About Me

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I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Life is a lot more like Vanilla Sky than you would think

Vanilla sky is about a man who is experiencing a nightmare which he believes is his real life until he is FORCED to examine his experience more carefully because of 'pain and unremitting suffering'.
Admittedly. His experience is a bit trippy at times. One person changes into another for instance. So we won't experience it in quite this (!) dramatic way. But yeah. He is dreaming. But he doesn't know it.
The nightmare gets his attention, and he struggles with familiar unconscious parts of himself (the therapist and old friend) in his attempt to make sense of the predicament he finds himself in.

More importantly the film VERY ACCURATELY shows how the TINIEST act can literally pull the whole thing apart.
Not just a mediocre of average thing.
But a SERIOUSLY GREAT, seemingly bullet proof thing.
Yes. I'm afraid that's a reality we are ALL capable of experiencing. At one year sober or 50 years sober. Our flaws and lack of judgment, or innocent oversight can pull everything down around our ears. Everything.

Basically its a lesson in cause and effect, impermanence, (that everything can disappear in a moment) and the maxim, 'you snooze you lose'. Very painfully illustrated by the devastating effect of Toms momentary decision to take a short car ride with Cameron.
Yeah I know its a very theatrical scene in the sense that Cameron acts like a !! total loon in the car, but even if we do not meet total loonys, we can STILL fall foul of poor choices that REALLY land us in it. They can be VERY SMALL and SEEMINGLY INSIGNIFICANT choices. And in their isolated sense, they probably are.
But in regard to the knock on effect down the line. They are NOT.
And that is how the world IS im afraid.
You would become TOTALLY paranoid about the smallest acts if you knew how tragic events trail back to insignificant sources. So its just as well we cannot see the causal links so clearly.
Anyway. I digress. As usual.

But yeah. Life is like vanilla sky. It really is. More so than you realize.
Its a great undiscovered film. Nobody realizes what a great metaphor it is.
Very accurate in a lot of ways.

For those of you that routinely experience the metal tape loop of

"when anyone said they liked me I used to think one of two things.
They were either LYING
Or they were STUPID"

(And I count myself among one of the people that experience that particular mental tape loop of destructive self loathing)
Then the TOTAL MISJUDGEMENT of the love that Toms character HAD during his life THAT HE HAD NO CLUE EXISTED
Is a valuable and VERY HUMBLING lesson.

Yes we are VERY OFTEN oblivious to the love and concern that others REALLY have for us.
That's why we look to ? 'feed' off of other fixes. Food. Tv, anything really to absorb into as an 'out', a way of running away from what Amaro calls 'the craving mind' (Tahana) or the hungry ghost as other call it.

Anyway. In his (Toms) despair, he DOES NOT SEE Penelope's love, or his friends love. He is oblivious to the GOOD people in his life. He FAILS to notice them because he is in pain and cannot see the wood for the trees. But unless you really PRACTICE gratitude and ACTIVELY LOOK for the GOOD people and GOOD things in your life, then YOU TOO will miss these wonderful people in your life. They are there already! You just forget to keep looking out for them! Thank god. We all have SOMEBODY who looks out (of HAS looked out for us). Well I think so. Even if we cannot see them. I am sure they are there.

Anyway I digress yet again.
What im saying is that this film is a fantastic illustration of how we unconsciously 'dream' our existence into being, and how the tiniest acts can destroy or save us. How we do not notice the love around us, and how we GET IT WRONG. ALL. THE. TIME.
Even if we are 'nice people'
Even if we 'mean well'
Even when we 'try hard'
Even when we 'do our best'

So yes we are pretty much at the mercy of our habitual thinking, and view of the world. Every (!!) act and thought counts. You snooze you lose. And sometimes you can lose everything on a dime. The tiniest thing.

Is it any wonder that it is so essential to connect with something greater than ourselves?
To 'move toward and become like' something greater than ourselves in order to make sense of the impeccable complexity partnered with utter simplicity? How in !! Gawds name are we supposed to make ANY sense of it all without that?
I have no idea.
Thank god the ? 'heart wisdom' is infinitely more expansive than the mind and can hold dozens of contradictions in place and STILL see the wood for the trees.
Complicated and simple at the same time. And the faultless infinite complexity need not be a problem. Just a feature of the landscape. Just another 'thing' in the mix.

