Photo: Courtesy Wake Up
When Jonas Elrod began seeing angels, demons, auras and ghosts that were invisible to those around him, he turned to scientific and spiritual communities to find out why. His investigation, documented in the film Wake Up, which has its premiere October 16 on OWN, turned into a larger search for meaning and inner peace. We checked in with Jonas and his girlfriend, Mara, to find out more about the film, how their lives have changed and how anyone can enter the spiritual world.
Oprah.com: Jonas, in the film, you attempt to tap into your inner consciousness while also seeking a global or universal connection. Can we talk about what "consciousness" means?
Jonas: I guess you would call it the spirit, or source, or guide. I would say—this may sound incredibly blasphemous to some people—but we're all part of God. So I try to stay conscious and aware and treat other people as if they were God, as if they're me.
Oprah.com: How have your beliefs evolved since you started working on this film?
Jonas: One thing that came through to me is that I am not afraid of death. Consciousness, spirit, soul, whatever you want to call it, certainly survives. That was always, like for many of us, a huge fear of mine.
Mara: We're going to be afraid of things in life. I've learned to separate being afraid from being sort of nervous. That sounds like such a slight, little thing, but it can really make a huge difference in how you make choices in your life. For me, that's meant dropping the constant need to question Jonas and every single person he ever interviewed, and every single fan who comes up and talks to him.
Oprah.com: What was the process of coming to terms with your fears and doubts like?
Jonas: It's not an overnight thing. This took a lot of internal work and a lot of stumbling and struggling to see it. I think my biggest answers came when I quit looking outside and was able to sit alone with my thoughts and meditate and look inward. I make jokes about this. This could have been a really short film; I probably could have just meditated in my living room for a couple weeks, and that could have been it.
Mara: I guess it's a little bit of faith, but when I would be really confused or really skeptical, I was able to let it go because I remembered the first miracle I had, which was meeting Jonas, and [I remembered] how deeply I love this man. When you have that concrete base under your feet of loving somebody, you're like, "Okay, these little birds that are running around my head up here annoying me with these questions, I do not have to have an answer immediately—or have an answer at all."
Oprah.com: Mara, what advice would you give someone who doesn't have Jonas' ability to see things but who still wants to tap into her inner consciousness?
Mara: I think by simply asking the questions and being willing to go on the journey, and willing to be inquisitive and curious and explore, is enough nourishment to start to feed something on the inside of you that will start a connection with something bigger than yourself. It doesn't have to be this extraordinary firework kind of thing.
Jonas: I always emphasize that you could run a marathon and have that be your truth. You don't have to see spirits running through the living room to get to these places. Anyone can meditate. Anyone can pray.