The Real Deal … We Want It; We Fear It

I was watching a program on television today and found myself smiling, appreciating the writers of the show. It was really well written, evoking smiles and compassion, love, and the simplicity of being part of a chosen family, one that chooses you back. What’s humorous, is that it wasn’t a feel-good series. It was a cop show – federal agents to be exact – an old NCIS episode.

Sitting here, watching, and fully enjoying – even though one of the characters, a sweet man I liked a lot, had just been murdered by a very bad guy – I was in awe of the writing, how well it reached into the gut, how it kneaded the muscles of the heart, right in the midst of atrocities.

It didn’t take but an instant after appreciation bubbled to the forefront to equate the writing, the show’s talented writers, to how well written life is. It’s got all the elements of an award winner: excitement, disgust, anger, grace, surprise, grief, heart. You never know where it’s taking you and what the outcome will be. It’s a true cliff-hanger, a romantic sashay, a comedic undertaking, a study in irony – all rolled into this moment. 

Forgetfulness is the path to awakening

What an amazing thing a life is. Shimmying down a tube of light, we find ourselves in a state of forgetfulness, more and more so the further we descend into the hologram. The we, that is This, that is everything and nothing, assumes form and forgets its origin, unable to trust that it is infinite aliveness, only to slowly remember, painstakingly so, what it actually is. It wouldn’t be much of a simulation if we didn’t let our avatars get caught up in the ruse. The good news is that forgetfulness is a part of the dream, a fork in the story of awakening. This That Is has no need of awakening. Only the character in the dream dreams of waking up.

Life, the dream we call reality, is really no different from watching a movie.  We sit on the edge of our seats, cry for the characters who are lost, our hearts ripped open and shammed shut in tune with the shenanigans on the screen of life, our emotions provoked and appeased by each new line of the script. We applaud the brilliance of great acting and greater stories, totally taken in by little celluloid snippets of life, and skip right past the most intense, incredible, magnificent actors of all – ourselves – and the ultimate reality show – life.  

Pixelated light appearing as life 

When we watch our programs, we are actually seeing pixels of light on a screen – not people sitting at a sidewalk café in Paris, not a delightful young man lying brain dead in a hospital, not the aches and heartaches of being embodied – and yet, these pixels are so convincing that we weep, we cheer, we laugh, we ache. We sometimes need to look away, the story being just too much to bear.  

Life is episodic, not a lot different from the performances we watch. It is light appearing as shape and form, pixelated rainbows appearing as life. There’s a reason we love our screens. They feel a bit safer than the rawness of life, the intimate, sensual, palpably extreme experience of life as it is, while giving us a taste of raw, unfiltered experience, the dancing spectrums of light.   

It doesn’t really matter if it is a cop show or a heart-warming documentary, a rom-com or a bit of horror, although I leave the room when horror is on the menu. It’s way too unsettling for this sensitive system. And whatever it is, at its heart, it is experience. We tend to momentarily discard our well-tended walls, the ways we protect ourselves from life, when we watch our screens. It’s not real … or so we think … and because of that we let down our guard and have the opportunity to experience a bit of what we deny ourselves in life.

It’s what we really want … and fear

Interactive, uncamouflaged, unprotected life – the real deal – it’s what we really want and are deathly afraid of. We came to feel it all – to let our emotions loose, our hearts sing, our bodies tingle, our eyes perceive all the dastardly delights and daring disasters life offers, not to hide behind opaque glass walls and get only a hint of what’s here. 

The story is well written – on all the screens – including the one we call real, that we think of as life. The writers couldn’t have done a better job – truly Academy Award winning scripts. We’re the characters, the scenery, the writers, and our own stages. We’re here. We assumed the position, positionality that is, a point in holographic time and space. We might as well see it through. We might as well get messy, slippery slide-y up to our armpits messy, and enjoy the show.

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