Alfonso Cuaron’s new movie Gravity is being hyped as the greatest space movie since 2001 A Space Odyssey and for good reason. The special effects are phenomenal. The plot is relentless. Gravity is at once an intimate movie and an epic. It’s one of those movies which could be talked about for years to come.
Naturally, here on TheDailyMeditation, it’s the story we’re most interested in, and particularly the deep spiritual message that Gravity presents.
Sandra Bullock stars in Gravity
Sandra Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, an astronaut who finds herself in a very dark place, both literally and figuratively. Ryan Stone is grieving the death of her daughter. She described herself as “Not living” but rather existing in a void. Her favourite thing about space? The silence. She is near death yet accepting of it. As she prepares for death her mind is filled with thoughts of her daughter and of her faith. Mid crisis she experiences a miracle, a visitation that saves her life. She rediscovers what it is to live. In this miracle she finds herself reborn.
Stories of a descent into hell and a rebirth have populated literature for millennia. From Jesus to Egypt’s Osiris to Hermes, Orpheus, Odysseus and Dante, literary figures have
For millennia, heroes have gone to hell and back—often quite literally—to reclaim a loved one and/or find new life. Gods and men alike have made the trip, from Egypt’s Osiris to Sumeria’s Gilgamesh to Greece’s Hermes and Odysseus and Orpheus. Ryan Stone’s journey in Gravity mirrors this age old tales. She descends into a personal hell, whereupon a miracle occurs that grants her rebirth.
Ryan Stones finds rebirth when she is at the deepest level of personal hell. She turns from darkness to light, finds the will to go on living, escapes the underworld and is reborn. In this, director Alfonso Cuaron produces a modern retelling of one of literature’s greatest stories, and with it perhaps one of the best movies of the year.
Whether or not the makers of Gravity set out purposefully to produce such a spiritually inspiring story is unknown. Regardless, this is one of the most iconic spiritual stories of this young millennia.
Comparisons have been made between the movie and the Christianity, but for me Gravity speaks more of meditation, and particularly for those who have used meditation to heal depression and grief.
When we close our eyes and meditate we find ourselves in the recesses of the mind, that quiet, still, dark place, itself not dissimilar to the expanse of space Ryan Stone finds herself in in Gravity. When suffering from grief (as Ryan Stone is) meditation casts us, at first, into the chasm of our depressed mind. Then we find true silence, as Ryan Stone does. We find quiet. We stop fighting. We surrender to the silence and, as Albert Camus would say, find, in the depths of winter, an invincible summer.