We’ve all been to the movies. We know what it’s like. You sit comfortably in your seat, one arm delicately balancing your 45-gallon drum of popcorn, the other steadfastly holding on to the 12-litre jug of Coke while you impatiently watch 38 minutes of trailers before finally the magic words Feature Presentation appear on the screen.
And for the next 1 hour and 23 minutes your reality is suspended, and you are no longer watching a movie – you are in the movie.
You feel the pain of the victims, hatred towards the villains, the adrenaline rush of the invariable car chase and the feeling of relief and ecstasy when all’s well that ends well.
All this while mindlessly shoveling popcorn into your face and proving once and for all that things really do go better with Coke.
You know none of this is real, yet for a period of time the images on the screen flowing from a projector somewhere behind you have captured your emotions as vividly as if they were a part of your everyday life.
Although a movie is a distorted version of reality, it’s a great metaphor for life.
Life Imitates Art
In the movie theatre, the projector is a piece of equipment operated by a person who chooses which images to project onto the screen. Juxtapose that with your life: you also decide which images to project onto the screen you know as your reality.
In other words, the only images on your screen are those you choose to place there. Let that sink in for a moment, because this one statement has the propensity to alter your life significantly if you choose to embrace this reality.
As you may recall, the only meaning of any event in our lives is the one we choose to place upon it, and our life screen only reflects those images we have chosen to project onto it.
No two of us, experiencing identical events, will interpret those events in precisely the same way. We will each place our own nuance, importance, relevance and ultimately meaning on the event which will result in different images being projected onto our two different screens.
Each memory we have is like a video that is always available to be loaded onto the projector that is us, and then shown on our screen to our audience of one.
We are the Director
There is however one significant difference between the movie in the theatre and the movie in our mind. In the theatre, someone else chooses the storyline, the cast and the ending.
But when we watch the movie in our minds, we are the writer, director and producer and we can change scene as often as we please until we get the ending we want. We can cast ourselves as the downtrodden and sorrowful, desperate victim or as the unstoppable, unconquerable giant who always sees opportunity in adversity and victory as the inevitable consequence of defeat.
We can change the worst movie into the best movie and the saddest into the happiest. Best of all, we can make ourselves, or anyone we wish, the hero of our movie.
Have you ever noticed the mood you take with you when you leave the movie theatre is heavily influenced by the final scenes of the movie you have just watched? The same goes for our “mind movie.” Every day our emotional state – and consequently the quality of our lives – is heavily influenced by the scenes from what we have chosen to project onto our inner screens.
Which means we can choose our lives to be filled with fun and laughter. We can do this without having to overpay for oversized portions of junk food.
And we can nominate ourselves for an Oscar every day.
Till we read again.