I've been thinking lately about various cultural artifacts that came my way in 2011, fabrications that shifted my perspective or simply made life a little easier. You might appreciate some of these things as well, so I thought I'd write about them this week.
In the early autumn I saw the film, "Higher Ground," directed by and starring Vera Farmiga. The movie explores the development of a spiritual life and the ways in which community can support and hinder that development.
Although the film received mixed reviews, I was fascinated by it, in large measure because I've experienced a variation of the storyline in my own life. And Ms. Farmiga's performance is as subtle and heartfelt as any I've seen this year - really, she's one of the best actors working today.
Some in the Buddhist world might feel put off by the Christian basis of the story, but many (perhaps a great many) of our sanghas function in ways similar to this fundamentalist sect. "Higher Ground" might help us see the ground on which we stand.