The following is an excerpt from The Art of HealingArt: The Keys to Power and Awareness, by Jacqueline Ripstein
“The world is a theater curtain behind which they hide the deepest secrets.”
Life is a grand stage where humans appear.
Seconds and minutes pass, turning into years.
Civilizations leave their footprints.
Every action we make leaves an energetic print.
We are actors and actresses in the great theatre of life itself.
Tragedy and comedy are opposites, and we are here to experience it all.
We are eternal students because knowledge is so vast.
Teachers continue being students.
We are the directors, producers, and actors in the stage of our life.
The wardrobe changes, but the performance and feelings of the
human being remain the same.
Life is a tragedy for those who prolong suffering.
And comedy for those who smile and rise above trials and dare
to be brilliant.
Stop repeating painful life lessons: learn the lesson and move on…
We are here to discover the reality of love…
Love needs no mask.
Let the show begin—the tragedy, the comedy, the melodrama… All are episodes in the great theatre of life.
This lesson will help you identify more clearly our illusory world and the ego’s many identities. It will help us expose our masks, discovering that behind all masks we often find fear and confusion. Without their shield we expose the real us. There is a very fine line that separates laughter and sorrow, comedy and tragedy, pain and suffering. To discover that line is part of our task. We mask ourselves as a means of protection—to conceal our fear of rejection and other painful feelings.
Many times we wear smiley-faced masks when everything in our lives is crashing down around us. The masks camouflage our fears of vulnerability, of failure, of shame, of low self-esteem. These masks give the illusion of self-confidence, so that even when we really feel worthless, we become part of a masquerade, tricking ourselves as we pull people’s attention away from our true selves.
To reveal our true self we need to remove all masks and false identities. It takes courage to admit that we are weak and fragile, or that we feel lonely. To understand how to face our weaknesses, fears and struggles is an essential step we need to take on the path to discovering what our heart and soul are crying for. This painting can help you identify the masquerade, as you learn to be comfortable in your own skin, as you start loving and accepting yourself.
Nobody is perfect; we all have our own struggles. The learning process never stops. The Angel of Death at the right-hand side of the painting comes to raise us up, showing us that death is only physical; our Soul is Eternal.
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances…” William Shakespeare.
At any given time, life can be a comedy, a drama, a tragedy or an exhilarating adventure. Life offers us diverse experiences, many of which we create ourselves, while others seem to pop up on their own along our path. From the time of our birth we begin to adapt, learning from the environment and everyone around us. Little by little we learn to take care of ourselves, protecting ourselves from pain. We seek ways of best dealing with our problems, ways that end up becoming habits of our personality. If not seen through, false identities isolate and disable us. Afraid that others will judge us or laugh at us, we hide under masks, also known as personas (the Latin word for theatrical masks).
When we use masks, we can’t even perceive that we’re hiding our true feelings. Not allowing ourselves—let alone others—to see our vulnerability feeds inner weakness, because rather than confronting our true self, we hide it.
What lies behind the masks?
The human being is born naked, without masks
This “nakedness” also represents purity—the innocence we are born with. There’s a veil that covers most of us; as we grow older, this veil obscures direct connection to the Spiritual Dimension. Masks hide what we think and feel. Masks conceal our fears, such as our fear of being judged, and create resistance. Fears hide within fears. Behind these fears lies the fear of rejection, of loneliness, of abandonment. We cover up to protect ourselves and we use masks to shelter our true Inner Being. Masks are created in the world of illusion from unhappy and fearful thoughts and feelings. They can make our faces ugly and our lives miserable.
Spirit needs no cover-ups, no masks
Disguises are shaped by the uncertainty of not knowing who we truly are and from fearing that others will see us as a failure. We may worry that they can peek into the low self-esteem we feel. We may try to cover up what we believe are our flaws and failings; feeling incomplete, we fiercely protect our false identities. We insulate our true feelings with impenetrable layers that offer the illusion of protection. And the more layers we add, the more we block our experience of Love and Life.
