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Utah filmmaker explores paths to spirituality

Film » Utahn explores the many ways humans experience spirituality.

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Surprised by a moment • Larsen’s student May Bartlett had never been religious, attending a Christian church only on a couple of Christmases.

At a glance

See the film

What » “Spirituality for the Uninsured” screening.

When » Friday, Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m.

Where » University of Utah Fine Arts Museum

Cost » The screening is free, though a $10 donation is suggested

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Then she participated in an exercise in which she practiced being "blind" for a week and had an otherworldly experience in Salt Lake City’s Cathedral of the Madeleine that seemed to confirm the existence of a realm outside of this one.

"In that moment, I felt more connected with humanity than I ever had," she says. "Visually, I saw this vast plane of nothing with just this focused energy going up out into God-knows-where. It was nuts, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before."

Biblical scholar Marcus Borg mentions that years ago he had a "series of mystical experiences that couldn’t be integrated into the lens that was then operating in my mind."

Borg had to generate a new lens.

He and others in the film have few words that can capture what they saw and felt, because, Larsen argues, human language falls short.

Direct encounters like these — whether viewed as God or truth or energy — leave participants with an "overwhelming impression that our rational vision of the world is incomplete," the narrator says. "Existence feels like a miracle."

Spiritual and religious practices are meant to "incrementally bring a person to the same place," Larsen concludes."For thousands of years and through numerous generations, practitioners have moved inward to find what is revealed deep inside the heart of being."

The best way to find out which ones are suited to you, he says, "is to try them and see what enriches a life or enlarges a soul."

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For Larsen, the film’s title, "Spirituality for the Uninsured," implies looking for transcendent solace in an uncertain world.

When he told it to his brother-in-law, a Mormon stake president, the relative laughed for two minutes, then settled down and commented, "We are all uninsured."


Twitter: @religiongal

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