By Jed McKenna
(This article may be freely reprinted, reposted, translated, etc.)
Let me tell you why you’re here. You know something. What you know, you can’t explain, but you feel it. You felt it your entire life. There’s something’s wrong with the world. You don’t know what, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?
At the beginning of The Matrix, Thomas Anderson is roughly where you are now; still a juvenile, still asleep in the matrix/dreamstate, but struggling with doubt. For Neo, it’s a splinter in the brain. For you, it’s somewhere between an itch and an icepick. Maybe you’ll learn to live with it, or maybe it will propel you into a different paradigm of being.
Or maybe you’ll get hit by a cab or choke on a chicken wing.
The Matrix (aka Plato’s Cave Allegory) is a useful model of reality and our place in it. If we think of Thomas/Neo/The One as representing the three stages of human development, then we can better understand where we are and where we could be going. Thomas Anderson is asleep in the dreamstate. After a death/rebirth transition, Thomas becomes Neo, who is awake in the dreamstate. After another death/rebirth transition, Neo becomes The One, who is awake from the dreamstate. Juvenile, Adult and Enlightened.
We know where you are in the matrix model, the question is, where do you want to go? Do you want to remain asleep in the matrix, or do you want to wake up in the matrix?
My guessumption, since you’re reading this, is that you want to transition from asleep to awake, from child to adult, as a human being is meant to do. I guessume that awake-in-dreamstate is what everyone really wants since it has all the good stuff and none of the bad, and since the alternative is staying in the eyes-closed, fear-based, herdbound, ego-clad, halfborn, juvenile state, which is a lot less good and a lot more bad.
That’s the benefit of a model; it provides a map-like overview of the terrain in which you find yourself so you can choose your destination and plot your course. And also so you can rule out less desirable destinations like enlightenment, which is not what anyone really wants, and like adventures-in-consciousness, which are really just carnival rides that let you off right where you got on.
Some folks have pierced the veil by arriving at a conceptual grasp of nonduality, but as Morpheus informs us, there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path. Watching The Matrix is no substitute for being awake inside the matrix.
Don’t worry about enlightenment. If you were gonna get hit by that bus, you’d’ve done it by now. The truth is that there’s only one One. The One is Brahman — infinite consciousness — and that thou art. You’re already the One. You’ve always been the One. You can’t not be the One. The reason you’re here in the dreamstate/matrix is not to become the One but to pretend you’re not the One for a little while. To pretend you’re a person.
You’re not in reality, you’re taking a break from reality. Relax. Eat a sandwich, kill some enemies, save the planet, get a massage. Playtime will be over and you’ll be at one with The One again before you know it.
In the first act of the movie, Thomas Anderson undergoes second-stage birth from child to adult. He chooses the red pill and the wild ride begins. That’s roughly where you are now; somewhere before that transition but after the first stirrings of not-rightness that started you on this journey. The degree of your discontent is what determines your rate of progress, and in the context of transition, the worse it gets, the better it is.
You are offered the redpill/bluepill choice in every moment, but as long as you’re not adequately discontent with being asleep in the dreamstate/matrix, you’ll passively choose blue by not actively choosing red. When you choose the red pill, it won’t feel like a choice any more than being underwater and swimming toward the surface feels like a choice.
There Are No Bullets
Chela Neo asks Guru Morpheus if he’ll be able to dodge bullets and is told that when he’s ready, he won’t have to. This is a clear parallel to the new mode of operating that becomes our primary way of knowing and navigating once we are well-established in our adult state.
Once we disengage from the artificial narrative and come into alignment with the authentic energetic pattern of our dreamstate environment, the barrier between vehicle and environment dissolves. You are not in the artificial environment, you are the artificial environment. You are the matrix and the matrix is you. Self and dreamstate are one.
Newborn Neo has not become something more, he’s become everything less. His eyes are open for the first time and now he knows who and what and where he is. Second-stage birth is not an acquisition but the dissolution of a false perception. The barrier between self and other is a product of the eyes-closed, fear-based worldview, so the real transition means opening your eyes and seeing your reality for the harmonious, unified, dynamic whole it has been all along.
Wind doesn’t move. Flag doesn’t move. Mind moves.
There is no spoon.
