I just saw the movie Edge of Tomorrow, and it's everything the critics say it is; smart, edgy, funny, and fresh. Yet it is so much more than its slogan -- Live. Die. Repeat. -- would indicate, because it looks no deeper than a video game (despite its high concept, that's all Inception was to me - a video game with a halfway-decent plot). This film, I came to realize, was a spiritual travel metaphor. Its lofty ideals said no more and no less than that through reincarnation, you can learn the spiritual lessons you need to and ascend to the next level of life, where you no longer have to fight to win.
In the movie, (spoiler alert!) Tom Cruise plays a very reluctant Major Cage, a guy in media relations who is forced into battle though he faints at the sight of blood. When he dies on the field in the futuristic equivalent of the Battle of Normandy, he wakes up the morning before the firefight, àla Groundhog Day. As he repeats the day over and over, each time getting further along before he dies, the first lessons he learns become baby steps compared to the ones he must master. Though at first he works with Emily Blunt, who mentors him through training, the turning point of the film is where he recognizes he must go it alone to get them both through alive.
So what does this have to do with my own work as a travel writer and a tour leader? I have come to believe, through my own spiritual lessons on my travels, that we are born each lifetime needing to "wake up" (just like they showed us in that other paean to spirituality, The Matrix). Once we do, our jobs are simply to grow as much as we can.
I see this over and over with guests on our tours. I get to watch them take what they think is a vacation (I know it's stretching it, but a little like Cage thinking he's on a tour of duty) only to discover it's really a spiritual awakening. In Edge of Tomorrow, Cage finds out he's got to master the scariest robots I've ever seen, much like I believe we must do about the things we fear the most, in order to survive, grow, and succeed. The big difference is that Cage is aware of everything that came before. When we humans get that gift, and it happens few and far between, we call that person an Ascended Master. Jesus & Buddha are the most standard examples of that type of person, who retains his or her thruline across all lifetimes.
Once you have that first awakening, you get the opportunity to grow beyond your wildest dreams, just as Cage goes from being absolutely terrified to plausibly becoming the savior of the planet. Like that character, you can build on what you have learned in the past, tapping unconsciously--or with vague awareness--into the perfected lessons, finally reaching that point of conscious mastery. Until then... Live. Die. Repeat.
Edge of Tomorrow & The Matrix, all associated characters & images are © Warner Bros.