‘What about me?’ is a brilliant piece of film-making by Jamie Catto and Duncan Bridgeman, two young men from the UK. They took their laptop, camera and recording equipment around the world to hear what famous people and poor people, people from all walks of life, had to say about life.
However, here’s the real brilliance – they hummed a little tune to a brilliant Brazilian guitarist who improvised on it. They took the recording of the guitarist to a singer who listened to it and sang to it, and on and on the music grew – a bit like a chain letter of old.
So, as well as a succinct and insightful summing up of great philosophy about life’s big questions, we are treated to wonderful music of different genres.
We are excited to be able to publish some of the dialogue from the DVDs.
(By the way: This article contains some coarse language.)
Bhagavan Das: You’ve got to realise one thing, and that is you need to tame your wild crazy mind. You gotta tame it. All right? Your mind has a very very bad habit, which we call self-cherishing. And I call it: (Singing) ‘What about me? What about me? What about me? What about me?’ …And it’s a bore. And it’s a drag. And nobody wants to hear it. So you can just shut up, and get off of it, and…give. That’s all, give…give, be here and give. Connect with people… right? And you’re so busy giving you don’t have the time to think about yourself. Umm… you’re going to be a lot happier.
Eckhart Tolle: This is a time for awakening for humans on the planet. This is a time to wake up out of the madness. Because the history of humanity is basically the history of insanity. But for the first time in the history of this insanity, is the insanity is threatening to destroy us. Mad intelligence. That’s what humans have developed. You could call it also, you could call it cleverness. We’re all clever, but mad. Mad intelligence. So we are coming to the end of this one way or another. Either we destroy ourselves, or we wake up out of that dream. The nightmare. But to see your own madness is the beginning of healing insanity. Because there is in every human being not only the madness, there is also the sanity. Through the media, mostly what you get is the madness. But at the same time there are millions of other humans who already have that awakening within them so they can hear. Its liberating to say ‘We are mad’. Some people say that’s depressing, its not depressing, it’s liberating. Mad, I’m mad, but I realise that I’m mad.
In every child an ego gradually begins to develop. One of the first things a child learns is his or her name. I am… John. I am… and then come other things after these children grow up. I am… a boy, I am a girl, I am strong, I am weak. The ego is always built on identification with this or that.
The word I, the way it’s used conventionally, is perhaps the greatest illusion. Because when you say I, you think you know who you are.
Then the child gets toys. That’s my car, little toy. It’s mine, mine. Somebody takes away the toy and the child is in extreme agony. (Sobbing) ‘It’s mine’….
Gabrielle Roth: We’ve been trained and conditioned to shut down our spontaneous responses, our authentic and essential responses, from a very early age. Y’know, don’t cry. What’s wrong? You know…don’t be scared. I mean, we’re talked out of our feelings and shut down because nobody knows how to communicate from a emotional field.
Neale Donald Walsch: Childhood is tough, childhood is rough. All the other kids in the playground are telling us that’s what’s wrong with us, and why we’re not okay. And the bad part about it is that when you’re 7, 8, 9 10 and 12, you believe it. You don’t have the strength to reject it and say it’s not true. You take it all in, and make it part of your truth.
Billy Connolly: I was abused by my father when I was younger, and I carried it around, I didn’t tell anybody, for… it’s the weirdest thing because you … it’s one of those er…events that makes you feel… it’s a crime that makes you feel you committed it when you’re the victim – because it isn’t all pain; you know there is pleasure in it. So you carry this around with you, that you were part of the crime. And you’ll read this all the time, when, when you hear victims of it speaking. I felt so guilty, I felt… and then the last guilt is, when your father dies, or the person dies and you haven’t confronted them about it. And you think well time will heal it, but time doesn’t heal it. It actually gets worse.
Bhagavan Das: The idea of shadow has to be liberated. We must go into the places that scare us, into the darkness and make friends with our demons. The wound is… is the key because we are all wounded by birth. We are like, ‘Where am I? Who am I? Why am I here? Where is he? Where is she? And so we are constantly recreating. Until we make peace with loneliness and with the shame, and with our own anger.
