We spend the majority of our lives, eating, sleeping, releasing, and preparing to do it all again. These activities consume our days as they do all animals on our planet. At times, we get so caught up in these routines that we forget our unique ability to experience grace. We miss the beauty that’s all around, asking us to remember our choice between our animal nature and grace. This choice separates us from the animals and reminds us of our true human potential. Sometimes we come to this discovery on our own. While other times, it seems we need something to wake us up again.
In Terrence Malick’s film, Tree of Life, he takes us on a journey to help us remember we always have this choice. As Mrs O’Brien (Jessica Chasten) says, “There are two ways through life: the way of nature, and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow”. Mr. Malick is giving us many opportunities to experiences tastes of grace in his new movie.
Grace lifts you above cause and effect. It raises you above this duality and takes you out of the realm of doing to a place of being. Grace allows you to feel forgiveness; the score no longer needs to be evened. Grace comes from your ability to detach from what is happening in your world and to experience sacred beauty.
Tree of Life is set in 1950s Waco, Texas around a family of three boys and the life they share together with their parents, Mr. O’Brien (Brad Pitt) and Mrs. O’Brien. The movie begins with the loss of the O’Brien’s son and the grief that follows. Mr. Malick’s sensitivities to their grief and the pain they feel connects us to this family. Their life has forever changed and it all seems lost.
As Mirabai Starr speaks of grief, “..who we used to be is annihilated by the power of loss, so that a new, broken-open self might gradually emerge from the ashes. That by being stripped naked it is possible to have a direct encounter with the sacred…Once these constructs are dismantled, we are reconnected with our true selves, who want only one thing: union with the Divine. We come to experience this yearning as an exquisite thing, a beautiful wound.”
We see the O’Brien family try to make sense of their child’s death and the lasting effect it has on all of them. We also see other themes of letting go and accepting change as Mr. O’Brien becomes laid off and the family has to move. We’re also reminded of the need to let go and accept our children as they are. To forgive our parents, knowing they truly did the best they could.
Mr. Malick gives us numerous opportunities to experience sacred beauty. It seems he’s trying to remind us what grace is and how exquisite it can be. Malick uses every medium at his disposal so that each of us can sense beauty on our own terms. The movie is filled with the sounds of nature that many of us just don’t here anymore. Birds and bugs make a music that’s so calming to the ears. Between these nature concertos, he selects some of the most beautiful performances ranging from Smetana’s The Moldau, to Berlioz’s Requiem. We see the beautiful works of the famed architect, Philip Johnson and the Glory Window (Designed by French artist Gabriel Loire) from his Chapel of Thanksgiving. Along with visuals of the Reunion Tower in Dallas which never looked so wonderful.
If nature sounds, architecture, and music don’t catch you, his magnificent use of light and color may. He slows us down and helps us see that life and creation are not linear as we all expect it to be. While creation at times can be messy, there is a perpetual beauty to be noticed in every moment and these moments go buy so quickly in Tree of Life. Mr. Malick reminds us of these moments as we see the perfect shape of a baby’s foot or the slow play time that children revel in. Even the dinosaurs are incredible to watch. Malick uses technology to support all these clues to what grace and beauty look like.
Before seeing this film, we watched Terrence Malick’s The New World (2005). He uses similar techniques to remind us that being vs. doing is a much more graceful and enjoyable way to live. Throughout both films, Mr. Malick uses the characters thoughts and prayers as narration. It’s another beautiful reminder of how similar we all are. Our loss and struggles, our yearning for answers, and our search for God in the midst of challenging life changes.
While the details of our life experiences may be unique, our emotional journeys are similar. Mr. Malick has once again showed us why being alive is a gift and reminds us to choose grace once again.
We recommend you watch Tree of Life and if you enjoyed it, check out his other film, The New World. There are many deep themes in both movies and we would enjoy hearing your experience in this blog. So please tells us what you think.
May you see the beauty that’s all around you and discover the grace that’s inherent with being alive.
The Steps To Energetically Benefit from This AP Session:
- If you haven’t done the Intention Session, then do this first and only once. Think of it as downloading an App on your smartphone. Once completed then you’re ready to benefit from any of our AP movies/TV shows.
- Rent and watch the entire movie: Tree of Life
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