Heaven on Earth Creation

Synopsis

Globalized Soul

As the film begins, the title Globalized Soul appears
above the mystical waters of the Sea of Galilee
as Enya sings "On Your Shore."

The one hour documentary, "Globalized Soul," chronicles the world-wide phenomenon of "interreligious or interfaith dialogue," the distinctive spiritual journey of the 21st century. More and more, spiritual leaders and activists are coming together in search of unity and harmony in addressing the crises facing humanity and the earth. Dozens of nations now host international interfaith conferences, and they are held in virtually every state and major city in the US.

Filmed in Australia, India, Israel, Morocco, Mexico, Turkey and the US, "Globalized Soul" explores the oneness at the center of the colorful diversity of the world's religions. The cornerstone of the film is its coverage of one of the largest interfaith gatherings in history: "The Parliament of the World's Religions" held in Melbourne, Australia in December, 2009.

Onscreen commentators include The Dalai Lama, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Roshi Joan Halifax, Rev. James Trapp, Sister Joan Chittister, humanitarian Asha Mehta, and Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari, co-founder of The Jerusalem Peacemakers. Music is provided by Enya, Philip Glass, Ravi Shankar and Harold Moses.

Israel

On location for "Globalized Soul":
The Dome of the Rock and the Wall around the
Old City of Jerusalem.
A question posed at the beginning of "Globalized Soul" becomes the thread that binds the film. In the midst of increasing alarm over the plagues of fear, violence, hatred, oppression, and potential environmental catastrophe, what is it that remains true and eternal in human nature, and resides in all peoples, cultures and religious paths? Is there a saving quality extant in all cultures throughout history from which this generation can draw sustenance and overcome planetary problems that seem intractable. In seeking the answer the film follows Sheikh Bukhari and Asha Mehta, two participants of "The Parliament of the World's Religions" back to their respective homelands in Jerusalem and India. At "The Parliament" the Dalai Lama encourages participants to return home and become active in the work of universal love and compassion in their own countries. Mehta and Bukhari are the epitome of such activism.

The name of Bukhari is renowned in Islam. Sheikh Bukhari descended from one of the great early Islamic scholars. His family has lived on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem for over 400 years. As head of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order in the Holy Lands, Bukhari used his influence to bring Gandhian style nonviolence – or ahimsa – to the peace efforts in The Middle East. Forging friendships beyond grievances and divisions, he turned his home into a center where Christians, Muslims and Jews spoke and prayed together, learned of each other, and created grassroots projects for peace. He founded a movement from these gatherings – The Jerusalem Peacemakers.

In one of the climactic scenes in "Globalized Soul,"  hundreds of spiritual leaders from the three Abrahmic faiths come together in Nazareth to share an Iftar feast in celebration of their oneness.  This communion in a city that has faced conflicts between Muslims and Christians in the recent past was sponsored by the Jerusalem Peacemakers.

Into this story of tragedy and triumph in the Middle East, "Globalized Soul" weaves the return of Asha Mehta to India. Mehta is a practitioner of Jainism, one of world's oldest religions. The film explores Jain philosophy to help determine what is central and eternal to the human journey, has allowed the Jains to survive for 1000s of years, and may help inform humanity's survival today. The overarching creed of Jainism is nonviolence (ahimsa) and an acceptance of the truth of all paths to the divine. Again, Gandhi enters the scene. It is to the teachings of Jainism that Gandhi attributed his own non-violence.

Israel

Jeremy Donovan, aboriginal didgeridoo player,
above the skyline of Melbourne, Australia
at the 2009 Parliament of the World's Religions.
Asha and her husband Mahendra, both in their 70s, have given their lives over to helping the poorest and most physically challenged of humanity. In the holy Jain city of Palitana they organize and run a "Mega-Mobility Camp". With the help of volunteers from around the world, the two week "Camp" fit and distributed 29,000 artificial limbs, adult tricycles, wheel chairs, and hearing aids. All services were free. The scenes of those who cannot walk or hear making their way into the camp and leaving with the ability to move freely and hear the sounds of the world are unforgettable. In the climactic scenes from India the Dalai Lama arrives at the Mehta's camp, honors them and blesses all those who have come for help. In keeping with his devotion to religious harmony the Tibetan Buddhist leader then engages in public dialog with the scholars of Jainism.

In the end "Globalized Soul" answers the question it posed at the beginning. What is eternal about human nature and offers a path to survival in the 21st century and beyond? It is the simplest of answers, yet one that humankind often forgets. None other than love and compassion for each other beckons us onward, and lights our way.