Sir Bob Geldof: I am depressive by nature. I’m fairly melancholic by nature. I’m not Captain Chuckles you know… When things were really bad, and I mean things got really bad, you know almost to ultimate point, I was offered you know happy pills. You know, take a pill. So you take another pill. And you take another pill. It doesn’t matter. IT DOES MATTER!
I declined them because, um… it’s probably wrong, but I just think a human being has to understand the process of this thing – to almost stand back and try and externalise the pain and the anguish and the loss and the grief, and look at it and say what is that, recognise it, just so that you can take that bit and say I know you, get back in there. I know it…I know who you are…
Liza Jesse Peterson: Facing your demons… all right, being a victim, you know, I AM SUFFERING, everything is always fucked up for me, nobody understands, that’s a demon. You understand… and it took me years of …not being honest with myself, running from the truth, denying what was in my face, blaming everybody else, she’s an asshole, she’s fucked up, look at her, look at them, aaaahhhhh…. But then there was a common denominator…. Me!
Then I had to really fess up… you know, I’m full of shit! I need a colonic (laughs) ‘cause I can easily just sink, hey yeah…I can sink into the depths.
Eckhart Tolle: There is in every human being an accumulation of past emotional pain. And emotional pain that isn’t fully faced in the moment that it arises, remnants of it become lodged in the body, and that emotional pain is a ball of unhappiness one could almost call it, that lives in you. I call it the pain body that human beings carry inside. And this is what causes over-reactions. Just an innocent comment that your partner makes to you could act as a trigger. Once it’s engaged in drama it doesn’t want the drama to end; it wants more. It also goes into your mind. So your thinking becomes deeply negative. Your thinking is fuelled by the old emotion. It feeds on every negative thought that it makes you have. It loves negative thinking. One negative thought after another… how dreadful this is… you can hate yourself, and tell yourself how much you hate yourself; you can hate your partner, and tell yourself how much you hate your partner. Fighting doesn’t help. What helps is… becoming friendly with it. What does that mean? I can feel this, look at that, and you feel it…there it is. You allow it to be. You become the observing presence, rather than it. And then the old emotion cannot take you over. Because you are still there, here is the emotion, which you allow to be. You are the space around the emotion. You’re not the emotion any more. That transforms it and it frees you from being its slave. Realise your own thought processes are creating suffering for yourself. (Laughs). And for most people on this planet, the only spiritual teacher they have is their suffering, and then the suffering becomes an opening.
Bhagavan Das: The human being is great! It is a great… you are good! You know. This is important to get your basic goodness. And stop beating yourself up.
Steven Fry: We have this peculiar shame about ourselves … we have this contingent state of worrying about why we are, and feeling bad about it. We feel bad about the fact that we masturbate, that we shit, that we have to have sex in order to reproduce. What is to be ashamed of in that? I mean how bizarre that is the state that we are given. This is how you make another one of yourself. You put this penis into that vagina and you pump out lots of seeds and another baby gets made. And we spend our lives not allowing that to be on television. As if it is something to be ashamed of, and words that describe it, like fuck … or something are, are, are made taboo words. Whereas kill, cruel, torture – we can use those words when just describing the traffic. They’re not taboo words – but those are things we do of which we should be absolutely ashamed.
Billy Connolly: If you substitute content for happy, you’ll probably find that you’re happy, cause we’ve associated happiness with laughing and smiling and throwing beach balls to your children – and I’ve never been that guy. So I thought well, maybe I’m not happy, but if you switch it for content, the practice of contentment, you think oh god I’m happy! I’m a happy man! Oh lucky me!
Bhagavan Das: Stop. Be here now. Be in this moment. We live in a dream, our lives are fragile. All of us have one foot on a banana peel and the other foot on the grave. The surrender is not an option, because you can only fight it for so long. It’s a cork floating in the middle of the ocean screaming, ‘I must control it, I must have control’. It’s hard to just let life happen.
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