Monday, October 31, 2005

Acting School in Reverse

Recently I was involved in a translation of Kenneth Wapnick's article "A PORTRAIT OF A COURSE IN MIRACLES STUDENT AS AN ARTIST" (Lighthouse Vol 16 Number 1, March 2005). As always, my experience of translation was that it is both impossible technically, and because of that it hightens one's integration of the meaning of any given text The only hope in translation comes from actually understanding what the author means, and rendering it anew in the other language. In other words it is about translating the content, not the form, all the while honoring the restrictions of the form relationships involved, and being faithful to the original as much as possible.

(Note: you can click on the title above to find the article.)

Re-reading this article, and with a new level of intensity, given the task at hand, I found that it offered me some interesting new connections. In particular, there is the business that in order to truly be "in-spired" in our performance (of the lead role in this movie which we call our life), we have to get the ego out of the way.

This runs counter to e.g. what we learn in acting school, which says to totally identify with the character, to the point that their emotions become our own. The mission here is making the drama very real, by taking the emotions very seriously.

Contrary to that however, our path to mastery as Course students, lies in doing exactly the reverse, namely by accepting the help of the Holy Spirit so we stop taking any of our emotions seriously at all, and as a result we can operate from a standpoint of true empathy with everyone we encounter. The shift lies in the fact that our life no longer depends on the outcome, for we now operate from the certainty that we know who we are, and it's not the character in the dream. Thus by virtue of this inner distance that comes with being the observer of the play, and we can play our roles actually better because of this new found freedom.

As Gary Renard recently pointed out on the DU forum in his posting related to his experiences with MDC, practicing forgiveness does not mean being a patsy. So when the role calls for firmly speaking up, by all means do that too. However if we are in our right minds, we won't feel attacked, and we won't attack, but just represent whatever it is the role calls for at the time. In the end of course this method of unlearning acting and taking our dream roles progressively less seriously, lessens the opportunities for drama in our lives, and helps us to get on with it rather quicker.


(c) 2006, Rogier van Vlissingen.
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