Monday, January 4, 2010

I See You: Avatar’s Spiritual Essence

First and foremost, what an amazingly breathtaking movie Avatar is. Director James Cameron (of Titanic fame) has, in my opinion, really raised the bar for what the future of movie viewing will now be. This is a real game changer. The cinematic beauty and visual detail alone fills the senses in a way not quite experienced before. Add to this the element of 3D and you have a paradigm-shifting film. But the power of Avatar does not lie in its visual effects; it lies in the story. This is not a 3D movie, but an amazingly beautiful, poignant story and cinematic journey that happens to be in 3D.

For me, what makes this movie experience so fulfilling is the spiritual essence that the story of Avatar contains. Without going into too much plot detail, Earthlings have found an inhabited moon called Pandora that contains an abundance of life and a wealth of natural resources, just prime for the taking. The indigenous humanoid life forms on Pandora are known as the Navi, blue 10-foot aboriginal beings that share a very close connection with the land. This connection is not to be taken lightly for it is the essence of their existence on Pandora. Humans, through bio-technology have developed Avatar host bodies who look almost identical to the Navi. These Avatars can be controlled by DNA-linked humans through a remote harmonized synaptic connection, thereby allowing them to interact with the natives directly. Of course things become problematic when the need for the Navi to protect the land goes head-to-head with human shareholder interests to excavate and pillage the rich planetary resources abundant on the planet. This of course is not a new theme, and I recognize some similarities to another great movie, Dances With Wolves.

But the true power of this epic tale lies in understanding the spiritual connection that the Navi have with its planet and all things contained in it, and the balance created when people respect and honor the land and its resources vs. the misguided and disconnected notion of supreme ownership, entitlement and conquest. There are some movie critics who make the assertion that Avatar reeks of a pagan, pantheistic focus on spirituality. While this is an interesting interpretation, these critics clearly do not get the significance or importance of what this movie is trying to convey. It is about how maintaining a harmonic balance between sentient beings and their surroundings is a key ingredient to spiritual upliftment. This is only one of the many messages that Avatar imparts. The connection to the planet and its resources shown very literally in this movie is an allegory to the actual literal connection that everyone in fact has to the earth, to all living things, and to the universe as a whole; we have simply forgotten this connection exists.

The Navi have an affectionate greeting of endearment to one another, which in their native tongue they affirm “I see you”. This greeting goes much deeper than “I see you standing there”, but that “I see into you, I see your soul and your essence”. In fact, I get you. This is just one illustration of the deep and wonderful solidarity that the Navi have. The Avatar humans slowly come to understand this significance, and as more and more of them begin to see deeper into the true meaning behind this spiritual way of life, they become increasingly conflicted with the ultimate plans that are about to be inflicted by their employers on the Navi. It is from here on that things really get interesting.

I have mentioned a few key spiritual aspects of this movie. But there is one more important theme that was made very clear to me while watching. This is the fact that we are all living in Avatars ourselves. The truth is that our human bodies are nothing more then vessels designed to allow us to have mobility in 3 dimensional space. But in fact, we are not the bodies we occupy; we are Soul, a divine spark of spiritual awareness. We are truly sparks of the eternal itself using a human host to live, breath and have our being on this physical plane.

If I have any criticism of the movie at all, it would probably be that the bad guys seem a little overly two-dimensional to me. There wasn’t enough conflict of conscience for my taste, but that’s just me. I am tempted to go into much greater detail about the movie and its many layers, but I will refrain from doing so in case you have not yet seen it. I highly recommend that you do. It is a sensory filled treat, and has much to say about who we are and where we should be going in our own respective spiritual journey. More than anything, Avatar symbolizes the vital importance of connecting to our higher essence. It is a siren song for us to awaken to our true selves as Soul. Many are getting this message and are heeding the call. To all of you who are getting it, I SEE YOU.


  1. Thankyou Darrell for your great commentary, indeed this movie sent all my chakras spinning in a seemingly turbo boosted surge of energy, there were so many spiritual symbols and metaphors, the thriiling of the senses indeed intertwined with inbedded messages that I feel will eat away at the social ethos of our times in each of us, bit by bit, moment by moment, I can't see how this movie can't have a mammoth impact on the conscious awakening of the was deeply moving and left me gobsmacked in a wonderful way.........just awesome....cheers Ursula

  2. Yes, I wholeheartedly agree. The movie shows the spiritual potential of human beings to feel solidarity with all things and when this happens, the earth becomes a place of harmony...a paradise. Our separation from nature has caused us to degenerate spiritually. We see a tree as as an object, instead of 'feeling' its energy. We see everything, including ourselves as physical entities...our mission in life is to survive and live comfortably, and our time is consumed by the activities and worries of this 'world' we have created. We depend on our mind as our principle vehicle of function, and so we have lost our ability to 'see.' We have lost touch with ourselves and with the universe, the real reality.

  3. Wonderful comments and I greatly appreciate them all.

  4. I got it too. It took me a little longer to write about it, but I agree that Avatar is a spiritual allegory. And I love the concept that we are all walking around in Avatars ourselves. One spiritual writer likened it to a diving suit.

    I enjoyed your viewpoint. If you would like to see what I wrote go to