The Cue to Awaken From a Mindless Script
posted by Anthony Bossler on November 26th, 2016
“All the world is a stage
We are but merely players
With our many entrances and exits.”
– William Shakespeare
For so long in my life, I was trying to be something or not be something; also infamously from Hamlet’s “To be or not to be”. As far back as I can remember, me doing something, not doing something, being a certain way, or not being a certain way gained approval, attention, and ultimately some form of recognition or validation in my life. Whether is was parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, or even strangers, there was always some goal to attain, to be accepted and garnished with attention and love.
Throughout my childhood I was raised by television and movies. These mediums portrayed creative (and sometimes no so creative) stories that served as poor substitutes for the expansive human experience. I lived vicariously through movies. And without guidance or real direction on how to integrate situations or rights of passage in life. I resourced the vast expanse of cinema and eventually literature. Like a surgeon I would carefully copy and re-enact scenes and excerpts to apply skilfully to any situation and gain that which I sought. At times it was a fun game, and at others it was a desperate scramble to stave off depression, anxiety, and utter hopelessness.
So, as I came to the exciting prospect of a college education, it was no surprise I chose to study theater and film, with a focus on acting and directing. Playing the part and constructing the conditions to experience various aspects of humanity. Whether I knew it at the time or not, it was an outlet to feel, experience, and channel these unprocessed energies of life.
Are we all just learning to act?
Initially it was fun just learning to express myself and find my voice. To experiment, explore, investigate the human experience through a story or character. The next layer then became learning about myself; who I was, my habits, quirks and tendencies, only to deconstruct them to create a blank slate from which to build a living, breathing character. These exercises, in their essence, were meant to clear my mind, my story, my habitual postures and ways of thinking and reacting to be free from all morals and personal identification. That’s one way of building a character and then bringing it to life; much like Pinocchio.
As I practiced this craft, inevitably I began to tap into this deeper state of being and creative expression. I could really see the value of how these artistic expressions could deliver powerful messages and provide benefit to humanity. It became a motivation to work harder and not rest on my accomplishments.
Despite all this, there was still separation in my life. It was a disconnect from the ‘me’ that delved into the depths of this blank slate where I could create and bring these characters or stories to life, and the ‘me’ that was living everyday life off screen and off stage.
I found I could take some of the skills and gifts I’d developed to manipulate, steer, and direct conditions in my life to my own benefit. Many times this was at the cost of others, whether they knew it or not. The freedom that arose from unregulated expression, success, attention, and abundance gave a temporary sense of security, ease, and fulfilment. It was also a glorious distraction from looking at my old friends; fear, doubt, shame, judgment, desire, self pity, self importance, and isolation.
What lays under the characters?
Ultimately though, all those disturbing emotions and mental stories and habits were still there. No matter how much success, praise, lovers, friends, or financial abundance came, the emotions and stories remained. No amount of hiding in roles, addictions, numbing, or forgetting could change the fact these energies were there within me; within me and crying out to be acknowledged, accepted, and processed. There was a slow trickle of a realization that the path opening ahead could only bring me temporary relief and satisfaction.
Somewhere within me, conscious or not, something pulled me. Pulling to find this state of joy, love, and well-being that wasn’t conditional, but as natural as breathing air; a state of being at the essence of being human. It was a state that I’d later learn was misunderstood, obscured, or forgotten so much that it was rare to find. And this pulling became my inner compass.
Thus I found myself at a crossroads in life where continuing in any way not conducive to my personal evolution became an endless source of suffering. The decision to break from the cycle came and letting go of all the accumulation began. Letting go of my safe and comfortable relationship, letting go of the security of and comfort of a home, letting go of superficial friendships, letting go of the companionship of my dog, letting go of the freedom my car provided, and letting go of the career that provided all of those things.
A more authentic chapter
With that cleansing, the journey into simplicity and the essence of life began. I began my journey in the backwoods of Maine and continued across the mountains, deserts, and forest all over the western United States, from California up to Alaska and everywhere in between. Initially I found myself living in a tent in the mountains with all my possessions in one backpack. I was working long hours doing intense physical labor, pushing my body, mind, and spirit further than I knew possible.
