I was watching a movie this weekend and this famous quotation from Hamlet was used. It started me thinking about how this might mean that we should listen to our true self and not our false self. But first –
I trust that everyone had a great weekend. Over the weekend another major hurricane struck the gulf coast of the US. Our thoughts are with those who are affected by this storm. If we can be of any help please let us know how we can do so.
As many of you know I am a cineaste – a movie enthusiast. One of my great joys is to find a movie that I have not seen before that also contains a great message. This weekend I found the movie “All That Heaven Allows”.
This movie was made in 1955 and among other things examines the conformist nature of society in that era. The widowed female lead (Cary) begins an affair with a younger man (Ron). Cary is from the country club set and Ron runs a tree nursery. All of her friends belong to the country club. She eventually finds that his friends come from all walks of life.
Cary knows that there is something unusual about her lover, but has not yet understood what that is. The couple gets invited to a party hosted by Ron’s best friends. These friends, a married couple, have known Ron for many years. It is the woman of this couple who finally explains what is different about Ron.
To thine own self be true
As the two women are preparing for the other party guests they start to talk about the men. The hostess explains to Cary that Ron lives by the phrase “to thine own self be true.” The hostess went on to say that Ron finds his security from inside of him, not through his job or money.
This discussion triggered a deeper understanding in me. I realized that Shakespeare must have been talking about finding true self. Shakespeare was saying that we must be true to true self, not false self.
I admit that I have heard this phrase countless times and never made the connection. When you talk about being true to yourself and finding your security within – what else can you be talking about?
On this site, how many times have we written about finding our happiness within? How many times have we said that false self thinks it can find happiness through attachments to external objects, ideas, or people? How many times have we talked about true self finding happiness by being in the moment?
When I find this type of connection I realize how many people have said similar things. History, the arts, and spiritual teachings are each full of similar examples. I guess we discover these insights as we are ready for them.
The important stuff
Let’s go back to our movie for a minute. The hostess went on to tell Cary that Ron only paid attention to the important stuff. “Ron absolutely refuses to allow the unimportant things to become important.”
What a wonderful description of true self. True self knows that all the things that false self wants to get caught in are truly unimportant. You know – things like attachments to objects, fears, and the general pettiness that is false self.
We have not spent much time on the idea of simplifying our lives. That is an oversight on my part. I plan to write on this idea soon, but here are a few ideas about simplifying our lives.
To put it briefly, false self makes a lot more out of things than is necessary. It makes mountains out of mole hills. Because it has such a dislike for itself it has to aggrandize things to prove that it is important. It justifies its stature by comparing itself to things that are big, important, influential, and generally of great magnitude. It thinks that it will bask in the glory of these things and prove it is worthy of respect.
True self does not need complicated or grandiose things. True self does what is necessary and does not care what any one thinks. True self knows that by making something complicated we only take time and energy from another important task that needs to be accomplished. True self will do whatever necessary to perform a required task, but has no desire to make the effort greater than necessary.
See the movie
I have provided a link to an online synopsis of the movie “All That Heaven Allows”. It is an interesting study of a relationship wherein the individuals are at different levels of understanding the concepts of true self and false self. They encounter many experiences that we all bump into as we travel our spiritual paths. Please post your thoughts about this movie after you have seen it. I am very interested in your insights.
The movie is available through Netflix. You can also find it on cable TV. Set your TiVo to record it. I have no affiliation with TiVo or Netflix. I just find them to be very useful.
That’s all for today.
Until tomorrow –
Es kava turen hai
We work towards an identical goal.
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