Common Ground: The Kinship of Metaphysicians

A syncretic approach to esoteric teachings - the golden threads that connect Pagans, Yogis, Rosicrucians and Masons.

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And So He Plays His Part

In my dream I was an aging soap opera actor. I had played the same supporting role for many years, surviving innumerable story lines and becoming a background fixture in the TV community. For decades I had looked forward to the day when my efforts would be recognized and my character would be promoted to the level of a leading role; but it never happened. As my hair gradually turned gray, it seemed to me that every year the writing got more childish and the story lines became more trite. Still my character continued to be taken for granted, while new characters and younger actors were promoted instead.

Finally, the day came when I had had enough. We were blocking a crowd scene in which more and more characters kept entering the room - a confusing affair requiring a lot of choreography, which I felt the director was handling very badly; every lead character who entered was simply sent to Stage Left, and we secondary parts were left sitting in chairs Stage Right. There were only three of us in those chairs, and the more jammed Stage Left became with actors of note, the more demeaned and disrespected I felt.

I sat there for what seemed an eternity under the hot stifling lights, as the incompetence, confusion and sloppiness steadily increased…and I finally blew my cork. Getting up and uttering some sarcastic comment, I stormed off the set, went to my dressing room and began throwing my belongings into a suitcase. I had quit. I had broken my contract. I was never coming back.

It didn't matter to me, at that moment, that the TV network had kept me employed for years and paid me handsomely, in an industry where most actors can't even afford the rent on their studio apartments. I needed to feel that I was part of something that mattered. What good was it to be a fixture in an enterprise which made no contribution to the world - which, in fact, would have made no difference at all if it had never existed?

It was a disturbing dream to remember upon awakening. I lay there for quite a while trying to figure it out. I found myself thinking of the difference in attitudes towards their profession between American actors and their counterparts in the UK. The actor I had been in my dream was undeniably American.

Status is a powerful consideration in the American psyche. No matter how pure our motivations may have been when we were young, old actors would like to receive recognition for our years of service. We want people to know our names. We want it acknowledged that we are on a higher echelon of our career. We want audiences and critics to be in awe of the masterful way in which we use Sense Memory and Subtext to bring out insights of character in ways that nobody else could quite manage to do. We want to be special.

It's even important to us that our roles be remarkable. They don't have to be nice people, they can be the worst sorts of monsters; but there has to be something epic about them - something that could only be associated with a performer of vast talent.

In stark contrast, to the Brit acting is - first and foremost - a job. And you always do your job. There are other people - cast members and production crew - relying on you to do your job. It's a matter of mutual courtesy. You keep calm and carry on.

The British-trained actor is just as familiar with Subtext and Sense Memory as we are, but he refuses to make them into a big deal. It's just assumed that those tools were learned during his training, and he wouldn't have been given a diploma or a Union card if he hadn't become a good craftsman. The work ethic of the British actor is mundane and mature: You show up on time. You speak your lines correctly. You do what the director tells you to do.

The director knows which elements the play needs to help further the action. It's your job to fulfill his vision. As an artist you may or may not agree with him, but the only thing required of you is your professional skill. Your agreement, or lack of it, can be kept to yourself.

Of course, the meaning of my dream was that I was dissatisfied with my life. My ego was feeling that I'd been performing the same duties year after year, without much recognition or reward. If my subconscious mind was telling me this, what should I do about it for real - once I had awakened?

Should I carry on with my life duties the way a British actor would persevere in a role - or should I throw a hissy fit because my ego wasn't feeling satisfied?

Of course it seemed to me, as my hair turned gray, that every year the writing got more childish and the story lines became more trite - because I had seen them all before. But that's the way life is; each new generation greets the old stories as new and exciting - because to them, they are!

I thought, from the limited perspective of my ego, that I was part of something that didn't matter, an enterprise which made no contribution to the world. But the reality was far different. My character had entered the lives of millions of people, entertaining them and helping them to get by when they were going through difficult times. Little things I had said, and moments my character had portrayed, had made deeper impressions in many more minds than I could ever suspect.

It was actually an enormous compliment that my character had been taken for granted all those years! I had given everyone faith that, in an ever-changing and uncertain world, some things could still be relied on to stay familiar. At least, for a good long while.

