An Interview with James Redfield
By Donna Strong

 

 

In the words of James Redfield; “There is another world. Right here in front of your eyes.” With this issue we welcome the convergence of James and SallE Redfield’s completion of The Celestine Prophecy movie and our annual issue devoted to the environment. Albeit a somewhat different take on matters, we explore the environmental possibility of what we can all do to bring heaven to earth and live in harmony while embodied.

James Redfield is one of a handful of authors of the New Age whose work has struck a catalytic chord of resonance worldwide with the Celestine Prophecy message. In the early nineties the grassroots distribution of the book ignited a groundswell of momentum; the book was on the New York Times bestseller list for over three years. The Celestine Prophecy has appealed to more than 12 million readers around the globe, bringing a compelling momentum to touch the hearts and minds of people considering other ways of perceiving the world and living with more spiritual integrity in daily life.

Environmental awareness begins with the vision of bringing a new world view into manifestation. As a book, The Celestine Prophecy has been a profound catalyst to create a new environment by cultivating more spiritual understanding of what heaven is like here on earth. A key aspect of this approach is  working with synchronicity. Through surrendering to synchronistic events, we begin to sense the underlying thread of continuity beyond the discordant feel of daily life. Now, with release of the film in April of 2006, the message will be enhanced through the magic of movies. Through film, the rich sensory impression of sight and sound invokes the imagination to a deeper exploration of the possibilities.

James and Salle have wanted to make this movie for a long time. James actually saw it as a series of what he calls ‘movie moments,’ as the creative process for the book was developing. After going the rounds of standard Hollywood film format, the Redfields decided to wait until it could be made with more of their involvement than being handed a sizable check by a well-known production house.

James comments, “. . . for years we hung in that particular no-man’s land between being sure we should do this film and yet having no idea how. Until at last a certain realization set in. We had to face the fact that the film had to be a different kind of parable from the book . . . a kind of snapshot of the Celestine world view . . . So that’s what we decided to do, or should I say, that’s what we finally allowed to happen. In fits and starts, the synchronicity began to pour through, and in the end, everyone we needed showed up at just the right time.

All that’s left now is for the real test to happen as this movie is released into the world . . . The real impact is one you’ll sense more fully without thinking. It will be something you feel — not so much with your emotions, but with your body, your soul — as a distantly familiar world begins to emerge. We can only hope that those same images — call them archetypes, click into a higher awareness . . . And perhaps we’ll now actually embrace a reality that before we could only intuit — a reality that’s always been right here in front of our eyes . . . in the sky, in the trees, in the light reflecting on a human face . . . just waiting until we had the eyes to see.”

Awareness: There are stories that are profound, that are not literally factual but they are true. Celestine Prophecy has struck that kind of a chord.

Redfield: I think that’s why people responded to the book. It really did put into words things people were already experiencing.

Awareness: A paraphrase from another inspiring book of fiction by Nancy Dillard;  ‘We’re not made of atoms, we’re made of stories.’  I liken that to what you’ve done in your book; you’ve tapped into a deeper truth. Fiction has a freedom to be unfettered by facts and show us a felt sense template for understanding through the imagination.

Redfield: Yes, the insights are real, they are happening to peo-ple. My job is to describe what we are going through at this moment, into a deeper level of spiritual reality and a higher spiritual consciousness. That’s why I chose a spiritual novel to talk about it so the understanding would make sense and have a certain grounding.

Awareness: How do you see the book in terms of consciousness expansion opening the way for the movie to unfold?

Redfield: I really believe that an awakening, a greater perspective on our lives and existence is happening. It’s really the firing of archetypes that are already built into our brains, we just are able to awaken to a point where we can see a greater beauty in the world, a greater connection and sense of well being. This is what the mystics speak about. The insights fire us up into a greater consciousness on the planet. So it is a greater consciousness at the same time and a greater awareness of our spiritual nature. That is what the ‘aha’ is.

