Sunday, February 2, 2014

Whatever Happens Tomorrow, I'm Happy Now...

"Okay, Campers, Rise and Shine..."

These words - a karmic wake-up call, of sorts - are uttered early and often in the film Groundhog Day, now over two decades old and earning greater appreciation with each passing year.

The Harold Ramis film, starring Bill Murray, shows us what happens when weatherman Phil Conners finds himself living the same day - Groundhog Day - repeatedly, seemingly ad infinitum.

Over the years, many spiritual communities - namely Judaism, Christianity, and Buddhism - have picked up on the nuances of this film's message and pointed to it as a shining example of their dogma.  All are partially right, no doubt.  The film has a strong moral center, wrapped in the snark and snarl of Bill Murray's deliciously textured performance, one that turns from sardonic to sincere, cocksure confidence to humbled redemption.

I love art that has this capacity.   Poems and songs that paint strokes just vague enough to invite Methodist and Muslim to find themselves suddenly shoulder to shoulder, stage plays that embody the Doxology and the Dharma.  The scientist and rabbi sharing a bucket of hot buttered popcorn over a film, because breaking bread in the laboratory or synagogue is too unlikely in our splintered spiritual world.

To me, Groundhog Day is a message about samsara (the cyclical suffering of life) and how breaking out of that suffering is, ultimately, our choice, once we find the way out, which is true compassion.  Compassion for others, compassion for a lowly groundhog.  Heck, even compassion for insurance salesman Ned Ryerson.  We achieve a certain level of liberation when we find that Phil Connor's epiphany is also our own.  "Whatever happens tomorrow, I'm happy now..."   And when we learn that this is truly enough, we make the kind of progress that leads to the promise of Spring.

Click on the link below to read a unique look at Groundhog Day from the director himself, raised Jewish with "Buddhist tendencies."    Enjoy.  And be happy.

Shambhala Sun :: And If He Sees His Shadow....

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