This week I have chosen to share one of the blogs I wrote last year which was included in my recently published book The Peach Who Thought She Had to Be a Coconut.
It was one of my favourite essays as it came from a stand-out moment where the truth of separate realities revealed itself to me with a depth I had not previously encountered. It opened me up to how much more there was for me to learn about this powerful implication of the Principles – the simple fact that no two people can ever think alike.
A couple of years ago, I would have told you that I grasped this fact most of the time. I realised in that moment of ‘seeing deeper’ that this wasn’t true. Either I am deteriorating in my learning or getting more honest. I would like to think it’s the latter.
This essay attempts to bypass what we consider right or wrong (I am not saying this is not a good thing to do; it just isn’t the focus of the blog). Rather, it dives into the heart of how we operate as human beings. It points to the divine love that generates our capacity to see life as we see it via our own thinking, moment to moment. An insight into this truth seems to reach in and touch our humanity
I recently watched the film Me Before You and it had me in a flood of tears. I know I was not alone in creating a mini-swimming pool around my seat as it tugged at my heartstrings. In fact, you would probably be alone if you were the dry-eyed person in the room! The movie highlighted many themes that speak to the very heart and soul of what it means to be human and live a meaningful life. Below is a short summary (spoiler alert!) for those who don’t know the plot of the bestselling book by Jo Moyes, upon which the film’s adapted screenplay was based.
The story begins with a glimpse into the life of a wealthy, successful, good-looking (such are the movies, after all!) fun-loving young man, Will. Will has the perfect existence – in his mind – until the moment he gets hit by a motorcycle while crossing the street, instantly becoming quadriplegic.
Louisa, a warm, open, quirky and compassionate young woman from the “wrong side of the tracks”, answers an advertisement on a whim and is subsequently employed to care for Will against his wishes. (All the other “professional” carers did not get past the interview stage with Will.) Impervious to his initial rudeness and cynicism, Louisa sticks with Will and over time, manages to restore some of his spirit, zest for life and sense of humour.
Unsurprisingly, they soon fall in love with each other. However, the immense anger and depression Will feels as a result of being imprisoned in his own body always simmers beneath the surface. In spite of Louisa’s support and love, Will simply cannot come to terms with his new reality and the life he has lost. Before meeting Louisa he had already decided to end his life via assisted suicide, though he had promised to give his devoted parents six months before going through with that fateful decision. They hoped he would change his mind, a hope which gathers steam when Louisa enters his life and heart.
It is striking to see the separate realities being played out in the film.
Will’s mother cannot accept his decision. Will is her son and whatever form he now lives in, he is still her son. No more, no less. And her unconditional love for him is no more, no less. It is an incredibly powerful representation of the limitless and unconstrained love we all have within us. I recognise this love within me. It sits at the very core of who we are, penetrating right through any beliefs, thoughts, expectations and conditions we create.
Will’s father also loves his son deeply, but somehow seems to be able to come to terms with his belief that this is his son’s decision to make. This allows his father some distance from the reality of the unspeakable loss that faces them.
Louisa is remarkably resolute in her belief that she can show Will how much beauty, love, fun, lightness and joy is still available to him in spite of his permanent physical incapacitation. She sees beyond Will’s external condition, and is convinced that this will penetrate his soul, awakening within him a deep desire to be in life no matter what. For Louisa, joy and love are unconditional and not tied to circumstance.
And yet, despite Louisa’s love for Will and love for life, he cannot and does not accept his new reality. Towards the end of film, Will emphatically tells her, “This is not my life.” He lovingly explains to Louisa that though she has awakened in him more happiness and joy, it is still not his life and nothing will change that. Ever. It is heart-breaking and deeply moving to see that she cannot change his mind. No one can change Will’s mind.
And as for me, I was surprised and moved to discover that despite having my own opinion on Will’s decision, my view temporarily flew out of the window as I generated a slither of understanding into his inner world. I felt my own judgement fall away as I met Will for a split second – in his mind, not my mind. There arose compassion in the place of judgement or frustration. I joined the rest of the audience in being granted a glimpse into the usually invisible threads of thought which forms a person’s behaviours and decisions.
Me Before You is a beautiful illustration of how each of us operates from our own mind, but are threaded and tied together through the power of love and connection. This makes us all know what it is to feel hopelessness, despair and a sense of being lost, while at the same time, feel connected to love, beauty and life. This is what it means to be part of a Universal Mind.
The film’s ending was incredibly sad but somehow uplifting. Will left a unique legacy to Louisa in the form of a beautifully crafted letter. He asked of her to live and love fully and wholly – and not limit herself with this gift of life she had. Yet the sadness was that he did not grasp that he could have had the same opportunity.
Will did not see his gift. And because he didn’t see it, it didn’t exist. For what we see is what we live. We know no other life than the one that is created in our minds eye.
Yes, I wanted Will to live. I felt the possibility that he did not feel. I could touch it. I could smell it. But he could not.
By the end of the film, there was no room for my personal judgement or opinion. Only a reservoir of compassion and love for the human story we are all doing our best to live in. I hope and pray that this will inspire me to be a little more loving and a little less judging, even when I cannot see into the minds and hearts of others.
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