(editors note: this is a long post, but it has some important insights, please take the time to go slow and contemplate it over)
Good Morning It’s Groundhog Day!
“We can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one” Paulo Coelho
I recently watched the classic Bill Murray movie “Ground Hog Day”. I realized that this movie is truly enlightening and offers deep insights into life, love, happiness, and living in the now.
This post will explore the meanings I derived from this awesome movie, and how we can apply them in our daily lives. The films main messages parallel many of the harsh reality’s that humanity is currently experiencing, and it’s time we do something about it.
Plot: Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, an egocentric Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, during a hated assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, finds himself repeating the same day over and over again. After indulging in hedonism and numerous suicide attempts, he begins to reexamine his life and priorities.
The Wisdom of Groundhog Day
(here is the theatrical trailer for the movie)
Stage 1 – Attitude Is Everything:
“Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare
The beginning of the movie starts by highlighting Phil’s pessimistic attitude towards everything. On the first day of covering the groundhog story, the producer asks him why he was late to the set, she mentions that he we was missing all the fun.
All the towns people were dancing, laughing, and celebrating. They were all eagerly anticipating the groundhog’s weather prediction. Phil simply responds, “Yeah… they are hicks Rita”. Phil’s ego keeps him from enjoying a little fun, all because he feels he that he is above the townspeople’s traditions.
Remember that the best things in life are free, it’s all about the simple things. Never forget to dance and laugh. A pessimistic attitude will close you off to life and all its glory. Learn to be open and playful. Life really isn’t that serious.
Stage 2 – Wake Up This Is Not a Movie
After waking up on the same day at exactly 6 am, Phil finally realizes that he is not crazy, that he really is living the same day over and over again.
This is your first step in awakening and living a conscious life. You first need to realize you are asleep before you can begin to do anything about it. You need to deeply “see” that this is not just a movie, this is real life. Deeply inquire into your life, you will see that you are basically living the same day every day.
We keep repeating the same dramas over and over again. Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Using this as a criterion it’s safe to say that many of us on a certain level can be considered crazy.
Even though Phil realizes that he is reliving every day, he still commits the same mistakes. Every day for a while he continues to step in the same water puddle on his way to report the news story.
This illustrates how in life we are all deeply influenced by our unconscious habits. Being guided by our habits our conscious presence is not needed. Not being consciously present means that life just happens to us, we are organic machines, we are not participating in life.
Many times we know exactly what situations we are getting into, but once these unconscious tendencies take over, there is nothing we can do. We become lost in a world that is a predominately a product of our imagination.
This is why it’s so hard to change, we may think we only have a few key things to change, but in reality there are hundreds of things that we need to do, in order to really change our lives.
We need to become aware of all the unconscious little habits that are the undercurrent of our reality. This is why you need tremendous energy and discipline to change, it’s not easy to all of sudden change the momentum of hundreds of unconscious tendencies.
Once you realize that the most important thing is that you wake up and live your life, you will identify your essential needs and begin to work on yourself. If you keep at it and don’t give up, you will start feeling a new power and energy rise up within you. This energy if properly channeled will be your ally in changing your life.
Every time life knocks me down, I channel this energy and make things happen.
Live Your Life Change Your Life
One of the important lessons that Phil learns early on, is that once you begin to awaken and take control of your life, people will no longer be able relate to you. People can only understand according to their own level, and not to the actual meaning of things. So if you start awakening to your life, how can someone understand you when they are asleep?
Phil try’s to explain his situation to his producer, she simply thinks he is crazy. For a person to understand it needs to become his experience. So if people don’t get you, there is no need to lose any sleep over it. Unless they experience certain things, they will not be able to relate to you. This is why it is important that you seek out people who are on your level and higher.
You will notice that when you decide to change your life, you may encounter resistance from your friends and family. No one changes, so when you change, everyone is thrown off by it. It gets them thinking…”well if he is changing his life…I should probably change my life,” but they still wont, unless it is intrinsically coming from them. Then they may even resent you for your efforts.
All my aunt’s and uncles were raised on a tiny farming community in Mexico, and have since immigrated to America to pursue the “American Dream”. I am sure that most of my extended family thinks I am crazy for living how I do.
They think I am selfish and don’t care about my family, because I am off exploring the world instead of working hard for my “future”. But I don’t worry one bit about it, because I know that for them to understand, they would need to have seen and done the things I have. Since they have not, I don’t waste any energy in explaining myself.
