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The World As a Play, the Self as the Actor

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

We've probably all heard various ways of saying that life is like a dream or play. But have we really given that idea much thought? For some time now, I've become much more aware of two distinct aspects of myself - the character I play whose name is Paul, and "myself" as the actor who plays this character. Sometimes I also feel like the audience, watching Paul's daily storyline. The character I play is often caught up in many large and small dramas both in my/his mind and in my/his daily life. I feel real as Paul much of the time, but when I meditate I find that "Paulness" drifts away and I feel a sense of simply joy and awareness that has no storylines, dramas, concerns, etc.

For example, while I'm playing with one of our cats, the experience feels quite real - the feel of their fur, their playfulness and amazing speed when we're playing with one of their toys, and the distinct differences in their personalities and moods. But I'm also aware of a simple feeling of just being, that I and the cats are sharing a subtle inner space and connection. To return to the role/actor metaphor, we're each playing a role and sharing an unnameable merging in the heart.

So, who are we, really? It's hard to separate the infinite and the finite, since the infinite contains everything. We're mind and soul, body and spirit, "ourself" and body, all at once. And since God is infinite, then everything is divine even while seeming separate. It's a magic show, so to speak.

Here's another example: sometimes I feel like I'm writing these blog entries, and sometimes, perhaps often or always, I feel like I'm listening for the ideas and words that come up to be put on "paper" so to speak. If this is what's happening, who's the writer, and who's the scribe? Seriously - when you write an email or some other piece, where does it come from? Are you (or your mental habits) creating it, or are you receiving it? Or both? If "God" is infinite, then the finite is permeated with the infinite, and our minds are imbued with the infinite mind in as much as our bodies and brains are drawn to exploring this way of being.


The tree in this photograph is a sycamore in Oak Creek Canyon, which runs downhill from Flagstaff, Arizona, to Sedona, Arizona, where I'm writing these words. I took this photo because I was enchanted by the colors and textures of the tree's bark, with its remarkable layers of colors, textures, and shapes. It makes me think of a map or planet of some kind, with clouds or kinds of forests, plains, and oceans that we don't have here. Or, perhaps it's an animal's hide, or a painting of a galaxy of some kind.

It somehow fits the topic of this post.

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