It is remarkable how similar the pattern of love is to the pattern of insanity. -The Merovingian
The mantra of the eyes-closed, fear-based juvenile is: We’re all in it together. The mantra of the eyes-open, gratitude-based adult is: I am alone. It appears that there are people in your nighttime dreams, but if you were to become lucid in them, you’d know there was only you. Same here. This is the truth the fearful heart seeks to deny by sending out emotional tendrils to create unnatural attachments. Whether these tendrils feel like love or hate or something in-between doesn’t matter, only that they tether us to an imagined reality and keep us earthbound, herdbound and egobound.
Ego survives by forming emotional attachments. These attachments allow us to maintain negative buoyancy so we can remain submerged in the sleeping dreamstate. If it weren’t for these tendrils, we would naturally float to the surface and emerge into the sunshine of lucidity.
When we make the polar shift from heart to mind, these tendrils are cut off from their power source and we begin transitioning out of the juvenile shell and into the life we were born to live. It’s not spiritual, it’s developmental.
That Mortally Intolerable Truth
Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore? -Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
Compare Jeremiah Johnson to Chuck Noland from Cast Away. Johnson can’t get far enough away from the herd and Noland can’t get back fast enough. What’s the difference? Personal polarity. Noland is attracted, Johnson is repelled. Noland was ripped out of one context and never found another. Johnson found another but couldn’t escape the first. Johnson seeks the authentic, Noland longs for the artificial. They are squeezing past each other in the prison’s sewer pipes; Johnson struggling to get out, Noland struggling to get back in.
At the beginning of Cast Away, Chuck’s inner black hole is plugged with all the emotional baggage and artificial structure of work and family. When all that gets torn away, he shoves a bloody volleyball into the void, maintaining his false narrative for four lonely years. At the end of the movie, standing at the crossroads, he smiles in the direction the angel-wing artist-lady went, meaning he just found something new to shove in his hole; his next Wilson.
Compare Chuck Noland to Joe Banks. Joe sails away from the things of man while Chuck sails back to the herd from which fate expelled him.
Jeremiah Johnson unplugged his hole before the start of the movie and fought to keep the open independence of his sea, while Chuck paddled madly for the slavish shore.
In, Not Of
Given your options — segregated Thomas Anderson, integrated Neo, and The (enlightened) One — you’d wisely choose to be like the protagonists Neo or Trinity in their RSI — residual self-image — but without all the dickhead agents trying to kill you to death.
Trinity and Neo look insanely cool and they know kung fu, but what really sets them apart is lucidity. They know they’re in a simulation. They are in the world but not of it. They walk among the herd but apart from it. Compared to the mass of unaware matrix inhabitants, they are beings of an entirely different order. They have a whole different way of operating and navigating in their environment because they know that who, what and where they are, are all the same thing.
Right-knowing, right-action, effortless doing, energetic alignment and all that wu wei stuff represent an entirely different user interface with your dreamstate environment — integration — which is largely unavailable to those still curled up in their pods. For us, it is not a pod but the emotionally powered egoic shell that makes this unnatural state of segregation possible.
Life in Peacetime
If the war ended and Neo and Trinity were free to live in the matrix without the pesky agents trying to kill them all the time, what would they do with themselves?
The first thing you might expect is that they’d go their separate ways; those shipboard romances never last. What is the basis of love when you know the object of your affections is actually a hairless slug curled up in an embryonic pod? So Neo and Trinity would go their own ways, but to do what?
Once you awoke from the dreamstate, what would you do? Like Neo and Trinity, you’ve hacked reality, but the great war is over, so now what? You won’t want a career and kids. You won’t want to mingle with the juveniles any more than you want to mingle with children or goats now. You won’t devote yourself to saving the whales or fighting city hall or keeping up with the Joneses. You won’t care about vanity or fame or power or wealth, so what will you care about when all the standard dramatic themes have come up empty?
That’s what we must each discover for ourself, or so I guessume. Everyone lives in their own dreamstate universe and no two are alike. You are a creative being in a cocreative playspace. You have an indwelling energetic pattern that seeks outward expression. You can only find out who you are by becoming who you are. The only way to discover your path is by walking it. You don’t decide, you allow. This writing thing I do is as stupid as anything else, but it’s my stupid and I like it. If I didn’t have this I wouldn’t have anything, so I’m grateful to you, my imagined reader, for letting me wallow in the illusion of purpose and meaning.
Worry about escaping your embryonic pod first, then you can worry about what you’ll do when you’re out. Think in terms of the expansion, exploration and expression of your own unique pattern, and discover the one thing you can create that no one else can.
Jed McKenna is the author of the Enlightenment, Dreamstate, and Jed Talks trilogies. The Search Is Over. Learn more at WisefoolPress.com.