Page Turner

By Anthony Gold

I enjoy reading books, and I don’t favor any one genre over another. If the story or topic moves me and the writing is good, then I’m easily hooked.

Authors like Haruki Murakami, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Benjamin Franklin, Stieg Larsson, Harper Lee, Malcolm Gladwell, Hermann Hesse, Harlan Coben, Daniel Kahneman, Tess Gerritsen, Dan Brown, Gregg Hurwitz, Dan Ariely, Nassim Taleb, Brene Brown, and so many others have an uncanny ability to captivate me with their words.

In fact, when reading such works, I’m often transported into another world where time stops and personal identification dissolves. I am no longer the reader of the book and have become a third-party bystander in the unfolding events or topical discourse.

That’s what great writers do. They move you. Oftentimes unawares.

And perhaps the greatest dramatic work of all time is the story of our life.

That narrative is incredibly engrossing. All the major characters have been carefully scripted and the plot undeniably compelling. It seems so real that we almost never realize we made it all up.

We are both the author and the main character of the story.

But because the story is so addictive, we get hooked into the spectacle. We judge everything that happens and give it a meaning: good, bad, neutral. And from that we experience our emotions: happy, sad, calm, anxious, peaceful, fearful, and so on.

It’s a continuous unfolding of incident, judgement, and emotion. Things happen, we give them a meaning, and then we experience some emotion. Over and over.

That’s how the story goes.

Until we realize the other part of the publication equation. We are also the reader and the author.

Just like how we get wrapped up in a movie forgetting that we are actually sitting in a theater seat watching a projection on the screen. We experience what happens in our lives as if it’s real and consequential.

But the reality is this: we are not the experiencer of what is going on in life any more than we are a participant in the movie on the screen. We are the “book reader” or “movie watcher” who has forgotten that it isn’t real.

And, even more to the point, we are the author of the script. In that sense, we’ve been doubly deceived.

Of course, that isn’t our experience. We’ve done such a great job of crafting a compelling novel that we buy into the story and its impact. It’s such a page turner that we can’t put it down.

But once we realize we are the author of the script, and not a helpless participant in the drama, then we can begin to see clearly and experience real peace and joy.

Join me in Monday’s class where we’ll explore the nature of our life script and how we can recognize ourselves as the author. I look forward to seeing you then.

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