Post 21 – I Remember Now ~ All The World’s A Stage ~ Pastor Tim Tengblad
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.” William Shakespeare – As You Like It
Turns out Mr. Shakespeare had it right. All the world IS a stage. This is one giant play we’re cast in here on earth. Our souls come and play the roles we are cast in, while the show has its run.
A gifted actor loses themselves in their character. So much so that they ARE the character they’re playing. The audience doesn’t see the actor anymore, but the character they are playing.
All the men and women merely players. We do take our roles seriously here in this play on earth. So much so that we forget who/what we really are. Early in this journey I’ve been on, I noticed something I had never noticed before. How attached we become to everything here on earth. The role and character we play are no exceptions. We really think we are what we are here.
That is good in one way. We are here to experience ALL the things that our character and role in the play will bring us. That’s where the growth comes and is where the lessons are learned. If we weren’t “all in” we wouldn’t learn much or anything from them.
But here’s the challenge for us as Spiritual beings incarnated as human beings: Can we both immerse ourselves in the roles/characters we are playing, while at the same time keep the bigger perspective in our awareness? That our True Self is eternal, Divine energy/Spirit?
That’s what makes holding the two at the same time so tricky. It is our soul playing the role. Our true essence. So we have this sense that the character we’re playing is us.
It’s tricky, but so important. Being cast in this giant play while we hold both realities at the same time, can help us to not take everything SO seriously that we’re overwhelmed and debilitated by the suffering and injustice of the world. Suffering and injustice that we must meet with Love.
I step off the stage and watch the play going on today. I see so many good actors. I recognize myself. We all can get so lost in our roles, that we have forgotten who/what we really are. I see us actors lost in our politics and identities of being a conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat. I see us lost in the endless opinions of the character we are currently playing.
I see us lost in being an American, or lost in being from another country. I see us so lost in being our sexual identity, that we think one is better than another. I see us lost in our titles, and the masks that we wear when in public. Lost in our religion.
Race is one we all easily get lost in. Here again, we all need to live fully whatever we are: white, black, a person of color. All the while keeping the bigger, eternal perspective of Spirit in mind. If I were to say to an African American person in my self righteous way. “You know. I’m enlightened. In fact, I’m so enlightened that I look at you and I don’t see color. I just see another person.” If I do that, the person I’m saying that to would probably say, “well then you don’t see ME! And you’re not taking in what we’re both here to take in.” And they should!
Being a person of color is who they are in this world. We all are what we are for specific reasons. Color or race profoundly shapes the experience of every character here. Experiences chosen and intended for our unique growth at that point in our evolution.
And someone else’s character is intended to shape mine. I have much to learn in how I respond to someone who doesn’t look like me. I may struggle with their difference. Embrace the struggle! There is much to be learned in the struggle. I can choose to grow and expand from the struggle (or not).
Someone who doesn’t look like me can offer me perspectives that I will never see as a white, straight, male character. White, straight, male… Things are set up here in this play to work out well for me. It’s much easier for me to get lead roles, or to get paid more for playing my character. When I walk into a room for an interview (audition) for a job, I don’t even have to think about my color.
When the script calls for me to get pulled over for a traffic violation, all my character thinks about is “how much is this going to cost me?” Someone playing a black character has to think, “will I live through this? How can I survive?”
Again, we both ARE the roles we play and we are something beyond them. We are Spirit. We are soul incarnated as the role we play in this lifetime. The challenge before us is to both totally live the role, while keeping the bigger picture in mind.
The challenge before us is to respect the role the character is playing in front of us, knowing in the back of our minds that they are something else. Something bigger. The same Divine energy and spirit that flows in me, flows in them. We are One. We’re all different forms of the same energy. We are all creative expressions of the Divine playwright, as all characters are in a play.
That is why we love and respect every one in this play called life.
One man in his time plays many parts. In previous plays (incarnations), we’ve been male and female, white and a person of color. Rich. Poor. Citizens with loyalties and experiences in many countries. Characters in vastly different time periods. People of different religions. Maybe straight. Maybe gay. A lover and a person of violence. It’s fascinating that we may judge and oppose someone playing a role and character we ourselves have played in past lives! And we need to keep in mind that each person we encounter can trigger energy from previous incarnations and roles. Perhaps energy that needs healing.
We also need to keep in mind that on the other side, all these human labels are gone. They only exist here. They come and go, and are so temporary. Once they serve their purpose here, and the play is over, we return to a greater sense of our True Self.
And here’s the fascinating thing: there is a high likelihood that in our next incarnation, we could very well be the very character we resisted in this lifetime. The reason is this: being what we previously resisted would provide us with the greatest opportunity for growth and healing. For example, if I’m white in this lifetime and racist towards people of color, I will be a person of color in the next lifetime, to experience what it’s like to be on the receiving end of prejudice. Compassion could be learned in the reversal of roles.
Perspective is everything when it comes to our roles here on earth.
So the question before us is: how can I use the character and role I’m immersed in now to bring me to greater knowledge of my True Self, and the Truth of everyone around me, while the play is still going on?
No easy answers here. I personally have found it takes a lot of taking off all my hats and costumes. And sitting and reminding myself who/what I really am. It involves listening to and opening myself up to the wisdom of the Director within: my inner knowing. Then hopping back on stage.
One man in his time plays many parts. This time around I’m Tim Tengblad. White, straight, male. Husband. Father. Grandfather. Pastor. Friend. Funny guy. Lover of laughter. General sports fan and passionate lover of golf (I can totally lose myself on a golf course). Mistake maker. At times clueless male. Student of life in Earth School. Constant looker at the big picture.
I’m glad I got cast. I’m glad I got the part. But they’re all just labels. They are all to be lived and embraced. But eventually I will take my costume off and let go of it all. Because at some point, this show ends its run, and I may be cast in new one. I may come back and take on a new role and character, in another Opening Night.
Hmmmm. Ever wonder what all your roles will lead you to be next time? Maybe I’ll come back next time and play a black, lesbian, disabled, poor artist. She has a lot to say, but the audience does not value her gifts. After all, I’ve had it pretty easy this time around.
You are your roles. You are your character. And you’re not. You are eternal Spirit. You are Love! All the men and women are!
Pastor Tim Tengblad