It has been quite a while since I have seen a movie that has been so thought provoking and inspirational. Usually, I reserve Hollywood for the times that I want to be entertained without a lot of thinking. That’s not to insult Hollywood; I have enjoyed thousands of movies over the years but usually go to books for helping me gain perspective about a situation or current political issue. This movie, however, actually penetrated my subconscious causing me to have a dream that I remembered enough to analyze this morning.
The dream and a Hindu scripture that I read in the Peace Bible this morning helped focus the deeper message of this movie aside from the obvious political issues having to do with a person’s freedom to choose the type and kind of medical treatment he wants, especially for illnesses that the current medical community is unable to treat successfully, and his/her sexual orientation. The dream does not require a particular discussion because its message was purely a personal one for me to use what I had seen to become a better person. The Hindu Scripture bears repeating though, because what it says about hate and its elimination are exactly what I saw in the movie.
Ron Woodruff, the main character is a homophobic drug addict who lives a life whose only purpose is to ride the bulls and spend the money he makes as an electrician for an oil company on alcohol, drugs and sex. That lifestyle eventually leads to contracting the AIDS virus. At this time, the disease was still very much connected to the male gay community reviving the already deeply implanted hate that Ron had for the community. His situation unites him with that group as Ron chooses to disassociate with the “guinea pig” treatment of the doctors he sees and finds help in Mexico. Bringing the “illegal” drugs consisting primarily of non-toxic vitamins, proteins and medications pulls him into an intimate relationship with the very community he so hated. His resulting love for his fellow sufferers is very apparent when his bi-sexual business partner succumbs to the disease and the community comes together to support Ron when he loses his fight with the FDA and IRS. Based on a true story, the movie documents that Ron Woodruff lived for seven years with a disease the doctors told him was going to kill him in 30 days. Who knows how long he might have lived if he had been able to give up drinking? For seven years Ron Woodruff worked alongside the gay community that he had once despised, proving the lesson I read in the following Hindu Scripture.
Whoever sees all being in himself and himself in all beings does not, by virtue of
realization, hate anyone . . .When to that wise sage all beings are realized as
existing in his own self, then what illusion, what sorrow, can afflict him,
perceiving as he does the Unity?
In 12 step groups there is a saying, “There but for the grace of God, go I.” In the Christian Scriptures, the prophets caution against judgment –“Judge not, lest ye be judged.”