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King Lear and John Smith

Note: This discussion is based on Rupert Spira's metaphor of King Lear and John Smith: King Lear represents our unrealized separate self, while John Smith, the actor who plays King Lear, represents our True Self, or Awareness. Rupert describes at length how John Smith gets lost in the character he plays and forgets who he really is. Someone must remind him who he really is, help him return to Awareness.

I want to consider the question of the realization of King Lear. Of course, King Lear would never be “realized”; he would just be dissolved, or viewed as “unreal.” But my question is about the scenario where King Lear dissolves into John Smith, becomes merely an experience, no longer a separate self. So when John Smith is becomes aware, then presumably, the experience of King Lear would continue to occur, continue to play out.

Now would King Lear continue to play out the same as before John Smith’s realization, or would the character and the play change? For example, after realization, would King Lear change his attitude and his relationship with his daughters? Or is that baked into the play, preordained, predestined?

I can imagine a couple of responses. One might be this:

“Bill, you’re taking the metaphor too far. John Smith is the true self, but King Lear is merely a character in a play that John Smith is acting in. John Smith could also act in Hamlet or Macbeth. King Lear does not represent John Smith’s separate self.”

If everyone agrees on that interpretation, then we can go on to other topics.

But if King Lear represents the separate self of John Smith, and that “karmic character” must continue to play itself out, then would the character change? Would it insist on changing the script? If we consider the interaction between Arjuna and Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, then it seems like King Lear must continue to play his role and has no real choice; or the choices are not his, they are beyond him. His behavior won’t change. “Before enlightenment, chop wood, etc…” Our manifestation in the world wouldn’t change.

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