Undoing the Narrative I

It is something of a given that certain movies can help one relate to and better understand the metaphysics and even the process of awakening described in A Course in Miracles. The Matrix is probably the obvious example. I’ve read some nifty ACIM-oriented explications of the Jason Bourne movies, too.

While I’m not really a movie buff, I do enjoy them. And from time to time I see in them some idea or image that neatly expands the space in which real growth towards oneness is possible.

I had an example of that a couple of weeks ago with Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds.”

Specifically, I found myself utterly entranced with both the film-making and the story-telling. These are, to my mind, the bedrock of Tarantino’s genius. The movie felt exquisite to me. Where a lot of movies bludgeon me over the head with CGI effects, violence, graphic sex and language, Tarantino (at least in Basterds – not so much in earlier films) employs a scalpel. He’s inside you before you know he’s inside you.

And it hit me – a little more than half way through the movie – that this obsession with telling an artful story, a transformative story, a gripping story, a forget-everything-and-keep-your-eyes-on-the-screen story had a correlative.

It is how the ego crafts the story of its life. It is how and why it feels nigh on impossible to let go of my own narrative, my own personality in favor of waking up to my identity in Christ.

We fall easily into the lure of our stories. I’m Irish-Catholic, a poet, a recovering drunk, a student of A Course in Miracles. I’m from the Northeastern United States, not the South and not the West. Leonard Cohen and Emily Dickinson are instructive. I took a vow of poverty in another lifetime and I’m still coming to terms with it. On and on it goes. You’ve got one, too.

Who is the “you” that Jesus addresses in A Course in Miracles? Is it Helen Schucman? Ken Wapnick? Gary Renard? You?

I believe he is addressing the observing Mind which has chosen – regrettably and unnecessarily – to attach itself to the ego and its wily story.

So while I go crashing and stumbling through the world – healing myself, getting better, making mistakes, coming to terms, discovering new obligations, making new friends, pining for old ones – the observing mind, which is Christ mind – which is a thought thought by God – simply is. No sweat, no worries.

So much of what I believe I have to do – from writing this blog post to loving Jesus to helping feed my family – is contingent in some way on the magnetic personal story, the narrative composed by the ego which is just so incredible. So many colors and tastes – so much exquisite detail – a cast to die for – such a dense and multi-layered narrative fabric. Stories within stories within stories.

Man, I’d die to write a book that good. Shakespeare’s got nothing on your ego’s narrative brilliance.

And yet.

What we are after – inner peace, authentic love – is absent from the story. Oh, it’s definitely a theme. There are characters who symbolize it. It pops up as an idea. But it never delivers. It can’t. Love and peace are the one thing the ego can’t – won’t ever – give us. It can’t let us see it’s just a movie, just an illusion, just a dream story. If it did, we’d walk away in a second. We’d leave the theater without a second thought and go straight home to God.

I didn’t finish watching “Inglourious Basterds.” It was as if a bell had rung, and once ringing, could not be unrung. I didn’t want the inspired trance of story anymore – not Tarantino’s and certainly not the ego’s. I wanted awareness – right thinking, right mind, right now!

Waking up – call it Christ Mind, call it enlightenment – begins with awareness. It begins with the end of casualness. We begin to sense that our lives are playing out on a screen and that they are not real. That invokes some responsibility, right? Now we want to discern the true from the false. So something new – not of us but in us – is triggered.

As you watch your life unfold – you who long for the promise of Heaven as I do – ask what it is that the ego drama seeks to hide from you? Could it be that there is no drama? That there is no viewer, no screen, no projector? That you are It and you always have been and right now – right now! – you can settle and enjoy unalterable peace?

You are telling yourself a story – and it’s a good one, no doubt about it – but its sole purpose is keep you asleep, hidden from God, and outside of Heaven.

Let’s not do that to ourselves. Let’s skip out right now – not even bother with “the end.” We can if we want to, you know. We can get up right now and go home.

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