STOP ACTING & START PLAYING
The most mundane and unexpected things in life can lead to profound teachings. Two days before my speech at Toastmasters, a topic worthy of sharing alighted in my mind. In setting out to write it, I exposed the conspiracy of life and found my game.
Several Facebook postings reminded me that the Oscar Academy Awards ceremony was happening that Sunday evening. The long forgotten sparkle of sitting dazed in front of a TV rekindled. As soon as silence flowed from my boy’s bedroom, I headed to my own retreat to turn on the television. My remote control had only commanded children DVDs this year and magically the first image was the red carpet. Had I needed to change channels to find it I might have lost my fickle enthusiasm.
Awkward is an understatement. An old voice in my head told me that tonight was a great opportunity to catch up on the world of entertainment. The interviewer’s questions and the dresses weren’t enough to keep my eyes glued to the screen so I sat on my bed with a book in my hands, ardent to be read. After one hour, I made the unwavering resolution to quiet my room. I really didn’t care who wore the best dress, nor did I have any idea why that Hugo movie was winning Oscars. Reading the list of winners in the morning would be enough for me.
That following week I was sitting at Starbucks passionately reading “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda when the idea struck. My intention to find a virtuous topic found it’s answer in the chapter named “The Law of Miracles”. The initially insipid Academy Awards had a bait effect for my topic and it invited me to see life in a distinct way…
Preparing my speeches a couple of days before the presentation has opened me to sharing experiences from my heart and surrendering to the process. By developing the introduction, the closing statement, ideas and examples, I then allow inspiration to guide me when I stand at the podium. In honor of my evaluator Christian, I’ve incorporated his feedback. Therefore, my written speech below is not an exact recount of what I said. My expressions and vocabulary are simpler and more consistent with my way of talking then with the way I write.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you with today’s second speaker (that would be me)!
“I want to share a Conspiracy!
This past Sunday was all about the Oscar’s. What you didn’t know is that I deserve an award for my lead role…. in my own life! You know what? Every single one of you deserves an Oscar, we are all playing our parts so well. When we sit in a movie theatre absorbed by the big screen, we get caught up in the drama, in the love, in the comedy. We forget that they are acting! What if I told you that our lives are also an illusion? This is our own movie. We are not in control of our lives because we tend to live unconsciously, acting out our human conditioning.
What is the illusion? That there is good and evil. Right and wrong. In essence we are all light. We are all love! There is a spectrum of Light. At one end there is clarity and purity. On the other extreme, there are people who are blinded (from their true essence) by their fears and anxieties so they have no awareness that they ARE love.
In practical terms there are three things we can do to break free. In reality, they can’t be separated so dryly: 1) Understand that gripping to our thoughts and emotions (defending our egos) keeps us away from Truth, 2) Silence the mind so we can let divinity flow through us for inspiration, 3) Surrender and see every person and situation as God presenting us with an opportunity to grow.
We see life through a pair of glasses that are tinted with our thoughts and emotions… so the world appears distorted. We make decisions based on beliefs we hold on to, and we react led by emotions that are easily triggered inside us. I understood this better through a process of inquiry called ‘The Work’ by Byron Katie. By answering four questions around a thought you can disarm it and see that it’s the thought which creates the painful emotion. If you don’t believe the thought, then it doesn’t create suffering. Also, you realize that the opposite thought could be just as true. As a consequence, you relax your grip on your own thoughts and take yourself less seriously.
Meditation is a way to calm the mind. When we calm our breath by focusing on it and controlling it, we can also calm our minds. As our ego gets out of the way, we allow the divine to flow through our bodies; becoming an instrument of God (Universe, Grace, or however you identify with it) allows inspiration to flow and intuition to guide our lives. Meditating on our emotions is a powerful exercise. When we experience a painful situation, the energy is trapped in our bodies. To release it we must ‘mourn’ that experience: let it exist within us. If you have a thought that creates a painful emotion you can visualize that energy in your body. As you let it be there, nurture it and accept it, send it your love, then it begins to dissolve.
Freedom refers to the state when you become all loving and remove all non-loving thoughts and emotions for yourself, others and life. Life is a Conspiracy to set us free. It confronts us recurrently with our conditioning (ego) so we can grow. The ego is the self image we have of ourselves, narrow and limited. Most of us live an ordinarily happy life. Every now and then we have our difficult days when a black cloud follows us and we think that our spouse should be more attentive, the children should behave, traffic shouldn’t be there. Change has to happen within us, NOT outside. The world is a reflexion of what’s happening inside. Patterns and programs repeat in our life until we learn and dissolve that conditioning. Yesterday I meet someone who acknowledges that during his marriage he was a complete narcissist. His new partner is a narcissist too and through her he’s learning how horrible he was with his wife. He told me that she’s the perfect mirror to see how poorly he behaved.
Awakening is the realization of the dream state we live in. Visualizing everything as God. Everything is a lesson. The game of life is about beating the ego! When we see life as this game it becomes exciting: we can live with an open heart, doing our best and surrendering to life. Letting go of need and desires. Letting go of outcomes we want to achieve. There is no bad experience or things we must avoid. God takes care of us.
Few people have been exposed to what our true goal in life is. We are so distracted with the glitter of superficial happiness and satisfying our desires that we are depriving ourselves from true everlasting Joy… There is a blissful superconscious state where you see God in everything and one can become an extraordinarily functional human. I highly recommend reading “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Yogananda. He shares the amazing experiences that are possible when you allow God in your life. Every individual in the world has an inalienable right to his free will. We can continue being blind to the light or we can awaken.
Next time you look at an actor or actress you admire, remember you are just as good! Freedom and true bliss comes from breaking away from our ego. I’ve already made my decision: I asked the Academy to not bother nominating me this year. The question you have to ask yourself is… do you want to continue acting on your human conditioning or do you ultimately want to be Free?”
That was the end of my speech. Hopefully, it will also mark the end of my acting career. My life now is about engaging in the game, disciplining my mind and body, taking my thoughts lightly, observing my trapped emotions so they can dissolve and recognizing that God is in everything teaching me lessons. The challenge is to beat my ego. I’m training hard… victory is possible. : )