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  • Writer's pictureDoug Weiss

The Movie

When they make the movie, all our parts will be played by fantastically good-looking people. Our dialog will be snappy, with witty repartee, incisive insights, and clever rejoinders. The background music will swell with emotion, poignant at times, uplifting at others. There will be few special effects—after all realism is what we want. And of course, good will triumph in the end despite some trials and necessary moments of doubt and despair. If only we could fashion the script just so.

There was a time when I was very young that I thought I could do just that; live my life with an awareness and intentionality that would make the best of every waking moment. Sometimes when I look back on the events of my life I tend to skip over the tough parts and maybe blur those periods when I failed to live up to my youthful intentions. But the truth will out, as they say.

As it does with many of us, life overtook my desire. I made decisions, took actions, responded to situations as I did, sometimes for the best and sometimes, sadly, not. I do not get to rewrite the script, but I do get a chance every day to fashion the part not yet written. Intuitively we all know this but that does not make it easier to wrest control away from the circumstances that confront us, nor to escape the legacy of our past. To do that requires that we live in the moment and with an acute awareness of the consequences of our actions.

If we could listen in on, perhaps replay the interior dialog of our lives to date we would probably discover some important truths. Not only would we note where we chose the right path for ourselves and others but also where we mis-stepped. Perhaps we would better understand why, what prompted us to act as we did. In real life we must unpack a lot of history and through introspection discover the motives and emotions that guided us for better or worse. Be that as it may we do not have that faculty. Our memories are faulty, and we think too well or too poorly of ourselves to ever be a reliable source.

We could try looking to others for a more objective replay but in my experience all the other characters know of us is a tiny sliver of the truth, only what we have shown them and what they have interpreted. They are no more objective than we are. So, what are we to do?

Those of you who know me are familiar with my balancing act on the subject of faith. A pastor friend once said I was the most Buddhist Christian he had ever met. The Buddhist in me has spent some time learning about a particular form of mindfulness. It is a very voguish thing these days but the kind of mindfulness I am talking about is a little like the pop Sci-Fi notion of the Force. It is an awareness of our interconnectedness with the universe. I’ll admit I am a novice at this—even after several years, but on some days, I am keenly aware of my connection and more. The most important part of this way of being, however, is the suspension of judgement.

What do I mean by that? Simply this. When I am truly mindful I am able to suspend the process that most of us engage in; the process of assigning values, meanings and motives to what we observe around us. When I am in the zone, so to speak, things occur or not, actions and events unfold, people come into and out of my orbit. As they do I refrain from assigning any internally derived meaning to them. They are neither good nor bad, they just are. It takes some practice to get to this place. I still find it hard to sustain throughout my day. But when I do, I find myself expanded, peaceful, not above it all, but not compelled to act or react in any particular way.

Try it some time. You might find as I have that in those Zen-like moments that you are able to see the ebb and flow of your life and those around you with new found clarity, without judgement or compulsion to feel any particular way. As experiences wash over you, you may even gather some helpful insights that you can take with you. Best of all, you can fashion the script of each moment exactly as you wish.

It’s been said that in our last moments of life we can see our past with stunning accuracy. Whether that is so or not is something I have yet to find out. Frankly, I’d rather not wait, I’m working on the script for the next moment right now.

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