When he begins to open up to Socrates, Danny explains how wonderful his life will become when he gets on the US Olympic Team for gymnastics – how the effects of this achievement will create the best relationships, the best acquisitions, the most pleasurable of lifestyles, an awesome future.
Although Danny’s dream is very specific and exclusive, if we are honest with ourselves, we can probably identify a similar belief. How many of us believe that our lives will finally turn around when we make vice president at the office, earn our first million, diet down to a size 4, fall in love with our soul mate…
In the meantime, every morning we wake up and step onto that rollercoaster of emotions that carry us from elation to despair and all points in between (struggle/discipline/achievements are good, relaxing/distractions/setbacks are bad) so fast that we’re either focused on what’s next or what we just got through, while the present moment is invisible and unknowable to us.
This movie shows us what it looks like when one of us struggles to discover what living in the present moment is and finally let’s go and falls into its reality as if the universe provides each of us with a metaphysical hammock woven of consciousness, intention, purpose, imagination, creativity, courage and compassion.
Treat yourself and those you care about to "Peaceful Warrior" this weekend. Enjoy the trailer and soundtrack at their official website: www.thepeacefulwarriormovie.com and go to the Best Buys offer for FREE tickets to the film anytime this weekend ONLY.
It’s been a long time since I wanted to go back for a second screening of a movie, but I’m treating myself and a friend to the first show tomorrow morning. Yes, there’s that much going on in it that i missed the first time around.
And, yes, I enjoy fantasizing about willing Socrates to appear in my life soon. Maybe when I fill up my truck this weekend…