Sometimes wisdom can be found in strange, yet fun, places.
Following the whim and will of the Universe isn't always an easy path. For me, there's this strange sort of "glow" I feel when I'm looking at things that causes something to invisibly pop out and 'speak' to me. This was one of those things, and boy was it a doozie.
Why Is A Show Here?
In my experience, certain works of fiction can trigger deeply profound inner wisdom if you're ready to receive it. This is one of those. It aptly discusses morality, uses slightly exaggerated real-world dilemmas and guides the viewer through their own personal journeys through right and wrong at a safe distance of the imagination.
Let's consider this in the new category I just made up called "fiction therapy." Instead of confronting inner demons directly, you can jump on a fictional ride to navigate your dark side by identifying and empathizing with characters. As you watch them walk their path, you end up being taken down those very same roads yourself as well.
So What Will This One Do?
The Good Place helps us to confront some basic 'sins' that stem from fundamental human nature, which get in the way of peace, connecting with others and overall enlightenment. These 'sins' aren't really evil, so much as they are stages of mental and spiritual development preceding true self-awareness. While the show labels them as 'good' and 'bad,' it is important to understand that overcoming these flaws are a normal step for nearly all of us. In fact, by the end of season 2 (which is how much of it is available on Netflix), the show seems to be revealing that amazing element of humanity many of us forget: our ability to change.
The writers did a pretty good job of including a lot of the basic "sins" most of us are familiar with. The main character, Eleanor, struggles with the most common of them all: selfishness. Many of us are often too self-involved to empathize and connect with others, and inadvertently do a lot of damage to those around us.
Of course, it's natural to think of yourself. Being "selfish" isn't always a bad thing - taking care of your needs is an important part of life. As the saying goes, 'you can't take care of others if you can't take care of yourself.' The problem is when we take that self-care too far and become blind to the needs of others. I've found myself contemplating if my needs are truly needs at all compared with those of another. That dilemma leads into the second character, Chidi, who is riddled with anxiety over decisions and morality.
Chidi's struggle is somewhat less common than Eleanor's, yet there are many suffering from similar anxieties in the real world. Overcoming the selfishly independent position can lead to questioning every decision, trying to find the "right" answer. Sometimes there isn't a 'right' or 'wrong,' and the anxiety over trying to define things in black-and-white causes more harm than the decision itself ever could.
The other characters display more easily recognizable 'sins,' such as overindulgence, pleasure and attention-seeking, gloating, etc. These can be difficult hurdles as well, though in reality they are often less obvious than this show portrays.
None of us are perfect, but reviewing our flaws can provide valuable insight on our opportunities for growth. To strive for the best version of one's self may be the highest goal there is, as it supports connection and compassion naturally. The best version of Self won't be found in being prettier, richer, smarter, more popular, famous, or any other superficial qualities. Yet almost every single one of us has a desire along those lines, because it seems to be the 'right' path.
The only way to be "better" is to be more compassionate, humble, grateful, and connecting with others. Sometimes that means connecting with the less ideal parts of yourself (or myself) first, and forgiving yourself to move forward. Otherwise, those dark parts will weigh down the soul and inevitably prevent growth, love, and fulfillment.
The Master of Beginnings, inviting discussion, joy, healing and every shade of grey the Multiverse has to offer!
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