You Are Not the Movie

One of the great joys of life is going to see a movie, something that has been taken away from us during the pandemic. It is enjoyable to spend time with family and friends and sit in a big screen theater and watch an entertaining story unfold in front of you. There are all sorts of movie genres including mystery, adventure, romance, comedy and horror. What is common to all of these is that they are full of drama because this is what makes movies interesting and engaging. Most people would not pay to see them if they were otherwise. Unless they are based on a true story, the other common factor among all movies is that they are fictional stories told by talented actors and actresses.

Movies are a great metaphor for our lives. What do I mean by this? Are our lives not full of drama with changing stories over time? Now, one may argue that the difference between our personal dramas and those told in movies is that the former are real and the latter are fictional. However, is this really true? Are our personal dramas truly real? The way to answer this question is to ask more questions. How many times in your life have you been convinced that something is true, which is later proven to be false? Can you remember such a time? I’m sure you can remember many.

Let me demonstrate this with an example. Let’s say you are at work and walk by your boss and say hello but she ignores you completely. Now, most people would create a story out of such an incident such as the boss is not happy with me, I have messed up somehow or she is going to fire me. Now, any of these stories may be true but it could also be true that your boss is very preoccupied with a personal matter, has a deadline to meet, is worried about a new product launch or is being pressured by her own boss.

You see, when something does not go your way, you tend to make a story out of it and make it about you, when most of the time it has nothing to do with you. This is what is known as drama, just like in the movies. The truth is that most of the things that we perceive to be real or true, turn out to be illusions. Someone ignores you, someone makes a snide comment, you don’t hear from a friend for days, your spouse is not talking to you, your children are acting up, its all drama. The fact is that you have no idea what is going on in other peoples’ minds until they share their thoughts and feelings openly and honestly.

In many ways, your life is like the drama that plays out in the movies and we all get so identified with that drama that we can begin to think that it is real. When you watch a movie you know that it is a fictional story that is told to entertain you and, in the same way, the dramas in your life, that you hold to be true, are also just illusions that you tend to identify with so strongly. A movie is essentially a series of images shot from a projector and playing out on a big screen. The images change every second but the projector is the only constant. In the same way, you are not the story and the drama of your life but are the underlying consciousness or being which is witness to the story.

What I am trying to say is that, regardless of what drama is playing out in your life right now, realize that it is just transient and illusory and changes with time. You are the one who witnesses the story of your life playing out in this physical plane. You are essentially pure awareness or consciousness and nothing else. Therefore, go about your daily life and enjoy your dramas, have fun with them, play your life like a game and don’t take anything so seriously.

This can all be summarized by the famous quote which states, ‘This too shall pass.’ Everything that you perceive as real will pass away and wither into dust, leaving the one true reality, the consciousness, awareness or being, which is the witness of your thoughts, emotions and life story. Therefore, identify with the movie projector, not the the movie and know that you are an infinite being who has incarnated into this physical plane to rediscover yourself as the creator of your life experience, not the victim of it.

Dr. Nauman Naeem


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