There is a scene in the movie “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” in which Gilbert takes his new girlfriend Becky home to meet his mother. Mama is depressed, housebound and weighs well over 400 pounds.
When Becky and Gilbert walk into the room, the first thing Mama does is look up at the young, lanky, fresh-faced girl and say “I haven’t always been like this”. To which Becky replies, “I haven’t always been like this”.
It’s a wonderful moment, and so very simple. See past this body, and know that this body is not the real me.
I think about this scene all of the time when I meet new people. One of the first things I do when I meet someone new is imagine what they may have looked like/been like when they were young. And with the children I teach, I imagine what they might look like/be like when they grow up. I move people through time in my head. Because I know, they haven’t always been like this, and won’t always be.
I haven’t always been like this, and I won’t always be. I was once a baby, a child, a teenager, a young adult. And so were you. You were all of those things.
Now I’m a grownup (in theory), but I won’t always be like this. I will be middle aged (all right, I am already) and if I’m lucky, I will be a senior citizen. I will be elderly. Ultimately, I will be a corpse. And so will you. You will be all of those things.
I haven’t always been like this. I was different last year, but other than pounds, down and up, here and there, I don’t feel much different. I feel like the same person I was last year.
But I don’t feel like the same person I was when I was 15. Not at all. My body has changed so much since then. And my mind has also changed. It has been completely overhauled. Most of the thoughts and ideas I had when I was 15 are long gone. Almost everything I believed has changed.
My body is completely different. And my mind is as well. Yet, I am still me. So then, what is ‘me’? What is ‘I’? The constant unchanging ‘I’? The Self with a capital S?
I am the thing inside that has not changed at all since the day I was formed. I live in that place where two energies connected, formed into a blastocyst and brought me into existence.
Call it my light. Call it my universal energy, my magic power. Call it my soul, my Self. I will call it your light. Your universal energy. Your magic power. Your soul. Your Self.
And we can call it Namaste. It is the light in me that sees the light in you. It is the thing that is at the center of all things, at the heart of the matter. From the moment of our inception, our conception, it is the same in all of us. It binds us together; to each other and to the universe.
And then it gets covered up. Slowly, over time, it gets covered with experiences, language, ideas, knowledge, beliefs, opinions, feelings.
Different things cover each of our lights, because we each experience different things, and are exposed to different things. We believe in different things. We value different things. Our minds change. Our bodies change. Some of our lights are completely covered over.
When we talk about self-improvement; when we go on a diet, or start exercising, let go of a bad habit or begin to meditate we are not trying to move forward to a place of enlightenment. We are trying to move back to that light.
Because we were enlightened all along.
Because we were the light all along.
That light. The light in you, that is in me. It is the same. And it is the same light that shines out of the sun, bounces off of the moon, and angles off of the stars. The light that reflects off of you is the same light that reflects off of me. And it pours out of light bulbs, and glows out of my cell phone, and glares off of the blank white page. The blank white page of my life story.
I have been the narrator of this life story, and I have covered over that blank white page with words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters. My words cover the page as the story unfolds. But I wouldn’t be able to see the words without that blank space.
The space between the letters. The place where the light shines through.
I have to see past the words, back to the blank white page. Crawl underneath the words, and back to enlightenment.
See past this body, and know that this body is not the real me.
I may not always have been just like this. But I have always been that light.
And so have you.
Hre’s the scene from the movie. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
And a song…. Can You See the Real Me?