Beyond Thought

Beyond Thought

2011, Psychology  -   143 Comments
Ratings: 7.78/10 from 220 users.

Beyond ThoughtIn a world full of constant change, we are always aware of what's going on and what we think about it.

This gives us a sense of who we are related to what we are aware of. This documentary reveals that awareness itself is not what you think.

Indy Feature Documentary. Shot from Mexico to Canada, along the west coast of USA.

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Gabriel Alberoni
3 years ago

Very, very interesting. I gave 10 stars, love it.

Steve Czetli
3 years ago

I was resistant at first but you actually penetrated this old issue with some new insights and moved me toward a fuller and more useful grasp of familiar constructs. Good job. What are you up to nine years later?

5 years ago

HALLELUJAH HERE I AM! I'm moved by this film, which started as a result of an event in the life of the film-maker director (James Hebert) who interviewed people about their experience of thinking and what is beyond it...I loved reading into the faces of the some of the people as they talked. I think it is important to avoid saying 'thoughts are physical' without qualifying 'thoughts have a correlated physical manifestation' (the concept thought includes our experience of it) and I don't agree that what is beyond thought and all that is beyond thought is 'sensory perception' although it is another thing from thinking. Surely, ultimately, to discover and become aware of awareness is not the end... leads to the 'one who is aware'...?

5 years ago

I can't follow a word game. And I can't dwell to much on the abstract aspect of it, but can actively strive toward this: "The reality of man is his thought, not his material body. The thought force and the animal force are partners. Although man is part of the animal creation, he possesses a power of thought superior to all other created beings. If a man’s thought is constantly aspiring towards heavenly subjects then does he become saintly; if on 18 the other hand his thought does not soar, but is directed downwards to centre itself upon the things of this world, he grows more and more material until he arrives at a state little better than that of a mere animal.Thoughts may be divided into two classes: (1st) Thought that belongs to the world of thought alone. (2nd) Thought that expresses itself in action.... etc. etc. ~Abdul-Baha, Baha'i Faith

7 years ago

New age drivel.

7 years ago

just came across this documentary by accident.... first thoughts i had was, what utter bullshit... then at the point when you go into thoughts .. something happened, first time in a long time i smiled, just came *aware* of my negative thought's stumbling around in my head all the time.. the latter part of the movie is more or less missing at the moment... ended up thinking about the thoughts and loosing the grip of them.
So to conclude, i really really enjoyed this ...

Louise Carroll
7 years ago

I ll have to think about what I just watched. ☺ Ironically this documentary is food for thought.☺

8 years ago

My awareness of my awareness by not acknowledging my awareness is pretty much telling me this doco should be under philosophy or religion, not psychology.

8 years ago

sorry..spellchecker is getting me.. "thought runs ram-pit" --- or out of control...

8 years ago

As I watch a little further....maybe aware ness and thought work best when in balance....but in our modern world and lives....thought runs armpit, takes over, and messes up the balance.

8 years ago

My thoughts are telling me that maybe awareness just just exists, and there is nothing more.

8 years ago

Maybe we've use our thoughts and logic to discover awareness, and awareness is aware of our thoughts, but can awareness be aware of itself? Only our thoughts have found's a circle or endless loop..

8 years ago

it is really amazing to see and hear how the individuals being interviewed talk about 'people' and 'you' when they are obviously talking about themselves. ' People dont -this, people dont - that..' it is very tiring to listen to..! James Kennedy makes me agitated. I cant watch this.. Sorry !

8 years ago

What a great little documentary. Getting right to the heart of the matter of existence. I am aware that i think therefore I AM.

8 years ago

Even an amoeba has awareness... if it can sense a chemical gradient and know which way it needs to move then it is aware of its world in its own context. If it is hungry, is its search for food not carried out in an aware search to alleviate its body's hunger? It may not have a high level of conscious thought context that enables them to express how they feel but every lifeform is aware of how it feels.

Here is a description of less than 70 milliseconds of content that I observed as my brain was generating my thought into place way before my tongue could verbalize the chunk of meaning....

"After the second stream embedded in the distance, I flashed 90 degrees leftward and zipped forward almost faster than I could notice. After reaching the end of that forward path, the stillness became a fixed location looking forward into a blackness that contained a black form moving ahead into the distance. I knew I was at the spot that marked the forward place where this information would progress to upon reaching its destination in my horizon. And as it landed like a string of beebees collliding into clay, the last part of it collided into the exact spot forward from which I viewed. I was anticipating the breaking of the bond that would release me leftward to zip through the next chunk."