I was working and living 24/7 with small groups of people, building community, going through challenges together, and learning to be human while being unable to run away from our issues. My relationship with myself began to expand and grow as depths were uncovered in the vast mountain ranges, the vibrant yet subtle deserts, the gentle wisdom of the forests, the powerful depths of the oceans, and the flowing tranquility of the the rivers.
I started becoming a part of nature, rather than something separate trying to control, dominate, or manipulate. As this happened, my interactions in life also began to shift. I became more aware of how I interacted or reacted with the world around me and what drove these interactions. I started to recognize that pulling, that essence, that had been guiding me my entire life, the seat of joy, peace, and love; my heart/soul. Some part of me knew that there would be challenges, bumps in the road, and detours. But at least now I knew that I had a compass and what steered it, affording me a general feel for the direction I now journeyed in life.
Life became an exercise of opening up, trusting, honoring and acting on intuition. Even amidst this breakthrough, a role was still being played. The role of the seeker, adventurer, treasure hunter, or unsuspecting hero. All of the choices and experiences lead to another pivotal crossroads in life. The point where my compass lead me to volunteering with Paititi Institute in its new mountain home.
Dropping all the roles
Everything within Paititi’s mission was what I felt and aspired to in my life, yet had previously lacked the clarity to manifest. Living in the mountains, primitive conditions, and community were not foreign to me in the least; they were odd comforts and teachers in my life now. I began to realize that all these tools and skills, both external and internal, were just preliminary – kindergarten so to speak. All the work to that point in my life was like the cutting back of the brush and clearing the space on which to build a foundation.
Through practice and deeper resonance with Paititi’s work; I found myself utilizing both my mountain and community building skills to help coordinate and caretake at this Peruvian sanctuary. Through this process I found myself shifting, changing, rearranging, opening up. A deeper sense of trust and interconnectedness sprouted within me. The more I delved into the evolutionary process facilitated by the Tibetan, Andean, and Amazonian lineages, the greater the shift in my being. I caught glimpses of states of joy, love, and well-being that I’d only been able to conceptualize in my mind up to that point. It was that which my heart had always been steering towards – that original center.
A new path forward emerged
Out of this, a new path in life began to emerge. The path of being in a human body, as a human being. Learning how I could be of greater service to humanity by processing all these fragmented, repressed, and unintegrated energies and emotions of my life. By truly beginning to face, acknowledge, and embrace all parts of myself, light and dark, I’ve began to truly be of service to others by mirroring that possibility.
This path has many names, but I’ve become an apprentice of life. The consummate student on the path to total liberation, freedom beyond illusion of separation by seeking the liberated essence that’s interconnected to all of life, the universe, the spaciousness from which infinite possibility arises. In essence, I’d found a ship, a map, a crew, and teachers to show me how to read the map, use the compass, and navigate the ocean. All together on our individual journeying to remember how to be a human being so we can live a life in service and mutual co-operation to grow, cultivate, and share that with humanity.
It is with deep gratitude that I’m able to walk this path, learn, and grow. Gratitude to my teachers and cohorts who share this journey, their wisdom, and the ancestral wisdom, and providing the space to grow, learn, and evolve. Thanks to the friends and family that help and support each other along the way. And lastly, I’m thankful to have caught glimpses of this state and found deeper purpose in life to embody that natural state of universal love and compassion and utilize it in service to humanity.
As I enter a new stage of this voyage, I still recognize this world is a stage. Now though, the awareness is budding that ‘I’ am not the character. There is the essence behind all the roles, the human being that’s emerging. All the roles are now in service to the message of those universal qualities of humanity such as kindness, love, compassion, patience. Now this world is the stage to tell this story – the story of being human. With gratitude, humility, love, and joy I continue on this path with perseverance with all of you.
Doves from my heart.