“It is freedom from the world that the deepest part of you seeks, knowing that in overcoming the world, all that is left is God, which is all there ever has been, and all there ever will be.”
~ The Journey That Never Was.
The Truman Show is one of the most powerful man-made metaphors of the spiritual journey I have ever seen. Its messages of Truth and awakening can easily be overlooked if one doesn’t see the deeper meaning of the movie.
For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, it is a story about a man named Truman (Jim Carrey) who was born and raised in a movie set. This set is the size of a small town, and is enclosed by a large dome that, when looked upon from the ground, looks the same way our sky looks with changing weather patterns and a sun that rises and falls.
Truman’s whole existence is this movie set. In fact, it is all he has ever known. He was born and raised on set, and now goes to work, comes home to his wife and hangs out with his best friend drinking a few beers here and there. But he doesn’t realize his entire life is a stage and everyone – from his wife, best friend, co-workers, policemen, newspaper boy, etc – are all actors who are part of a production that is being broadcasted to the entire world 24/7. Truman is an unwitting guinea pig, manipulated by a television conglomerate and used for the world’s entertainment.
The story of Truman’s life takes a turn when a few actors fail to be 100% vigilant in playing their roles, exposing a crack in the hitherto flawless system. To make matters worse for the production team, Truman’s unconsummated true love subverts the production team and surreptitiously reveals the truth of his existence to him. Immediately, he begins to question his life, and his long-standing intuition that something has never felt quite right becomes more real.
From a spiritual perspective, this would be Truman’s calling to something greater; a chance to make sense of that feeling he always had that there is more to life than this. And it is up to him to answer the call, as it is with all of us. Of course in the movie he does, and he soon finds more and more reasons to feel that his world is not what it seems. So, he decides he needs to find a way out so he can discover the Truth.
Walking away from the hallucination of our existence is not an easy journey as Truman found out. When a caterpillar begins its metamorphoses into a butterfly, the first thing that happens is new butterfly cells begin to emerge. But because the caterpillar’s immune system does not recognize these cells, it kills them. It does its best to protect itself from what is unknown and from what it perceives as a threat to the caterpillar’s existence. Much like our ego, it seeks to maintain the status quo. I’m sure you can think of many examples of this in your own life and in the history of mankind. Our collective and individual ego will always deceitfully maintain the status quo even to the point of killing others. The most famous example is Jesus – the butterfly cell – killed by ego cells protecting their own identity.
Truman is not killed, and like Jesus and the butterfly cells, he is vigilant in the path of Truth, persisting despite the suppression of the collective ego that is the production team. Like the immune cells, the production team perseveres at stopping Truman’s path out of his cocoon in an attempt to keep him from metamorphosing from his illusory existence.
After many failed attempts to escape by land, Truman soon realizes that the only way out of his existence is to cross the sea (man-made sea that is) by sailboat. With no sight of land in the horizon, the task of crossing the unknown sea is daunting enough for Truman without him having to face his greatest fear: water. The overwhelming fear of water had griped him ever since he was a child when his pseudo father had drowned (or so it seemed to Truman) on a father-son sailing trip. His father’s drowning in the treacherous seas that day was the perfect stratagem orchestrated by the production team. Therein after, Truman became afraid of water and the production’s one unprotected border and means of escape – the sea – became out of bounds, at least in Truman’s mind.
To walk the path of awakening, fears and mental bounds need to be overcome. And as Truman’s story goes, he chooses to face his fears and begins to cross the unknown sea. This part of the movie represents a time of testing and uncertainty in our spiritual journey. As challenging as it can seem, it is a rite of passage into the Kingdom of God where our faith is tested and our fears are faced. We are walking away from the firm footing of land we have always known into the unchartered amorphousness of the sea. We are walking into the Light and saying “Yes” to the offering of God to return Home.
As the production team witnesses his escape across the sea, they find new ways to stop him; this time by creating thunder storms with treacherous waves. Truman faces both his internal fears and doubts, and the external challenges posed by the collective ego, and yet he keeps going. And then one moment in particular becomes the critical point of this pilgrimage across the sea for him. Known as the “dark night of the soul”, the production team succeeds at impeding his journey by raising the intensity level of the storm such that his boat tips over, trapping him underneath. It is here that he truly faces his ego and the collective ego head on.
Satisfied as the ego is when it stifles progress into the Light and retains its grip on “reality”, the production team thinks it has won in regaining control of Truman’s life. But they soon become nonplussed in realizing Truman has conquered his fear, flipping his boat over and continuing onwards, despite his boat being a tattered resemblance of what it was before.
Truman has indeed overcome his fears and is now coasting to the “finish line.” Suddenly, to his amazement his boat hits a wall – the wall of the dome, painted in blues and whites of the fake sky and clouds. And there, up a flight of stairs ascending out of the water is a doorway – the Gate. It is the gateway beyond the dream of our illusory life and identity. It is the gateway beyond the life Truman has always known, and beyond Truman himself. With a smile and a wave, Truman says good-bye and walks through.
“As you overcome the world and your Oneness is remembered and restored, the ego is forgotten. It is as if it never existed, because in Truth it never did, right along with the world, and you are left to revel in your Wholeness, your Completeness, your Oneness with all that is, without question, just Joy.” ~ The Journey That Never Was
And so it is that Truman and life as he knew it was no more. Although his and our own spiritual journeys appear as horizontal across time and space, the journey is really a vertical one of overcoming the trappings of the ego and human body, and returning to God. We return to the body of God as our true identity, as God experiencing this earth, without the illusion of ever being bound to it. We’ve transcended the dream into the Kingdom of Heaven where Truth shines down as the only reality there ever was.
About the author: Vince Gowmon presents keynotes and playshops and offers somatic Life Coaching and Counselling in person, on Skype and over the phone. For more of his writing, subscribe to his free e-newsletter. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.