“The world you see is just a movie in your mind” by Jack Kerouac

The world you see is just a movie in your mind.
Rocks dont see it.
Bless and sit down.
Forgive and forget.
Practice kindness all day to everybody
and you will realize you’re already
in heaven now.
That’s the story.
That’s the message.
Nobody understands it,
nobody listens, they’re
all running around like chickens with heads cut
off. I will try to teach it but it will
be in vain, s’why I’ll
end up in a shack
praying and being
cool and singing
by my woodstove
making pancakes.

–  Jack Kerouac, Untitled poem from a letter to his first wife, Edie Kerouac Parker, in late January of 1957.

From that same letter:

“I have lots of things to teach you now, in case we ever meet, concerning the message that was transmitted to me under a pine tree in North Carolina on a cold winter moonlit night. It said that Nothing Ever Happened, so don’t worry. It’s all like a dream. Everything is ecstasy, inside. We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds. But in our true blissful essence of mind is known that everything is alright forever and forever and forever. Close your eyes, let your hands and nerve-ends drop, stop breathing for 3 seconds, listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world, and you will remember the lesson you forgot, which was taught in immense milky way soft cloud innumerable worlds long ago and not even at all. It is all one vast awakened thing. I call it the golden eternity. It is perfect. We were never really born, we will never really die. It has nothing to do with the imaginary idea of a personal self, other selves, many selves everywhere: Self is only an idea, a mortal idea. That which passes into everything is one thing. It’s a dream already ended. There’s nothing to be afraid of and nothing to be glad about. I know this from staring at mountains months on end. They never show any expression, they are like empty space. Do you think the emptiness of space will ever crumble away? Mountains will crumble, but the emptiness of space, which is the one universal essence of mind, the vast awakenerhood, empty and awake, will never crumble away because it was never born.”


^This video is truly beautiful. I found it via BrainPickings. From Maria Popova’s description:

Sergi Castella and filmmaker Hector Ferreño transformed the writer’s words into a magnificent cinematic adaptation for Dosnoventa Bikes, with a haunting, Johnny-Cashlike voiceover by James Phillips and beautifully curated music by Pink Floyd and Cash himself. As an intense lover of both bikes and literature, it makes my heart sing in multiple octaves.



4 thoughts on ““The world you see is just a movie in your mind” by Jack Kerouac

  1. Will Grimes

    It turns out that I am related to Jack Kerouac through marriage. A Grimes married one of Jack’s uncles. The couple lived in Rochester, NH. I know nothing about the nature of their relationship to Jack or his immediate family, except that they did not trade on the relationship, beyond knowing that he was famous in some way. I only learned of the connection well after Kerouac’s death.

    I certainly knew of Kerouac’s reputation, but I ignored Kerouac’s work for years. Then. a few years ago, I read On The Road. It turns out that there are good reasons why the Library of America published his works. (Smile.)

    Kerouac was a seeker. He was also deeply conflicted. In the end addiction captured him, but there was also an anger towards the world that seems to have fed his addiction. When I read Kerouac I wanted him to find love. I’m not sure he could. I can only surmise that things must have happened in Lowell, Massachusetts (where he grew up) that militated against his being able to love himself, warts and all.

    Jack Kerouac was attracted to Buddhism as the selection above makes clear. While it is true that Buddhism stresses mindfulness, it is also true that Buddhism directs the seeker to engage in loving-kindness. The Buddha’s Metta Sutta explains loving-kindness. I don’t know if Kerouac was introduced to the Metta Sutta or not.

    In any event, it is one thing to read the Buddha’s Suttas, it is quite another to incorporate them into your life. even over time. [It is no easy task, or better said it must be an ongoing task for those who want to be Buddhist adepts.] Of course, it’s not clear to me that anyone should want to adopt Buddhism in its totality, and that includes Kerouac.

    Alan Watts said that we cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain. Kerouac was sensitive to pain, but I don’t know if he experienced much pleasure.


Comments are closed.