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Dharma Movie Review: Turn Left, Turn Right

Turning Left & Right, As You Miss Someone Missing


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Movie Sypnosis from : Life is full of surprises, might two parellel lines one day meet? John and Eve live in the same apartment building, separated by just one thin wall. She always turns left, he always turns right. Living in wistful solitude, they both believe the day will come when they'll find true love... They long for that one magical moment... They pass each other countless times. One day, they finally meet... But life is full of surprises. A "chance" encounter leads to another separation... "Fate"... How much longer will they have to wait before finding each other again? [This movie was adapted from the book "A Chance of Sunshine" by Jimmy Liao, which was inspired by the poem "Love at First Sight" by Wislawa Szymborska, translated by Walter Whipple:]

Do You Meet the People You Do by Chance?

When I first read the picture book which inspired the movie, about a year ago, I laughed at it. Despite being a girl, it felt like an overly romantic lovey-dovey fairy-tale idea, even though it was credible. It was a happily ever after tale of two people seemingly destined for each other, who continually let chances of meeting slip by unwittingly. It was a tale of love not found, love found, love lost and love refound.

Ironically, months later, I met my significant other in a similar way. The "joke" was on me for real. He lives in the west and I live in the east. It's our version of "left and right." The movie guy and girl lived only next "door", and I had lived in the block next to him for more than 10 years, with windows almost facing each other directly, before moving to the other side of the country. We had definitely passed each other by, time and again, so close, yet so far away. We even went to the same school. Even our mothers knew each other! What's more? We could list common interest after common interest- it felt absolutely magical. I never had such a strong sense of "meant to be" and "made for each other" in my life- we had been unconsciously missing each other all our lives! The movie characters were separated for 13 years, and we were "separate" for more than 20 years. The movie characters exchanged phone numbers on scraps of papers, each having 4 digits smudged by the rain, leaving them a cruel lottery of trying to dial the right number among 10,000 possibilities. They had one chance in 10,000 to find each other... Recently, we did an online personality test- and the results revealed that he was a "rare" one statistically- 1 in 10,000! Some karmic "coincidence" indeed. Am I glad this "joke" happened? I have to thank karma it did. It is incredible how karma works in seeking people out, just as water from the mountain top surely seeks the sea. Life is full of surprises indeed, pleasant ones and painful ones. But how we choose to intepret them determines how we experience them. Are you braced for all kinds of surprises?

A line from the movie poem reads, "They'd be greatly astonished to learn that for a long time, chance had been playing with them." But no, chance does not play with us. We karmically deserve what we experience- even if we keep passing by those we later fall in love with. Do we meet the people we do by chance? No, there is a cause for everything. Even the results of rolling dice are not left to random chance. It all depends on conditioning factors, such as how and where they were thrown. Nothing is left to chance at all. Everyone who strikes the lottery deserves it. They must have planted the seed of generosity in this or a previous life, to deserve the fruit of abundance. Likewise, the truly loving will be loved truly. Before we lament our "bad luck" for our lack of love, before we take the precious people in our life for granted, let us remember that though we deserve we we have, they can change, for better or worse. Are you squandering your good karmic blessings? What new seeds should you sow?

"Beautiful is such a certainty, but uncertainty is more beautiful." was uttered in the poem. It was referring to so-called "chance" meetings and departures. Yes, a romantic idea indeed... the uncertainty of love, but isn't it suffering (Dukkha)? Uncertainty is Anicca (truth of constant change of mind and matter) and Anatta (truth of no enduring personality due to Anicca). In wanting to experience only the beautiful, we suffer, as we crave and cling to what we do not have, and refuse to let go what we have clung to, forgetting that everything and everyone changes. How then do we love people who change? How do we hold on without holding on too tightly? By accepting change, by making sure our love itself changes, for the better, that it sets those we love free- not by abandoning them when in need, but by helping them to grow spiritually, by letting them go too, if they wish to.

Do You Miss Someone Missing?


When someone, who you don't know well, who you can't contact, is running "late",
do you think he is not coming or that he is coming any moment now?
This is like asking whether the glass is half full or half empty?

There is probably nothing you can do,
but to move on when you have to move on,
if s/he still does not arrive.
And hope s/he will turn up somewhere sometime later,
if you still wish to hope.

Who is this person you are waiting for?
S/he is the invisible love you pine for.
Maybe you have already met her/him, maybe not.
You are not sure if there is a karmic appointment to meet.
You are not sure if you are "destined" to.

I have a friend whose heart is somewhat empty, incomplete, somewhat broken,
because she has not met the love of her life yet.
Sometimes its a quiet yearning, sometimes it tears her apart.
It is as if a phantom lover is haunting her, tormenting her.
Is this phantom lover real?
Or is the haunting only as real as she makes it?

Do you miss someone who is not here, who might not be out there?
Do you forget to look around you?

Do you forget that being loving to others is perfect love already, not just wanting love?
Do you forget that love is a choice too,
not just waiting for someone to appears of the blue to sweep you off your feet?
Do you forget that love really starts from you, not out there?
Do you forget that love comes in many forms and embraces many forms?
Do you forget that true love opens up to embrace the world, not just someone who is not here now?

Is There Someone Out There For You?


Is there definitely someone out there for us?
Maybe yes, maybe not.
But the world is definitely out there for you to love.

Is there someone who will love you unconditionally?
Maybe yes, maybe not.
But the world is definitely out there for you to love unconditionally.

The more truly loving you are to the world,
the more the world finds you truly lovely.

Who Do You Miss?

Do you miss the missing and miss what is before you?
Do you wish to live a lifetime of torment, of missing missing people?

The people we miss now are not here now.
The people we miss will be here, sooner or later,
if we deserve to meet them- so don't worry.
Just "worry" about whether you are doing something
that continually makes you undeserving of meeting them.
Just "worry" about doing the right thing
to deserve meeting them.

Who do you miss?
Everyone changes...
Do you miss the person you used to love?
Does THAT person exists anymore?

Is There Love At First Sight?

"Both are convinced that a sudden surge of emotion bound them together"...
"Every beginning is but a continuation, and the book of events is never more than half open."

-Wislawa Szymborska (Love at First Sight) First & last lines

Is there such thing as love at first sight?
How can you love who you do not really know?
How do you know you do not already "know" him or her?
Maybe you already know each other in a previous life?

Is it a good or bad thing?
Will we deepen our attachment in this life, and further bind each other in this life?
Will we relinquish our attachment in this life, and help each other be free?

It is very much up to us, isn't it?
Love has never been an obstacle on the spiritual path,
if it becomes more and more true,
if it embraces more and more,
if it gives more and more,
if it wants less and less.