The first Matrix movie stirred the hearts and minds of all spiritual seekers. The movie provided an allegory that really hit home. As Morpheus says to Neo, when they first met:
“Let me tell you why you are here. You have come because you know something. What you know you can’t explain but you feel it. You’ve felt it your whole life, felt that something is 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 brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?”
And so begins Neo’s journey into reality, ending with him being able to absolutely control the fake reality of the Matrix because he found the truth. Subsequent Matrix movies were all just fluff and about selling more tickets, completely departing from the theme that struck deep in the hearts of many. Why did that first movie have such a profound effect on many of us? Because, like Neo, we are feeling like there is something wrong with our world and that there has to be a better way. The movie reminded us of that yearning within to have true peace and to ‘see the light’ so to speak. We sense inside that there is something we are missing, something that many of us have been seeking our entire lives without naming it or knowing what to call ‘it’. We just know that we want to be happy and we can’t help but think that we can find that. So, we search. We become seekers. And we seek. And that searching and seeking creates many life adventures; often many changes and strange choices, at least strange in the eyes of our parents or friends. But we persist, somehow driven by that ‘splinter’ in our mind. And many of us have one or more powerful spiritual experiences, experiences that leave no doubt that a better life awaits us and that we can have, and experience that which we desire so much.
We read spiritual books, listen to spiritual teachers and develop some mental ideas about enlightenment. And we are seeking that enlightenment. Enlightenment becomes something to be desired, to be attained. We learn Yoga and meditation or other spiritual practices and we practice them. We read about others who have attained this sought-after goal. We really want it but it always seems elusive. We can’t figure it out. We can’t find anything that we can do that actually works. Then we can become disillusioned, and sometimes depressed. All that seeking and trying brought no results. So, most enter into a stage I call ‘killing time.’ It’s like a regrouping stage, questioning all that has happened, all the choices we made, what happened and just asking, ‘what went wrong?’ and ‘what do I do now?’ It’s all very confusing. Most of us at this stage just give up. It’s a problem with no solution, a question with no answer. It’s just not possible. Perhaps it really does not exist. Maybe it was all bullshit. And yet, life goes on. And the unanswered questions remain. Maybe there is no answer. Or maybe, just maybe, we were looking in the wrong place.
Sometimes, seekers who reach this stage of giving up come upon something, something they never tried. They realize that the thing they were seeking was never a ‘thing’ at all. It is not found in the world of ‘things’. They turn away from the world and look within and find that ‘it’ was always here. And finding ‘it’ inside was the answer they sought. But it was not an answer or a thing. It has no representation in the world of form. And yet it is behind all forms. Again, some mysterious spiritual talk. But that’s the best you can get from someone who is experiencing this for themselves. Words can only allude to it. Words cannot give it to you. Words are not useless, but are unable to capture reality. Let me explain..
Words are the menu. ‘It’ is the food that the menu represents. Descriptions of the items on the menu can give you some expectation of what you will get, but until you actually see it and taste it for yourself, you just do not know it. Words can neither satisfy your appetite nor quench your hunger. And therein, in a very basic way, lies the problem. We are stuck on the words and starving.
The reality, that most of us agree is real, is a mind-construction. We don’t really know that, but it becomes known when one glimpses the whole picture. If you have a good mind, one that is very good logic and numbers, you will have what is called a successful life in the eyes of all those stuck in the mind-construction (think Matrix). There will be constant problems and challenges and inside you may be quite miserable. But most would look at you and say you are very fortunate. You have money, live in a nice house, and have all the toys that money can buy. You are envied by others for your success. Secretly they hate you for it but that’s another story. You’re not really happy but you are looking good. And you can compare yourself to others around you and feel superior. And isn’t that what life is all about? That is certainly what the media conveys in so many ways. From birth we are indoctrinated into a system that rewards material success and completely ignores inner success and doesn’t even know what inner success means, and doesn’t care. There is so much that they don’t tell you, so much that they don’t even know themselves, so how could they? Happiness is not on the menu, just some glimpses of it like when you get something or someone you want. That’s about it. And it is very brief and almost immediately replaced with wanting something else or a new goal off into the future. We are trained from birth on to seek fulfillment in some future attainment. No reference to anything that might lie inside of us is mentioned. So, we become consumers and achievers.
However fun consuming and achieving may be, there is something missing. Something is wrong with our world. And there is so much disappointment, heartache, sadness, confusion, anger and depression. Something is missing but we just go along with our program. It must be right, because everyone is doing it, right? The world cannot be that cruel that it would keep true happiness from us, could it?
Well, the mind-constructed world is cruel by nature. It is actually against nature. It is the robot king, gone wild, the robot that took over the world, using its own set of rules and logic to dictate all that will be. And there is 90% suffering in that world, and 10% enjoyment.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what’s the answer? How do we get out of this robot world and find true peace and happiness, true love for ourselves and others that we have read about, but rarely experienced? What exactly does it mean to ‘go within?’ All these books and teacher say this stuff but I don’t get it.
Well, what I can say is that what we seek first of all is not found in the world. And the instant that we make ‘it’ an object to be desired, we have lost it because then we have attempted to make it an object (objectify it). As soon as it becomes an object, our attention is again put into the outside world where it cannot be found. And this is the very reason that seekers remain seekers and rarely become finders. They keep what they are seeking in the world where it cannot be found. They are unaware that they are doing this. There is no blame or shame. It will just never work. Never has, never will.
One needs to put their attention upon something that cannot be named or objectified, and that is the YOU that is behind everything. Many of the greatest spiritual teachers say, ‘just ask yourself, Who am I?’ That’s the only practice necessary. But it must be a genuine desire to know who we really are. It is not asking about what you are doing, feeling, or experiencing, but the very nature of this ’I’ that is having all these experiences. As Rupert Spira would say, ‘become interested in yourself.’ If we are focused on any object in the world, we are already lost. Even beautiful, profound, spiritual objects are just as dead as any material object. Objects are objects. They are of the domain of the mind. In the spiritual realm, they hold no value. They are just a play of forms dancing around in a not so real world. And they don’t have any real value, other than maybe entertainment. Neither happiness nor fulfillment can be found in the object world. And it is only by truly turning our attention away from the material, object-world that we find ourselves, and that which we have been seeking all along. And you will only know this when you do it yourself. I have heard words very similar to these many times in my life. I sensed their truth but I suppose I still had to ripen. It is only when I actually did it that I saw the truth. And for that, I am eternally grateful.