Authentic Self with Bafta winning film writer Geoff Thompson
V: Hi Geoff, you have the ability to create from this infinite yield of potential, and, I don't say that lightly, or as an affirmation. Just looking back through your work, it is so clear to see, you have a great ability to create from your self made infinite yield of potential.
I'd put it with watching something in the night sky. Something blazing, that leaves trails, for a long time. An again, I don't say this with any sort of mysticism, it's the wonder that is Geoff.
Looking through your career, did you or do you always know what you want to do next?
GT: Thank you for the very kind words Victoria. Very poetic: blazing, that leaves trails – I’ll take that thank you very much.
I usually have a driving urge to write what needs to be written next, for instance I might have a series of books or podcasts that I feel the intuition to write, and the urge is usually so strong that I am not settled until they are done. Other times - when there is nothing immediate to do – I study or relax until a new idea emerges, words ready to be reaped from some unknown dimension (as Hafez might say)
V: All of us at some point wish to develop past what I'd call 'our own personal hurdles', things that may hold a person back from their full potential. Do you think people deep down know what it is they need to do or is it just a case of 'doing the work' and anything unnecessary will dissolve?
GT: I think we all know what our dharma is deep down, but most hide from it because it asks everything of us, and it can be painful to look at, because dharma is a great responsibility, it means being busy and it means being vulnerable. Other times people hit a crisis in their life (either a spiritual epiphany, or an emotional trauma) that forces them to search for answers. What most people fail to see is that the Work is life, with all the vicissitudes that life brings. They think that the vicissitudes, the hurdles, get in the way of their dharma, that they are some kind of unnecessary obstacle; but I would say that the hurdles are their dharma (The obstacle is The Way ). If we can’t overcome our own issues, it is impossible to show others how to overcome theirs.
V: Looking after ourselves, mind|body|health is really important when embarking on anything, keeping the balance and strength up. Perhaps one that gets missed is the importance to look after our energy too. How would you advise an individual too also look after their energy?
GT: The first thing to do of course is to find out who you are.
Most people are a host of different personalities, each separate and distinct from the others, and usually these different personalities are not aware of all the others, they all think that they are you. If you have many strong personalities your energy is spread out across them all, which of course leaves you very thin on the ground. In kabbalah they say that all of our energy is locked into our addictions, when we kill those addictions we recover all our power. I would go one step further and suggest that these addictions are linked to sub-personalities, and it is they that need to be recognised and dissolved if we are to recover our essential energy. These personalities may take the shape of self-pity (this shadow devours energy), anger – (another beast of consumption) – greed, envy, blame, people-pleasing, lust, etc. etc. if we can recognise these vices, and dissolve them as they arise (this would be classed as the greater jihad) we can eventually trace back to our Authentic Self. We will have a vast amount of energy then, because it isn’t being consumed (or leaked) by parts of us that we either do not see or do not want to see.
V: Developing, shape shifting through limited beliefs and cognition develops a greater sense of self, a greater authenticity. You describe this really well in your podcast about the authentic self and the eyewall.
What would you say are the key things to remain centered, to prevent the cracks in the eye wall? Or are these cracks necessary, you know? Part of the process. Like, we can't mend something that we don't know is there?
GT: we could say that life is a battle between good and evil, and that both energies are equally necessary, just the same as positive and negative poles are necessary in a light bulb, if you want to create illumination. To keep balance, or to hold a centre axis, it is important to feed virtue in your life, and starve vice. This is the initial working. Later you won’t need to feed virtue, you will simply Be virtue because of the enlightened way you live.
We need to find subtle food of course, to feed the subtle self, and this can come in the form of living truthfully, being present, light eating (correct palate) yoga practice, meditation, scripture reading, selfless service, kindness (basically: practicing as the virtues). There are lots of ways to consume subtle food, but it is no good eating subtly if you are full of leaks, because the more you consume the more you will leak. Ships sink if they have too many leaks.
So I would say that leaks are only good in that they show you where your integrity is lacking. If you suffer with jealousy or anger or self-pity or blame for instance, the eruption of these emotions are good in that they show you where you have leaks in the integrity of your vessel. The job then is to seal the leaks. A bit like placing a cycle inner tube into a bowl of water and filling the tube with air to see where the punctures are. The puncture is (of course) indicated by the air bubbles that escape from the tube and rise to the surface of the water. The bubbles are neither good or bad, in and of themselves, they are just there to let you know where the integrity of your tube has been broken. In the human vessel unfortunately people see the leaking bubbles (anger, jealousy etc.) and rather than see these leaks as an indication of their own cracked integrity, they project out and blame someone else.
Which means that nothing ever gets fixed.
Once the leaks are fixed, then you can start to dine on subtle foods in the knowledge that they are not leaking like a colander as soon as you put them in. Then you can expand your capacity as a conduit for energy.
V: You started your path through the martial arts, do you think there is an essence of the martial arts that develops us better to work through life? I'm thinking how it teaches us natural laws. What do you think is the essence of martial arts?
GT: it can do all of those things, if people train in martial arts seriously. If they are not serious students then it will not help much, in fact it might hinder because it can give people a false and bloated sense of self. It should initially teach control of the physical self and the ego, then the psychological and physiological body is understood and mastered, which (should) automatically spill into the spiritual practice, which is budo training. We can hardly call our self a master of the physical if we still cannot control the basics like palate and appetite, neither can we say we have mastered the psychological or physiological if we are still being controlled by our senses, and we are have certainly not entered the spiritual realm if we haven’t mastered the lower world’s first. The martial arts can be a great vehicle for connecting to the Tue Self, aligning to God, but it can also be an ego trap, because the hierarchy in the martial arts often encourages egoic tendencies.
V: you work to serve others. All of your work is helping someone, wether that's podcasts, writing, books or film. It's beautiful to see that in the world and also how it has expanded. I mean, to potentially trigger a transformation in someone through the art of film is just wonderful. I feel that's another part to what your films do, they're stories and art with this underneath potential to wake something up, trigger a transformation. I guess it's like modern day, round the fire story telling, like how we hear in native Cultures.
GT: thank you. Yes, that’s the aim, telling stories with truth, recognising that life is fiction; our life it is a story, but is it a good story? I hope to show people – or certainly be a conduit for showing them – that freedom lies in changing their story if the current story is not serving them.
Film is a modern way of telling Biblical parables if they are used responsibly.
V: your currently in the middle of filming your next film Romans at the moment. What would you say is the essence of that story that people will come away with?
GT: I would say that the essence of Romans is self-Cleaning.
It is ultimately a story about the metaphysical power of forgiveness, not forgiveness in the sense of letting someone off with an abuse, that would be a naive way of looking at it, because no one can be let off with anything, everyone has their karma to pay, and when that time comes (as the Holy Koran says) even their skin will speak a testimony against them. Rather it is about recognising that abuse is possession, and forgiveness is the ultimate exorcism.
My job as a writer or a shaman (Joseph Campbell says that writers are the new Shamans ) is not to tell people that they must forgive, rather, my job is to qualify (from my own experience) what forgiveness really means, and then let them see that forgiveness is an option, and also that freedom from suffering is a choice. It is not easy because it means standing in front of some uncomfortable truths, but it is massively pragmatic and ultimately freeing.
V:I always feel such a full warm heart when thinking of you Geoff, the world is better with you in it.
GT: thank you Victoria. That is very lovely of you to say, and I appreciate this opportunity to share what I am learning.