Netflix Original Ram Dass, Going Home is a short documentary based on the cultural and spiritual icon Ram Dass, at his home on Maui toward the end of his life. Directed by Derek Peck is a profound and poetic encounter to Spirituality, Life and Death, the big three.
Ram Dass, Going Home is about the cultural figure from the 1960s and ’70s who is considered a spiritual teacher as well as an outspoken advocate for death-and-dying awareness. Since suffering a life-changing stroke 20 years ago, Ram Dass has been living at his home on Maui and deepening his spiritual practice — which is centred on love and his idea of merging with his surroundings and all living things.
The opening scene of this short documentary is enough to give you a gasp of fresh air of hope. It starts with Ram Dass’ voice, as he says: “We are souls. As souls, we are not under time or space. We are infinite.” We find him at his residence in Maui, and continue admiring the life through a bird’s view of his house, as he tries to understand consciousness and reflect fully on it. He later explains the meaning of consciousness, how he relates it to God or why at this stage of his life he comes to understand the true meaning of home. The sensation of life seems has left him decades ago, when his brain got shaken by the stroke, leaving him partly paralyzed and frustrated. Ram Dass explains that it is due to that frustration that he has discovered a new perspective of aging, the nature of dependency and being dependable.
As you watch him in his seemingly helpless situation, he is still able to deliver the message to us through the silver screen. His statement; “I don’t wish you the stroke, but i wish you the grace from the stroke”, referring to stroke as any hindrance or adversity in life, made me ponder as how impatiently we panic about almost every minute disorder, but we should hold on, hope and patiently handle our worse. It is something much more abstract and free-flowing.
The thing that struck me about the film is that all the visuals are utterly beautiful, those depictions of dry leaves as a symbol of death to that waterfall falling backwards depicting time, everything was just so serene and peaceful that it was hard for me to take my eyes off the scenes and images. As I mentioned, it’s not a traditional documentary in the sense of having a strong through line or central argument. Instead what we are given are some of Ram Dass’ thoughts and musings on his life’s work across a range of topics including spirituality, life, and death – so pretty much the big three. I think that a project like this has the potential to become either incredibly preachy or a little pretentious; thankfully this ends up being neither, rather an eye-opener and realistic.
Derek Peck’s piece is profound for its narration, editing and the way Ram Dass’ message is delivered in such a concise way. He adds to the film everything needed for all of us to benefit from it. The disability has taken so many things from him, but in the meantime, has allowed him to look into himself even deeper, to understand the intimacy between life and death, and how their constant dance through darkness brings light to us. Source
This is an interesting documentary that made me stop and think about things in a slightly different way. I think anything that can make us stop and think and reframe some of our own beliefs, if only for a few minutes, is something to be applauded and to be enjoyed. I found it to just be an incredibly relaxing experience, that reminded me very much of a guided meditation I mean that very much as a compliment and not a criticism. I found it genuinely fascinating. SOURCES