I have only watched some preview scenes of the movie “The Hunger Games” in Youtube, besides the official trailer. At first, I thought the movie sounded cool, as there was much talk about the great acting performances, which I came across when I was doing research for the movie review for my magazine project, hence I decided to check out the preview videos. But I felt disturbed upon watching a scene of a teenage girl running towards another teenage girl armed with an axe to attack her. Maybe the message of the story is about the sad effects of living in a dystopian society, but nevertheless I can’t help feeling that stories like these based on violence and gore tend to be part of propaganda themselves, and they are probably being marketed to feed the attention of the society that is hungry for action, to stimulate their senses (and perhaps also to escape from having to explore and deal with the inner depths of their own souls).
I think there is a certain danger that over-exposure to media that are filled with violence can cause people to become numb to our basic human emotions and sensibilities. At the same time, I believe everyone has a dark and light side in themselves, and when people feed only on one side, either light or dark, they tend to harm themselves and others indirectly, by becoming either too legalistic and judgmental (by preaching behaviour modification and enforcing conformity – don’t we all hate moralising and condemning sermons by preachers, however well-meaning?), or too soulless and callous (by accepting harm done to a neighbour as a necessity in the name of revenge or survival).
In the face of all this, how can we make a change? I don’t know. I suppose each of us has to find our own answer because ultimately, we do not want to impose our own beliefs or convictions onto other people too. For me, I will choose the way of meditation and contemplation because I am realising more and more that we are all connected as One, so if one being is hurt, the rest of the beings are hurt as well. Similarly, if one of us is peaceful, the rest of us will benefit as well. Maybe the realisation of our interconnectedness and oneness will be able to override the society’s mindset of “us” versus “them” that is based on the illusion of ego and separation.
I believe peace is possible, and yet it is not something that is boring or ethereal or unrealistic. There is a difference between fake niceness and genuine kindness, which I find lacking in the movie story. Maybe it is intended to be that way, since people will watch and despair at how the characters struggle to make sense of the brutal reality of being ruled by a totalitarian government and having their human dignity snatched away by the harsh circumstances in which they have to fight for survival.
Maybe a buddhist might willingly give his or her life in such a scenario. Or anyone who has awakened to the truth of our oneness. To die in such a brutal reality may seem like losing, but then again, much of the society tends to think only in terms of good and bad, or us and them. We can move beyond the concept of duality in order to embrace the totality of our existence. Life is more than “winning” or “losing”. In a war, no one is truly a winner. No wonder by the end of the story (the third part of the trilogy), even those who survive the war (Hunger Games) through bloodshed and violence are left feeling forlorn, each a jaded and crestfallen being. Why? Because the senseless killing of one another does not honour our true Self. I feel that each of us intuitively knows we are designed to be loved and to love. We are beloved and innocent children of Divine Love at our innermost core, when all else is stripped away, when all the conditionings of the society/religion/politics are removed.
While I was browsing through the mystical and new age books in a large book store yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to find Osho’s books as well. Here’s sharing here an interesting passage from his book “Living Dangerously”:
“The most difficult thing in life is to drop the past – to drop the past means to drop the whole identity, to drop the whole personality. It is to drop yourself. You are nothing but your conditionings.
It is not like dropping clothes – it is as if one’s skin is being peeled off. Your past is all that you know you are. Dropping is difficult, arduous – the most difficult thing in life. But those who can dare to drop it, only they live. Others pretend to live, others simply go on dragging themselves somehow. They don’t have any vitality – they can’t have. They live at the minimum, to live at the minimum is to miss the whole thing.
It is only when you live at the optimum of your potential that blossoming happens. It is only at the optimum expression of your being, of your truth, that God arrives – that you start feeling the presence of the divine.
The more you disappear, the more you feel the presence of the divine. But the presence will be felt only later on. The first condition to be fulfilled is disappearing. It is a kind of death.
Hence it is difficult. And conditioning has gone very deep – because you have been conditioned from the very beginning; from the first moment you were born, conditioning started. By the time you became alert, a little aware, it had already reached to the deepest core of your being. Unless you penetrate yourself to this deepest core that was not conditioned at all, that was before conditioning started, unless you become that silent and that innocent, you will never know who you are.
You will know you are a Hindu, a Christian, a communist. You will know you are an Indian, a Chinese, a Japanese, and you will know many things – but those things are just conditionings imposed upon you. You had come into the world utterly silent, pure, innocent. Your innocence was absolute.
Meditation means to penetrate to that core, to that innermost core. Zen people call it knowing the ‘original face’.”
(from the chapter “Belief is borrowed, trust is yours”)
This is enlightening, eh? The truth of our true identity that is pure and innocent and free from conditionings resonates fully with me. Yes, I am essentially and fundamentally neither a Christian nor a Chinese. I am a pure and free and innocent child of the Divine Love.