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Not the same river

Have you ever read a book and it just passes you by?

Certain friends or coaches recommend it, and it just has no resonance with you.

You seemingly can’t take in the information written on the pages or adopt the author's message into your subconscious.

You can be reading the content and seemingly getting along just fine with it, but it’s just not hitting that spot.

Movies can be the same too.

We can have a film recommended to us, and it isn’t that it is a bad film; it’s just you don’t take much from it.

There are levels to the hidden messages the writers, directors and actors place within their films.

Some films' premise can be observed and enjoyed, primary plot lines that pervade most films on the surface.

As Joseph Campbell penned it, the hero’s journey is a prevalent tale through all fictional and apocryphal stories.

It’s a universal narrative seen throughout many myths and involves the hero leaving their ordinary, regular world and then facing challenges, receiving guidance, and ultimately returning transformed through their experience.

This cyclical structure resonates with us as an audience showing us our personal growth and stages of transformation as we grow from our own dealings with adversity.

But many times, I have watched a movie, and its hidden meanings have passed me by.

Star Wars, a movie series close to my heart and one I must have watched hundreds of times is a fantastic example of watching a movie from literally being a baby to a full-grown adult (who may still act like a baby sometimes) and constantly taking hidden lessons from it on each watch.

Maybe even the writings of George Lucas had a profound impact on my philosophies and my interests in Stoicism, Buddhism, Taoism, mythology and spirituality; writing this, I’d say he undoubtedly did.

But I didn’t know it at the time.

I would take it for what it was, a film about a young man saving his friend who became a hero.

Then as I learned more as I got older, I realised it was about the conflict of the world, the good and evil.

Then I realised it was about the conflict between ourselves and the battles between our light and dark sides internally.

Then I understood how it was about forgiveness and second chances.

An Opportunity for redemption when Anakin shows us there is a chance to fix our misgivings and forgive not only ourselves but others too.

It showed we must stand against oppressive regimes.

It showed unity and the importance of embracing all walks of life.

All people.

All cultures

All creatures.

But my point is this:

At nine years old, I was watching a fantasy film that entertained me.

When I watch now at *9, the message is markedly different because I am markedly different.

I can take more from it. I understand more because I have learned more.

There are many books I have read and thought them unworthy of the praise bestowed upon them until I head back to them on the second read years later, where I find an abundance of information previously unseen or misunderstood.

As the philosopher Heraclitus said

“No man steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river, and he’s not the same man.”

We have the capacity to change and grow at an alarming rate when we expose ourselves to the correct stimuli, teachers, and coaches, so let us not forget that when we change, the things we look at change too.

What great lessons have you maybe missed through the arrogance of thinking you already knew it or the hidden message passed you by on the first journey?



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