Spiritual teaching stories often come in one of three flavors. First, teaching through allegory and parable—the dominant medium of teaching in biblical tradition and western esoteric schools. The second is contemplative riddle, common in Sufi and Zen traditions. And a third type of story which appears most frequently in contemporary entertainment, teaching by demonstration.
The movie Forrest Gump is an example of the latter.
Few films celebrate of the fullness of human experience as much as the movie Forrest Gump. As a teaching story, Forrest’s compassion, humility, and freedom to experience events without resistance is a wonderful example of Zen in living practice. And Forrest’s approach to all human beings, devoid of judgement and self-interest, resonates with a healing effect on everyone he encounters, including those seemingly lost in struggle and conflict.
And the feather in the last scene…well, what more can one say?
If you haven’t seen Forrest Gump (or haven’t watched it in a while), maybe check it out some time when you’re searching for something on Netflix or Amazon.