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THE GAME


One of my favorite movies is The Game, the David Fincher-directed gem starring Michael Douglas as a billionaire leading a pampered existence on Wall Street who is haunted by demons (his father committed suicide at the age of 48) and whose perfect little world is shaken up when on his own 48th birthday his younger wastrel brother, played by Sean Penn, gives him a unique present. The gift is an entry in CRS, an acronym for Consumer Recreation Services. It is a real-life game, whose purpose, Douglas is told, is to find out the purpose of the game. Douglas is buffeted from one misfortune to another, faces death several times over, is led to the brink of his own suicide, and emerges from the game permanently changed. His personality is cracked, is little world shattered, his consciousness expanded, his life will never be the same. Isn't this game a lot like life, whose purpose is to find its purpose? Instead, we remain locked in our individual consciousnesses pursuing money and begetting children as if this will buy us our place in eternity.

But as Sri Aurobindo said, "The shutting up of the individual in his own personal consciousness of separate and limited mind, life and body prevents what would otherwise be the natural law of our development."

There is a larger purpose here than the individual mind. Ever heard the term elevate one's consciousness?

Ramana Maharshi was purported to have said on his death bed, in response to disciples' pleas that he not leave them (he was regarded as a divine incarnation by many followers): "Where can I go?" Implying his identity with Absolute Reality, consciousness pervading all, everywhere. When you are everywhere, where is there to go? You're already there!

I am reading Carl Jung in research for a book on dreams I'm currently writing. Jung was a believer in the psyche, which includes consciousness and unconsciousness. And he urged each individual to plumb the depths of his personality and reach the essence of being. Expand your consciousness. Get out of your own mind and petty thoughts and worries (petty because they are unreal) and be all-pervading. Practice meditation. Ask yourself consciously, "Who am I?" Repeat over and again, "I-I-I." This I is not the ego-based personality, imprisoned in flesh, but Absolute Reality. Existence. By focusing on "I," sinking into the Self, you move from "I am this" (particular person), to  "I am that" (totality), to "I am" the root thought that I exist, and finally, to existence itself, before thought.

This process will not make you monetarily rich, but once the aim of the Self is achieved, you may find that money is not what really matters. For you are the gem.

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