A blog experiment by Brad Mills.


Finding faith on Netflix

We signed up for Netflix several weeks ago, and it's been movie night and old TV series night around here ever since. It's an outstanding service. We even ditched HBO and Cinemax — no need for them at all, really, when there's access to a huge and instantly available video library. And, the savings from canceling HBO and Cinemax more than pays for the Netflix subscription, so we're actually coming out ahead a few bucks a month.

It's got this thing called an instant queue, and the way it works is this: As you browse through the selections, if you see something you might want to watch sometime, you can drop it into the instant queue — where it will just sit there, waiting, and you can go back later and watch it when you're ready.

Of course, I've been using the instant queue quite a bit, and it's got a pretty large selection of stuff now. One of the things I put into the instant queue was a movie called Eat Pray Love. Seems like I saw the book it was based on at some point, and it seems like there was some buzz about it for awhile, so I figured what the hell. Up into the queue it went.

Well, we watched it last night. It turned out to be a chick flick. I've got nothing against chick flicks. I've been married for pretty close to twenty years now, so I've seen my share of them — and besides, there's usually not much else going on here on a Sunday night. It turned out to be a pretty decent movie. The protagonist (played by Julia Roberts) left her husband and went on a journey to rediscover herself. A fairly typical myth, perhaps, but the good thing about myths is they survive retelling — hence why they become myths.

One part of the movie stood out for me, and I'm at a bit of a loss to explain it. On the spiritual leg of the quest, the heroine was in India struggling to understand the Divine — and there, she learned the Divine was best explained with a very simple phrase:

"God lives in me, as me."

That phrase stuck in my mind, and I have no explanation for it doing so. I'm about as far down the heathen path of atheism as someone could get. With that said, I do have a cobbled-together system of disparate beliefs. I believe in reincarnation. I believe the Universe itself is a reverent place — all of it. I believe mystery is most often revealed through ordinary things, and we can find that mystery if we seek it. I believe that everything (and everyone) is merely a shadow of something far greater, something outside our realm of physical perception. But I don't believe any of these things in terms of "God" — I see them more in terms of natural functions of the Universe. There's nothing magical about the moon orbiting the Earth. It's gravity; that's just how it all works.

So maybe this, too, is just how it all works. Maybe for all our denominations, sectarian conflicts, and outright holy wars, it's all as simple as that phrase. Or some other phrase. Maybe for all the mingling of power and politics and money and control and everything else making it complicated, it's not that complicated at all. Maybe there's something, but it's not outside of us. It's inside of us — each of us — but so much a part of us, that it essentially is us — again, each of us.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the right person to decide if there's any truth in that phrase. But, I can say this — it makes a lot more sense to me than most other things masquerading as religion these days.

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