This year, like every year, ABC will air The Ten Commandments around Easter and Passover. Originally released in 1956, the movie remains a perennial favorite, dominating the ratings whenever it shows. Even though the dialogue is campy, the special effects old school, and the elder Moses’ long white beard totally fake, the film holds up. It is an inspirational classic, replete with meaning and loved through generations.
I purchased The Ten Commandments DVD and listened to the commentary by film historian Katherine Orrison, who was privy to many behind-the-scenes secrets about the making of movie. The sage came to its second most famous scene, where Moses encounters God at the burning bush atop Mt. Sinai. When Moses asks God why He has not rescued the Hebrew people from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, God tells Moses that He will execute the deliverance through Moses himself. Moses asks God what is His name, and He answers, “I AM THAT I AM.”
At that point in the commentary, Ms. Orrison explained that for many years the identity of the actor who played the voice of God was kept a secret by director Cecil B. DeMille. Finally, the legendary filmmaker revealed that the voice was none other than that of actor Charlton Heston, who played Moses. Heston’s voice was technologically manipulated so it sounded deeper and more resonant, but Heston it was.
This admission packs a huge metaphysical wallop. While it appeared that Moses was addressing an entity outside of himself, he was really talking to his own higher self. The mortal man met the divine being, and they were one. We pray to God until we pray from God.
In the classic Hindu epic Ramayana, Hanuman, depicted as half-monkey, half man, is the dedicated servant of Ram, the incarnation of God. At a poignant moment Hanuman says to Ram, “When I forget who I am, I serve you. When I remember who I am, I AM you.” Sometimes we are monkeys and sometimes we are God. Ultimately, we are only God.
The other significant revelation of the Mt. Sinai dialogue, straight out of the biblical book of Exodus, is that God reveals that Moses himself will lead the slaves to freedom. Their liberation will not be executed by a cosmic hand coming down from the heavens, scooping them up, and placing them in the Promised Land. The drama was played out on the human stage. Many biblical scholars say that Moses lacked the confidence to accept the mission, because he had a speech impediment. When He asked God how he could he possibly confront Pharaoh to plead for his people’s liberation, God told him, “I will tell you what to say.” So Moses didn’t have to do it all himself. He just had to show up and be willing, and God would take care of the details.
So it is for you and me. You don’t have to know how. You just have to know what. When you are clear on the what, the universe will take care of the how. In A Course in Miracles, a passage known as “the healer’s prayer” reveals a formula for how to pray before entering into any situation in which you feel unsure of yourself. “I am here only to be truly helpful. I am here to represent Him who sent me. I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He who sent me will direct me….” (A Course in Miracles Text, p. 27). We are all Moses leading the world from the slavery of fear to the Promised Land of inner peace. You may not be assigned to move an oppressed nation from one country to another, but you have many opportunities each day to see yourself and others as capable and deserving to live in a domain far broader than the one to which you are accustomed. We all feel trapped in one way or another. There is a better, richer, freer way to live. One way or another, we will find it. Not through magical intervention, but through waking up to our true selves and innate power.
I also find it fascinating that the true identity of the speaker of God’s voice in the movie was kept secret for many years. This also bears significant symbolic value. Your true identity has also been kept secret for many years. You have been told that you are a limited human being, confined to the boundaries of your body and a very small world prescribed by fear. The truth that you are so much more than your body and you have the right to freedom far beyond what the world shows you, has gone unpublicized. The word “sacred” literally means “secret.” Your sacred identity has been kept a secret.
Yet, like the truth about The Ten Commandments, the day comes when the director reveals the way it actually was and is. The voice of God is your own. When you talk to God, you are talking to your true self. Your desire to know and be God is God discovering Itself through you. Mt. Sinai is a metaphor for the journey to the inner mountaintop where you meet the God within.
This classic movie is shown every spring when what appeared to be dead comes alive again. Behold your own story played out on the movie screen and the world around you. The freedom of greater life calls to you now and you will claim it.