I recently watched the movie ‘Soul‘ (which you can find on Disney+) and though it is not about pilgrimage, it is a perfect Hero’s Journey story, and I also found an interesting Master Key concept. So I decided to review it this week.
Soul is the story of Joe, who is a part time music teacher and an aspiring jazz musician. Jazz is his passion, and just when he is on the brink of success, he falls into an open manhole and ends up comatose in a hospital. At this point he is definitely a reluctant hero. In fact, when he finds himself on the long escalator to the Great Beyond, he runs the other way!
This act of defiance lands him in the Great Before, where souls are being prepared to go to Earth and be ‘born.’ Joe meets 22, another reluctant, and somewhat cynical, hero, and together they go through trials, temptations, and challenges. At this point it is difficult to say who is the helper and mentor, and who is the hero. In many ways, they both are. They do receive supernatural help from the guardians of the Great Before, and from Moonwind, who is a mystic guider of souls and a sign twirler on a busy New York street corner.
The abyss is very interesting in this movie, and I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I would guess whoever designed that part of the Other World has gone through some some kind of depression – it is a dark place.
Because it is a Disney/Pixar film, you can probably guess that it has a happy ending. Yes it does. Both Joe and 22 go through a transformation, and Joe returns with gifts to share.
So this is a Hero’s Journey story, one that I totally enjoyed, and a very unique perspective for what happens before, and after our life. Kind of like the “Dash” of the Master Key Experience (oops, that is probably a spoiler), except this is an exploration of what is before and after that dash. Although they really do show that how you live within your Dash is what matters most.
Another thing I found interesting was how Joe was ‘in the flow‘ while he was playing jazz, and how other musicians and artists, including Moonwind, were in this state – an actual place in the Other World. I linked this to the Master Key, Lesson 17, when Haanel talks about Concentration:
Concentration is much misunderstood; there seems to be an idea of effort or activity associated with it, when just the contrary is necessary. The greatness of an actor lies in the fact that he forgets himself in the portrayal of the character, becoming so identified with it, that the audience is swayed by the realism of the performance. This gives you a good idea of true concentration; you should be so interested in your thought, so engrossed in your subject, as to be conscious of nothing else. Such concentration leads to intuitive perception and immediate insight into the nature of the subject concentrated upon. Charles Haanel, The Master Key System, 17:6
This also brings to mind the Law of Relaxation: “Mental effort defeats itself. My relaxed, calm state of mind helps me to access infinite intelligence.”
Soul is an animated film, and while it does appeal to children and is ‘cute’ – it also includes adult themes and brings up questions of spirituality and even the meaning of life. I always think the sign of a good children’s story is that it has lessons for the adults in the audience as well. Good job Pixar!