Now that the six-year television odyssey known as Lost has wrapped, I wonder - what have we found?
In the interests of full disclosure, it's been impossible since the beginning for me to be an impartial, average viewer of the show. As chance would have it, the start and progression of the journey that is Lost eerily coincided with a journey of my own. On literally the exact date Lost first aired (September 22, 2004) I had not only just uprooted my life, business and family from one part of the country to another in a major move, but shortly thereafter also began a very personal and unexpected journey of self discovery and spiritual awakening. Perhaps as a result of this coincidental timing, I've never been able to see Lost as "just another television drama". To me, it always hinted at a bigger picture. With the final episode out of the bag, now we know what that picture is. Here's my take on it.
What I've always loved about Lost is its parable-like quality of story. Rich in symbolism (some ridiculously obvious but much of it obscure) and parallel structures, rarely could you take a plot twist or character trait at surface level. Refusing to rest on simplistic single-dimension character development common in most television dramas, Lost beautifully captured the multi-dimensional complexity of real human beings. In so doing, I believe its creators consciously intended this to be the case and although their agenda -- if any -- is unknown to me and largely unpublished, I also believe they had one.
Not only do I think they had an agenda, I believe it's a spiritually-conscious agenda. And while I can only guess at it (I don't know anyone involved in the show), that agenda carries a message that seems intent on making us not only interested, but compelled to inquire into our true nature, awaken to it, and discover it for ourselves. For perhaps the first-time in prime-time network television history, someone is asking and tackling answers to the big questions of life and has found a way to do so that millions of people at once not only identify with, but significantly, are riveted to. This alone is cause for celebration. (Or maybe, it's simply consciousness finally exploring and expressing itself on TV.)
Is Lost trying to take us from lost to found? From a forgetting of who we REALLY are to a remembering of our true essence? In case it hasn't crossed your path, "conscious spiritual awakening" is not just hot, it's happening across all faiths in all parts of the world. Spirituality is in the zeitgeist. We seem to be at a critical point in our evolution at which we're "waking up". We're growing in awareness of self and other, and for perhaps the first time, seeing an interconnected whole as our reality. While this interconnectedness and "age of awakening" has arguably been in the works for the last few decades, it seems to have accelerated of late. Much is being written about Consciousness (spelled with a capital "c" it is the "all that is", the "pure essence of everything" the "stuff of live" or as many term it, "God") becoming conscious of itself, having taken form in the first place in order to experience itself.
If that sounds more confusing than a Lost plot-line, allow me a bit of back story. As the thinking goes, the "all that is" is infinite and eternal. That being the case, how does an infinite and eternal being experience itself if it is everything, everywhere, all the time? Answer: It can't, it's logically impossible, unless it creates artificial limits; it must create artificial separation into "self" and "other". You and me. Us and them (remember the "Others" on Lost?) Only then can the infinite be finite; can one become two so that there is "self" and "object", observer and observed.
So the universe was born. Solar systems, planets and stars. The Earth, its occupants, and humans. Plus all of our man-made stuff. After all, for an infinite being to experience all of itself, it certainly needs infinite possibilities, combinations, forms and flavors, right? More is better would seem logical. Until at some point, well - here's where it gets tricky - it gets impossible to pretend anymore, and the game begins undoing itself. One portion or person or being within creation remembers, wakes up, and realizes it's all an attempt of the infinite whole to explore what it's like not to be an infinite whole. Yet the separation has already happened by this point, and now within that world of endless forms, consciousness begins to become aware of itself. Like when you're dreaming and realize within the dream that you, in fact, are dreaming (but still you can't "wake up"), consciousness begins to become conscious of itself within the game of what we seemingly separate human beings call "life".
Whoa. Then what?
Then one day, a show like Lost shakes a lot of us at once a little bit awake, enough for us to realize we're as lost from knowing our true essence as the characters in the program are lost when they board Oceanic flight 815. Then, as we watch their stories (oh how we love stories) play out, we get hints that the true nature of our existence transcends place, time, and physical limitations. We, like the Lost characters who bounce around in time from present to past to sideways reality, realize we're more than an animated shell; much more than just the body, the emotions, the thoughts, the intellect. And at the end of what we call a human life, we'll return to that something more. "We're all going to the same place," as Jack and Kate remind us in the series finale.
What rocks our world (or at least our limited human perception of it) and can rock THE world is waking up to the truth that we're more than simple people with personalities and egos and bodies, while perceiving that truth through the lens of those very finite personalities, egos and bodies. If Lost is trying to get us to that first step, I'd say it has made excellent headway and at least partially succeeded. People who weren't already are asking the bigger questions and as a result, will begin to find the answers. "Who am I?" "What am I doing here?" "What's my purpose?" "Will I be forgiven?", "Can I redeem myself?" and "What comes next?" are just a few of the same questions I've been exploring for the last five years and am now writing about on my new blog, The Accidental Seeker.
You can read enough on the Internet about the origins of Lost to learn that most of the nods to philosophy, physics, and classic teachings were intentionally placed there by the show's creators (J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and Carlton Cuse) in an attempt to forge a program that they themselves would appreciate as viewers -- a show that flew in the face of the expectation that TV must be dumbed-down for the masses and instead, respected its viewers' intelligence. Whether the creators of Lost had no spiritual agenda in mind, grew into an agenda along the way, or had a consciousness-raising agenda going from the start hardly matters now. The message is out and people will see what they're ready to see.
I at least am grateful that if nothing else, Lost has through its high production values, exceptional writing, diverse casting, stellar acting and respect for its audience raised the bar for prime time television and maybe as a result, helped that medium find its purpose. As I believe, nothing is wasted. Whether a prime-time television show can also raise the spiritual consciousness of its viewers remains to be seen. But like I told you, I'm biased. I saw it for more than (from what I can tell) it was meant to be.
And maybe, that's the point. We always see life through our limited, unique lenses of human experience. We never see anything in its absolute totality; we can't. But, we should never stop trying. And thanks to Lost, maybe we'll look at the people in our lives, our connections to them, and those big questions a little deeper than we ever have before. Forget about deeper -- maybe at long last we'll at least look.
To explore more Lessons Learned from Lost, visit The Accidental Seeker at http://www.accidentalseeker.com.