I thought again, from a different perspective, about that weird scene in which three of us minor actors were sitting Stage Right while dozens of stars kept crowding onto Stage Left. Out of all the hundreds of performers who had been on that show over the years, there were only three of us who had become such fixtures that generations of viewers found us familiar! Suddenly those three lonely chairs were transformed into golden thrones of recognition.

We are the worst judges possible of how our own lives may have influenced others. We need to remember this – we really, really need to remember this – when we're tired and discouraged and in pain, and our emaciated egos are cracking under the weight of depression.

We must remain adaptable, because everything changes. Every thing, that is, except one:

It seems to me that the only thing that never changes is the personal self-awareness with which I came into this world. While my consciousness has evolved with maturity, it is nonetheless the same identity which has watched the story unfold, from day to day and year to year. It has been awed by the beauty and horrified by the ugliness. It is grateful for each kindness it has received, and it values every experience which taught it a lesson and helped it to deepen its understanding.

That identity – that earliest consciousness - intuitively knew that vast powers should be controllable by the mind, and that inter-dimensional, alternate realities must exist besides those we usually see in this world. In the 1950's such musings might have been considered science fiction - but today in 2018, noetic scientists and theoretical physicists are talking about them for real.

I have just described my Effulgent mind, which is very different from my Pouty mind, the name I've given to my ego. My ego feels sorry for itself. It imagines that nobody has ever appreciated its efforts.

The Pouty mind dreams of unfulfilled careers. The Effulgent mind dreams of flying.

Those flying ones are the dreams that I enjoy. They are the ones that bring me home.




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A student of esoteric traditions since the age of 16, Ted Czukor (Theo the Green) taught Yoga for 37 years until retiring in 2013. For 26 years he was adjunct faculty for the Maricopa, AZ Community Colleges, teaching Gentle Yoga and Meditation & Wellness. Raised in the Methodist Church but drawn to Rosicrucianism, Hinduism and Buddhist philosophy, he is a devotee of the Goddess in all Her forms. Ted has been a Shakespearean actor, a Masonic ritualist and an Interfaith wedding officiant. He is the author of several books, none of which made any money and two of which are available as .pdf files. He lives with his wife Ravyn-Morgayne in Sun City, Arizona. Their shared dream is to someday relocate to Glastonbury, England.


  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis Friday, 06 April 2018

    Oh, my goodness, this is a marvelous post! Perfect! Honest, well written, and important.

    And once again, we are so in agreement.

    So I thought you might like an expression I coined long ago: Encourage everyone’s effervescent ego! … Actually, now that I think of it, I titled an essay that in one of my books. ... when I explain my maxim, I usually have to explain the difference between the unhealthy ego and healthy ego. I think your post really personifies a beautiful movement from unhealthy to healthy ego.

    And yes, you leave a big wonderful mark on people. For one thing, I’m always grateful to have someone in my life who so often thinks along the same lines as me, given that my way of looking at life isn’t always in keeping with the latest Pagan trends, LOL.

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Sunday, 08 April 2018

    Once again, Francesca, I find myself thanking you for validating my expression. It is so encouraging to find someone whose effervescence agrees with my effulgence! I used to think that older teachers liked to be contrary and quirky just to make themselves seem like interesting characters...but now I realize that they had come to be so secure within their own higher minds that they honestly didn't care what the latest trends were. They had used the traditional forms, over many years, as the tools they were designed to be - to raise their intuitive awareness above the level of parochial definitions. You leave a big wonderful mark on people, too.

  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis Monday, 09 April 2018

    Thank you for all your kind words, Ted. I agree with what you’re saying about older teachers, ... or at least I believe it’s true of some of us. I care less and less about what other people think, LOL.

    These beautiful lines: “have just described my Effulgent mind, which is very different from my Pouty mind, the name I've given to my ego. My ego feels sorry for itself. It imagines that nobody has ever appreciated its efforts. The Pouty mind dreams of unfulfilled careers. The Effulgent mind dreams of flying.”

    Those lines might be a perfect example of great minds thinking alike. Or of there being something in the ether that more than one writer touches. Or of both. Your words really remind me of something I wrote but, for the life of me, I cannot put my finger on it. The sentiments expressed, and some of the rhythms, words, and sentence structures are very familiar. If I ever find it, I’ll show it to you because that would be so interesting, wouldn’t it?

    Please keep writing such beautiful stuff, the world needs your nourishing words.

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