|In addition to his writings about metaphysics and movies, Brent spent 13 years working as a writer and editor in the horticultural publishing field, including 9 years as founding editor of Interior Landscape magazine. He also contributed essays to two volumes of The International Directory of Historic Places. He holds a B.A. in magazine journalism and history from Syracuse University, where he served as Features Editor of the on-campus newspaper, The Daily Orange.
Besides writing, Brent is a Level III practitioner of the Reconnective Healing® technique (www.thereconnection.com) and a seasoned Tarot card reader. He is also an avid practitioner of guided visualization and past life regression techniques. He resides in Chicago.
Brent’s Writing Philosophy
Most of us no doubt are familiar with the expression, “Life is what you make of it.” It’s an adage that offers comfort in the face of disappointment and inspiration when undertaking new endeavors. Yet, as readily as we embrace the good feelings this saying imparts, how many of us truly take it to heart? Do we seriously believe the sentiment expressed by these words? And is the essence of this idea even possible, or is it oh so much warm fuzzy New Age hype?
For my part, I believe it really is possible for life to become what you make of it, thanks to the practice of conscious creation. This highly empowering approach to living maintains that we each create our own reality in conjunction with All That Is (or God, Goddess, Source, the Universe or whatever other term best suits you). This is accomplished by combining the beliefs we each formulate for ourselves with the power of our divine collaborator, thereby creating the conditions for manifesting the physical world that surrounds us. It applies in all areas of life, too, from romance to vocation to spirituality and everything in between. When the process is applied skillfully, it results in the life we crave.
While some may not be familiar with the term “conscious creation,” the concept is anything but new. Students of the ancient esoteric practice of alchemy, for example, will readily recognize the underlying similarities between that discipline and this one. Likewise, followers of the law of attraction, the personal empowerment concept popularized through the immense success of the book and DVD “The Secret,” will see conscious creation’s uncanny resemblance to that practice. But no matter what one calls it or how one uses it, the process ultimately yields the same result, namely, that thoughts become things.
A number of important principles provide the foundation for this practice, and many excellent reference sources on them are available. They are perhaps best covered in the writings of author Jane Roberts (1929-84), who, together with her noncorporeal channeled entity, Seth, produced volume upon volume of material on the subject. But as eloquently as these concepts are presented in prose, they are also brilliantly portrayed through an entirely different medium—the movies.
In many respects, movies are essentially the modern-day equivalent of storytelling, the time-honored practice that has long been used for instructing students in various philosophical, spiritual and metaphysical traditions. But because motion pictures enhance their story lines with the high-tech wizardry of striking visuals and state-of-the-art sound, they bring their messages to life in ways that mere words often can’t. Their messages carry enormous impact, evoking strongly felt responses among viewers and conveying their messages with palpable degrees of substance and meaning. This is particularly true when it comes to cinematic portrayals of conscious creation principles; they jump off the screen at us with the vigor of the great white star of “Jaws.”
As a lifelong movie lover, I’ve found that films of all genres are capable of accomplishing this, too, including everything from comedies to dramas to science fiction and even documentaries. In fact, over time, I’ve come to discover that movies even can be organized into a sort of roadmap or outline for explaining the key concepts of conscious creation. Such an outline provides the basis for my book on the subject, Get the Picture: Conscious Creation Goes to the Movies (ISBN 978-1-930491-12-0), available on the Store Page. It’s also the focus of my regular online writings for the web sites VividLife (www.VividLife.me) and FengSHe (www.FengSHe.org), as well as my ongoing Blog.
Many of the fundamental concepts of conscious creation may seem like practical, commonsense guidance for everyday living, and that’s true, to be sure. But when the principles are viewed collectively (with the concepts building upon one another and working synergistically) and applied with a heightened sense of awareness (a truly “conscious” outlook), they work together to provide a powerful means for approaching life. They generate a heightened sense of self-empowerment and self-awareness to help us shape our existence more to our liking. They enable us to address life’s opportunities, and to confront its challenges, more effectively and with a greater sense of fulfillment. Here’s a look at some of those concepts and films that exemplify them:
1. Becoming aware of how we formulate beliefs. Since beliefs are the starting point in conscious creation, it’s important to know how they form in the first place. This involves becoming aware of the roles that our intellect and intuition play in this process. They provide the input that our consciousness evaluates and then uses to shape the beliefs we hold based on such assessments. Awareness of this overall process, as well as the individual beliefs formed through it, is crucial for improving one’s proficiency in the practice of conscious creation. Movies that show this include the romantic comedy “Under the Tuscan Sun” (2003) and the ballet world drama “The Turning Point” (1977).
2. Going beyond surface perceptions. Because we tend to put more reliance on intellect than we do on intuition, we also tend to put a lot of stock into surface perceptions, those that we perceive with our five outer senses. But sometimes these impressions don’t tell the whole story. Looking beneath the surface provides a fuller picture, helping us to see that things aren’t always what they seem. It also helps us sharpen our intuitive sense, as noted above a key element in belief formation. These ideas are explored effectively in the family drama “Ordinary People” (1980), the French farce “King of Hearts” (1966), the riveting character study “A Beautiful Mind” (2001), the biting satire “Wag the Dog” (1997), the heartfelt father-and-son drama “Big Fish” (2003) and the gripping church drama “Doubt” (2008).
