Wednesday, December 13, 2017

To Be Or To Not Have Been and Daniel Day-Lewis

A rumination on Hamlet's question; "To be or not to Be."
Mr. Day-Lewis. National treasure.

To be or not to have been. Hamlet, the Danish Prince (not to be confused with the Danish Pastry) has the most famous soliloquy in the English language - perhaps in all human language.

Daniel Day-Lewis as Hamlet
"To live or not to live."  That's the question - if its noble to stay alive and suffer all the difficulties tossed our way willy nilly or to just end it?  And if we end it, what next? What's out there in the "undiscovered country?"

A long and glorious sleep?  With dreams? What dreams may come?

But hang on.  You know how it goes. (reprinted below)

In light of this Flipside research, how should this soliloquy go? (Apologies to the Bard)

To be Benedict or not

Here's the conundrum.  What people claim consistently under deep hypnosis (the reports from Michael Newton, 7000 cases over 30 years, or Dr. Helen Wambach 2000 cases a decade prior) is that we choose to incarnate.

We choose to be.

They claim we can opt out.  Choose to not come to the planet.  Or choose to not be.

Maybe the play calls for "The cranky drunk uncle." The cereal maker. The cereal eater. The cereal killer.  "I don't wanna play that part - you asked me to play the marauding drunk uncle in the Viking era!  No thank you!  Passola.  Passorama. Ask someone else. I don't care how good I was as your drunk uncle, I don't want to play him again!!!"

"Oooh but you're so good at it" they say.  "I can never learn the lessons I need to learn if someone else plays the part. I might forgive them. I need to learn the lesson of forgiveness. Or letting go. They aren't as good as you.  You're the best drunken uncle out there. Pleeeease?"

Wheedling and cajoling from the soul group and guides.  "They do have a point you know.  You haven't done that part in at least a dozen other performances..."

"Ok fine. If you insist. After all, 80 years on earth feels like a half hour back home.  You want an hour out of my existence?  I will give it to you because I love you unconditionally. But this is the last time I play that role for you." (applause, bowing)

This brings to mind the report of Daniel Day-Lewis giving up acting. 

You can give up hats, but you shouldn't give up why you chose to be on the planet.

Hilarious. You can't give up acting. It's what we do each time we choose a new lifetime.  We give it up when we graduate to the next level; spirit guide, teacher, council member and no longer incarnate.  Etcetera, etcetera, et cet er a.  

Giving up acting is like giving up breathing.  Why would anyone do that? (Besides when has he ever "acted?"  He's always "been" in every role I've seen him in.  I think he's just refering to the circus around the profession.)

Granny knows a conundrum when
 she sees it. (Irene Ryan)
I'd say that idea of "giving up" on acting is "kinda" selfish actually.   He's been convinced his acting chops came from his environment, from his genes.  But he knows that it comes from before that... it was in his conscious mind as a child. Because back there on the flipside, we choose who we are going to be, and what we are going to do, and we choose these occupations because it heals other people.

I've filmed 45 sessions, and have asked dozens for the "first conscious thought they had they would be doing what they're doing."  The FBI agent said "preschool."  I asked why. She said "I started keeping lists on everyone, what they wore, what kind of car they had, what they ate for lunch." We kinda know who we want to be. Question is whether we can get there or not.  But we choose these roles to "help other people." We choose our occupation to "heal other people."

I've been told that "the energy of a lifetime in the arts is very similar to that in healing.  The energy comes from the same place."  People often claim they choose a lifetime as an actor, director, musician to use their energy to "heal other people." (Not making this up, just reporting what they consistently say.) 

Like a doctor. Like a surgeon. Like a shaman. Like a holy man.  "One huge belly laugh can do more to change a person's health or dispostion in an instant."  "Tears work the same, but they require catharsis."  And Daniel Day-Lewis is the walking epitome of catharsis.   
Yes. I got an Oscar.
From Curtis Hanson.
Had to give it back though.

He planned this lifetime. He has honed and crafted and had fun with it. He instinctively knows the shoe maker, the tailor, the working man has the luxury of disappearing into his or her craft.  But acting is a craft as well.  It's the ensuing trivia, the icing of vanity; all of that is a mental image - a puff of smoke blown his way.  Wave those hands, ignore the smoke, and focus on the idea that a profession can and does heal lives.

(I love #DanielDay-Lewis' work, he's fantastic in "#PhantomThread."  I know the great designer Nino Cerruti, and I felt this performance, unconsciously or otherwise, often captured Nino's bemused smile and design style. But I digress.)

Someone somewhere on the planet has been healed by watching a film or a performance. If you can heal one person than your choice to come here was worthwhile.
Really? Hard to believe
when you look like this guy.

I get emails from people who say "I read your books and I no longer see the planet in the same way.  Thank you." (As I've noted, I'll never get those kinds of reviews from my film work, I have written and/or directed 8 theatrical features.  People chuckle, sometimes laugh in my films - but no one was said "That film saved my life.") 

With Judy Dench in Hamlet. 
Actors can do that for people moment by moment.  Heal them, help them see a way out of their diaspora. Out of their doldrums. Out of their predicament.

Daniel is one of those people who can recreate human experience, embody compassion with a flick of his eyebrow, and wave of his hand.  If he wants to "give up acting" - he should add a proviso.  "I will give up acting until I'm cast opposite Meryl Streep."  (Another avatar of intent and healing light within a gesture. I'm not aware of any films they've done together, but would vote to see one.)

I'm not saying "don't give it up because you're good and the industry needs you."  That's all vanity.  "Vanum populatum." (google it) Do it because you still have more people to help and heal and make whole.

