If we view our lives as a movie projected onto the screen which could be watched from the distance, like watching a movie in a cinema, then there is an implied subject-object split. I, the watcher being the subject, who is observing the object, the movie of ‘my life’.
When this happens, there is another layer of identification with the notion of a separate self, hidden under the cloak of a witness, who is observing the happenings of ‘my life’. In this way, the belief in a separate self hasn’t fallen yet, rather it just moved to a subtle form of identification, becoming an apparent witness.
To dissolve this confusion, Nathan Gill suggested a bit different movie analogy.
“…it is a multi-dimensional movie, being viewed from within the movie, not being viewed by a viewer from outside.”
“There is nothing outside of the movie. There is only the movie and the present registering of it from ‘within’ the movie.”
Nathan Gill: Already Awake (p. 58)
In this three-dimensional movie, when the thoughts are seen for what they are instead of being lost in their contents, the identification with the character is noticed ‘within’ the movie. All the problems and happenings can be watched, but they are no longer ‘my’ problems. They just appear and disappear as the part of the flow of life. There is no ‘I’ to stick to. Even if the thoughts of ‘my problems’ appear, sooner or later noticing happens, and the ‘me’ disappears from the nothingness where it came from.
There is no ‘me’ at all, not even as an observer, who could step out of the story and watch it from the outside. Watching just happens. And nobody does it.
The dream state is often described by the movie analogy. Imagine that you are sitting in a cinema and watching a very exciting movie. You are so immersed in the story that you even forget that you are in a cinema. It is so entrancing that you totally forget about yourself and ‘become’ the character on the screen. You can be so identified with the character that it could feel as if you were the hero in the movie. Emotional responses arise in your body (which is sitting in the cinema but you totally forget about it) when the loved one in the movie dies or when the whole universe is saved by ‘you’. This is a dream. A fiction. But you believe it into ‘reality’. At least it becomes ‘your reality’ until you wake up from this mesmerisation when the guy behind you sneezes. But soon, you fall back into believing to be the saviour of the world.
It can be assumed that dreaming is over when the film ends. You leave the cinema and the reality of everyday life is back again. Isn’t it? Or, you just have fallen into another dimension of ‘reality’, dreaming your life story into ‘existence’?
Awakening from the dream is about realising that there is a fictional story, called ‘my life’, with a fictional character ‘me’, projected onto the ‘inner movie screen’, with other characters coming and going and affecting the me-character, whom the story is supposedly happening to.
Questions may arise…
Is this story of ‘my’ life real?
What is behind the story?
What are you without the story?
Is there an I without the story?
When we read reviews about new books, we often find those types of comments where the reader / seeker compares a writer’s previous book with the new one and concludes that this second one is not good enough, there isn’t anything new in it, it didn’t give anything to them. Quite often, the seeker finds another ‘spiritual teacher’ whose words can add a bit more to their ‘knowledge’ or beliefs about spirituality or how to achieve ‘enlightenment’ or certain states.
This seeking can be so strong that one could do nothing else than searching for more and more ‘knowledge’ or strategies. ‘This new type of meditation… maybe this is the one. Maybe this will give me what I’m searching for’.
But do you know exactly what you are seeking for?
What if the self is searching for itself? What if the ‘I’ desperately wants to find itself? Is it possible? Can a thought find itself? If not, what is searching and what is it searching for?
Fulfilment… can a thought be fulfilled?
Peace… can a thought be at peace?
Love… can a thought love or be loved?
Can a thought attain anything?
Is it really seeking something? Is there really a self that is searching? Or this whole seeking is just a cover up? What if seeking is just a cover story on behalf on a fictional character, called ‘me’?…
…. in order to not finding out the truth… not seeing what IS and what is not.
Philosophers and psychologists have tried to define the nature of self for centuries and came up with hundreds of concepts, ideas and definitions about it. However, one theory can be in complete opposition to another and there is a constant criticism around the current definitions and concepts. But what if the answer cannot be found in concepts, definitions or theories?
Does a baby have a self or the self is is just a mental construct that is learnt in early childhood? If you can entertain the possibility that the self is not something that we are born with, then how could we end up believing that we have are a separate self, a separate entity, which is so fragile and vulnerable that needs constant protection from everything else which is defined as not the self?
What is the difference between you and a baby? Have you developed a self, a ‘me’ somewhere along the way of growing up from non-existence into existence? How?
My success, my failure, my children, my wife, my country, my life…
What is this ‘I’ who has all of this? Where is it? You could say, here it is, this body. Are you sure about that? Then why do you say ‘my body’?
My self, my body, my mind, my soul… What is this ‘I’ that claims it has a self, a body, a mind, a soul? Where is this ‘I’? Could you show me you?
Have you ever really contemplated who you are? How do you define yourself? Are you a human, a man, a mother, a daughter, a good or respectful member of society? Are you these roles? Are you sure about that? How do you know that?
What makes you you?
The list can be long. But are you sure that you can find yourself among the lines?
Contemplate on this.