Just be a shining example of someone who takes his ideas and runs with them, and don’t worry about other people. If they are ready one day, they will come to you and you can point them in the right direction.
Stage 3- Living for Today
When it deeply hits Phil that this is his reality, he begins to contemplate what it all means, what does he do now?
On a late night at the bar with his buddies, he poses this important question. ”What would you do if you where stuck in one place, and every day was exactly the same, and nothing you did mattered?”
A guy just looks over at Phil and takes a shot of alcohol and says, “That pretty much sum’s it up for me.”
This shows that when life becomes too overwhelming, when we see no way out, we choose to escape by becoming temporarily unconscious to life and our reality. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll are some of our favorite ways to escape.
Don’t escape, take responsibility. Being responsible means you respond to life with all the intelligence you have. Escaping is reacting to life. When you respond you are in control, when you react you are in the control of external influences.
What if there was no tomorrow?
Phil then goes on to ask, “What if there was no tomorrow?”. His drinking buddies say, “well that means there would be no consequences, no hangovers, we could do whatever we wanted.”
This was a major turning point for Phil. He starts doing whatever he feels because he realizes there is no tomorrow. He starts going against all his social conditioning’s and beliefs. This was a step in the right direction, but quickly discovers some new challenges.
“I am not going to live by their rules anymore,” Phil announces to his drunk buddies as they ensue on a frantic police chase. He discovers how foolish it was to accept authority so blindly.
Take the time to see how many things in your life you accept just because they tell you it is so, that you don’t even question whether it has any basis of truth? Whats the higher agenda behind it?
There Really Is No Tomorrow
Let me ask you an important question, when have you ever been out of this moment? The only thing that never changes is your witnessing presence, it has always been in the here and now. But how much of your attention is actually focused on it in your day to day life?
Here is one of the main lessons: there really is no tomorrow, this is a concept that only exists in our minds. We experience life by observing how our future is instantaneously turning into the past.
Our brains can’t perceive the eternal present moment, it always slips through our fingers, we can’t put our finger on it. The eternal moment contains all the past, present, and future.
Our brains job is keeping them separate so we can function and live in this reality. As Einstein said, reality is merely an illusion albeit a persistent one, and that the only purpose of time is so that all things don’t happen at once.
Our minds then become extremely clever and then figure out how to keep us comfortable by postponing many of the things that we really want to do.
Meditation is your key in merging you with reality, with the eternal moment. It gradually brings you to it, it lessens the shock. If someone were to all of a sudden become unidentified with their mind, effectively letting go of their past, the shock may be too great. Because without the past, the future falls as well.
Your future is simply your past projecting itself forward in time. If in this instant you dropped your past, you would not understand whats going on. You would lose all the concepts you had of yourself. This is like sending 1000 watts of electricity through 200 watt wiring. Meditation is a gradual unfolding, it eases you into your true nature, so that you will be able to handle it.
Society has also made us forward thinking, it made us ambitious, it nourished us to become something. Becoming is always in the future. They convinced us that happiness is not now, but in the future, a day when we finally become what we envisioned ourselves to be.
It’s the only way society could function in its present form. You need to reclaim your freedom, you can still be in society, you just choose now not to be part of it, be influenced by it. You see the absurdity of it all. It’s all one huge game, as William Shakespeare once said. When you step out of the madness you see how everyone plays their role.
What would happen if society quit competing with one another, quit being ambitious?
Once Phil starts smarting up and learning from his new-found knowledge, he begins to respond to life instead of just reacting. Responding you are in control, reacting you are controlled by external circumstances.
Phil’s producer is deeply puzzled by Phil’s new carefree attitude. She asks him whats going on with him, he says “I don’t worry about anything anymore…that’s what makes me special.”
When Phil realizes how foolish it is to think about a future that doesn’t exist, he begins to live intensely in the now.
Living in the moment how can you worry about things? Right now as you are reading this, is there anything to worry about?…are you silently thinking of mental concepts that are not part of this moment? Relax there is nothing to worry about.
Recently I was on a date and during our conversation she says to me, ”You always seem so relaxed, so mellow, do you worry about anything? Are you trying to be perfect?”
I am not trying to be anything, I am just enjoying being in my own skin. When your not trying to be anything what is there to worry about? This does not mean I am lazy or don’t think about serious issues.
