The “B” Movie Theater
You’re in a movie theater watching a “B” movie, when suddenly, you find yourself “in the movie!” Now what? Try as you may, you can’t seem to get back to your seat in the theater, so what to do? Your only option is to stay with it and continue playing your part. But then, just as suddenly, the dream is over and you “awaken” to the “real” world. The question now becomes whether, like everyone else, you’ll soon forget that it was, “just a movie” or whether you’re somehow able to hold and maintain the larger awareness that this life really is a movie? You then continue paradoxically playing your assigned part with depth and creativity while at the same time also enjoying the show from your theater seat. It’s not an easy trick.
Autopia: a favorite children’s ride at Disneyland. It offered kids their own personal vehicle with apparent “control” of their destiny and direction. When you depressed the accelerator, the car chugged forward and when you withdrew, it stopped. “Curves ahead!” warns the sign as you’re putt-putting along. A simple turn of the steering wheel and the car goes exactly where you point it. You really are in control, making choices and driving the car. What exhilaration, what power and command at such a young age! The experience of “free will” is quite wonderful – until that illuminating moment when exiting the car you notice the concrete track in the pavement that has been directing your car in an inviolate and preset way. All the while you thought “you” were doing the driving!
Around and Around
You might consider life in developed countries as a protracted party of consumption. For many people, that’s really what their life is. Consider the huge amount of product that passes through the life of an average, middle-class human: tons of rich food, tons of largely unneeded clothing, cosmetics, gadgets, toys, automobiles, myriad forms of diversion and entertainment – all just for one person on this planet. When that one person is gone, what remains to show for all that consumption, nothing! It all simply returns to the earth to eventually be recycled, and then consumed all over again.
The Merry-Go Round
Hogging the merry-go round when it’s your turn to get off? Round and round we go – when we stop, nobody knows–but when it does stop and it’s your turn to step down and make way for the others behind you, what do many people do? “I’m not done!” “I wanna go again!” “I’m not leaving and YOU can’t make me!” At this point the ride for them has grown mundane anyway and they are primarily concerned with simply holding on for “their dear life” which really isn’t so dear any longer. A common problem for old people anyway is Constipation — but this form of it is holding-up the larger life process, and is itself a ridiculous denial of life. Death clears and cleanses and allows for the natural renewal of life. Let’s not be ‘life hogs.” So when the merry-go-round stops for you, why not just step off quietly and with some finesse?
Directing our Own Movie
Directing our own movie: we have to decide where to point the camera, when to record, and then comes the cutting, editing and storing the results in memory. Our lives are actually “movies” being made in this continual process. Our egos appear to direct the process, barking orders while sitting comfortably in their folding chairs. Most people, however, would never consider watching anybody else’s movie because unfortunately, most of them are so damn predictable and boring. Let’s hope that the movie you’re making right now is at least as good as a bad French film.
Greedy CEO’s and entrepreneurs; how do they serve life and sacrifice without ever knowing? They, of course, believe that they are in control, doing exactly what they want in a self-serving manner, for their own purposes. They work 14-hour days and weekends, thinking, scheming, and planning all through their waking hours how to enhance their business and themselves. But however rich, or even filthy rich, they may become, they can still only sleep in one bed, eat one meal, and drive one car at a time. The wealth they enjoy is really just incrementally greater than average and would hardly justify the effort if they weren’t so enthralled by the illusion of achievement and success. Of course, they would never believe that they are actually “instruments” and that by their sacrifice, are ultimately providing and serving the needs of a larger life process. In their minds they are doing the opposite; spending their lives doing just what’s in their own personal interests. Altruism sometimes manifests itself mysterious ways.
“Remembering” is what the ego does constantly to stay in business. Because the ego doesn’t exist in reality, being only a phantasm and mental imagining process, the illusion, like a movie on the screen, must constellate a regular series of images to maintain the fiction of realness and existence. Our ego must constantly reform and recreate itself to keep the screen from ever going blank for too long or we would ‘realize the movie’. The (ego) exists because it remembers and constantly tells unfolding stories that prove and reinforce the appearance of substance and reality of its flimsy existence through incessant mind chatter and images to fill the blank screen. This is what Descartes took as Ontological proof of existence of the mind.
Our Puritan Culture
The Puritan/Protestant culture promotes control and form vs. fecundity and spontaneous generativity. This linear and non-cyclical mode is the Calvinistic triumph of light and purity over natural primal decay; however, it allows for only a partial life while embracing goodness and light in its victory celebration of divine order over the dark forces of chaos. It’s a dialectical and universal dance of polarized potentials that won’t be allowed to marry and integrate, and will keep most of us stuck forever in a half-life.
A Reason To Be
“Raison d’etre” translated directly from French means “reason for being.” My father would occasionally demand to know what worthwhile activity or accomplishment I performed that day, to justify my continued living. It gave me pause because most often, I couldn’t develop a satisfactory response. Luckily, I was allowed to continue a little longer regardless. Do we really need a reason to be in order to continue living? Must we justify our existence by our deeds? Often times, I think so. The Protestant conditioning runs deep, but does any other species on this planet concern itself with that question? No, because they just live. Other creatures don’t have to be concerned with such questions. The “raison d’etre” most used is that one is needed by others, such as children, family, business or community; that one makes important and necessary contributions. So what happens when the contributions end? What should we do if we can’t come up with new and satisfactory answers to justify our continuing? Do we really need a “raison d’etre?” The truth is that we didn’t ask to be here, regardless of what some romantically religious types think; we just arrived. It’s really that simple; and, as such, we don’t need justification from others who arrived here in exactly the same happenstance manner, believing that somehow, everyone needs a ticket to ride. Your right to be here is because you are here, the same as the gray squirrels, crows, panthers, bacteria and sea slugs. Your job while here is not so different from theirs: simply to be! For others on this planet, it’s easy and natural. For us humans, it’s the hardest thing we will do.
A Quality Difference
Is there really a quality difference between the various moments and experiences of our lives, or is it just the artificial interpretation of our conditioned preferences? This is why ‘evaluation’ can be so dangerous when we arbitrarily exult and then deny equally important aspects of our living. The result is only a partial life when we’re unable to embrace each droplet of experience in its uniqueness, allowing it to then fall back and reabsorb. Can we let go of likes and dislikes — especially those connected to passion and imbedded memories? Can we constantly release, cleanse, refresh, and re-embrace ‘all’ of our life? That’s a rarity.
Spending Your Life
If you spend your life doing silly, unimportant, or essentially useless activities, have you wasted your time on this planet? No, it’s really not possible, because everything that we do, regardless of interpretations to the contrary, is ultimately of equal quality, importance and lasting significance. In other words whatever you might do is not a waste. Just do what you will and try to have a little fun in the process. Remember that it matters not a whit whether you play the part of Albert Einstein or a janitor at the local high school; whether you participate as a hobo, or as a renowned and celebrated artist. It’s all just a different and somehow necessary facet or manifestation of the same life energy that animates everything here. Could you say which part of a flower is the most important? We may know which is the most beautiful, but without the roots and stem also there could be no floral visage to smile back at us.