Since forever, humans have been trying to capture the essence of existence. Words serve us well. But could the human experience be captured without words? Is language essential? What if I told you that the most powerful expression I’ve found contains no words at all? I give you the timeless movie — Baraka.

Sometimes, in order to fully appreciate one or two of your senses, you have to momentarily suppress the others. For instance — briefly closing your eyes, while listening to birds singing, heightens your sound awareness.

Similarly, I’ve often visited a theater and forgone the popcorn — just so nothing would distract me from the flick I’d been anticipating. Modern day movie-house sound and visuals are incredible. Occasionally, it feels like sensory overload to add refreshments to the mix.

 

THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE — WORDS OPTIONAL

Now, imagine a movie, with all the eye-popping vistas and captivating score — yet without a word.

That’s right, folks! No words! No dialogue. Boring? Not in the least. In fact, it’s profound on many levels. This film forgoes chitchat, leaving room for other means of auditory and visual communication.

 

A WORLD BEYOND WORDS

the human experience is lived out on planet earth - a photo of the earth 20km above the ground - taken by NASA

Baraka is a movie unlike any other. Director Ron Fricke describes it as “a journey of rediscovery and reconnecting.”

But it’s even more than this!

The wonder of nature is woven throughout, often explored via time lapse photography.  You begin to lose yourself in the epic-ness.

The scope is vast and deep — a composition of dramatic images juxtaposed with surprising effectiveness. Nature, religious expression, poverty, industrialization and war — all aspects of the human experience come to light.

Though the film passes on dialogue, it’s far from soundless. The score, composed by Michael Stearns (with other contributing artists) is moving and varied, masterfully complementing the diverse cultures and locales.

 

AN UNHURRIED PACE

slowing down - in the moment - red leaf slowly flutters down from a tree

Baraka‘s pacing is thoughtful and contemplative. This is precisely how Fricke captures the beauty, grief, wonder and soulfulness of life so effectively. He’s not bombarding you with images. It’s all done in a rhythm that suits the subject.

So much of our lives are lived at high speed these days. Baraka beckons you to slow down — to appreciate things as they unfold — moment by moment. Truly an expression of mindfulness in motion.

 

THE BLESSING

Baraka is a Sufi word that means “blessing” or “essence of life”. Ron Fricke’s film embodies this beautifully. I don’t readily suggest movies, but this one speaks for itself. Click the DVD cover photo to purchase:

the Himalaya mountains pictured with a total eclipse of the sun - the cover photo for the movie Baraka - a film of stunning visuals, yet without a word

So go ahead — treat your senses to a contemplative exploration of existence! The afterglow is deeply grounding. You’ll likely find yourself (and those who shared this experience with you) in a thoughtful place, drawn to discuss the deeper things of life, the human experience, and God. This is the mystery of humanity, exhaled onto celluloid film.

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I’d love to hear from you! Have you seen Baraka? Did it draw you into a place of mindful reflection? I welcome your questions and comments below. — Ali 😊

 

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