Movies as Analogy

Since I read Yogananda’s analogy of a movie screen, I have been curious about it – mainly because it does not (yet?) fit my own experience.

But lately, there has been a shift here. Maybe not so much in my experience, but in how I see it.

Using the headlessness inquiries, I can see how – in Douglas Harding’s words – the whole world of phenomena is “out there”, always at a certain distance from me, and that “I” am here, at zero distance. Or, as he also says, I am capacity for the whole world of phenomena.

This is a somewhat clumsy way of putting it, setting up a seer-seen duality which is not really there. At the same time, it is an elegant way of easing people into the experience and realization of it. It helps people shift the center of gravity into the seeing, the witness, which is a step on the way to realizing selflessness.

As we awaken to ourselves as seeing, and then to realize selflessness, there is also a sense of everything becoming more intimate, more “two-dimensional” – with no distance. There is intimacy and distancelessness, yet also clearly the conventional distance we all are familiar with. This is most likely because it really is this way. It is all God, Spirit, Ground – so there really is no distance. Yet, in the world of form there also is distance.

And there is also a sense of disidentification with any particulars of what is happening. It all comes and goes, within and as Ground. None of it is really more “I” than anything else.

So from all of this – finding myself as the seeing within which all happens, through a sense of intimacy with everything happening, of no distance, of it all being “two-dimensional”, and through the disidentification with particular content – I can see how the movie screen analogy can match some of my own experiences.

There is really a sense of (a) it all being flat and “out there”, yet also (b) of intimacy, no distance and no separation, and also (c) a sense of disidentification with any particulars of what is happening. And this could be described using a movie screen analogy.


Some aspects…

  • All phenomena as a seamless field
  • No I inherent in any segment of it
  • A sense of intimacy with everything
  • And no distance to anything
  • Yet also conventional distance
  • A disidentification with everything happening, including everything associated with this human self

… which together could be described as a movie unfolding (light dancing) on a screen.

  • It is all a seamless field. On the screen because it is just that, on the screen. In the world of phenomena because there is no I anywhere.
  • It is all “equal” in the sense that there is no I inherent anywhere. Not on the screen, not in the world of phenomena.
  • It is all up front, right there, intimate and with no distance.
  • And there is a disidentification with it. With the movie because it is just a story, with the world of phenomena because there is no I anywhere – it is just happening.

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