What the IMAX Teaches Us About Being Present

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

I took a break from writing recently to see the new 3D movie Thor: Ragnarok at our local IMAX cinema.

The best way I can describe seeing a movie at the IMAX is that is a truly different type of movie experience. With a significantly larger screen and a fully integrated sound system that creates sound from every part of the theatre, you are completely pulled into the movie. And that’s only further enhanced when you’re watching a movie in 3D.

Those who know me may be surprised to hear I saw a movie – at the IMAX, no less. Truth is, I just can’t sit still that long. But I didn’t move for the full 2+ hours of that movie. I didn’t think about work, life’s challenges or opportunities, or what was due tomorrow. I didn’t feel the need to eat, chat or check my phone.

The IMAX knows how to make you very present, to focus only on the event in front of you and nothing else.

There are three big lessons we can learn from the IMAX experience to help us be more tuned in and present in our encounters with the people and events in our lives.

1. IMAX provides focus. At the IMAX, the screen quite literally fills your view. You’re forced to focus on the screen as a result of amazingly clear visuals that make you notice things about people and places a smaller screen with less clarity just can’t provide. As a result, you gather exponentially more information in each moment that keeps you more connected to the screen and the content.

What would it take for you to focus this way on someone or something to learn the most about them/it?

2. IMAX eliminates distractions. The screen is large and bright, and the rest of the theatre is dark. The sound and music are loud so the noises of the people around you are diminished or deleted. This compounded effect forces you to watch what they want you to watch, to tune in to the action of the moment.

What would it take to not be interrupted by distractions when you interact with someone or do something?

3. IMAX uses many senses. The sounds and sights are all-consuming. You don’t disconnect because the senses work together to keep you connected; this is done both exceedingly well and on purpose.

What would it take to concentrate all of your senses on someone or something to give your full attention?

The IMAX experience teaches us to focus, eliminate distractions and use more of our senses to be fully engaged, to get the full experience. Think of the impact this kind of awareness could have in your life, relationships and situations.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. To be more present, how can you control distractions when you are interacting with another?
  2. To be more present, how can you give a person or an event your attention?
  3. To be more present, how can you manage your emotions and feelings to stay attentive and connected?

Need help getting present? Consider talking with a coach to develop your personal mindfulness practices.


Consider reading Moving in Autopilot.

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