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We all have a mental movie projector that plays reruns. We get stuck in reruns. Boy, anybody can relate to that. Now, what I’ve learned up close with some of my challenging patients over the years, is that this “movie” metaphor is so powerful, and it’s so “real.”

It’s so real. Imagine we’re in a movie theater watching a horror film. Let’s say we don’t like the horror film and yet we can’t get out of the seat. We’re going to be very, very uncomfortable. Our body is going to respond as if we’re in danger and we cannot get out of that movie.

Movie ProjectorNow, intellectually we know there’s a movie projector at the back of the theater. There are still pictures – 24 frames per second – going through that movie projector and the film is on the screen. It’s really the R-E-E-L. It’s reel, and it seduces our senses as if it’s R-E-A-L.

What a beautiful analogy and metaphor for the mind, because the mind seduces us. I’ve seen it up close in the privilege of my profession. When people invite me into their dark places and spaces, I see up close these movies that are reruns that get played over and over, and cause dis-ease.

What I’ve been able to learn and to teach is to show people how to be aware of that trap. How to get some space so that a little part of them isn’t sucked in to that home movie so that little part can grow. The observer – the non-judgmental observer that needs the information to say, “Oh wow! Wow!” And then, we can learn to edit and splice. Change the reel, change the script, change the movie.

Change doesn’t happen in an instant. It’s an ongoing process of awareness and more awareness, and then, practicing that awareness of how we can react and get stuck in our reaction mode. When we start to learn that, we are editing and splicing.

Reruns are boring. When we create new episodes that are transformational ~ that’s very exciting!

Slow down the movie

With awareness of how the concept of this mental movie is working in your daily life, you start to slow down that movie… start to put the brakes on it. You see where it has come from in the past and you know intellectually, it no longer works for you in the present.

There’s another part of us. In the emotional part, emotions don’t know the calendar. So, there’s that emotional pool towards the origin, in time, where these came from. It’s simply complex and very compelling. There’s a part of us that has the awareness, and yet, the awareness tends to be discontinuous.

There’s another hurdle: it’s when we have more and more continuous awareness. Then, we deal with the emotions that still have power over us. When we start dealing with emotions without judgment, that’s the key there. Without judgment or let’s say, with less and less judgment, those emotions lose their grip on our reality screen.

The emotions and the stories … that’s what goes into the movie reel in our mental movie projector. Quite fascinating, don’t you think?

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photo credit: An old theater via photopin (license)

photo credit: Projector Espai Caralt Filmoteca de Catalunya via photopin (license)