Plato’s Cave for a New Millenium (#778)

(A quick note: Michael is on sabbatical this month so we’re sharing excerpts from his books. Today’s tip is taken from session one of Supercoach! Follow the links at the end to read the whole chapter online!)

Imagine you are sitting in a cinema watching a scary film. The film is well made and you get caught up in it to the point where you physically shrink back into your seat when the pretty girl heads down the dark stairway on her own with an old flashlight whose batteries mysteriously stop working as soon as she hears a strange creaking sound from the furthest, darkest corner of the basement. As the music builds towards a crescendo and you just know a monster is going to burst forth at any moment … someone’s mobile phone goes off, repeatedly playing the opening bars of that pop song you can never get out of your head no matter how hard you try.

From this moment forward, no matter how gripped you have been by the movie, it will be difficult to get back into it in the same way.

Now let’s watch another film together. This is a movie about you. It’s filled with problems and obstacles and triumphs and tragedies. It’s a movie where you see yourself failing to achieve what you want to achieve, being dragged down again and again by your tragic personal history or succeeding against the odds and triumphing in the end. It’s a movie about how difficult it is to find true love, or how lucky you are to have found it for yourself, how men and women are sinners or saints, and how people always mean well or stab you in the back every time. Whether you’re stuck in a cubicle or living large in a corner office, working from home or not working at all, this is the movie of your life – for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer.

This time, instead of a mobile phone going off, I’m going to ask you to turn your attention away from the screen and come with me back up into the projection booth…

Whatever is happening on the screen is your experience of life. What is being projected onto that screen will appear real to you to the extent that it ‘fits’ with the movie you’re used to seeing.

The projector is your consciousness – it simply shines the bright white light of awareness on whatever is projected in front of it. If that light isn’t on (i.e if you are ‘unconscious’), you will have no awareness of and no direct experience of your thoughts.

Each reel of film running in front of the projector is made up of your thoughts. If you have scary thoughts, you’ll see scary things on the screen of your experience and experience scary feelings; if you are projecting romantic thoughts, you’ll see romantic things on the screen and tend to feel romantic feelings in your heart. Comedies will tend to make you laugh and tragedies make you cry – that’s just the way things work.

What powers it all?

The electricity behind life – the underlying energy of the universe. (We could as easily say the whole cinema is made up of energy as well, but let’s save that conversation for another time!)

Why does all this matter?

Because if you are watching a film you don’t really enjoy, you are unlikely to try to change it by getting into a prolonged debate with the characters on the screen about it. If you do, you probably don’t expect them to respond in turn. But when it comes to the movie of our lives, the first place most of us go to change things is right up to the screen. We spend all our time and money and energy trying to change our experience on the outside, not realizing that the whole thing is being projected from the inside out.

Read the rest of the chapter online here.

Order Supercoach! from Amazon here!

With love,

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