Give me a year with a competent neuroscience graduate student and
I will make the world aware of the physical brain and how it holds together the person that it contains. Furthermore, the basic nature behind its process is directly connected to the mind of God in that they work exactly the same way, except our brains work with pieces constructed and governed by an electrical nature, and God's brain is governed by rules of quantum gravity. The problem is this: before anyone on Earth will know that I am real, I will have to single handedly work out the details of what God reveals to me and recreate the beginning of time and triggering a big bang on the quantum level of gravity that will move the Sun across the sky, saturate the atmosphere into utter darkness for three days... and as the light returns to the faithless cowards that fill this Earth, they will finally realize that God has spoken. You have been given signs but you don't notice. The coming age of aquarius will arrive in true form on the day that God gives me the gift that will release the divine expression of His displeasure for how you perceive your false gods. There is only one God, and I will show Him to you in all physical realness in a model of quantum gravity that nobody will look at until I show them. And over the next thousand years, the number of humans that will actually understand the logics of creation will be less than the fingers on my hand. This is why I will do God's bidding in a righteous way, because the only way to make you understand is with proof that scares you. Showing you the proof in logic is like discussing calculus with a group of rats. The day will come that forces the blind to see and the deaf to hear, and after that day, God will be accurately brought into view for Earth to see. It's nor my fault that a big bang bomb will be required before anybody will open their eyes and actually take notice of the God that wants nothing more than for you to notice that He is here. I would rather be in heaven than carry this burden, but I value God's life most high, and heaven will rejoice when it succeeds in getting Earth on a spiritually correct path that will transcend our animalistic cultures into the perfect age over the next millenium.

You don't believe in God, any more than a monkey believes in Santa. You believe in dreams and fairy tales. If you truly believed, then you would know that God is not going to come to you on TV or in any way that you expect. If you truly believw in God, and you don't believe in me, then you truly don't believe.

~Oliver B Koslik Esq
8 years ago

54:27 explains it all.


Irene Gudas
9 years ago

we are the potato chip and the creator of the patato chip.

Brian Sandersfeld
9 years ago

Nothing does not exist... never has and never will because that is quite
simply what the words No thing means. Ergo when you think or feel you
are seeing or hearing nothing you could actually be starting to become
aware of somethimg that is possiblly far larger or smaller than you cn
presently percieve. And that is just part of the choice we all have to
individually make. Nice video thanks for sharing.

Timmy Suckmeister
9 years ago

Pretty good documentary, but the narrators voice was highly annoying in my humble opinion.

Ipsita Tripathy
9 years ago

Oh my god! I just have no words to describe what this is because the most amazing experiences are not confined to expression through language!!! This is the ultimate and only reality, the ultimate and only truth and thank you ever so much for presenting it in the most real yet amazing way...thank you, thank you, thank you...

9 years ago

OK, the sense of self is sustained by language and reinforced through the continuum of the inner dialogue but is it created out of thought/language? If it were, who would think the first thought?
Our incessant addiction to reason and thought processes is in a sense, the self reassuring itself of itself - a kind of survival strategy that perhaps arises out of our organic condition.
It might be that the sense of self is a modification of the natural, "instinctual" impetus of all organic composites from atoms through cells to mammals - a force that maintains the integrity/survival of each unit as a separate entity. All matter maintains it's integrity through this "impetus" (cell walls, electro-magnetic forces etc.) until it's clock runs out.
With homo, this instinctual, physical self-maintaining force becomes intellectualized through language, creating a complex sense of self...
Awareness beyond thought is a liberation from the intellectual sense of self but exists still as an experience - experienced by the organic selfness.
It's not advantageous to overlook the organic in which is inherent all knowledge and mhistory.

10 years ago

I'm more concerned why awareness exists within my body. Are humans aand awareness living symbioticly? Wherein, awareness is aware of itself but unable to act, so it takes a human host who then takes on some form of self awareness. I guess that's assuming awareness is more or as aware of itself than I am of it now. I guess it really is like there is someone else in my mind who creates a situation where my actions are observable and measurable. What if awareness isn't aware of itself and that's why it is silent in our minds and only we can observe it. What of awareness is only a by product of our interaction with awareness. What if this relationship is parasitic?

anna miller
10 years ago

Sweet, warm and funny, useful information for humans to explore
science and spirit...
"The downside of developing personal self-awareness, is that if there is any kind of suffering hidden, that suffering that you've been hiding comes
to the surface and will magnify, thus leading to a fear or dislike of.... becoming more self-aware.
and this kernel: "Is awareness aware of itself?"

Janey H
10 years ago

I am annoyed that this exists. I've been developing something like this for teens. This is beautiful, a little chaotic at points but the message is set. Thank you for sharing this!

