Last night, Naomi and I watched the movie "City of Angels”. Set in Los Angeles (fitting name?) it was the fascinating story of a man, Seth, (Nicolas Cage) who returned to earth as an angel wanting to help people. Seth meets Maggie (Meg Ryan) as he is trying to care for staff in a Los Angeles Hospital. Maggie is a surgeon who is upset after losing a patient. She also is struggling in a relationship with another staff member, unable to decide to marry or not. Seth, as an angel, wishes to help Maggie but at first she can’t see him. The only people who can see such entities as angels are little children and people without eye sight! Finally in desperation for help, Maggie sees Seth and soon they fall in love with each other. The only problem is that Seth is an angel and can’t always be seen or touched. Seth wants so badly to return to earth and to be with his love. He wants her so badly! Soon he meets another angel who had gotten bored with angelhood and all those beautiful evening and morning chants by the ocean, so he chose to jump off a building, awakening again as an earth person with flesh and blood. He tells Seth if he really wants to return to earth as a human being, he can do the same. In deep loneliness for not having Maggie, Seth takes the leap and sure enough, returns to earth as a mortal being. Soon he and Maggie are together, enjoying all the delights of love and flesh. But then, a sudden change occurs, and Seth, to his great dismay, finds himself left locked in mortal flesh, unhappy, hurt, and depressed!
I thought of the movie as a metaphor for our own lives here on earth. Created as angelic, spiritual entities, we dreamed of what it it would be like to exist as separate bodies on a mortal plain called earth. So we came here and soon forgot our true natures as angels, and overcome by the delights of the world around us, we sought to partake of them freely! Yet like Seth, we soon become hurt, disappointed and even devastated by unexpected changes and losses. We too feel trapped into a prison and wonder what we have done. If lucky, the Angelic Guides around us are invoked and also heard. In listening and following their guidance, we can find our way back to our true natures; not bodies but Spirits, One with the Creator and of all the Universe!
In this early journey of time and space, if religious, we project our plights on earth as the fault of God. God is the cause of our misery and we His effects. We chose to be victims rather than see our choices. We feel guilt and fear for lashing back toward God for our plights. Goddam Him! How could He allow such misery to our innocent, victimized lives! We do not want to admit it was our choice to come to here. We do not want to see we also have the chance to chose once again. Yet, we do have the choice of forgiveness of ourselves for what we did. We can learn and accept the responsibility to live our lives as guides and helpers to others who may come to us during our sojourn on this plain.
In the East there is a saying, “The bee came to eat the delights of honey, but then got stuck.” Isn’t that our predicament? We came here as Seth to eat the delights of the world of sight and excitement. Yet we become unhappy and as the first noble truth of Buddhism, a part of the universal plight of unhappiness and misery. Or as the Christians often point out, guilty with the sin and fear which is universal. We feel trapped. Nothing satisfies for very long. Bodies age and die, loved ones and lovers leave us, the good get sick and die young and the seemingly reckless go free. True, it can be a pretty grim place. But like the good Parent standing by the fearful child wrestling with bad dreams, we can awaken and return Home. We can understand we are not our bodies or part of the material universe, but angels in disguise ourselves. Awakening, Resurrection, is the coming alive to who we always were. Nothing has changed but our perceptions.
As as part of the company of earth, let us daily choose anew to sit at Home in silence, in meditation; in easy yoga, in slow walks, in deep breaths. Let go! Be of this journey and world, but understand we are not of it. Be the helping angel, showing kindness, and love to all. Time will soon disappear and before long, we’ll all be home again!
Divine peace and hope to you all!