What does ‘samadhi’ mean and how does your work encapsulate these ideals?
It’s unusual to start an interview with the ultimate question. Thousands of books have been written about samadhi, and yet all of them agree that you can know it by its indescribability. But I’ll try. In Hinduism and Buddhism, the term samadhi refers to a blissful state of consciousness, superior to waking, dreaming and deep sleep, in which all thoughts cease completely. In the state of samadhi, there is a complete merging of the meditator with the object of meditation: with God or the Absolute. There are different forms of samadhi.
The highest of these is called nirvikalpa samadhi and occurs when one remains in it permanently. In Zen Buddhism, the ecstatic state of samadhi is considered to be the result of intense concentration of the mind on the ultimate (divine) reality. It is achieved by a gradual reduction of mental activity. Samadhi is the highest, completely non-dual state of consciousness, in which, among other things, there is a unification of the “subject” and “object” of experience: only the deeply ecstatic content of experience remains.
One experiences everything as complete unity and understands that the world is not material at all, but rather mental. Everything is just a gigantic „thought experiment“ of the divine consciousness. All is One and any divisions and limits are only illusory.
From my point of view, this is the ultimate goal of every person on the spiritual path and it does not just apply to Hinduism or Buddhism. In our language we use the word enlightenment for the term samadhi. It can be attained by anyone, anywhere, but it is not easy. You have to completely control and purify your mind, your ego, completely stop the thought process and stop identifying with your body and thoughts.
The very fact that we use the word “my” when we mention the body, ego or thoughts means that it is not me. How can I be something that is mine? But I mistakenly /yet deliberately/ identify with ego and body. So the ultimate question is, who or what is me or The Self? Its complete answer is samadhi.
There are alternative ways to achieve this state, at least for a while, e.g. with the most powerful psychedelic known, 5-MeO-DMT. For me personally this experience was so powerful that I had to make 2 movies about it. And last year, as an editor, animator and co-producer, I collaborated on another one, which for a change is about how to achieve this naturally through yoga. It features two of my favorite spiritual teachers, the Mila and Eduard Tomas, from whom most of my spiritual knowledge comes.
Do you see similar values in the community that Pak is building?
I’m sure there are many people in this community who are interested in these things, but as a whole this community is more focused on Pak’s art and things related to it. And that’s perfectly fine. But I feel like just last week I saw some Pak’s tweet where he mentioned the word samadhi. But now it’s been deleted, weird ;)
With a resume spanning nearly 3 decades you have held many titles ranging from: DJ to graffiti artist to film director, producer, writer, cinematographer, editor, animator, and special effects creator. One of your most influential creations is the award winning film, Bufo Alvarius: The Underground Secret
. How has your life changed since this experience and how does it reflect in your current creations?
It was certainly one of the most important and biggest changes in my life. I’ve done a lot of different things in my life related to film, but through my experience with 5-MeO-DMT I’ve inadvertently become a director, writer and producer. After my experience, I was absolutely shocked. I finally experienced what I had only read about until then: the samadhi mentioned in the first question.
All my questions were answered because there were no more questions. And all I had to do was take one puff from a pipe. I didn’t understand that hardly anybody knew about it, that no film had been made about it. The substance is even so unknown that even governments don’t know it, and so it is legal in many countries, including mine.
I felt the need to share it and so I decided to make a film about it. And because of it, many things changed in my life. I have personally been to many screenings around the world where I have had the privilege of meeting amazing people whether they are scientists, artists, philosophers or shamans. I have befriended three legends of psychedelic research: Dennis McKenna, Ralph Metzner and Stanislav Grof. I feel like I’ve done much more meaningful things since then. If I were to answer your question fully, we would need a completely different and much longer interview.
Your most recent collection Divine Amnesia is a gorgeous collaboration with original soundtrack by MAOK. When was the first time you worked together and what is your process?
The first time we worked together was on Bufo Alvarius - The Underground Secret
. I had been to a few of Maok
’s concerts before, I really liked his music and it stuck in my mind. Most of the music for the film was composed by my friend Petr Zajac aka. Satori, and I contributed 3 songs myself, but I was still missing a powerful song to end the film with. I remembered Maok and so the final song was Galaxy, which captured exactly the emotion and atmosphere I was looking for.
As for the process, I have all his songs saved on hard drive and once I have the first working version of the animation, I try to see which song fits best with it, which conveys the desired emotion and how it works together. Then I send Maok a demo that guides him on what mood the music should express, he composes the resulting song and sends it to me. I then cut the animation to fit the music, sometimes telling Maok that here and here I want to support the action in the picture with a certain sound or gradation. That’s how we send it back and forth until it’s done and we’re both happy with the result. It’s going perfectly, so it definitely won’t be the last time.