More than a decade after its publication, James Redfield's "The Celestine Prophecy" is being released as a movie. Not that the story--an allegorical adventure about the intrinsic connectedness of all beings--and its nine insights into human nature and spiritual reality have been out of the public consciousness: The book remains a steady seller, with more than 20 million copies in print, in 50 languages. In addition to writing and overseeing the production of the movie, Redfield is a popular lecturer; his wife, Salle Merrill Redfield, often opens his talks with a guided meditation. The Redfields recently visited Beliefnet's offices for a video interview, at the end of which Salle offered a guided meditation.
Read the interview below, or watch the video:For those who haven't read the book or who read it a long time ago, can you explain synchronicity, one of its key concepts?
"Synchronicity" was coined by the psychiatrist Carl Jung years and years ago. It means the perception of meaningful coincidences. What it refers to is times when maybe we sense a direction we want to take in our lives and then maybe the next day in the subway or at the table next to us in a restaurant, we meet someone who just happens to be in that career or happens to have those skills, or happens to know how to open a door for us.
It's those kinds of coincidences that seem beyond chance--we used to call it luck, we used to call it just being fortunate--but really what we're beginning to believe and validate experientially is that this is a force in the universe that works to open doors for us to be the best we can be and to fulfill a kind of inner destiny. Because that's what it feels like when these coincidences happen, and really expand our lives in some way or bring information to us at just the right moment, we think our lives are on a path that feels destined. That's what it is. It's a key perception in one's development of a deeper spirituality.
How did the movie come about?
Ten years later, we finally have a movie of the "Celestine Prophecy." We certainly had a lot of offers to make the movie, but it never seemed to work until I just took the time and wrote a screenplay myself. Then it started to flow better. We were able to raise money. We decided to do it independently rather than go through a studio, and that was primarily because we wanted the movie to be true to the book--something every author wants, but I really felt like it was important, given that this is a very spiritual book and vast numbers of people really hold it in high esteem, and it's something really dear to them.
The book has an interesting plot, but it is really about the ideas. How do you translate that to film?
The whole idea of the book was that the concepts, the insights, have to be illustrated for people to really get them. So that was the main challenge in the movie. We had to make sure that we were showing a deeper spiritual consciousness, the insights that one has to have to discover a deeper spirituality for themselves. I argue that these are a series of insights that the human society is going through as we move toward a deeper spirituality as a part of culture. We had to show it in action. It actually was not that difficult to do it in a movie. A movie was probably the ideal format for that.
Can you give an example?
One of the key concepts in the book is that there's an energy, a subtle spiritual energy, that flows between people that people can feel. It's when you feel uplifted by someone, you feel like you're being given energy by someone as you talk--or you feel as though you're being criticized or not respected or maybe energy is actually being taken from you, you feel a kind of draining experience when you talk to people. So that, of course, on the screen can be shown; with visual effects we can actually show what the human aura looks like, what the mystics say about the energy field that surrounds people, and then tie that into a kind of scene in which it's represented visually.
Making a movie has its moments of stress. How did you apply the ideas and insights from the book to the process of filmmaking?
We certainly had to do that over and over again. It was an effort or a kind of example of having to hold a vision for something that you think needs to come into being. There's something about holding that vision and realizing that through a faithful patience we can bring together a team, bring together the elements to make it all work.