I like to say that we’re moving from left-brained mental beliefs, thinking it’s a good idea that we should have a spiritual consciousness, to experiencing this awakening and connection to the divine in ourselves and in the world at a greater level. What we are doing now is really perceiving it. We have awakened to a point where we can really feel what this greater consciousness feels like. I think the movie has a big role in that. With a movie you don’t sit around the campfire and talk philosophy. So what we had to do was to capture the experiential essence of it.

The viewers have a discovery process with the every-man character {named John Woodson in the movie} as the adventure unfolds. In the end, what the test audience reports is that it is half inspiring, and the other half is a meditative kind of opening with the music and the movie setting. The movie was designed to have the feel of a fable, it is not an emotional up and down like most movies. It is watching these themes happen and unfold in this man’s life in a way you feel it with him as much as you understand what he is doing.

Awareness: I love the idea that people are discovering the synchronicities so they can see what they light up about, because it’s a key point you’re making about how archetypes are firing, we’re getting‘turned on’ to perceive in a broader manner. I read the book over the weekend and felt fired up by the insights, quite literally! This work goes beyond the words for sure. One of our LA wisdom keepers, GuruSingh, talks about how certain ways of arranging words set up forms of circuitry that can touch areas inside us that are not normally reached.

Redfield: That’s a great way to describe what the movie does!  The movie had a life of its own. We can’t claim to have put everything in it, but it seems to activate people. It wasn’t a conscious intention, but something that has occurred from following the synchronicities of the movie-making process. We were committed to make it true to the essence of the book.

Awareness: There are stories that galvanize people and that’s certainly what we have seen from the book. Stepping off from a central theme of the book, how do you look at synchronicity?

Redfield: The context for this is that we’re awakening to deeper experiences in life that are spiritual. As we blossom or awaken, we begin to notice there is a force in the world that seems to be operating and leading us into a certain destiny. And it’s very much a kind of detective effort on our own part to figure out what these things mean. The synchronicity is essentially a meaningful coincidence that brings us information at just the right time. While leading us forward, it also feels very inspiring and destined in a way.  It feels like we’re on a path of unfolding in our own personal evolution.

A new consciousness is opening us up and leading us forward if we do our part. When I say our part, all the insights are archetypally awakening us to get ourselves clear from past scripts and control dramas and open up to a real connection to the spirit within us. Through practicing what it is to feel the inner connection, it gives us the energy and awareness to really follow this path that the world seems conspiring to lead us down, if we will just take the steps we see in front of us.

Awareness: I love it, and I have certainly experienced what you’re talking about — once you surrender to allow synchronicities and see what unfolds, rather than needing to know everything in advance and having the world all mapped out. It’s a very different approach to living. In terms of making the movie, how do you see the way you are bringing forth the movie as a new _expression of The Celestine Prophecy story?

Redfield: While The Celestine Prophecy began as a self-help book, it wasn’t powerful enough. With story, you get examples in context and people’s fears vs. bravery all mixed in. With story, you can illustrate the message better, because it is grounded in real life. Movies take this a step further, where you supply the imaginary fodder for people as the story unfolds because you can see scenes of the unfolding story. It gives a model for real life that can be translated into one’s own life. That is why I have always wanted it to be a movie, one that is true to the original work.

Awareness: Tell us some stories about the insights and living with them as part of the movie-making process?

Redfield: Absolutely. We found ourselves with a script we thought was good and the right director, Armand Mastroianni, came into the process synchronistically. He made his fame in television. I think he has three of the highest-rated television movies in existence. But more than that, he’s a very spiritual person who is collaborative. We needed that more than anything, someone who could stay true, let things flow synchronistically and discuss the turns that need to be made at various points.

We found John {Woodson} very quickly through tapes. Then we wanted Wil. Both of us wanted Thomas Kretschmann from the beginning because we thought he had the right presence. He is so busy, always working, and we couldn’t get his ear. So we said let’s just hold the vision here. Then we got a call from Matthew (who plays John Woodson in the film), and Matthew said, ‘I’ve fired both my agent and my manager.’ And we went, ‘oh no,’ and wondered, ‘what’s going on with Matthew?’ Once we got the name of his new manager, we quickly realized it was Thomas’ wife!