I suggest looking into self actualisation for those that enjoyed this.

Shahir Maged Mikhail
10 years ago

nice one

10 years ago

What a great little doc this was 10/10.

It’s got Rocky Horror, cars, babies and a sweet soundtrack to go with it. The narrator, who has a very intriguing and pleasant voice interviews various people from all walks of life and asks them about thoughts and awareness. A lovely and thought provoking documentary.

The Crucified One

10 years ago

I am a Buddhist Chaplain in UK prisons. This Documentary would be a great training aid. Does anyone know where I can get this on DVD. MANY THANKS

10 years ago

Asking if awareness is aware of itself is evidence of a dual mind - living in separation. Believing there is two separate entities. Ex: there is our mind/thoughts and then there is awareness. Truth is we are awareness itself, only paradoxically we are not aware of it, as we are caught up at the level of mind. Its the same as asking is there is God or first cause and then asking does this first cause have a first cause itself. The (asleep mind) will always see duality. Them us, day night, black white, male female, God us, mind body etc etc etc. We shouldnt judge awareness by our own asleep standards.
Awareness just is! -omnipotent, limitless, formless. Meditation - being quiet, receptive and open (as well as familiar to all first principals - will wake you up to yourself - which is awareness. Then you may live my inspiration - intuitively. Bear in mind this awareness is one with everyone else - runs through everyone else.

10 years ago

I am aware of this keyboard (me, Javier ). Something (my conscious mind) is aware that I am aware of this keyboard. Something is aware that something is aware of this keyboard, etc, can go to the nfinite. If some entity is aware of another subordinated entity, there must be a bigger entity to be aware of the first entity, then another then another then another in an endless pattern. Which one is the last piece of the chain? God? Some mystic force? Donno. I am not aware of that.

10 years ago

The beauty of awareness is profoundly expressed by the child Ashley. At 14:46, Ashley begins to teach the moderator about true awareness and he clearly missed it being to caught up in trying to get her to answer the question according to what he was aware of. The moderator clearly did not understand his own question and therefore could not understand Ashley's answer. Her very first answers from 14:54 through 15:26 are correct but as the moderator continued to prod her, she clearly became agitated. I feel that in this particular instance, Ashley, not yet being conditioned to formulate an in-depth opinion or a false sense, was aware that the moderator did not understand her replies and simply walked away from him. That was solid proof that awareness is substantially more aware of itself than the effort put forth in trying to prove some being's awareness. That was GREAT!

Christopher Barker
10 years ago

This was such a beautifully presented, and innocent movie. There is a gem in there, but you have to be 'aware' to see it. It is the short segment with the softly spoken (Jamaican?) fellow, Mooj (1.22.05). The answer comes to the question "is awareness aware of itself?" Like a Zen koan, this asks for something more than just an intellectual or an "I think it's..." answer. It is no good to think of awareness as a 'thing' that we are contemplating comfortably, out, 'over there', outside of our experience. Even the Zen Tanto falls over. It's a comic session, with lots of people dribbling all over themselves, tied up in knots, trying to answer. The ones who are stuck are closer than the ones who answer straight away. Mooj is the only person who can save himself - he says "'I am' is actually the Christian name of awareness." But he still doesn't go far enough.

So, what is the one true name of this awareness, aware of itself? What color are its eyes? What does it wear? If you can answer this, then you can smash all of the graven images that have been tricking you into believing your knowing - raising these ones up and lowering those. Awareness lives and breathes, and is genuinely alive - what a miracle!

10 years ago

Very very good a student of Ramana Maharshi
we are pure eternal SELF....meditation is the best way to become aware
of THAT ....our truth identity

10 years ago

wow this really gives me an insight. i cant remember ever not being aware of the emptiness.
ive always felt sort of alone, like everyone lives in this imaginary version of the world, everything tinted by that color, even me, i have this tint. its like theres another me in me trying to f--k with my perception
i tried asking friends and family about it but they just call me crazy. i think they are too far in it. working jobs they hate to buy sh*t that dont make them happy...
then they think they see ghosts, or fail to see how their actions affect people, or talk about 'thats not fair' as if someone broke the rules, as though they are law created by man.
you cant make up whats in the world, your feelings dont change reality, only your perception of reality...
you cant trust what you think or see, it has to be questioned. there is no answer of course...
the only real truth is the search for truth.

10 years ago

Om (niet ;) ) over na te denken....Very inspiring, eye opener

10 years ago

wow !! that's why I love philosophy! I had experienced and thought a lot about problems mentioned in this doc :-D
Yes, I'm capable of being aware of my awareness. However, can my awareness be aware of its awareness ???????????????

