Reality becomes less real while immersion in reality increases
[Excerpt from SANE, getting real with reality]
The screenwriting expert Robert McKee, who has contributed to over 30 Oscar-winning films, talks of naive writers, who, knowing nothing about the category in which they are attempting to write, stumble blindly around in it, inadvertently trampling on the unspoken conventions that hold consistency and meaning for the viewer.
He compares them to the nervous writers, on the other hand, who are so scared of doing something wrong that they obey, without question, the apparent category rules. In their subservience, they can only churn out cliché after cliché.
Then there are the few… the few who know the genre, who have celebrated it, questioned it, experimented with it, who are so relaxed in it that they are entirely free. They both honour and transform. Knowing the rules inside out they play games with them. In their loving disruption, they pay deep homage to what has gone before. This is the space of originality, of excitement, of transcendence.
Warren Buffet’s, the billionaire investor, understanding of money is so deep that its essential meaninglessness became clear to him. He talks of how it makes no difference whether you are penniless or a millionaire, but what you understand about money, what it can do and not do, what you are with or without it.
Jim Carey, the multi-award winning actor who has transcended the idea of personal success, has said “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer.”
We live and work in a world of form, of concepts, of things. And so easily these forms scare or master us. We become a slave to the wage packet or to the idea of success or approval or of getting things right. We are held in fear or confusion by money or other people or life.
Naive about the form, we are lost in it. The writer who does not understand the genre, is tripped up by the obvious, stumbles around, gets nowhere.
Scared by the form, we are trapped by it. The writer who does not dare question the form is penned in, limited by the inability to move beyond cliche and mundanity.
It is the same in our own lives, the form, whatever it is - money, work, another person, life can appear as a fixed, real, daunting thing - impossible to understand or impossible to question.
And it will remain that way…
Until we realise there is nothing to lose in learning?
Until we realise that there is no shame in asking questions, finding out, exploring, being curious?
Until we realise that the only risk of experimenting, of putting things out there is a dent in our self image (and the sooner that goes the better)?
Until we realise the form is never how it appears to be and reality is never reality?
And then, with that understanding, we go right into the form. Immerse ourselves in it. Explore it. Understand it. Embrace it. Love it until there is no us and no it. And as we do so it transforms and we transform. Both it and we become what we could never otherwise have been. The rules give themselves up. Predecessors send ideas through the eons and ether. Doors swing open. Sparks fly. Each moment a tiny miracle.
Reality becomes less real while immersion in that apparent reality increases.
This really is the definition of sanity and is the central core of this book.
Reality is understood for what it is - apparently real, and simultaneously not real.
And that realisation creates an unprecedented intimacy with and openness to what is, with no reliance or fixation on it.
This is the essence of freedom, unconditional love and peace. This is the essence of sanity.
Most of us live in an unquestioned reality of self and other. We believe it to be totally real.
Much of this apparent reality of self and other is not welcome. We don’t like the feelings, the thoughts, the emotions, the experiences. We think we should be different. We think they should be different. We think it should be different. We wish for something better.
So we resist the reality and push it away and try to make it something else and complain about it. We suffer in it, believing all the time that we and the world need to change but we are completely unable to change it.
The reason we can’t change it is because the ‘I’ that is looking for something different is made of the same thought created perception as that which is being resisted.
And that’s the insanity of our time.
We have everything backwards.
We don’t enquire into the nature of that self and the reality it wants to change. We don’t explore how it has arisen, what it is made of.
And the uninvestigated belief in this (thought created) self that needs (a thought created) reality to change simply keeps that whole tableau in place.
Thought is drawing ghosts and, instead of seeing them for what they are, we run from them or do battle with them.
But perhaps something different has been heard in what has been written so far. Or perhaps before picking up this book, there was already realisation.
And perhaps that fixed idea of self does not look quite so real.
Perhaps the reality the self is fighting does not look quite so separate from the self.
And as all that gets lighter, less dense, there is only ‘what is’. A body and mind that cannot be separated from the all-ness that is life. With no self to separate itself out, there is only completeness. Everything can be experienced.
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