Neil Patrick Harris, playing a psychologist, says this to Thomas Anderson at the beginning of the trailer for the new Matrix movie.
Thomas Anderson is Neo. Only now, he apparently doesn’t remember who he really is.
The Matrix has always been my favorite movie. In addition to being an action-packed martial arts joyride, it metaphorically points to what is actually true. My understanding of that truth has only deepened in the twenty-one years since the first movie came out.
In the Matrix, humans are imprisoned by a simulation of reality created by machines.
In our “real” world, each one of us is creating our own simulation, the only reality that each of us ever experiences, moment by moment.
And “like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad,” most of us never realize that we are imprisoning ourselves.
While there is almost infinite data available to us from “reality,” our senses are able to detect only a very thin slice of it. And then our brains reduce that data still, and compare it to a prediction we are making at the same time. From that we each make the virtual reality that we live in. The vast majority of what we sense as “reality” is just a prediction that our minds are making in each moment of what reality “should” be.
That’s right. Your reality is mostly made up of things that have already happened to you. (Mine, too.)
Thoughts you have already had.
Stories you have already been told.
Things you are convinced you need to do to stay safe.
This is true of ourselves, our partners, our jobs, our organizations. Story after story, made up and mostly unchallenged.
And we suffer because of it.
“Crazy,” is the word that Neil Patrick Harris was referring to.
We think the world we experience is made up of things outside of us, and we think we can solve it by changing those things.
But it’s a totally inside game. Our experience is 100 percent internal, 100 percent of the time. And we fall for the same trick, over and over and over again.
It’s crazy. To paraphrase Einstein, we do the same thing, over and over, and expect different results.
The first step is to see the thought-created nature of our reality. To wake up. To see that we are not Thomas Anderson. Each of us is Neo. Capable of so much more.
When we really see that we are only experiencing thought, something shifts. The habitual thinking about who we need to be and what we need to do to feel whole or complete begins to fall away, because we see it isn’t real, or helpful. We see, gradually or suddenly, that we are the creator of our thoughts, not the thoughts themselves. We are unlimited potential, not whatever that potential has created.
Ponder that. Deeply. Because really seeing that truth will be the first step toward everything changing.
The world that most of us see is crazy. Because it’s based on assumptions that can easily be proven false.
What do you see?