Watching a movie

His Holiness the Karmapa presented the  Buddhist notion of non-attachment with a simple yet profound metaphor – that we all live our lives as if we are in a movie. The characters, including ourselves, are fabricated beings. We give them names and identities according to their family, education, socioeconomic location, surrounding culture and media, etc. We then attach ourselves to these characters. We cry, we laugh, we feel rage and elation, or attachment and aversion. We allow ourselves to get overwhelmed and discouraged by the suffering we experience or the changes we undergo. But non-attachment is a realizing that it is all just a movie. It’s a recognition that our thoughts and visions have been clouded with the many fabrications, projections, and illusions inside the movie and that we actually have a second “I” watching. This second “I” can see from all angles and can therefore respond with greater awareness and compassion. So what if we were able to step back from particularly overwhelming moments of life and respond to it as if we were watching a movie?

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