We don’t often associate such films as “Jaws” or Clint Eastwood’s “Fistfulof Dollars” with the spiritual quest, but Dean Sluyter does. There is much spiritual content found in movies and we can all name quite a few of these. However, Sluyter doesn’t go for the obvious; rather he takes us on a metaphorical enlightenment journey through some surprising films. He is a master teacher helping us look with new eyes at films. He observes such details as how the wicked stepmother of Snow White has an addiction to her mirror, and sees herself as narrowly defined within its frame. He points out that the “central enlightenment teaching in most spaghetti westerns is that the bad guys are always agitated. They sweat a lot, literally. They are always upset and always caught in their passions. Whereas the hero, generally the Clint Eastwood character, is like the eye of the hurricane. He is super cool and what he personifies there is the way we would like to be in the midst of all the craziness and violence and challenges of daily life.” Sluyter takes us through such films as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves,” “Jaws,” the Marx brothers “A Night at the Opera,” and more. He also tosses in some profound Buddhist wisdom along the way.
Dean Sluyter has spent a lifetime learning authentic methods of natural meditation from eastern and western sages and making them accessible to thousands, including prisoners, tech innovators, filmmakers, high school students, and entrepreneurs. He has completed numerous retreats and pilgrimages in Tibet, India, Nepal, and Europe, and for decades has led workshops throughout the United States.
Dean Sluyter is the author of:
- The Zen Commandments: Ten Suggestions for a Life of Inner Freedom (Tarcher/Putnam 2001)
- Why the Chicken Crossed the Road: & Other Hidden Enlightenment Teachings from the Buddha to Bebop to Mother Goose (Tarcher/Putnam 1998)
- Cinema Nirvana: Enlightenment Lessons from the Movies (Three Rivers Press 2005)
- Natural Meditation: A Guide to Effortless Meditative Practice (Tarcher/Penguin 2015)
To learn more about the work of Dean Sluyter go to www.deansluyter.com.
Topics explored in this dialogue include:
- How do you gain happiness through letting go
- What is the psychological make-up of the wicked stepmother of Snow White
- Why prisons inmates practice meditation like their hair is on fire
- How the samurai persona is captured in spaghetti westerns
- What is the surprising metaphor the shark in “Jaws” represents
- How the Buddha discovered the scientific method 2500 years ago
- What is the nature of comedy
- What Nirvana is and letting go of the pursuit of happiness is how we gain happiness
Host: Michael Toms Interview Date: 6/30/2005 Program Number: 3097