Jonas Elrod / Photos courtesy of WakeUp

Jonas Elrod is 37 years old and lives in New York City. Without warning, he wakes one day and discovers that he sees things. Angels, spirits, demons.

JONAS SEES BALLS of energy, colours, auras. He says the angels he sees are big and have wings on their back, just like ones you’d see in a book. I immediately become skeptical. Why do visions of spirits (and aliens) always conform to how popular culture presents them? But then again, maybe it’s the chicken vs. egg phenomenon. Maybe pop culture was influenced by real events. I’m willing to keep an open mind.

After watching the trailer (see below) I was intrigued, so I contacted their press people, who sent me a review copy of the DVD.

Jonas was raised as a Christian in a “small god-fearing town.” While that’s the case, he seemed just as skeptical as me. He didn’t want this to be happening to him. He didn’t want to subscribe to the lifestyle where burning sage around the house kept the spirits at bay. But he had no choice in the matter.

Mara’s (his girlfriend’s) first instinct was that he was schizophrenic. He went to a psychiatrist who ruled out schizophrenia and potential mood disorders. Brain scans showed no abnormalities. He has no history of drug abuse. So when the accepted experts of our society found nothing wrong, yet the visions persisted, he sought out “alternative” answers. Why was this happening to him? What does it mean?

He visits a pastor who said that God is always talking to people (see Moses and the Burning Bush). He gets treated by Abdi Assadi, an acupuncturist and healer, who tells him simply that his consciousness has been shifted.

Probably 90 plus percent of electromagnetic phenomenon, which is what’s around us, is actually not visible to our five senses. So what’s happened to someone like you is you’re actually tapping into that 90+ percent that most people can’t access. From a traditional, spiritual viewpoint that would be considered a gift because you’ve opened energy centers that people can open through dietary means, through herbs, through martial arts.

Jonas with Abdi Assadi

In this way, Jonas travels to some far-flung places seeking answers. He spends time with a researcher/medium in Italy who uses special equipment to photograph him in meditation, in an effort to visually capture the electromagnetic energies around him (he’s successful).

He goes to Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment — which he described as a “Harry Potter school” — where people are taught to tap into their consciousness.

At a monastery, he is told by Roshi Joan Halifax, Buddhist monk, that:

…the thing that gets people on the spiritual path more than a mystical experience is…suffering. It’s the 21st century, and it’s hell…for many, many beings…and it’s a tremendous risk. There’s a lot of grace too.

Jonas is suffering. Shortly after these events started happening to him, he lost one of his best friends in a motorcycle accident. He actually had a vision, although he didn’t realize it at the time, of this accident days before it happened.

Jonas with girlfriend, Mara

What I found very interesting was that, although he was talking to various people of differing faiths and spirituality, they were all basically saying the same thing, just in slightly different language. To accept it, embrace it, use it.

The common theme was the importance of shifting consciousness, to change the way we live and perceive things, before it’s too late. At a native sweatlodge he is told:

There is no word in my language for religion. It’s simply something you do, it’s a way of life…It’s having that connection with the food that you eat. It’s having that connection with the animals of the earth. It’s more than just praying. All these obstacles to live our way of life…is deep faith in my prayers, deep faith in my meditation, deep faith in humanity. Maybe we can stop it before it’s too late.

I took many notes throughout the film, lots of quotes that had me contemplating different aspects of spirituality and life. Wake Up isn’t solely Jonas’s journey to find out what has happened to him, it also causes the viewer (in my case, anyway) to question, to seek answers for him/herself. Towards the end he seems to come to peace with it all:

All these experiences I’ve had with divinity have had absolutely nothing to do with churches, have had absolutely nothing to do with religion. I just get it, it’s all a bunch of things that have…a piece on it, that point to the same thing…I haven’t gone insane. I’ve gone sane. I’ve found sanity. I’m moved. I feel alive again.

The film can be rented online for $4.99 or the DVD purchased for $19.95. This is the trailer for Wake Up:

Community Connection

I had the chance to pose some questions to Jonas. Please check out Interview: Jonas Elrod Wakes Up to a Different World.

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