The Scriptless Movie is a description I wrote down of an experience I had whilst staying on Brindavan Farm, near Lucknow in India, in 2013. I was visiting Lucknow with a group of people who had gathered to attend Satsang with Gangaji and Eli at Satsang Bhavan: the meeting house of their guru Papaji while he was alive.
At the time my mind was very quiet, and I was fully present as the awareness of the experience:
“It’s like I’m the director of a movie that has no script. I’m also the principal actor, the cameraman, the crew, as well as all the other actors playing every other part. Most strange of all, I’m also the backdrop, scenery, and the location where the movie is taking place.
At every moment I don’t know what is going to happen. Everything is being filmed, but with hidden cameras that I can’t see. This witnessing of every moment of my life unfolds without me, the director, having any idea of how it should look, and without me, the principal actor, having any idea about how it is going to look, or even how it is looking. It just is.
As the main character of The Scriptless Movie the action follows me around. In fact the whole crew, set, cameraman, and director, follow me around continuously, unseen and unheard. I am always running into myself, an infinite number of aspects of myself, as I am everything, everyone, and everywhere. I interact with myself spontaneously in an unknown way, and then I move on to the next aspect of myself to interact with.
How I respond in each of these interactions is not known before hand. If my mind tries to take the lead and decide what to say or how to behave in these interactions everything goes flat and dead. It feels like the scene around me starts to fade; it becomes dull and lifeless. When this is noticed, the director, also me, says “cut” silently to himself, the cameraman. At some point after this “cut”, everything is reset and starts up again, fresh.
At every moment I am acutely aware of the suffering all around me in the movie as it occurs. I can see that if every other aspect of myself could see the movie as I see it, they would be able to escape from the suffering as I have. If only I could make them see that their point of view is not actually real, that they are seeing holographs of their past memories, and that their conditioning is playing out over and over again with the same, usually bad, outcomes.
Temporary relief from their pain and suffering is available by acquiring something that is desired, but they are instantly back into their story of insufficiency, and the desire and suffering starts up again. Over and over and over, ad infinitum.
I see that it is possible for me, as the main character of the film, to say and do things that might make the other aspects of myself realize that they are dreaming, to help them realize that they are in essence asleep and suffering unnecessarily. What I say and do can be taken badly, however, as it can be perceived and interpreted as threatening to the familiar sense of self and identity that the other characters strongly believe themselves to be. Any possibility of losing this sense of a secure identity is terrifying, and so is resisted aggressively.
Because it is all me, I feel great compassion for the plight of the other characters in The Scriptless Movie; I want desperately to ease suffering wherever I can. Attempting to do so on the level of the mind, at the dualistic level, however, just doesn’t work. It only perpetuates the belief in my individual self, and the individual selves of others. I have discovered that any ‘intervention' must occur on the level of the heart.
This starts with me, with the principal character, stopping the practice of desire and suffering. It starts with this one, with Stevie, giving up his past and all of the ways he is identified, by himself and by others. It can only start when I drop my attention deeply into the core of my being, and discovers the silent, aware, presence of Emptiness, of God, that is ultimately who I am, and who and what everyone and everything is. Then, allowing myself to be moved and motivated by that benevolent loving force.
This eternal, unborn, undying purity, this silent, still perfection, this creative, dynamic potentiality, can then become fully embodied back into me, into Stevie. Stevie is then living and moving in The Scriptless Movie from Emptiness. Moving from Emptiness, as Emptiness. Living from Love, as Love. Letting Love move him and act spontaneously and compassionately through him: he becomes a Bodhisattva.”
Today, here, if I focus on this metaphor for the experience of life without past and future that I have been describing, the feeling is that while the ‘movie’ is still scriptless, a better analogy is that the script is being written freshly in each moment. It arises spontaneously out of the unknown mystery of Being with a truly creative newness. There is really no need for a director as such because the direction occurs and is known as it unfolds without contraction of the mind around how it should look or progress. Stevie can relax, let go more deeply of any need to control his experience, and be in wonder at the myriad manifestations of Life as they unfold all around him . . .
Original story written: March, 2013, Lucknow, India.
Edited and expanded: November, 2014, Paris.