The movie is projected onto the screen.
The movie cannot control the screen.
But from within the movie, there is the appearance of choice and control. The movie character appears to make choices, from within the movie, and appears to have a certain amount of control over his or her movie life events.
I can appear to control ‘my life’. But I cannot control life.
And beyond the movie of choice and control, the screen remains untouched….
(Although ultimately, the screen is not ‘beyond’ the movie at all, because concepts like ‘beyond’ are still part of the movie. ‘Beyond’ requires time and space, and time and space only exist within the movie. So there is no ‘beyond the movie’. The dualistic mind will never be able to grasp this paradox…)
Now, the play of choice and control within the movie cannot lead the movie character to freedom from the movie, (which is what the movie character secretly desires more than anything.)
The best the character can hope for is some sense of freedom within the movie.
Ultimately, you cannot escape the movie and reach the screen, because any attempt to reach the screen, and indeed any claim that you have finally reached the screen and are living there permanently (e.g. the guru’s claim that he is ‘dwelling in the Absolute’), is still happening from within the movie, no matter what is claimed or not claimed. Freedom from the movie is impossible, for the movie character. This is why there is no such thing as an ‘enlightened person’.
We are all equally movie characters, whether we like it or not.
Even if we are movie characters who believe that we are not movie characters, that we have escaped the movie, that we have transcended it or gone beyond it – we are still movie characters!
This is total, radical equality!
Freedom from the movie is impossible for the movie character. But from another perspective, freedom from the movie is already the case.
Because there was never anybody ‘trapped’ within the movie, of course!
There only appeared to be ‘somebody trapped in the movie’ because a false duality existed between the movie (“bondage”) and the screen (“freedom”). This duality does not really exist. Never did.
How can a movie character be free from something which only exists as long as he is trying to be free from it?
How can a movie character be free from the one who is trying to get free?
The movie character only has as much reality as the movie!
Here’s the test:
When the movie stops being projected onto the screen, the character disappears. Then there is no character who was ever trapped, and no character who would ever need to escape, or could escape even if they needed or wanted to.
It’s not that the character is trapped and cannot escape, it’s that there is nobody there who is trapped and cannot escape.
Total freedom is already the case. But not for the movie character.
As Ramana Maharshi said, that which does not exist in deep dreamless sleep is not real.
Anything that disappears when the projector is switched off was simply part of the movie, part of the dream of individuality.
In other words, your problems are only as real as you are.
And this is all a long-winded way of saying something very simple indeed:
True freedom is not found through escaping present experience.
True freedom is right here, in the midst of every present experience, in the same way that every scene in the movie is equally a projection – the painful scenes as much as the joyful scenes.
And all the while, the screen, intimate with all the projections, is already at ease.
That which is already at ease, has no need to search for freedom.
The end of seeking is simpler than you could ever imagine.
And now, enjoy the movie……