Phil: “What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t today.”
If you haven’t watched the movie Groundhog Day in a while, do. So many lines will simply roll you over in laughter and leave you breathless on the floor. What year did the movie come out? 1993. Who was I then? I saw it. I loved it. I thought I got it. I guess I did at one level, at the level of someone who got it intellectually, but I hadn’t lived through it yet. I hadn’t lived through the falling away personality. I hadn’t experienced Kenny’s death. I hadn’t yearned for mine, preferring death to life here on this cold, harsh, uncaring planet.
As I watched the movie last night, I was in awe of the totality of the message. I laughed. God I laughed. Hard. So many times. And, even through the comedy of it, I cried. I had been there. I knew the territory well.
Anyone whose alarm clock has gone off, feels the sense of déjà vu. Wasn’t I just here yesterday? It feels the same. The only difference between our recurring Groundhog Day and the movie is that everything isn’t exactly alike on the outside. When we look out the window, the same people aren’t standing in the same place, wearing the same clothes. The old high school friend doesn’t walk up at the exact same time with the same silly smile on his face. We don’t step into the same puddle of ice over, and over again … or, do we? Where we really notice the difference though, is on the inside.
In the dream world, it is possible to experience lucid dreaming, where you are aware you are dreaming and can actually direct the dream from within awareness. The moment Bill Murray (Phil) stepped off the sidewalk and missed the puddle of ice, he was in the lucid dream … aware that he was dreaming. That also happens when we are awake. It is called awakening.
Many are awake. More and more people live in recognition that the dream – belief, programming, predictable reaction – runs the show. We hear the word awake and think it is something else. At least by my definition, it isn’t. We wake up when we become aware that something other than egoic life, a life of being separate from others, life as lived by most on the planet, isn’t the whole picture. We wake up when we see that something else is in control and that no matter how hard we try, there are things we cannot change. We understand we are apparently separate, the alarm clock buzzing, signaling differentiation in a single moment of Now.
Waking up (an apparent separate individual) and the death of the ego (nothing but the Hereness Itself) – now those are two different experiences within the Singleness. Waking up is easy; the full demise of that which believes it is running the show, a little more difficult. The ego won’t willingly kill itself off.
Murray, once he woke up in the realization of the dream, wanted to get out of the dream. He attempted suicide in about every manner possible:
Phil: I killed myself so many times I don’t even exist anymore.
He tried. He tried. And, with God’s grace, he tired and eventually began his walk into selfless service, giving of himself, giving up on getting anywhere. What a great analogy for the death of the ego.
And that’s exactly what eventually, in God’s own timing, happened. The night before the dream world ended, Bill figured it out, not knowing he had figured it out. Had he known, it wouldn’t have been figuring it out. In his full surrender, he gave up the need for himself completely.
Rita: It’s beautiful. I don’t know what to say.
Phil: I do. Whatever happens tomorrow, or for the rest of my life, I’m happy now… because I love you.
What was he saying? He was saying, “I’m happy now.” Did you hear it? Now. I am happy Now. I am Here Now. I am Here. I am Now. This moment is all that matters. This one.
I love the last lines of the movie. They are quintessential. They represent the death of the ego, the death of separation, the climax of life as a ‘me’. Of course, they are complicated a bit with Murray’s classic humor.
Phil: It’s so beautiful!… Let’s live here.
[he kisses Rita]
Phil: We’ll rent, to start.