Plumbing the Depths

“I follow four dictates: face it, accept it, deal with it, then let it go.”- Sheng Yen was a Buddhist Monk.

“Your life is an occasion, rise to it.” – Mr. Magorium, a fictional character from the 2007 film Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium and was played by Dustin Hoffman.

Recently, Julie Luek wrote an interesting blog post on She Writes, a social networking site for writers. The title was [MAKING THE LEAP] FIVE REASONS EVERY WRITER SHOULD JOURNAL. It got me thinking about my own journaling experiences, and why I’m driven to plumb the depths of my soul. A journal is one tool I use to do that. It’s been a fantastic tool and over the years I’ve grown from simply whining and complaining in my journal, to seeking it out when I need to get clarity. I ask questions and get answers in my journal. My self deceptions are stripped away in my journal. I face myself in my journal. However, as I look at who I am, I know that I’ve always been driven to strip away the layers of ego and discover my true self.

I’ve used a lot of tools on my quest. Books and movies are among them. Even current events can send me off on a journey of discovery. Today, I’m thinking about Syria. It’s just the latest in an interminably long line of incidents where humans lash out at other humans because they’re frightened, hurt, lonely and think there isn’t enough to go around. I wonder if we’ll ever grow up as a species and turn away from such violence against each other. And that brings me back to one of my self-discovery tools: Movies.

You might think that the tragedy of current events juxtaposed along side something as seemingly trivial as a movie, is ludicrous. Just keep reading and see if you can follow my logic.

Movies can be an immensely powerful way to help change our perspective. One of my favorite movies which does this, is The Razor’s Edge. (I’m referring to the 1946 version. I’ve never seen the 1984 version based on the same storyline.) It’s based on a novel by W. Somerset Maugham. It begins right after WWI, and ends during the Great Depression. Maugham based the main character, Larry Darrell, on someone he met after the war. Larry Darrell is a man in search of himself. He’s looking for something that not many of his wealthy friends can see or understand, but Maugham finds him intriguing and follows his journey with great interest. At the beginning Larry is engaged to the most lovely woman of their circle, Isabel Bradley. But something drives him to leave her and begin a quest to find himself. She, of course, can’t understand how he could leave her. She’s vain enough to think that living with her beautiful self should be enough for any man. And that’s the relationship that shows the main conflict between those who desire nothing more than to maintain the status quo and those who are driven to find answers to the big questions in life. Larry Darrell seeks enlightenment. Isabel just wants to be comfortable and admired.

I bring up this movie, because I think it reflects what’s happening in our world now. It’s not that the two sides of the coin haven’t always been there. I think there are just more people on the side of taking the journey of self-discovery, like Larry Darrell did, than ever before. Those people who don’t want change, like Isabel Bradley, are fighting with claws drawn to keep things the way they’ve always been. But nothing ever stays the same. Humans are born explorers, only now the final frontier is inside ourselves.

I don’t have any answers as to how to end the bickering and violence in the world, except to encourage anyone who has the burning desire to discover who they really are, and find inner peace, to follow their heart and begin the quest. The tools, people and experiences will present themselves once you make the commitment. I know that from personal experience. You don’t need a guru, or teacher to guide you. Everything is inside you.Tough times will arise along the way. But in the end, you’ll never regret your decision and as you find yourself, you’ll help all of us find a more peaceful world.

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