Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Fountain

The motion picture The Fountain, released in 2006 is a romantic drama film that weaves history, religion and fantasy as well as science fiction, into its story.  It is directed by Darren Aronofsky and stars Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. The story takes place over a number of lifetimes covering the timelines of two people who have known each other as husband and wife, as Queen and Conquistador, and as Oversouls.  In each wrinkle, in each life, there is a struggle or challenge to work through and discover just what the fountain of life is.  In each life, there is a grasping at it in one way or another, first as the fountain of life as symbolized as a tree in the rain forest of South America, then in another life as a researcher using the same tree as the Spanish sought for eternal life, and discovered in the realm of the spirit as the greater sacrifice made of ones person's life in order to revive the life of another who was dying.  The answer finally comes when the Superself or Oversoul realizes that he can change all time, all eventualities with his now realization that the fountain of life lies not in a tree on earth, but within our very hearts.  Only through dying to what we were do we realize what we can become.

The issue of death in the physical haunts us, tears at us each moment of the day.  We seem driven by the certainty that we will someday be no more, that we drink deep of what is in the moment.  And surely, this is part of the richness of life.  But living under the sky of fear of an end that will blot us out is only, perhaps, seeing part of the truth.  When we die, we surrender, we let go, we each must meet this seemingly final end until we realize that it is not itself an end, but a liberation from an old way of being and thinking.  It may seem an end to our bodies, but I suspect the illusion is that there is an end even though each moment is preserved in timelessness and goes on, accessible in each past and future moment.  We surrender to what we were to become something more.  The quality of our experience is in how far we can launch ourselves into awareness in that powerful moment.  Do we conceive of an end, or do we conceive the infinite of what we could become?  When we can, I believe, in the moment, realize that life is itself made up of endless deaths and births in each and every day can we, I feel, reach closer to the essence of what death offer us, which is in dying to our old notions through a seemingly final act of surrender to discover what is on the other side of so much uncertainty, which is simply more of what we are.  And so, in this way, we pass through countless deaths as we are reborn each time.  Some deaths are small, some larger, some are struggles, some are not.  Every new thought, every new belief, is itself the birthing of something out of the death of something old or outmoded.  Like a snake shedding its skin, we think each shedding is the end, but it is only a continuation of what was before.  When we master this, we make the process of living larger, amplified in our day to day.  It also makes the seemingly final exit much easier, for then we have the capacity to sense and see into the next world with fewer veils lifted around us.  Our old beliefs no longer limit us as much as they were.

The Fountain is a wonderful story.  It is also sad, but the way it seeks to tell the story not in a typical Hollywood way, but in a way that is full of surprises and interesting turns while having a deeper message to convey is what makes it such a great work to me.  As Jackman stands before his beloved, tears streaming down his face, he realizes that he must die if she is to live.  But his death, though uncertain, results in a miraculous thing.  It suggests that faith, properly placed, can give us the foothold that we so need in climbing the stair into the next realm of our being.  As the final stages of the movie play out, as the leading character goes back yet again into his lifetimes to conceive anew, perhaps you might glimpse a piece of what we each can do in changing in our present all eventualities.  Perhaps there is a piece of the First Father and the Tree of Life, in all of us.  When we merge with the unknown, the very essence of it seems to change as we, pollen-like, are scattered to help bring about a revival of something that could only be when we let go of our old notions of how we think things should be.  

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