When I look around and wonder what it would take for real change, individual and systemic, I see the magic pieces as being the heart and the mind. However, depending on our personal life experiences and the barriers we put up, or the chaos and the busyness, they can be hard nuts to crack. But if you had to find a way to crack open the hearts and minds of every person in the world because our very existence depended on it, what would you do? I feel like that’s the tension of the times we’re living through, and why a project like The Portal is important now.
Tom Cronin and I came into this collaboration with our personal philosophies, mission, intention, skillset, and so on, and I feel like it’s where those diverge and intersect that have led to the film unfolding as it has. The Portal is originally Tom’s project, inspired because years ago he hit a crisis point that forced him to make some radical changes in his behaviour. His crisis and transformation (with meditation being the tool to unlock that change) systematically disrupted and upgraded myriad aspects of his personal world, and led him to his mission: one billion people sitting in stillness daily. It also unlocked a desire to create a transformational film that would showcase the power of meditation, and take it to a wider audience.
I’ve always worked in film, media and music and, over time, I’ve come to understand that what really underlies the work I’ve been doing is creating expansive experiences that can bring people together, draw us into flow state, and tap us into our greatest human potential. I’m fascinated by the shamanic power of media to support communion, transformation and evolution.
To create The Portal, Tom and I came together on transformational tools, and human experiences, as powerful ways to help jettison us all into the next stage of our individual and collective evolution. Along the way the one billion people became seven billion as we started to really envision the cumulative impact of all the people on the planet. As filmmakers and individuals, the question we’re exploring in various ways through this project is: How can we really change our world?
Tom and I know from our own personal experience the benefits that meditation offers and the power inherent in the practice, but how does that translate to story? So to take an early intention, and form story around it, breathe life into it in such a way that it’s capable of opening a doorway to change, posed a chunky creative challenge.
Every day I kept asking myself which elements were the right ones to bring together in order to create a cinematic experience that people would come away from feeling like they actually got, on a deep visceral level, how it’s possible that meditation could hold the key to a successful outcome at this time on earth. I pondered questions like: What would it bring to my life to experience the most beautiful, rich, meaningful, joyous aspects of being human, and also to feel a kindred connection with other individuals in this global community? To not be shackled by the past or enslaved to my mind? To weather the ups and downs of life with grace and buoyancy, humour and peace? To understand my special place in this jigsaw of existence?
I feel like that’s what we’re really getting at when we contemplate the impact that deep transformative practices, like meditation, could have when incorporated en masse into people’s lives. In the process of saving ourselves from the clutches of our own emotional and life baggage, we activate a ripple effect that changes our world. We wanted to translate that into an experience for people during the film. I see the film and book as immersive explorations of ways to unlock heart and mind, and to disrupt humans out of our current existential malaise, in order to help reboot a system and civilisation at breaking point. It’s done in a way that highlights the beauty of existence and of a person’s unique human story, to really bring us alive.
The Portal is a planting of seeds. It’s not very useful to tell other people what they should think or believe. We have all been so subjected to dogma, ideology and indoctrination for so long that those modes of transferring ideas among people and generations is losing effectiveness. If we can strip that away and leave only the rawness of life and universal human experiences like emotions, pain, love and joy bubbling up (that we can all relate to) then I think we have a chance of communicating a message that transcends words. I think we can create a space for lasting transformation.
For several years now I’ve watched this project draw people into it’s vortex of love, healing and growth. I think that’s an undeniable aspect of the tentacles of meditation that reach so deeply, and so holistically, that nothing remains untouched. And so through the film as a tool, life as a tool, and meditation as a tool, we can start to achieve that ‘stripping away’, and watch the ripple spread. This could be our time to break an existing framework, disrupt the system and start fresh, and, at the same time, truly understanding and connecting with ourselves, and each other, more deeply.
Imagine what life will be like when 7 billion people go through the portal.