Howl’s Moving Castle Can Teach You Mindfulness (Mini-Review)

Miyazaki is a master of films—and mindfulness.

The animation of Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle, and the actions of character Sophie, cursed to live as an old woman, show us a path towards peace and power. Let’s explore mindfulness with Miyazaki.


At its core, mindfulness is being present: You notice the sky’s color, the wind’s temperature, your breath’s rate, your thought’s current.

Mindfulness is a way of living—and Miyazaki’s way of animating: He shows silence, open skies, seas of smoke.

Each frame is honest, aware.

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But mindfulness isn’t just awareness. It’s awareness without judgment.

We like to slap a “Terrible!” or “Great!” on all we see. But mindfulness doesn’t label. It investigates gently, curiously.

This is Sophie’s approach when she finds she’s cursed to be 90 instead of 19.

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Sophie is constantly surprised by oldness. Instead of insisting, “Terrible!” she curiously notes each sensation: “You get so cold!” “Nothing frightens you.” “All you want to do is stare at the scenery.”

She’s open.

And that’s when she can exclaim, “I’ve never felt so peaceful.”

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With curious observations, Sophie can claim the good and bad of being old—not just the aches of age, but the peace, reflection, confidence.

Instead of having a tantrum, she accepts her situation. She holds its good and bad in both hands. And that empowers her to move forward.

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Mindfulness lets us claim, instead of resist, reality. And from there, we can act.

We don’t need to say, “impossible.” We can observe facts, breathe deep, act honestly. And when we fall, we do not drown in self-judgment.

No. We can observe again. We can act again.

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So when the tide of self-judgment rises, stand up. Breathe deep. And pretend you’re in a Miyazaki film.

Observe without judgment.
Hold the good and bad in both hands.

And then step forward in wholeness to act.

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I believe movies affect us and our society on a deep level, and delving through their messages can make us a better people. Like and comment if you want to see an expanded review on this movie. You can also submit movie review requests through the “Contact” page.

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