Nicola-Jane Wiseman
10 years ago

Things that stuck most in my mind about this doc was that the magician guy with his irritating "ya know" every other sentence and I felt kind of traumatised by the time the other guy had finished talking about his dog eating the poison and the emotions he went through knowing she was going to die because of it and then there was the woman whose husband died 4 days after his birthday. F**** - I wish I had never watched any of it now.

10 years ago

For a Moment Are we all agree on Awareness is Aware(know) itslef. Taken As example Ashley not Knowing herslef called Sisters's sister. So how Does Everyone Know what actually they want to know or want to be?

10 years ago

what an interesting film and beatifuly made. Definitely gets you thinking about thinking or what is also known as metacognition. Everyone should have a go at mastering awearness.

10 years ago

After this documantary was made all of its participents

were placed in a psyche ward due? to the narrator tricking everyones logic.


10 years ago

one of these days... i'll try to get myself so drunk and talk to the camera... wanna hear myself talking trash... hehe

11 years ago

great use of multimedia and some good stuff in there!

11 years ago

Terrific doc. I quote "You can not be other than the awareness itself". You don't have to believe it, you have to experience it on your own. Don't try to understand with your brain, simply feel it. Be you

11 years ago

for some reason i don't feel like the final question is deep at all. it is because the answer to the question does really seem self evident. to be aware you must examine the boundaries of your own personal awareness. awareness is the search for truth. but to say that we are aware we must know the truth. but it is out of the times that we are not aware that we in turn find a new sense of awareness. it seems like a tricky way to make people think in a kind of circular thought, awareness is ever changing so the awareness of awareness is always in flux; at times awareness is aware at times awareness isn't. i feel thats why most people laughed at it, because they felt like it was a mind trick. a twisting of language vs reasoning.

oh and we are much more than just our awareness. we are a painting of the chance, circumstance and decisions in our lives. I don't believe in a "true self" we are already our true selves. its more a question of finding what gives you reason for living.

otherwise, i enjoyed the piece. very good stuff. the guy got it right at the end. he untwisted your little verbal/mental puzzle he looked like he was proud :D

Chara Bui
11 years ago

Hello Jimmy, although I have already acknowledged the existence of what the documentary describes as awareness through religious teachings, I still appreciate the creatively expressed to share your insight through film. I like escapism once in a while. I also enjoy seeing the states of everyday folk and their amount of awareness of themselves, whether lacking or abundant. I have read previous comments criticizing the lack of intellectual or scientific research, but I do not see a reason to judge this film's merit on criteria it was not intended to fill. At least I don't think you intended this to be scientific, academic, or intellectual otherwise I would have expected a lot more references to other work. heehee. Of course, there's room for improvement but I was too busy not comparing or evaluating that I don't want to offer any suggestions. I do wonder if you quit your job to pursue film after the elbow incident as it had triggered a critical turning point in your life. hmmm laters!

Kanthan Thambaiya
11 years ago

Why not checkout Jiddu Krishnamurti on Youtube, man who spent over 60 years inquiring / investigating thought, thinking and the whole human consciousness. Its possible to deceive our-self by using thought as the tool of awareness....

. .
11 years ago

Feels to me like this whole thing is just a wittgensteinian misunderstanding of languge, constantly looking for a interpretation of some vague idea. The whole thing just feels wishy washy.

11 years ago

omg stop interviewing people who answer things like ''i dont know, like... i don't know.'' or ''it's knowing things you don't know, you know...''.

what a stupid contemplative documentary! this is N-N-N-N-NOTHING!!!

11 years ago

Almost a waste of time. Most of the people interviewed sounded like idiots. Some of the older down and out chaps had some good insights. The questions and direction were good enough but most of the people interviewed came off like dolts. More brains less dolts.

11 years ago

Just because somethings have not been proven by Science doesn't necessarily mean that they are not true. That is the difference between open-minded individuals and close-minded individuals.

Has intelligent alien life been proven by Science? No. Does this necessarily imply that they cannot exist? Also no. How about the opposite, does that necessarily imply that they must exist? Also no.

It is important for human beings to keep an open mind. Those who think that their entire universe is defined by Science live in a very small universe indeed. Either that or you really don't understand Science because if you have understood Science you would understand what Science can answer and what Science can't. You would understand the limitations that Science currently has. Does Science really understand what goes on inside blackholes? Does Science understand how gravitation relates to electro-magnetism? There are a lot of things Human Science, as a type 0 civilization does not yet understand, so don't be too arrogant and claim that Science can explain everything right now. If you truly understand Science you would be more open minded and be less obnoxious and insulting.

11 years ago

sometimes independently produced means good, sometimes it doesn't