So yes. The mind just doesn't have a strong enough 'engine' to get you there. Whereas the heart is like some sort of ? portal. A gateway into the world the mind simply cannot see. A landscape that sees all. Can hold it all.

Yes it means dropping the thinking mind temporarily. Which can throw you into BLIND PANIC if the only way you have ever ! Tried to make sense of the world is by being able to frame it in some cozy little mental box of classifications.
But yeah. If you can stand the SQIRMING mind bleating in the background because it can't 'fit' the experience into a neat little box,
AND you can resist the urge to let the mind gallop off like a dog with a stick the !! moment it sees a juicy morsel to THINK about, then you might !! just be able to enjoy a nice moment of what sogyal rinpoche calls Just BE (ing)

I have no idea why I decided to type all that.
What I MEANT to say was, Vanilla Sky is a GREAT film and works on MANY levels. All true. So watch it a few times and see what you think.

Imagine (for one horror stricken moment,) that the 'story', might not be such a 'story' after all. But more real than most of the stuff you think of as your daily reality.
Now THAT'S a scary thought. But I am afraid to say I see a lot of reality in that film. Not all of it. But a lot more than you see in most. Which IS scary I suppose.
But never mind eh.
We just do our lousy best and try to stay in (reasonably) fit spiritual condition.
That's all we can do really. Seeing as how we see through the (god dammed) glass SO !!! darkly. Its like we don't really have much choice!

The OTHER great thing about this film, is that it is an accurate reflection of the inherent UNREALITY of the 'nightmare'. is that the nightmare is JUST THAT. A nightmare. Its an illusion. A 'seeming' as Amaro calls it. Important only insofar as to our need to RECOGNIZE it for what it is so that it becomes transparent to us, as opposed to this large looming chunk of reality staring at us. It is not 'real'.
The good news? Like some monk said.. IT IS ALL. ALL. RIGHT. Yet at the same time we are required to be aware of this subtle trick of the mind in order to not be consumed by it. Easy to say. Hard to do.
So there you go. A vaguely cheery note to end on. :)

Sorry for rambling on.
It just once I start I cant stop :)

Right Id better go do some mundane household stuff. Go clean the bathroom and put some laundry on.
Same ol same ol basically.

BTW I am tempted to put a ? warning disclaimer on some of these posts because they are not ? Quite what I normally put here, and I am just kindof typing the first thing that comes into my head. So please do not feel that you have to agree with me or like it. Or anything really. Im just thinking out loud. And I may have got it wrong as I am not used to writing about this. So forgive me if I am sounding a bit cr*p. Im afraid its jus one of those things. Its VERY easy (unfortunately) to sound like a bit f a tw*t when you talk about these things, so you will just have to bear with me while I figure out (if ever!) how to write about ? this type of thing without sounding like a grandiose loon. It aint easy!

Hehe. Right off to tackle the bathroom with a strong cup of tea!

In the meantime, have a great Sunday! I on the other hand.. Have some serious cleaning up to do! Hey ho. Amaros 'zen bliss' (a my sister calls it) will keep me amused in the background!


molly said...

i saw the movie recently and thought it was TRIPPY but somehow GOT it (for the most part anyhow).. i'll see a movie like that or read a post (like the Bill Harris post) and GET IT but have no idea why. just stirs something inside that my 'pea' brain really can't comprehend. so explaining it to others is.. i don't know.. just difficult. mainly b/c it really CAN'T be properly explained really but then again it CAN. ha! ah well.. fun trying though isn't it.

i recently read in a magazine this guy (adyashanti) speaking of the 'I Got It / I Lost It' phenomenon.. i feel that way a LOT about this stuff.. one day I SOOOO GET IT - next day - GONE. weird. so even me 'getting it' doesn't last. fun to try!

Wait. What? said...

"...So yes we are pretty much at the mercy of our habitual thinking..."

This rings so true to me - this weekend was hard - it seemes like everyone reverted back to how things once were and instead of a caring loveing supportive family, we were all individuals again, with our own schedules and little patience for one another.

Thank you for posting this thoughtful post today. For me it was timely to read it.


Akannie said...

I saw that movie when it came out...lots of people came out scratching their heads, lol. I just thought, of course it's all a dream.
On some level, I think we all know...

johno said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Syd said...

My thinking can trip me up all the time. And the actions of others can trip up my thinking. There was a time a few days ago when one would think that I had never been to a meeting. I lost myself just like that, because I bought into the craziness of another person. Ever vigilant is what I must be.

johno said...