When a movie, TV show, or play thoroughly entertains you, you might say that it is compelling drama. It sucks you right into the story. As you watch the action, you identify with the characters and live their lives and loves with them. When a drama is compelling enough, you disappear. When a movie is boring, your seat may become uncomfortable, you may get hungry, you may make comments to your friends, but when the story engages you completely, you are gone. There is only the story.
The most compelling drama there is, is your life. You were cast in the role of you and your only option is to play it brilliantly. Meryl Streep or Jonny Depp, could never play you with all the subtleties you put into the role. They are too busy being them (which probably isn’t as easy as it looks). You play you with all your soul, with incredible attention to every little detail. When you stub your toe, you care immensely about the pain and you come up with inimitable facial expressions to demonstrate your inner experience. Unlike produced dramas, the role you play is not always filled with plot moving purpose. You have to keep playing you when you’re bored, when you’re cranky, when you’re watching other dramas on television.
It is natural and unavoidable to be compelled by the drama of your own life. When big things are happening, it’s easy to get sucked into the action. The suffering that the drama creates is real suffering. It’s different from suffering along with a movie character, because you have no confidence that it will end. It is also the same suffering, its a different tune played on the same instrument that is your self.
When you are playing the role of yourself, no amount of suffering or joy will allow you to step out of character. Everywhere you step is still you. All you can do to relieve the suffering of your character is to pay attention to the drama. See what motivates your action. Marvel at your brilliance in creating an amazing, complex, unique human being. As you suffer, feel compassion for your character, for yourself. That’s all part of the drama. It’s completely compelling.