I saw an advance screening of the film The Way, starring Martin Sheen and directed by his son Emilio Estevez. It’s the story of a conflicted father/son relationship, in which the father, Tom, a successful ophthalmologist, disapproves of his son’s free-wheeling, world-traveling lifestyle. Daniel, the son, dies in a mountain accident while hiking el camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage to the legendary burial place of St. James. Tom picks up his son’s remains and spontaneously decides to finish the pilgrimage in honor of Daniel, scattering his ashes at sacred markers. Along the way he meets up with three other pilgrims, as different from himself as he and Daniel. The four make a motley crew that trudge the entire way to the Compostela de Santiago, meanwhile calling each other out on their emotional dishonesty and true motives behind the trek.
Someone asks Tom how he feels about Daniel’s death, and his answer is simply, “How do you think I feel? He was my son!” Now that Daniel is out of the body, Tom is able to have a healed relationship with him, and he sees his ghost several times. Egos use the body to fight and separate from each other, but when we’re in spirit form, it is sometimes easier to release the ego. A Course in Miracles tells us, “The special relationship is a device for limiting yourself to a body, and for limiting your perception of others to theirs.” (T-16.VI.4:4)
ACIM “re-minds” us that we join with others through the mind, not the body. “Everyone has experienced what he would call a sense of being transported beyond himself…it is a sudden unawareness of the body, and a joining of yourself and (someone) else…it becomes part of you and both become whole. This can occur regardless of the physical distance (or) respective positions in space.” (T-18.VI.11; 12)
The Way reflects the goal of A Course in Miracles, the healed relationship. The Way is beautiful—visually, emotionally, and spiritually. It is beautiful visually with its views of the Pyrenees mountains, it is beautiful emotionally with its depth of grief, love and laughter, and it is beautiful spiritually with its message of forgiveness and healing. The Way grabs you at the beginning and does not let you go until the final scattering of Daniel’s ashes into the roaring sea.
As The Way and A Course in Miracles show us, it is never too late to forgive and heal a relationship. Several of my clients in psychotherapy had conflicted relationships with parents who had passed on, and they were able to forgive and heal through their dreams. Is there someone in your life who has passed into spirit form, but whom you still need to forgive? Ask the person to come to you in your dreams or in some other way you’ll recognize. Know that as you put out the call for healing, it is indeed being received, even if it’s not quickly apparent.
I wish you healed relationships. Lorri Coburn
Here’s a trailer for The Way. http://theway-themovie.com/