My Life in the Movies

Act One

I am sitting in a movie theater. I am watching a movie. Soon I become totally absorbed in the “story” and I forget I am watching a movie. I laugh, I cry, I am scared, terrified, thrilled, bored, angry, my heart swoons at the first kiss, and the possibility of love everlasting. I am the hero, his failures are mine, his victory mine. I love the movies.

At some point I realize that my experiences are at the mercy of whatever is broadcast on the screen. As much as I have enjoyed these movies, I wonder why my experience is being controlled by these images that someone else has created. Suddenly I am aware I am sitting in a theater again.

Act Two: Scene One

I look around the movie theater. I wonder how all this is happening and why I got so swept away, how I melted into the screen, to the point of thinking this movie was real life. I look around. I see a square opening in the wall at the back of the theater. Multi-colored light beams are coming from this box-like portal, flying over my head and hitting the screen. I get up. I must investigate. I become a detective. I leave the theater to solve the mystery. After several dark hallways and sinister closets, I stumble upon the “projection room.” There is a machine on a stand projecting the “light beams” through the wall. As I look closer at the machine. I notice that there are images on “film” running past a lens, which in turn is creating the images on the screen. I have found the source of the movie!

Act Two: Scene Two

As I stand there marveling at my discovery, I realize that someone took time and energy to create this movie. I think “wow” someone had to imagine every frame. I am in awe of this creative process. Just then, snap, a revolutionary thought emerges from some unknown realm. What if I create my own movie? Why should I be at the mercy of someone else’s movie? In a flash of bravado, I think “If they can do it, I can do it!”

I write my own script, direct my own scenes, and create my own movie! Before long I am sitting again in the theater with popcorn and a large “Zero” coke, totally immersed in this new movie, I myself have created. The experience is 100 times more sublime than my first movie experience, for I am the one creating the experience! I think “If you’re gonna be watchin movies anyway, might as well be watchin the ones you yourself created.”

Act Three: Scene One

Many years and many movies later, I begin to feel the “pressure” of movie making. I have gotten better in my film making skills, almost to the level of mastery. I begin to hear those voices outside and inside of myself. What will you do for an encore? Can you top that? I have begun to feel like each movie must be better than the last one. The pure joy of creation is giving way to the pressure of creation. As much as I have enjoyed my life in the theater, I am wondering if this is all there is? What about peace?

Act Three: Scene Two

For the second time in my life, I get up to investigate. I simply must go deeper. I leave the theater and head straight to the projection room. I grab a chair and sit looking at the projector. I meditate, I pray, I reflect. I keep opening my eyes and looking deep into the projector. For some reason I am sure that there is some part of this mystery I have missed. Then I see it! “It’s the light! It’s the light!” It’s the light!” I start jumping up and down in the projection room. Finally I begin to settle down. “The light creates the image!” I sigh.

I have seen that deeper in the projector there is a light. And without this light the images cannot be projected. In short, no light, no movie. I close my eyes and merge with the light. I am that light. In the light I feel love, peace, and joy! All the things I had been seeking and momentarily creating in my movies.

I feel a deep peace, knowing that this light has been the only constant in my life at the movies. Even my darkest days, my shadows, my nightmares, have been illuminated by this light. The images come and go, but the light remains through them all. I am en “light” ened! I am in the light and my search for meaning, purpose, and truth on the screen has ended…..

Act Four

I go back to making movies and watching the movies I make. I watch the movies others make as well. The horror movies, thrillers, suspense, tragedies, comedies, romance, and of course, the obligatory heist film. Everything in my movie going experience is the same, except somehow I’m freer, because I know that images come and go but “I” remain.

“Awareness is the light, imagination the movie we create, and choice is the final cut.”

-Si Gong

 

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