Ramana Maharshi and Papaji were known to use this great metaphor to point to our true nature. Ramana spoke of the movie screen and Papaji also spoke of the television screen. And now we can include those nice big flat screens or even our iPods.
There are two aspects of the metaphor, the screen and what is seen on the screen.
Our life as we see it is very much like the movie playing on the screen. It can be exciting, scary, happy, sad, and on and on. Life is an amazing movie. And just like a movie, we can get caught up in "life." Isnít it amazing how we can experience all these emotions from a movie? It really does become real to us. Dreams can be the same way. They seem so real when they are happening. And of course, our perception of life seems so real when it is happening. However, when you ask somebody what happened in the movie or in a life, you will always get variations based on the observer's perceptions. And these perceptions are based on their past experiences. So although it appears to be "real" there is probably more to it.
Of course, it is easier to believe that the movie or the dream is not real. We don't need to remain invested in the movie or dream, although some people do. We do tend to be invested in the reality our lives. This will probably remain the case until we connect more consciously with our infinite nature and recognize more fully how the mind creates its own realities.
Our infinite nature is the second half of the metaphor.
First, the screen is unaffected by the movie.
When there is an explosion on the screen or a storm with thunder, lightning and intense rain, the screen does not burn in the explosion and it does not get wet by the rain. The screen is untouched by the story. The same is true of our divine nature. It always has been, and always will be untouched regardless of life experiences, relationships, health, or any other story.
Check for yourself. This can be known deeply when we choose to put our attention on the silent awareness at any moment. We recognize that consciousness is untouched by any circumstance.
This is great news! Regardless of our past we have always remained pure and whole at the core. And regardless of our future, a vast expanse of peace and love is always accessible. A foundation you can always count on in any circumstance.
Second, when the movie stops, the screen remains.
The screen is always there. The movie actually plays on the screen. Without the screen, there would be no movie. However, when you are involved in the movie, do your thoughts ever go to the screen?
This is just like our true nature. When we are involved with our stories, our perceptions of our lives, we don't even take a moment to recognize the amazing, permanent presence that the life unfolded out of and inside of.
Just like the screen of the television,
your true nature is always there when the story is happening or not.
We can all notice this untouched silent awareness that is always present throughout every moment and in every situation. It is the screen. It is what always remains. It is the source and foundation of all life. It has simply gone unrecognized because we get so caught up in the movie.
So, recalling this metaphor we can let these screens that we surround ourselves with, these distractions from the silence within, be a constant reminder of the source and foundation of life which we are.
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