Escape from the Matrix
In the movie The Matrix, the character Neo is given a choice of the red pill or the blue pill by his mentor Morpheus. He’s told that if he takes the blue pill, the story will end and he will wake up in bed and believe whatever he wants to believe. “But if you take the red pill,” Morpheus tells him, “you will stay in Wonderland, and I’ll show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
Upon taking the red pill, Neo then discovers the truth about the Matrix. He discovers that what he has been experiencing within the Matrix is a simulation of computer programs, designed to make his experiences seem real. Neo learns that the Matrix is controlled by artificially intelligent machines using powerful computer programs as agents, to seek out and eliminate threats to it.
In a way we can compare this world to the Matrix in the movie, in that the majority of souls have taken the blue pill. They are unconscious of the realities of this physical world. They live in a dream-like state, believing that this world is real. They chase after all the pleasures of this world looking for joy and happiness, not realizing that these can never be found in this world of duality.
If we had a choice, would we take the red pill or the blue pill? If we had the choice of discovering the path of truth or remaining in a dream-like state, oblivious to the truth and our own real nature, what would we choose?
Let’s focus on what it means to take the red pill: to discover the path of truth, to free us from bondage with this world, and let us attain eternal happiness. How do we escape from this Matrix? How do we become conscious and escape this illusion? The answer to this enigma lies in realizing that we are spiritual beings having a human experience – not the other way around, as so many may think. So, in order to escape from this Matrix, let us think about what our Matrix is, and how we have got to this point.
The children’s book, The Journey of the Soul, provides a simple illustration of our origins by explaining that “God is a wondrous Ocean of Light called Love.” This ocean contained many millions of drops of light, each one being a soul. God then willed into existance the creation, including all the spiritual regions, using a “wondrous luminous wave of Sound and Light”. This sound current, the Shabd, is the very essence and life of all things.
There are four spiritual regions below the soul’s original home, Sach Khand, including this physical plane. The physical world, and the two spiritual regions above the physical world, are the domain of time. The first region is the astral plane and the second is the causal plane. It is here in the causal region, also known as Trikuti, where the mind is acquired. Upon the soul’s descent from high region through this region, the mind and soul became knotted together, with the mind obscuring much of the soul’s light.
It is the control of the mind over the soul and the resultant actions of the body under the influence of the mind that causes an accumulation of karma. With the build-up of more and more karmas the soul starts forgetting its true abode. It is this wheel of eighty-four that has become our Matrix, keeping us trapped here for millions of lives.
Just as the artificially intelligent machines control the Matrix in the movie, so does the domain of time belong to the mind or negative power, also referred to as Kal. The efforts of this power are directed towards keeping the souls within its domain, and it does an excellent job. The negative power serves as a spiritual filtration system, a task allotted by the Supreme Lord, to make sure that no unclean and unprepared soul leaves Kal’s jurisdiction.
So how does this filtration system work? As in The Matrix, where artificially intelligent machines use powerful computer programs as agents to seek out and eliminate threats to it, so the negative power uses agents, the five passions of the mind – lust, anger, greed, attachment and pride – to ensure that the soul is constantly distracted from seeking an escape route out of the creation. The result is the entrapment of the soul in the cycle of birth and death.
Distracted by these five passions, souls wander aimlessly for millions of lives, creating more and more karma to further entrap them. But for those who have been marked to return home, the Lord has created an escape route. The mystics tell us that within the human body there is the equivalent of a secret door by which we may return to the Lord. That secret door is the tisra til or third eye, located somewhere above and between the physical eyes.
But only a living Master can show us how to find our way out through this secret door. The task of the Master is to collect certain marked souls and bring them home. Therefore, the Master is the only one who can unplug us from the Matrix.
The Master can see who is fit for this path. He draws us to the path, and creates in us a love for the Lord and a desire to return home. Once we are initiated, his Radiant Form is always with us, even if we don’t realize it, to guide us on our journey home.
Masters all come into this world with the same teachings. These teachings include four principles – guidelines for a very specific way of life – which allow us to make the desired spiritual progress. They include a vegetarian diet, abstinence from stimulants and drugs, and a moral life, as a foundation to the practice of meditation for a minimum of two and a half hours a day. At initiation disciples are taught to sit quietly with their eyes closed and concentrate at the eye centre. We are taught to withdraw our attention by repeating five holy names, called simran.
We all know that we cannot stop the mind from running out into the world, but with the help of our simran, we can give it something much sweeter: attunement and attachment to the Shabd. We soon find, though, that our meditation is a journey that cannot be achieved in a couple of sittings. We may not hear the Sound Current in the beginning, as our soul is covered with layers of karmas. But with the practice of meditation, and the grace of the master, those karmas will be removed, layer by layer.
Sadly, though, the majority of souls within the Matrix may choose the blue pill, so to speak, as they feel that there is so much still to achieve and enjoy in this world. But then there are those who are searching for something more meaningful. These are the souls who may be fortunate enough to be directed to the path of truth.
By taking the red pill in our analogy, these souls take a leap of faith and follow the teachings of the Master with discipline, sincerity and love. In the movie, Morpheus says to Neo, “Sooner or later you’re going to realize, just as I did, that there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”
The fortunate souls are the ones who become devoted to a Master. Those who abstain from animal products, alcohol and drugs; learn to love their fellow beings; and do their meditation with single-mindedness are the ones who will enjoy happiness beyond anything that the lovers of the world could ever imagine. They are the ones “walking the path”, not just knowing it.
Let us make use of the opportunity that’s been offered to us. When we hear the words of a perfect living Master, let’s remind ourselves that those words come from a place of truth. So let us place our faith in him and do what he asks – to achieve our goal of unplugging ourselves from the Matrix.