I think when I walk.
Hurts more than blisters, sometimes, let me tell you.
At the moment I’m doing about 12-15kms a day, about 5 days a week.
Usually when I walk I listen to audiobooks. Two hours to immerse myself in someone else’s intellect. I would hate to walk for two hours and do nothing but walk for two hours.
At the moment I’m reading Salman Rushdie’s Two Years, Eight Months, and Twenty Eight Nights. I chose the book intuitively, using my PGS, and once again it didn’t let me down because the book is a highly imaginative and esoteric work on the nature of faith, religion, science, and the nature of the universe.
Consistent with themes I’m exploring with my intuition film, but in a fictional realm.
In the course of thirty years writing drama – screenplays for movies – there’s one thing I’ve learned about creating characters: the most interesting characters are defined by what they’re afraid of.
What they fear the most.
Think about the classic comic book heroes – Indiana Jones is scared of snakes, Superman is scared of Kryptonite. I could go on and on. It’s the flaw in their heroic nature that makes them interesting, makes them human.
Then there’s Woody Allen characters, who are full of paranoias. The Jason Bourne movies, where the central character is driven by a fear of not knowing who he is. Often in movies it’s the fear of death, of loss, of rejection, that drives the central character, and the narrative.
In drama, what the character fears often defines that character more so than their heroic qualities. It defines what they do in the movie.
Yesterday for half my walk I turned off Salman Rushdie and I thought about this. I thought about fear, and it occurred to me that it also defines us. As people.
Sometimes the fears are overt – we fear heights, or cramped spaces, or crowds. So we avoid these places. I know a person who is terrified of cats. Goes into a panic when a cat comes near. I know a couple who are scared of poverty. So they’ve become misers. They’re mean, and ungenerous. They hate Christmas because it’s a time of giving.
These are obvious and demonstrable fears. But it’s the more insidious fears that rule our lives on a much deeper level: Our fear of what’s different, our fear of loss of control, our fear of lack, our fear of rejection, which is allied to our fear of growing old. One of our greatest and most universal fears is our fear of dying. The ultimate fear of loss.
These are the fears that keep us in jobs we hate, that keep us in relationships, both personal and professional, that are destructive, that keep us from fulfilling our true potential in life.
These are the fears that define us, define what we do, define the way we look at the world. On a societal and community level, they lead to racism, bigotry, misogyny, violence, greed.
It’s called Survival Mode. Most of us live in Survival Mode, and we build fortresses around ourselves to keep our fears at bay.
We accumulate wealth, we stay within a close circle of friends, we don’t venture out, physically and metaphysically. we reject what’s different politically. We become fixed in our views. We don’t allow ourselves to be compassionate, or generous, or loving. Because that could be construed as weakness. Or it could lead to lack.
We might think we’re living successful lives, but is living within Survival Mode really living a full and happy life?
I’m astonished at how many people I meet who, once you scratch the surface, are unhappy. They might have a house worth millions of dollars, they might have the latest model SUV, and travel in style around the world, but underneath it all is a snakepit of fears. And a deep abiding unhappiness.
I meet a lot of people with very little who are unhappy too – who are pockmarked with fear.
Interestingly, there are two concepts that I’ve discovered while making my intuition film that kill fear stone dead – the first is the concept of SURRENDER
Surrender is a really scary concept because, by its very nature, it requires you to let go, to relinquish control, to put yourself into freefall. For you to truly surrender, you need to TRUST, which is the second concept I’ve discovered.
Trusting is just as scary as surrendering – perhaps more so – because to trust you need to be fearless.
To trust, to surrender, to be fearless, you need to believe in something greater than the here and now. You need to believe in something greater than a fat bank account, a million dollar mansion, a huge four wheel drive that keeps you protected on the roads, or a political system that keeps immigrants away.
Most people think that they need to live in Survival Mode until they have enough, and then they can shift into a more loving, generous, and more compassionate way of living.
It rarely works like that. Survival Mode is a hard mode to break.
Some do – Bill Gates is a great example. But you don’t need to be one of the richest men in the world to break out of survival mode. All you need is to surrender, trust, and be fearless.
And to do that, you have to believe that you are being guided towards your highest good, towards your true potential, and that you are protected in ways that right now, you may not understand, but are there for you anyway.
In making my intuition film I have had to trust, I’ve had to surrender, and Jennifer and I have had to be fearless. And later, when the film is done, I will reveal how we’ve been protected and guided through the process.
I know it works.