The only things I worry about is how I can contribute in making the world a little better then it is now. I do things because I enjoy them, not because I am trying to be perfect or become something.
Be Careful How You Use Your Knowledge
Phil in the beginning uses his situation to exploit others. He asks a woman for some intimate details, because he knows the next day she wont remember him. He will use this knowledge to make her feel extremely comfortable next time they meet.
He tells the woman, “ I asked you to prom….don’t you remember?” she doesn’t remember, it never happened, but his story convinces her of a reality that is not true.
This shows why society at large is so easily brainwashed. When you are asleep, other people, government, and the mass media determine your reality.
Phil then basically starts creating his own reality.
“If you had one day to live, what would you do?”- Phil
Phil learns that to get people to like you, you have to remember the things they like. At first he uses this in a selfish way, but he quickly realizes that this backfires. You need to genuinely care about others, you need to figure out what being genuine even means.
Groundhog’s New Message To Living In The Now
Every day is groundhog day. Just like Phil’s it is essentially the same, but if you bring enough awareness to it, learn from it, the next day(moment in time) can be a little better. As you grow in your understanding of yourself and the world you are able to handle the same life situations better.
The more you understand yourself, the more control you have of your life. You discover the courage to let go of the past and give your full attention to the now.
After a beautiful day between Phil and his Producer she tells him, “I am just amazed how you can start a day with one expectation, and end up with something totally different, this was a perfect day, could not have planned a day like this”.
“Well… you can it just takes a lot of work…” Phil says with a slight grin on his face.
When you don’t take responsibility for your life, life just happens to you. When you decide to take responsibility for your life, you start to take control of your day, and things unfold in miraculous ways.
Right when it seems like Phil is going to get the girl, she hesitates because she thinks it’s too good to be true. She says no to life. We live so long in the past and future, that the present seems unreal. She gets a taste for it, and doesn’t understand whats going on. When we start living in the moment the past and future are unreal.
“Where would you go, why would you go, we got a perfect fire…” Phil pleads to Rita in trying to convince her to spend the night.
Once Phil discovers that you can never truly be fulfilled by getting all your mind’s desires, he starts killing himself. This is one of the fundamental laws of the mind, it never gets enough, it always wants more. The mind is the disease.
Phil starts being generous when he realizes you can’t think of only satisfying your own desires, that you need to contribute. He starts to genuinely care about other people.
He starts learning and trying new things and that practice makes perfect. He comes to understand that problems are inevitable, that they are a part of life, a way to grow.
He learns to find fulfillment by being in the service of others. People remember when you genuinely help them out. Everything else they forget. Everyone now loves Phil because he cares and understands them.
Stage 4- Love Conquers All and Gives Meaning To Life
“I’m happy now, because I love you” – Phil
Love finally breaks the cycle, Phil wakes up and it’s not the same day anymore. Selfless service is key, then every day is beautiful, meaningful.
If you live in the now, but only think about satisfying your own desires, eventually life becomes meaningless.
Only love will keep you happy, fulfilled, and in the now. Or if you stay in the now long enough, you will start to overflow with love.
When I am having a cup of coffee and bring my full attention to it, the quality of the act changes. I try to maintain my total awareness on my witnessing presence, and then observe the people around me. I soon feel the boundaries between me and the world melt. I understand the meaning of oneness.
The Ultimate Message Is This
Being solely identified with your mind and thoughts, you live an egocentric life, your life is just on the periphery, very superficial. The moment you realize that this is what stands in your way of growth and fulfillment, you begin the process of your inner journey. You start asking your self what is mind? What is thought? Who am I? What am I ?
You start to learn to observe and learn from your self and the world. You learn to use your mind when it’s needed and put it aside when it’s not.
Eventually being in the service of others will give your life meaning, and love will keep you in the now, because when you truly love you are not identified and dominated by your ego.
The ego serves it’s purpose in society, it is your reference point, but now you are free from it, you can use it as you like.
In love you are not whats important, the other is, and that is not even correct, you just are love.
Don’t deny your past, nothing is solved by denying, just learn and move on intelligently. It’s time we all wake up and love one another.
I enjoyed writing this for you, it surely was not a waste of my time, so I sincerely hope it is not a waste of yours…what are your thoughts on this post?…join the conversation below……thank you and be well….
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