Awareness: Now that’s a great example of holding the vision!

Redfield: Yes, that was one of the many synchronicities.

Awareness: The book mentions about how we have messages for one another. Are there any other stories among the creative team about providing messages for one another?

Redfield: Yes, it actually happened everywhere, but I’ll give you one really dramatic one. We had meetings about direction and one of the things we would say to everybody was, ‘Look, you’re going to have intuitions during this process and suggestions, so be bold. If we don’t think they are right we’re going to say that, but if you have ideas or messages, we need to hear about what we’re doing here, so please speak up. Along the line people did speak up — actors and crew members, to really tweak the screen play and the dialogue and, also to save us.

Film is a very dangerous place. You have all these heavy lights, high-voltage electricity wires and cranes that weigh three tons to hold the cameras up high. One day, we were filming in Florida with a crane up, and we were all under it while filming. All of a sudden one of the crew members just started yelling, ‘Get back, get away from the crane!’ We looked at the crane and it looked fine to us, but everyone moved back. Within about thirty seconds it fell. It would have hit dozens of people if we had not had some kind of warning.

The crew member had no indication that something was wrong, he just knew something was wrong. As it turned out, the crane was sitting on sand, and while you couldn’t tell, it was starting to lean slightly and sink into the sand, and finally it just fell over. It would have been a major tragedy on the set.

Awareness: Now that was a message to pay attention to!

On another topic, when you spoke in Tustin last week, you spoke of the twelfth insight, describing it as our learning to ride this wave of conscious evolution as more awakened beings.

Redfield: Yes, now we’re more able to fend off the old materialistic world view that tries to suck us back into fear and insecurity. We’re at a point where we have the elements in place to live at a level far greater than we’ve been able to before.

Awareness: Can you give me some example of how you’re seeing this?

Redfield: The more people experience it and talk about it, it is a kind of contagion that filters in. For example, the most popular fitness program is now yoga! Think about that. It used to be a very marginal kind of activity, one they were afraid to put in the schools. Now it’s everywhere.

People’s consciousness is expanding and evolving. More and more people feel like they have a destiny and something greater is unfolding in their lives. It has always happened. People have been driven to do certain things in the world. It used to be called, ‘ambition.’  Now it’s being true to your inner calling. There are a lot of real changes out there that are setting the stage for what I believe is a new, more authentic embracing of a higher and deeper form of spirituality.

Awareness: You talked about a quality of the ninth insight presented in the book, ‘that heaven is before us,’ and that there is an increasing perception of that among people. You and Salle represent this in your suggestion that we all learn to ‘give energy without conditions.’ As I see it, heaven indeed gives in this manner and I was very impressed with the simplicity and sincerity of how you two represent this in person.

Redfield:  The more each one of us learns to remain connected and channel energy through us into others and the world, the more our awareness changes, so life becomes richer and more vibrant. That is what is happening to our consciousness. We will start to see the form or presence of a tree with greater awe. As evolution continues in humanity, we’re starting to see more beauty and sacredness.

Awareness: You made the comment, when you spoke in Tustin, about supporting this growing sense of expansion physically to bring in more light through certain foods, green food especially.

Redfield: Absolutely.

Awareness: Are there any other ways we can keep translating bringing in that light and following that sense of light? It seems to me very much about sensing the presence of heaven as you have written of in the book.

Redfield: I think we have to intend and give energy to other people, to the world. As we give energy, the world lights up for us and we see the greater beauty in it. It is built into the process. The more connected and energized and inspired we are, the more we are evolving synchronistically in the world and telling our truth, the more we light up the world around us. This is contagious!  Continuing to do this, to just stay connected in love with these ethical standards of giving energy to the world, sets a positive expectation that this new utopian heavenly culture will unfold. Generation by generation, we have to hold the vision and the best we can do is to create it in our lives and in the world.

For more information and show schedule, visit: www.thecelestineprophecymovie.com

Donna Strong is a free lance writer and devotee of the creative intelligence in all things. Visit her site, www.donnastrong.com
 


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