Jonathan Pryce checking out Yorick.

But back to Hamlet.

He too is talking about a choice, and the choice to give up acting, or to give up life, is after all - a personal one. It is about free will. Because we don't have to incarnate.

We choose to. To be or not to be. 

That's right. Every frog, every fruit fly chose to be here.  Don't like that analogy?  Sorry, too bad. It's accurate. And we can't kill them either.

Because we cannot "not be."  (First law of thermodynamics. Energy doesn't "die" or disappear, or even dissipate.  It just moves to another dimension, form or in our case realm. Energy cannot be destroyed. Not killed.  Not ended.  Just transformed.) 

Once we are formed as consciousness (willed into existence if you will - or won't - like Will Shakespeare) First "there was the word."  "Will."  And that's how we begin as well.  As will.

We all have free will.  We all are free willed.  (We should free poor Willy now and then as well.)

Nice hat. I get it. Tradition. But
it's also a costume bearing fardels.
Avoid the fardels.

To be on the planet or not.  To incarnate or not. It sounds like may people - based on the amount of complainers out there - wish they had not made that choice.

I hear you. You don't like being here. It's hard here.  It's beyond the capacity of many to navigate.

But mark these words. (Not on your screen, please, in a future book perhaps) Note the concept.  You made the bargain.

You agreed to come here.You said you could handle it. You had the choice to say no but you didn't.  You said "I want to be!"  "I can handle this! I got this! Let's roll!"  And you came here - the mewling welp suckled by his mum, taken care of (or not - it was by your design) and left to fend (or offend) for itself.

To have been. That's the victory. To be able to return home to the loving embrace of our brothers and sisters, of our friends and frenemies - of all the people who have ever been on the planet or have existed in any realm - those fellow travellers who we call our "soul group." To return to their loving embrace after we've successfully navigated the stage as we set out to do.

We've seen our loved ones before and we'll see them again. Inshallah. God willing.  Or our willing.  Will Shakespeare? Will he what precisely?

Free Will.  Indeed. An apt term for telling Will to come to life and unleashing that energy. 

Anyone who has ever been or ever existed exists still.  They're out there. Gone from this stage, but their role not ended.  "Not gone, just not here."  Never ended, just not here.  Off stage. Back stage. Back home.

To be or not to be.  It is the question we all asked and ask ourselves prior to every lifetime. What say you?

"From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember'd; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition: And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day." (Enrico the 5th)

"C'mon in the water's fine!"

Shall we take up arms, hold hands and leap into the breach, jump into the fray once more?  Go down there (or over there) to that planet where we get the luxury of breathing fresh air? Where we have the luxury of drinking cool refreshing clean water?  (Unless it's gone.  No longer fresh. Polluted and stale.) Why would we pollute, destroy the place we love to return to?

Where we get to witness a dawn and sunset.... we get to witness life all around us?  Despite closing our eyes for a third of our lives, despite being asleep for fully one third of the trip - we get to be here on this mangificent blue ball hurtling through space.  What a joy!  What a delight!!!

Why would we ever choose not to be here? Ah yes, back stage. Back home. Where we reconnect with our loved ones. Where we experience unconditional love on a permanent basis. The kind of love Will wrote about in his sonnets, the kind of love that is beyond comprehension, beyond the capacity of the brain to understand which can only be known by experience. That kind of love.

I could go on.  I will go on.  Be.  Don't not be. Trust in the choice you made. You chose to be. Try to understand and enjoy that choice. Make others happy they made the choice to be with you.  
Be all you can be. In your heart. In others' hearts.

Catch you on the Flipside. 

HAMLET: To be, or not to be--that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. (except we don't... the troubles end to be sure, but we don't end)
To die, to sleep--
No more--and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. (That we chose to experience so we could understand or know them)
 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep--
To sleep--perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. (Or not. Some are able to lucid dream. Some experience dreams as reality. Some believe that the dream state is reality. We have a poor choice of words for a myriad of experience that we can only refer to as a dream.)
There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? (All stones in our path that become diamonds once we've overcome them.  A bodkin is a knife, and one could argue that the cigarette, the drunk driving is a form of bodkin, that we don't see as threatening our existence - except when it does.)
 Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
(Um, like Jason Bourne - we all come back from that excursion. All, except those who choose not to return. That's up to them. But even you dear Will have made this journey many times.)
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprise of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action. (Or, people realize that they chose to be here, that being here is actually a fun place to be, even if someone has murdered your father the King.  If it's revenge you want, your best option is to serve it by making the perpetrator realize he too chose this lifetime, and nothing can kill your father - hence why he keeps showing up as your ghost.  Or did you not realize that?) -- Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia! -- Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.  (One can hope that in Ophelia's prayers, she prays for Hamlet to realize that compassion is the greatest gift he can learn, and forgiveness the gift he can bestow.  But alas, then we would have no drama.  Conflict is the essence of drama, so thank heavens that he existed in Will's mind so that we can witness the kind of drama we don't have to live through!  If we watch this kind of drama on stage and learn what we don't want to be, it's arguably a form of "experiencing it during a lifetime" and if we've learned the lesson, we don't have to repeat it.  Exeunt.

Hacking the Afterlife is available here:
Flipside is here:
It's a Wonderful Afterlife is here:
and you are Here. Be Here Now.

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Journey Into Tibet

I spent a few weeks with Robert Thurman in Tibet, documenting his journey there. There are clips avail on youtube, but here is the complete documentary "Journey Into Tibet."