3. Understanding the relationship of science and spirit in our lives. In many ways, the harmony between these two forces is a metaphor for the relationship between intellect and intuition. Grasping the one aids comprehension of the other, and a number of pictures illustrate that, including the aforementioned DVD “The Secret” (2006), the eclectic conscious creation treatise “What the #$*! Do We (K)now!?” (2004), the engaging sci-fi drama “Contact” (1997) and the metaphysical talkfest “Mindwalk” (1991).
4. Drawing upon the power of choice and free will. If we each create our own reality, then it would stand to reason that we also must be the ones making the decisions about how that reality materializes. This is where the power of choice and free will comes into play. Surprisingly, however, it’s a power we often lose sight of. Maintaining an acute awareness of it is critical to formulating beliefs that allow us to create the existence we want, no matter how outlandish or unusual those choices may seem at times. Examples of pictures that illustrate this are the gut-wrenching drama “Sophie’s Choice” (1982), the edgy dark comedy “After Hours” (1985), the unconventional family drama “Housekeeping” (1987), the futurist yarn “Brave New World” (1998) and the heartwarming road trip tale “Away We Go” (2009).
5. Making changes when needed. When our beliefs don’t pan out as we’d like them to, it’s time to choose new ones. Being willing to evaluate our choices and to make changes to them (by rewriting the beliefs that underlie them) is essential to helping us achieve results more to our liking. Of course, we have to follow through on those changes in our choices to see them bear fruit; otherwise, we’re likely to remain locked in place, unsatisfied with our creations. Films that address such questions include the offbeat drama “The Truman Show” (1998), the gender-bending comedies “All of Me” (1984) and “Switch” (1991), the romantic fantasy “Peggy Sue Got Married” (1986), the quirky Woody Allen comedies “Zelig” (1983) and “The Purple Rose of Cairo” (1985) and the never-ending saga of “Groundhog Day” (1993).
6. Facing fears and living heroically. This is precisely what’s called for when making changes in our beliefs and in our lives. Without the courage to do this, we really will stay stuck in place. Many movies delve into this subject beautifully, but some of my favorites are the soul-searching sci-fi drama “Signs” (2002), the courageous leap of faith character study “An Unmarried Woman” (1978), the Alfred Hitchcock classic “Vertigo” (1958), the otherworldly romantic comedy “Defending Your Life” (1991), and a trio of contemporary heroic tales (all from 2005), “The Constant Gardener,” “Syriana” and “Good Night, and Good Luck.”
7. Assessing the evolution of our beliefs. Looking at how our beliefs change over time gives us a sense of how far we’ve come with regard to achieving a particular goal. By taking stock of our beliefs in this way, we can see where further changes may be needed as well. Films in the road trip genre are especially effective at illustrating this principle, and some great examples include the cinematic classic “The Wizard of Oz” (1939), the screwball comedy “Flirting with Disaster” (1996), the action adventure “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989) and the Frank Capra fantasy “Lost Horizon” (1937).
8. Appreciating the connectedness of all things. If we each truly create our own reality, then we indeed create the totality of that reality as well, including all its component parts. When we consider how intricately all of the various elements of our existence are interwoven with one another, it becomes clear just how careful we must be when making choices, formulating beliefs and effecting changes to them, for the implications can be far-reaching and unexpected. A number of movies explore this idea well, including the ironically titled “Six Degrees of Separation” (1993), the dysfunctional character study “American Beauty” (1999), the engaging gay drama “Hard Pill” (2005), the angst-ridden L.A. sagas “Grand Canyon” (1991) and “Crash” (2005), the heartwarming tale “Pay It Forward” (2000) and the sci-fi blockbuster “Avatar” (2009).
9. Exceeding our personal limitations. A chief aim of conscious creation is to create the reality we desire, something frequently achieved through spurts in our personal growth. Such advances can be realized by thinking the unthinkable, envisioning possibilities never before dreamed of, and imbuing ourselves with skills we never knew we had or thought possible. Also, it can involve allowing ourselves to wander the uncharted territories of alternate states of consciousness, such as those experienced in dreams, meditations and other unconventional states of mind. Imagine what’s possible with outlooks like that! Sci-fi and fantasy films are especially good at helping us see such possibilities, because they inherently push limits as part of their very story lines. Some great examples are “What Dreams May Come” (1998), “Phenomenon” (1996), “Resurrection” (theatrical version, 1980; made-for-TV version, 1999),
10. Experiencing the joy and power of creation. As self-evident as this may seem, becoming more conscious of this state of being is tremendously uplifting. It allows us to experience being our own best selves, living up to our potential for the betterment of our own lives and those of others around us. It begs the question, “Who wouldn’t want to live a life like that?” We can see such sublime joy and tremendous power made manifest through such pictures as the gentle comedy “Being There” (1979), the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946), the inspiring, high-flying historical adventure
“K-PAX” (2001), “The Lathe of Heaven” (1980), “Brainstorm” (1983), “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004) and “Pleasantville” (1998).
“The Right Stuff” (1983), the dreamy fantasy world of “Wings of Desire” (1987) and the heartwarming sports drama “The Blind Side” (2009).
Consider what’s possible when all of these steps are put together, not only for achieving the existence we want to lead for ourselves but also for the greater world in which we dwell. The satisfaction and rewards of such a life are truly worth experiencing. And to think it can all stem from the inspiration that movies provide us in learning how to employ conscious creation principles.
Now that’s quite a creation, if I do say so myself.
Such is the basis underlying the philosophy of my writings, both in print and online. And as long as they keep making movies, I’ll always have something to write about.