“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players,” is a line from Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” and what students of non-duality strive to understand. The idea here is that we (our ego/body) are merely actors performing a script: a script that has already been written by the Absolute and is being produced by the Shakti, the creative power of the universe. The implication is that we cannot be the doer of anything.
Nisargadatta discusses non-doership in “I Am That,” devoting an entire section on this point. While there is no easy way to understand this, if we recognize that we are not these bodies that move, talk, eat, or sleep, but are something beyond the physical manifestation, then we’ve taken the first step.
Advaita Master Mooji examines the world with all its activity in this video talk, “You know it’s a movie,” and asks if we can avoid the temptation to identify with or get drawn into the drama. He discusses that the “human being is itself an effect in consciousness. It is not the operator or controller of consciousness.” He goes on to explain that there is the mortal (our bodies) and the immortal (the being of consciousness). Only one of them is real.
Identity with the ego causes life to be claustrophobic. We are held prisoner by our own minds thinking that we are these bodies. “Who are you?” you are asked. “I’m a woman, a man, a mother, a father, an American, a cab driver…..” When we break the chains of the false identities that bind us to a material (un)reality, we catch a glimpse of our true state – Pure Awareness – Pure Beingness.
Remember, the ego is nothing more than a bundle of karmas and since “your karma defines your dharma” as Ram Dass says, the character in the play will experience what it needs to experience – let it be. The script has already been written. The ego will dutifully execute its lines and actions never missing a cue or its mark.