Q & A with Craig Villarrubia, filmmaker of A Course in Miracles – Enlightenment or Bust documentary

th1. What is your movie about?

The documentary follows the story of my interest and curiosity for a teaching that seemed to spark a Spiritual Awakening. Anxious to learn more about the teaching, known as A Course in Miracles, I set off to meet
teachers of the Course who had gone before me. With a thirst to follow inspiration and discover enlightenment, I documented the travels, interviews and transformation that unfolded during the 3 years of making this film.

Unbeknownst to me, the willingness to say YES (to the inspired thought of making this movie), diving into the Course and the application of its principles, would radically shift my experience of life.

(The trailer is posted below)

2. Why did you make it?

I was having an *experience *with A Course in Miracles. After many years of searching for answers, for happiness, TRUE happiness and enlightenment…I stumbled on a teaching that was seemingly causing an epic shift in consciousness. As if I won the lottery, I wanted to share its teaching. In addition, I selfishly wanted to meet teachers who could support me in deepening my understanding of the Course. And what better way to do so than by filming a documentary? The movie was a perfect setting, excuse and an efficient way to connect with some of the greatest Course teachers around.

3. What did you learn about yourself as you made it?

I learned, that as long as I am following inspiration, I am completely supported in everything that I do.

When I started this project, I had no experience or idea of what I was doing. I’m not a “film maker,” I worked as an executive for a retail company. So when the inspiration came through to do the documentary, there was a lot of fear and plenty of reasons why I shouldn’t do it. However, much of the Course’s teaching is about the illusory nature of fear. So the project and the Course itself presented me with an opportunity to face those fears and follow the heart’s call WITHOUT compromise. To compromise would mean that I would minimize myself and bargain my way out of confronting fears.

By taking on fear head-on, I could consciously witness the fleeting emotions and feelings that would otherwise keep me playing a “small game”. My intense dedication to the application of Course principles and the guidance I received from the teachers along the way, forced me to look at my life and thoughts about it. I questioned everything including my own identity. I’ve since learned that I’ve been wrong about everything – about how life worked, how to protect myself, what’s important and who I was.

Simultaneously I recognized a peace within that DID have answers, and I would find them only by following the voice of inspiration. With the simple rule of following ONLY what my heart called for, I saw (experientially) how miracles abound…they come as easily as a change in mind. Following my heart I realized that everything I had been searching for, in career and relationships, was right in front of me all along. Life’s purpose is Love…and that meant doing what I Love in every moment. From this view I can see how all things work for the good of the whole. With a dedication only to deepen my awakening, I’ve since left my job in LA and live on a ranch in Hawaii. The ranch is home to the Center for the Waking Mind, which is a non-profit I founded and we aim at extending the teachings of ACIM and Non-duality.

4. How does this documentary add to ACIM? Or, what will people learn from your documentary that they would not learn from reading ACIM?

ACIM is a complete teaching. However, many people are discouraged by the density of its text and the way it is written. In my experience, the Course sat on my side table for many years before I began to seriously DO the Course. Back then, I could not understand anything I read. It would take many years and many teachers before I could accept what the Course was teaching.

I believe the documentary extends central teachings of the Course, that perhaps are clearer to grasp because the audience can see HOW Course principles are being applied to daily life, not only by the teachers in the movie, but by the main character…who is simultaneously making a movie and undergoing a Spiritual Awakening. By the end of the movie you see and feel the character’s transformation. I’d like to think that the movie brings some of the Course teachings to life.

5. What was it like working with Gary Renard?

Gary was great. There are so many people, including myself, who are so grateful for his contribution to the Course community. The book “The Disappearance of the Universe” was critical in my journey with the Course. If it had not been for Gary’s book, the Course would still be sitting on my side table collecting dust. His book inspired me to pick it up and go deeper with its teaching.

6. What were some challenges to making the documentary and how did you handle those?

The biggest challenge was not knowing. The movie gave me a chance to put Course principles to practice. One of which is not planning. This takes alot of trust. Typically, when people set out to do a film project (or anything for that matter), there is a LOT of planning. Decisions about the story are made, budgets are calculated, there’s a determination of who the cast and crew will be, etc. However, I did none of that and instead opted to lay down my desire to control any of it. I simply followed inspiration step by step.

It was a practice of being present and listening to inner guidance or what the Course would call Holy Spirit. Each step was deliberate and I had no attachment to the outcome. By letting go of control and simply following the spark in the heart with all decisions, I could feel the symphony come together…as if the movie was orchestrated by something beyond me, yet through me and for me.

As I prepare for the release of the movie, I’m still practicing handing over control. I wait for feelings and prompts to guide me. In doing so, the mind is trained to stay here, in the moment, where happiness lies. It stays out of past and future which binds us to suffering. From this view, the project and every challenge that came up was simply an exercise in mind training, or forgiveness.

7. When is the documentary coming out and how can we watch it?

The documentary will premier in Los Angeles in September. At the moment, tickets for that show are being sold as part of a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/a-course-in-miracles-enlightenment-or-bust-tour/x/11202476#/story), which will help fund a movie tour. Following the LA showing, the tour will make stops across the country and run through mid October. Tour stops and screening dates can be found on the website (www.acimdocumentary.com). The movie is expected to be available via Video On Demand by early Winter.