Vector8 Journals

Saturday, March 19, 2005

How to Avoid Typecasting

"Where there is no vision, the people perish." (Proverbs 29: 18)
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." (Exodus 20: 4)
I have heard many actors complain of typecasting. An actor who has been playing a particular role for a long time tries other roles, but the audience refuse to accept the actor in another role. He ends up being typecast. This is why some actors are typecast as action-heroes or baddies.

In the same way people can typecast you as a particular role. You might have changed yet loved ones continue to perceive you in the old way. This happens in families where relatives refuse to see you as anything other than a sibling, offspring or parent. There are people who typecast you based on your previous behaviour. You might even typecast another because you have the same stuck image of the individual even though that picture is not who the other is.

You might typecast yourself into a particular role. You see yourself in a fixed way; you perceive your body in the same way, expecting it to appear and feel the same; you typecast yourself having the same beliefs and feel frustrated when you end up attracting the same experiences.

Typecasting is neither good nor bad but what you make it. I have heard of actors who have been typecast and benefited from that role. I recently read an article in Star Trek magazine about the actress Nichelle Nichols who played Lt Uhuru in Star Trek. She said after playing the role for a year, she was ready to do other things. She was considering leaving when she met the late Reverend Martin Luther King. He told her how proud he was to see her portraying the role of a positive black woman on television. Nichelle confessed she was considering moving on. The Reverend advised her to stay, that she was to do her part in changing public perception of black people in America. Nichelle stayed and has benefited from that role. She has starred in many Star Trek movies and she attends the many Star Trek conventions. Though she has played other roles apart from Star Trek, she said she was grateful to be able to do her part for blacks in America. She also believes her role paved the way for many more black actors within the media.

Another Star Trek veteran who has taken advantage of his role is Leonard Nimoy. I read his autobiography "I am Spock," recently. In this book he had a dialogue with the character he plays in Star Trek, Mr Spock. Very enjoyable and interesting; well I would say that wouldn't I, given that I am a typecast Trekkie. (grin) While Nimoy has played many roles he is reaping the benefits from his role as Mr Spock.

There are many typecasts that are not so beneficial. For instance there are many celebrities who have been typecast according to their previous roles. Some end up believing in the press and can't tell the difference between the fabricated image by the media and their personalities. An actor's fictional character could grow out of control such that the actor ends up behaving like his character in "real life."

How does one avoid being typecast? Let me digress for a moment.

Though I consider myself to be very visual, I have never been able to visualise forms. I have often admired people who can visualise colours, shapes and forms. My inner vision has always been blobs of light and a knowing that whatever I am thinking exists as formless light. It's the same way I see myself - light. If it wasn't for the physical senses, I would only think of myself as light. I guess this is what the practice of spirituality means for me - to transcend the senses and be the Light.

I have read many accounts of people who have had near-death experiences or out of body experiences and encountered the Light. I have many times in meditation. I believe the Light is one way we make sense of Infinite Spirit. People's perception of the Light varies from pure love, freedom, bliss, compassion, power or wisdom.

I see the Light as unconditioned i.e. it is indefinable. It is only the human mind that gives it a label. The Light is Infinite. It is vast beyond human comprehension. I believe the Light is the visible aspect of the uncaused, formless Source, who we all are.

To avoid being typecast or typecasting others, I see everyone as impersonal Light. It doesn't matter who they are, saint or sinner, they are Light. I don't even need to go around seeing everyone as Light. As long as I know myself as Light, I know this applies to everyone.

Yesterday while at a bookshop, I went to use the ladies' toilet. A man walked out as I was going in.

"It's very dirty in there," he said.
"Thank you," I said. "What happened to the gents? Was it closed?"
"No, but it wasn't clean either so I figure I'll try the ladies."

I smiled to myself. There's a guy who refuses to be typecast.

Every morning I buy my mother's newspaper from the local newsagent. There are two main shopkeepers. I have observed one as very grumpy. When you say hello he either ignores you or scowls and says nothing. My mother concurs. The other shopkeeper is the exact opposite: he is always warm and friendly. My mother and I discussed the "grumpy" newsagent this morning. I confess I don't care much for the man's personality, and I have no interest in loving him just to prove that I am love. I no longer buy into that brand of spirituality; been there, done that. But I love who he is as Spirit. The love I'm describing here is seeing him as impersonal Light. I went off to buy my mother's newspaper. The "grumpy" man was there this morning. I said hello. He mumbled "alright?" Wow! That's the first time he's ever been this nice to me. (grin)

To avoid typecasting yourself and others treat everyone the same. I see only the impersonal Light.

Light and Love,

Related article: Perceptions of Me Versus the Real Me