The mask of tragedy covers the agony, distress and fears that lie within us. It conceals our low self-esteem and low-vibrational feelings, depicting intense suffering.
The mask of comedy assumes a false appearance of perpetual cheerfulness to cover the pain we are suffering. To fit in with our society and be accepted, we “play the game”—along with most other people. Joy needs no disguises.
True happiness needs no mask. It nurtures our hope and faith. A smile keeps us healthy and revitalizes us. Taking life less seriously, we find joy rising up above all trials of life. When we quiet our minds, we become more aware.
The masks serve to cover up our fears and feelings of worthlessness.
They help us to conceal our trembling and inconsistent ego with the aim of hiding our assumed fragility. Right along, beneath the mask, is the possibility of embracing who we really are, discovering our love and living our truth. Unmasked, our essence—which is beautiful—and our true identity—which is fearless—are freed.
Looking at ourselves in the mirror, what do we see? Do we see the image reflected from the mask, or do we see the human being of Light that shines through our eyes?
If we don’t like our life the way it is, then we are the only ones responsible for making any needed changes
This painting expresses the human experience that for centuries has played a leading role in the theatre of life: it is here that identities are sustained by the ego system. The painting Masquerade reminds us that the physical body is mortal but the Spirit that gives it Life is eternal.
We see the masks at the foot of the stairs… broken. The steps represent centuries of masquerades. How long have we worn masks? Is it not time to rid ourselves of them and create a new reality? Without them, we are free to be and embrace our Light.
The beggar situated on the left side of the painting throws money. He represents humanity that has wandered for eons in search of its true dwelling place, the forgotten and veiled home within. Here, material things are of little significance.
To the right is the queen, transparent as an illusion: she is a human being. Every human being is important on life’s stage. If this were not so, then why would life have so many players? Illusion traps us in its web and confuses us with the idea that it is reality, and that we are at its mercy.
The invisible world reveals the truth.
Sometimes we use our masks in a rather jocular and burlesque kind of way, celebrating or mocking them as we attempt to describe ourselves through them. But behind all the joshing, one finds the truth. We know that these masks cannot honestly express joy or pain, and we see how clearly we hide them both.
As we participate in this dizzying masquerade, we become more and more confused! When we allow the material world to give us a false identity, we ascribe our true worth to it. How can anyone be “worth more” by driving an expensive car or adorning their wrist with a gold watch? When we focus on values in the material world, we not only lose awareness of our own true value , we lose contact with the reality of our Spirit.
Little by little, generation after generation, we have become more and more materialistic and our essential worth has gotten lost in the shuffle
Are we not tired of twirling on the ballroom floor in a seemingly endless masquerade?
I invite you to meditate on this painting and look honestly at your reality. Look at where you have placed your worth, your time, your Love. We are living in times of social, financial, and environmental chaos, but perhaps these events have a purpose. Could that purpose be to shake us to the core, revealing to us that we have been living a lie—and that money and status can offer but a temporary salve? Money is energy, an exchange of energies for goods and services. Unfortunately, much of our money has been stained with the blood of low-vibrational actions. Its once-simple purpose for trade has become corrupted as our attachment to material things intensifies. Love of mammon has become so great that it might even be considered a kind of “second fall.”
In the material world, money feels temporarily fulfilling, but in our spiritual reality money means nothing, nor can it buy love. The collapse of this material illusion will create much suffering for us if our self-esteem and identity depend on it. Our inner strength will carry us through all the storms; it will help us rise up after we fall.
Love is our ultimate source of abundance
Without Love the material plane is empty. Nothing can really satisfy us, fill us up. Absent love, our search is eternal.
You can also see in the painting that the masks are broken. Masks blind us. Identities cover our truth. They disguise our true Self and conceal our Light. When we gather the strength to rip off these masks and dare to be ourselves, our life flows freely with no limitations. We can then connect to our true essence in the Invisible World, cradle of the Spirit. Everything then changes as true destiny manifests.