I saw an amazing documentary movie by filmmaker Tom Shadyak recently that was so inspiring I wanted to share it with everyone so here goes… The basic story starts with Tom a successful filmmaker (“Ace Ventura” among others) who had a serious bike accident resulting in a head injury and many months of depression. His life looked very bleak and as he put it “I was done”.

So imagine his relief when his concussion lifted! Filled with new energy and purpose he decided to delve deeper into life’s secrets, so he set off around the world with a crew of four to investigate one question – what is wrong with the world and what will fix it.

He interviewed many famous and amazing people like David Suzuki, Archbishop Tutu of South Africa, and Lynne Mac Taggart (author or “The Field”). He looked to animal studies for lessons on the real nature of animals and of humans, and visited HeartMath, an amazing research lab on the powers of the heart.

And what did he find? You really have to watch the film yourself, but three things stood out for me.

1. The first was Tom’s big aha when he learns that Native people believe nature only takes what it needs, and that taking more than that is a form of mental illness – like a cancer. A lion for example will only eat what it needs and no more. In contrast we humans are driven to acquire more and more, trying to fill an inner loneliness. We worship at the altar of materialism, treating the economy as a god as David Suzuki says, and separate our humanity from the natural world, in the mistaken belief that the more we have the happier we will be.

But 2 billion dollars will not make you twice as happy as one billion as Tom discovered for himself. Tom’s fame had allowed him to acquire many nice things – a 7000 square foot mansion in Beverley Hills with swimming pool, a private jet, etc. But a bigger house did not make him happier.

In fact he noticed the more wealthy people were the more scared they were of losing it, and how can it make sense that some have so much and many have so little? So in the end Tom decided to downsize to a very small modest house, and get rid of all the extra gear he didn’t need.

2. The second interesting point was the amazing levels of cooperation and democracy discovered in the animal world. Researchers found that a lot of what we believe about animals and about humans is just not true. While we believe that animals’ true nature is competitive, aggressive and isolated. However when large groups of animals were observed, cooperation was actually the rule.

Take for example a swarm of birds or a shoal of fish. Have you ever wondered as you watch a swarm fly through the air, how they are able to move together as one and change direction in an instant without any apparent effort? What is happening is that each bird votes hundreds of times a minute with each beat of its wings, and this is communicated throughout the whole group.

The same principle was observed in a herd of deer as they decide which watering hold to visit each day. Researchers expected the decision was made by the most alpha male, but what actually happened over and over in their observations, is that each deer turned their head and when 51% turned in the same direction, that cast the vote and in a moment off they went. Over and over again researchers found examples of consensus decision making in animals.

So what about humans? First Nations believe the highest human value is cooperation and yet in North American culture, competition and getting ahead as seen as most valuable. It was Darwin who was credited for the theory that man is intrinsically competitive and aggressive, but when his writings are more closely studied, the survival of the fittest was only mentioned twice but love was mentioned 95 times! Sympathy is the strongest instinct in nature. It is in our DNA.

3. Thirdly Tom’s visit to the HeartMath centre was fascinating. They found that it is the heart not the brain that sends out most signals out – 95% of signals to be exact! And the brain is affected by the heart’s signals so if the heart is sending out a negative message like anger, it slows down the brain, making it more stupid. We function best when things are harmonious and relaxed.

HeartMath did a fascinating experiment with Tom to show how thoughts and feelings are picked up by the environment. A dish of yogurt was set up with two electrodes connected to a monitor with a moving needle. Tom sat about a metre away in front of the dish but not connected to it in any way. What was amazing is each time he thought or spoke of anything that caused him stress, the needle shot up immediately to the highest point! Tom was astonished. Even at the mention of his agent, the needle shot up because the yogurt was picking up on his emotional energy.

Even more interesting is that this phenomenon happens on a large scale. One example was the 65 random number counters around the world whose job it is to put out random numbers. At times like 9/11 a huge correlation was noticed that happened simultaneously causing a pattern in the numbers supposed to be random. The assumption was this was caused by the singular focus of so much emotional energy around the world. We are far more connected than we realise!

I was so inspired by this movie that I have arranged to share it FREE to a group of people in a small public venue in Fernwood Friday evening March 30th. If you would like to be invited, please email me for the location.

Take Only What You Need—Lessons from Nature
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