Do You Want To Be, Or Not To Be?

The hidden value in Shakespeare’s iconic question.

The astonishing book on which this article is based

For over 30 years, I have been coaching individuals and teams using a ‘soul-centred’ model of consciousness. When I unexpectedly realised Shakespeare is using the exact same model to structure his plays I nearly fell off my chair. This, I had to write a book about.

In writing Shakespeare’s Revelation I have found astonishing practical value in shifting the paradigm through which Shakespeare is traditionally viewed. As well as the greatest poet and playwright ever known, he is also a spiritual master with a crucially important message for we mortals.

Shakespeare is telling us that the primary reason we have so much suffering in our world is that so few of us have true awareness and a reference point of the spirit within us. Most of us see life as a choice between the lesser of two evils. Few so-called spiritual teachers can truly awaken the third, invisible dimension — the sleeping soul within.

Shakespeare is one exception.

Throughout all his plays he is asking us to explore one fundamental existential question. When he gets to Hamlet, he makes it as explicit as he dares — do you want to be, or not to be? For 400 years, performers and scholars have only seen the ‘duality’ in this iconic line. Hamlet has only been portrayed as agonising over the dilemma of a life of suffering or death by suicide. But hidden in the text of all his plays are subliminal clues to a far greater potential — to choose to live not as the self-image conjured by the mind, but the true self, the spiritual self, deep within.

Many of us are programmed from birth to believe not the truth that we already are a perfect, innocent soul, but the lie that we are fundamentally bad, evil, unworthy sinners. And to please parents, the educational system, and even God, we should strive tirelessly to be ‘good’.

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Instead of expressing the perfection we already are, we try to live up to idealistic expectations (lies) of how others tell us we should be.

How can we possibly thrive, if we are driven by a lie? How can we ever be happy living someone else’s expectations of us? The more we strive to be ‘not-bad’, the more it reinforces the lie and the further away from the truth of the soul we fly.

Shakespeare’s hidden message

(3-minute video presentation)

Watch this 3-minute video presentation:

In Hamlet, Shakespeare uses the metaphors of ‘the native hue of resolution’ to represent the soul, and ‘the mortal coil’ to represent the twin forks of the serpent that coils round the soul and strangles our life force.

King Lear, divides not only his outer kingdom into three portions, but his inner world. He banishes Cordelia, his pure, innocent, true love. And, like a fool, puts his trust in the two-faced sisters Goneril and Regan (funny names?) — who, like the false selves within us, immediately undermine and cast him out to perish.

Only after his confrontation with The Tempest (the wind from heaven) does Lear reconcile himself with his true self, his spiritual heart.

How do we know this is Shakespeare’s hidden intention?


Shakespeare hides his messages in many different ways. One of my favourites is his way of crafting uniquely poignant names — in ‘invisible ink’!

Look closely at the names Regan and Goneril. They are anagrams of Anger and Religon! And Cordelia, his beloved one, is a homonym — the sound of the name — ‘Coeur-de-Lear’, heart of Lear. And King Lear itself — an anagram of ‘Real King’!

Isn’t that amazing?

So the bottom line for us is: do we choose ‘to be’ to thrive in our reality now — or, by default, do we choose to strive in the dilemmas of duality for an eternity?

You can order the book right here from Amazon.CO.UK. Or

Or connect up with me personally through

Any comments or questions — I’d love to hear them here.

Originally published at

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