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The Driving Method – The Chilla Nashini

The idea that our worldviews about happiness affect how we design our personal life choices…the way we treat people near and afar… the way we design our economic and political systems … and ultimately, how we impact our planet, is an unusual argument.

It is in fact somewhat radical.

Prior to filming, neither did the filmmaker make the connection. This film began as a response to a near fatal car accident involving film maker and his family, which awakened his need to discover his life purpose.

As a method, John chose to undertake a 40-day walkabout in the Tasmanian wilderness.

This was once known as the ‘Chilla Nashini’ practice in the ancient world. It is a time-tested ritual (or better said, tool), for realizing one’s purpose.

For going out into the wild for 40-days has a long and momentous legacy, with many of the biggest leaders of all time, from East to West having participated in the process: from Jesus to Buddha, from Mohammed to Moses, from Elija to St Patrick…

The practice of ‘chilla nashi’ was known to be a transformative process of ‘self-actualization’. Here, one disconnected from their ordinary worldly pursuits, and stepped out in purely natural space, for a continuous and immersive period of 40-days – to contemplate one’s purpose anew.

This practice was famously discussed by Professor Joseph Campbell in his book, ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’ (1949). He called this practice the quintessential expression of ‘the hero’s journey’.

As Campbell observed, this act of stepping out of one’s ‘ordinary world, into the a new special world, is the framework for a universal narrative pattern for transformation.

Most interesting, ever since Campbell’s insight into this ‘hero’s journey’, some of the biggest films of all time have adapted this metaphorical rhythm into its story structure.

It most famously began with George Lucas and the formulation of the first Star Wars series. But even since them, films as diverse as Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, The Matrix, Dark Knight, Gladiator, The Lion King, Rain Man, Silence of the Lambs, Dead Poets Society, Pan’s Labyrinth and many, many others, all used this same pattern.

Joseph Campbell called this, the ‘monomyth’ structure. In this documentary, we do this act, for real.

‘The Great Aha!’ as such, documents for the first time what happens within and without, when you go out into the wild for 40 days.

So what emerged from experiment is a kind of ‘man vs. wild vs. self’ adventure, which led to a most unexpected insight…

Come and see and judge for yourself…

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