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    Tuesday
    Jul052011

    Pass the popcorn, life is getting interesting...

    I had occasion to use the Movie Theatre analogy again today.

    If you've never worked with me, you may not know the Movie Theater analogy. I can't take credit for it. Like most of my best material, I lifted it from someone else.

    Part of it goes like this:

    Life is like a movie theatre. You're in the audience, in the dark. There's a movie playing. There's always a movie playing. And you get so engrossed in the movie, you forget you're safe in your seat. You think you're on the high seas being pursued by pirates, or in a hospital somewhere, or prison, or on a tropical island, or wherever the movie takes you. Sometimes the movie is romantic, sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's scary. Sometimes it breaks your heart.

    Life has its drama, it's humor, it's heartache, but as engrossing as these experiences are, they pass, just like a movie. They are just the unfolding of stories, of ephemeral experiences. They all have a beginning, a middle and an end, and then a new chapter, a new movie begins. Nothing lasts in life, not even memory. Each moment just a passing experience, and then we're on to the next. And all the while, we're safe in our seat.

    Truth is, we all love a good story. Happy or sad. They make life interesting. They help us to learn and to grow and evolve. Why can't we learn to always see life's dramas from that perspective? There would be comedies and tragedies, sure, but less suffering, less heartache.

    Film makers know that movies are much more powerful when they can present the heroes sympathetically, when they can get us to identify with them in some way. In the same way, our roles in life are much more gripping when we identify with them: "I am a rejected lover," or "I am a success..." or "I am a helpless victim."

    Merle Streep is none of the roles she plays. But while her image is on screen, it sure seems as though she is, even though part of us really knows better. We like the movie to fool us, to take us in,  to lead us on a merry chase. We go along with it, even when it's scary. We worry with the main character, we cringe, we laugh, we shed real tears. And none of is really happening at all, except in our minds and our imagination. Sure feels real, though.

    Not that different from the dramas of everyday life, the tragedies, the comedies we call "reality." Some might insist it's not the same, that this life is real, and I would agree. Life is real. It's a real experience -- a soap bubble, a passing moment, a brief enchantment. (By the way, the Buddha said that, not me.) It's real, just not lasting. Real, but it has no real power. Real, but it's just not that significant in the long run.

    What's more real is the theatre where the show goes on, the presence-awareness that we are underneath all of the stories, all of the perspectives, all of the identities that come and go.

    Identity -- now there's a soap bubble for you.

    Here's an example: when you say, "me," which "me" do you mean? The happy me? The sad me? The childhood me? The me of today or the me of a week ago? Or all of them?

    Or the one who has known all of those versions of yourself and lived as all of them -- the only "real" you.

     

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