Mixed Media Nature

The Art of Life | a Documentary


Featuring Michael Behrens. Created by Zaya Benazzo and Maurizio Benazzo

The Art of Life is a documentary about the art of living outside of conventions, in deep integrity with one’s essence.

As a rising star in the field of abstract mathematics, Michael Behrens discovered that he could see beauty and pattern where others could not. But his path was not to be inside academia, or even inside society. He went on a grand adventure to unify his Buddhism with his ability to see an expanded view of reality. He created beauty in a place where nobody else would, and made his friends amongst dolphins!

The Art of Life


Zaya and Maurizio Benazzo went to Hawaii a couple of years ago and, on a remote beach, met Michael Behrens. After a short while it become apparent that Michael was not an ordinary man:

“We spoke about quantum physics, Buddhism, spirituality, art and he then invited us to his house after he made sure we had “good enough shoes”. Soon after we parked the car on a remote road we understood why! Michael lives in the middle of a thick jungle, 20 minutes from the road in a plot of land he cleared himself. …by hand!

He brought all material on his shoulders, and built an amazing garden based on sacred geometry. An amazing place devoted to beauty and impracticality. The house has no inside running water, only a shower outside and no electricity. Michael recently bought a small solar panel so he can continue his research and communicate via his computer with other mathematicians and the world.

In that jungle mosquitos are so ferocious (ALL day and night) that the only temporary relief is to take a shower outside and run around to get dry. But I am not spoiling any more of the story! It was an honor and a joy to go back and shoot this film and we hope you enjoy it.”

About Zaya and Maurizio Benazzo

Zaya Benazzo is a filmmaker from Bulgaria with degrees in engineering, environmental science, and film. For many years, she worked as an environmental activist in Holland and Bulgaria, and later produced and directed several award-winning documentaries in Europe and the United States.

Maurizio Benazzo grew up in Italy, and in 1984 came to the United States on a ninety-eight-year-old sailing boat. He started working as an actor, model, and filmmaker, but his thirst for knowledge was only satisfied in 2001 upon encountering I Am That, the seminal work by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, while he was in India shooting the award-winning documentary Short Cut to Nirvana.

Maurizio and Zaya merged their lifelong passions for science and mysticism when they met in 2007, and their first project together was filming the documentary Rays of the Absolute on the life and teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. This project sparked their next level of creation and collaboration: Science and Nonduality (SAND), a global community. The mission of SAND is to forge a new paradigm in spirituality, one that is not dictated by religious dogma, but that is rather based on timeless wisdom traditions of the world, informed by cutting-edge science, and grounded in direct experience.

They live, work and play on the unceded ancestral lands of the Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo, in Sebastopol, California.

Read more