“Most people are completely identified
with the voice in the head.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“The greatest con ever pulled
was making you believe that he is You.”
Guy Ritchie’s “Revolver” is one of the most thought-provoking films I’ve ever seen. If you watch Revolver and truly “get it”, you’ll be pondering its’ message for days, weeks and months to come. I watched Revolver for the umpteenth time last weekend, and felt inspired to share my thoughts.
“The only way to get smarter, is by playing a smarter opponent…”
Revolver is a film about a brilliant con man named Jake Green (Jason Statham), who has recently been released from prison. After spending seven years in solitary confinement, Jake is seeking revenge on the man who put him behind bars – casino owner Dorothy Macha (Ray Liotta).
During his time in prison, Jake acquired a specific strategy (the “Formula”) that is thought to assist a player win any game. The film revolves around Jake’s revelatory awakening, as he uses the Formula not only to outsmart Macha, but also to play the “game” of life.
“You will always find a good opponent in the very last place you would ever look…”
After Macha orders a hit on Jake, he finds himself assisted by two mysterious men – Zach and Avi, who offer to save his life in return for money. Avi inspires Jake to contemplate the nature of the human ego, telling him how “the greatest con [that the ego] ever pulled was making you believe that he is you.” He describes how the “ultimate con” is the reality that few people have the courage to face their egos because of their life-long investment in them.
“The more sophisticated the Game, the more sophisticated the Opponent...”
A pivotal epiphany occurs in Revolver when Jake realizes that his true identity lies beyond the voice he hears in his head; beyond his personality or “ego”. When Jake awakens to the fact that the real opponent lies within his own mind, he begins to make a conscious effort to examine and question everything it tells him to do. This is the most genuine application of the “Formula”.
“You’ve heard that voice for so long, you believe it to be you…”
Most of us have been listening to the voices in our heads for so many years that we have forgotten who we truly are. One of the intentions of Revolver is to inspire you realize that you are not your thoughts; you are the awareness behind your thoughts. If you fail to recognize this, your life will be limited. You will never fully grasp the power that comes with deliberately choosing how you wish to think and feel. In egoic consciousness, you are continually preoccupied with thoughts of self-preservation and separation rather than deliberate creation. Life “revolves” in circles when you continually offer thoughts as a reaction to external circumstances rather than choose your own thoughts from within.
In order to cultivate awareness within your own mind, begin to examine each thought and ask yourself, “do I want this to be true?” In this process of self-questioning, you’ll recognize you have the power to decide whether you are helping or hindering yourself with every thought that passes through your awareness.
“Wherever you don’t want to go, is where you will find him. What is it that you are afraid of?”
One of the most memorable scenes in Revolver is Jake’s deliberate confrontation of his claustrophobia in an elevator. Though his ego reacts with fury, it is Jake’s first glimpse of the power of his higher Self. It’s a brilliant demonstration of one of the most effective ways of rising above the ego – by acknowledging your greatest fears and taking subsequent action to overcome them. When you face fear, the dominance of your ego diminishes.
Facing fear is a powerful practice because confronting the voice in your head will eventually prove it is a transient illusion, and the radiance of who you truly are will step in to replace it. You will realize you have choices and options about how you wish to live your life. The bondage that comes from holding yourself hostage to your own fears will disintegrate.
Challenge the ego by taking some time to make a list of things you’re afraid of… and then hold a brainstorming session to come up with action-oriented steps to overcome them. If you’re afraid of public speaking, join toastmasters. If you’re afraid of heights, go skydiving. Whatever it is you fear, you must eventually face… that’s just part of the Game.
“Everybody’s in this Game, and nobody knows it.”
The game that is played between the head and the heart is a game that every human being on the planet is playing. Though most are not aware they are playing such a game, many are beginning to wake up to it. This awakening is a key element in the evolution of human consciousness.
I was reminded of a favorite story in Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth”, when he describes his first glimpse of the insanity of his own mind. Following an encounter with an angry woman on the subway who thinks out loud, Eckhart realizes the similarities within his own consciousness. “Isn’t my mind as incessantly active as hers??” he asks himself.
We all have a slice of that egoic insanity, but few have the courage to face it. It’s no surprise that Revolver wasn’t a hit at the box office, not because it’s not an awesome flick (it is) but because it was released ahead of its’ time. For an audience who is still completely identified with a mind-made sense of self, the movie would appear confusing… and even threatening to an individual’s ego. It’s easy to see the inner chaos in another person or in a movie character; not so easy to admit that same chaos exists within yourself.
Continual courage and intense awareness are what’s required in order to dissolve the ego’s stronghold on your life. You will never be truly free when you’re tick-tocking unconsciously through life, completely enraptured by the disruptive and repetitive thought patterns of your frightened personality.
So in the end, perhaps Jake’s sidekick Avi said it best: “How radical are you prepared to be?”