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Excerpted from I Had It All the Time by Alan Cohen. Copyright 1994 by Alan Cohen. Excerpted by permission of Alan Cohen Publications.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"This world is like a tunnel of movies through which we pass."

  Alan Cohen, I Had It All the Time, Part 6

This journey invites you to look at who you are and how you are living your life. Such self-scrutiny may at first seem frightening, but don't stop here. To the contrary, if you fear to look within, this book was written for you; it will demonstrate to you that you are entirely lovable.

Now let's get on with our adventure...

Don't Shoot the Screen

When motion pictures first became popular, a group of cowboys went into a Montana town to watch their first movie.

The film came to a scene in which a band of Indians was kidnapping a young pioneer woman and dragging her back to their camp. Upon viewing this abduction, a cowboy in the back of the theater stood up and furiously fired a barrel of bullets at the screen. The film stopped, the lights came on, and the audience laughed to behold but a blank screen with six bullet holes in it.

We are equally fooled if we use the movie of life (playing on the screen of our mind) to gauge our identity or measure our worth. If you believe that you are who your parents, teachers, minister, or Tylenol ads tell you that you are, you may shrink to feeling very small and helpless. If you fight, hurt, or retaliate against those who do not affirm your worth, you are wasting bullets. Your efforts to prove yourself to others are as useless as shooting the screen.

If you know your worth, you do not need anyone else to confirm it, and if you do not recognize your value, you will not gain it by getting others to approve. If you don't like the movie you are watching, don't bother shooting the screen; instead, change the movie - or better yet, turn on he light.

This world is like a tunnel of movies through which we pass. You have probably gone to a dramatic or frightening movie with which you became emotionally involved. You may have cried, screamed, laughed, white-knuckled your armrest, or even wet your pants. You might have felt excited, depressed, fearful, angry, romanced, or sexually stimulated by the images on the screen. Yet when the last credit rolled and the lights came on, you remembered that it was just a movie. Although you were temporarily immersed in the drama, the real you remained undaunted by the pictures before you.

While experiences seem real as we pass through them, we emerge with ourself intact. The proof of this is that you are still here. Consider all of the wild and crazy escapades you have had, the dangers you have overcome, and the fears you have surpassed. Still you sit reading this today. You are here. You have your self. You have always had it - your true self - and you always will. After all is said and done, there remains an "I am" that lives beyond the character portrayed on the screen. We are spiritual beings going through a material experience.

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