A New Metaphor: Life is Like Watching a Movie – and YOU are the Star!
Life is a lot of things to a lot of people. To a colleague of mine (now deceased) it’s a bowl of cherries. To some it’s a bitch, to others a carousel or roller-coaster ride. Whatever our personal take on life, one thing is clear: Life is what You (or I) make of it. In other words, the metaphor we use is the metaphor we choose. If life is fine, then your metaphor works for you. But if life is less than satisfactory, then maybe it’s time to choose a new metaphor? I invite you here to consider the movie metaphor, only because by means of it I have personally come to experience less trouble, less suffering, more happiness, and even bliss, using this definition.
So this is how it goes:
- Life is like watching a movie.
- You are the main star – the hero(ine).
- The people close to you are co-starring.
- The film set mirrors the world you experience daily.
- You sit back to enjoy the show.
- At some points you become more actively involved.
- At other points you lose interest for a while.
- When things are going well for your hero(ine), you feel happy.
- When life sucks for him/her, then you feel unhappy.
- Your equanimity, stability and well-being depend heavily on ‘how things are going’ for your hero(ine).
- Progress is determined by how closely the performance fits with your pre-conceived idea of how ‘things’ ought to be.
- Deviations from the ideal produce emotions ranging from confusion, anger or sadness, through to rage and despair.
- All such emotions are rooted in fear. You don’t necessarily realise this.
- Little wonder your pulse, breathing and vital organs are affected!
- The essential underlying fear is that the show will somehow end unhappily, tragically, which would spell ‘failure’ for you.
- To prevent this from happening you need to remain vigilant and in control – your screen character that is.
- At times this proves such a challenge that you feel like giving up.
- If you were to give up entirely you’d likely fall asleep in your seat – exhausted.
- And you’d probably only awaken to catch the final scene, as your character meets his/her demise.
- You are happiest when your star is fully in control of the set – as though it’s ‘in the pocket’.
- You are rooting at all times for your hero(ine) to gain control in order to win – to come out victorious.
- Winning is of paramount importance, is undertaken at all cost, and unthinkable not to happen.
- It is only by means of winning that your movie will have all been worthwhile.
- It’s also the only way you can feel ‘worth it’.
- At some point it occurs to you, that the characters on set seem to be doing your bidding – acting somehow in accord with your wishes.
- At first you think this absurd and impossible – it’s only a movie!
- But you play with the idea and become more convinced this is so.
- Now for the first time you become fully absorbed – totally immersed in the action.
- You begin to live life fully through your character on screen – forgetting it’s just a movie.
- In reality you are still sat in the cinema – watching the show unaffected.
- The screen before you, although appearing to be real, contains all your own images, imagination – projections.
- But your identification with your movie-star is so complete that you are unaware of the truth – your real Self.
- So however ‘things are going’, well or badly for your on-screen hero(ine), one tragedy remains:
- You have well and truly lost Yourself in this dream-world you’re trying to manipulate.
- Life is just like a movie.
- And this is how ‘the world’ is made – how we each make our own world, and collectively make it together.
- In your mind, step away from the screen for just a second, and you will remember Yourself as the one watching.
- Having done so once, you will never again forget Yourself entirely.
- And when the going gets tough for your hero(ine), you’ll somehow know it’s not as real as you imagine!
That’s the movie metaphor in a nutshell, as far as I can cram it in! You don’t need to believe it in order to use it. Just like you don’t literally believe life is a bitch or a roller-coaster! Life is life. But metaphors are useful. They help us make sense and meaning of our experience here. But more importantly, they help us create.
I wish you well in creating the work of art that has come to be known as ‘your life’.