“Make no mistake about it – enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.” – Adyashanti
Imagine the current cultural paradigm is the Matrix. Imagine you are Neo on the brink of a paradigm shift, and I am Morpheus. “The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see?
Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, and carpenters; the very minds of the people we are trying to save. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent upon the system, they will fight to protect it.”
It’s probably not too difficult to imagine. Like most people I’m sure you’ve had that little voice in the back of your head whispering, “Something isn’t healthy about our culture’s way of living.” Some of us may not even have to imagine it at all, because it is all too apparent what the problem is. But we can’t do anything about it because we’re stuck in between. We’re in a double-bind, or a catch-22, of living for money on the Matrix-side and living for Truth on the Desert-of-the-Real-side.
Harley Swift Deer, a Native American teacher, says that each of us has a Survival Dance and a Sacred Dance, but the survival dance must come first. Choosing to be The One is no easy process. It requires a foundation of self-reliance: a survival dance. Once we’ve established a healthy platform for survival we can begin the risk-taking element of discovering our own authentic vocation: our sacred dance.
The tricky part is discerning a healthy survival dance from an unhealthy one. The “survival dance” that the Matrix has the majority of us locked into is a fundamentally unhealthy, unsustainable survival mechanism. It’s not even a dance. It’s a grind. So we first need to pry ourselves from the survival grind in order to discover a survival dance in order to discover our sacred dance.
But most people are so entrenched in the daily grind that they cannot even fathom a healthy survival dance, let alone a sacred dance, and nothing we can say or do will change their current worldview. These people will fight, tooth and nail, unreasonably and emotionally, to keep intact the system that has bred them and made them fat, lazy and pseudo-happy. They will battle to the death to remain comfortable and inert.
They want their luxuries, the rest of the world be damned! They are locked into a herd mentality, a collective hallucination about the way things are “supposed to be” while forgetting the way things actually are. Imagine a little further… Morpheus says, “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
This is the eternal decision, the ultimate fork in the road, the existential crossroads. What do we choose? How should we continue? Do we choose the pain that comes with knowledge, or bliss that comes from ignorance? If we choose the red pill we learn things we may not be prepared for, and the Desert of the Real is a painful place. If we choose the blue pill we get to remain comfortable in our bliss, but we’re also blinded by our ignorance. What to do?
If, as Aldous Huxley suggested, “Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what man does with what happens to him” then The Matrix represents the cultural conditioning that “happens” to us without our consent; while choosing to be The One is becoming a person who can do something with what happens to us. Experiencing the world in this way is seeing through the illusion of The Matrix and then acting in a way that transcends it.
Going down the rabbit hole is waking up to the preconditioning and enforcing our own will upon the original construct so as to create a new construct. When we choose to remain passive consumerists, we are surrendering our soul to The Matrix. When we choose to become The One, we are reclaiming our soul from The Matrix.
Doing so transforms our apathy into empathy, our passivity into proactivity, our preconditioning into reconditioning, and our herd-instinct into heroic-impulse. If enough of us choose to take the red pill, thereby choosing to become The One, then we may be able to tilt the balance back in favor of a healthy, sustainable world.
At the end of the day, our old heroes are dead and gone. We are the New-heroes we’ve been waiting for. The wait is over. We have only to claim our place as New-hero, as The One, while helping as many people as possible to do the same. If we can do this then we might possibly change the world for the better.
“In myths the hero is the one who conquers the dragon not the one who is devoured by it. And yet both have to deal with the same dragon. Also, he is no hero who never met the dragon, or who, if he once saw it, declared afterwards that he saw nothing. Equally, only one who has risked the fight with the dragon and is not overcome by it wins the hoard, the “treasure hard to attain.”
He alone has genuine claim to self-confidence, for he has faced the dark ground of his self and thereby has gained himself… He arrives at an inner certainty which makes him capable of self-reliance, and attained what the alchemists called the unio mentalis.” ~ C.G. Jung
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