Our eyes are constantly streamlined with images of what we “need” and what could make our lives “better” but in the end, do they? I am in the majority as many of us are big consumers in a variety of materialistic objects. It is has been embedded into our brain chemistry as we’ve grown up from the simple things of a nice house with the big backyard and swimming pool or the big money job. As simplistic as these things are they rewire our brain into trying to fulfill these voids at any means necessary and for most that means living unfulfilled, unhappy lives. Director Mark Waters’ new documentary Chasing The Present follows a young man by the name of James Sebastiano trying to discover the root of his anxiety problem.
James lives a life many would envy in that he has a well-paying job, has nice things and is financially set but to him none of that matters. James is constantly crippled by his anxiety and knows there is imbalance within himself that he does not know how to cure. James sets out on a journey of self-discovery across the globe speaking with different scientists and philosophers trying to find the root of who HE is within. There are a multitude of interviews within the film but I felt the two that viewers could attach themselves to the most were comedian Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek) and Spiritual Master Prem Baba. Brand is well known for his addiction problems but also for his search of enlightenment and went through a very similar journey that James is on. Baba has thousands of followers in which he tries to teach how to find bliss within; letting go of the idea of who you think you are and embracing yourself in the moment. The idea that we are not defined by our jobs, age or feelings because all of that is transitionary. It is a journey that not all of us will take and for those who do go forth might not always find what they are looking for. This was best put by Brand that we all just get a peak in front of the curtain (life) and after a short while we go back (death) because in hindsight we are all here for just a small period of time.
As much as it intrigues me to go on these spiritual journeys to find the meaning of it all I could not really connect with James as the focal character. I can appreciate the journey he set out on but the only time I felt an attachment was when James has a meal with his father. James is trying to tell his father the effect his anxiety has had on him and how he has traveled abroad to find himself. His father’s reaction is one that is similar to many others where they simply cannot follow that line of thinking; they would attribute it to being in a “funk” or depressed where you need to “face it head on” and “get over it”. You cannot change the mind of others but simply adapt and take care of yourself. It is a journey that many should strive for because I myself believe being more in tuned with what is around you and living in the moment takes precedence over social media followers or materialistic objects. It costs nothing to take a moment and reflect on who we truly are inside and once that first step is taken a whole new reality can be found where surreal bliss is awaiting us.
2.5 out of 5
Film is available via streaming platforms HERE
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