- 1 Have you ever seen the movie, The Matrix?
- 2 How My Father’s Early Death Changed Me
- 3 How Can I Teach You Unless You Empty Your Cup
- 4 How Does Our Culture Condition Us?
- 5 What is ‘The Second Law of Thermodynamics?
- 6 We Are All Connected, Whether We Realize It, or Not
- 7 Do You Also Have a Feeling of Change, of Impermanence?
Have you ever seen the movie, The Matrix?
The movie, The Matrix, came out in 1999. It’s possibly one of the most important movies made in the past 20 years, at least. It is about a young man, who by day is a software engineer, and by night he is a computer hacker. He’s a rebel, who wears a suit and goes to work everyday in an office with an overbearing boss.
But some other rebels are looking for him specifically, a guy named Morpheus, who occasionally visits him on his computer. Our hero, the young man, Mr. Anderson, sees a message on his computer one day, and after a harrowing encounter with the cold blooded Agent Smith, is rescued by the mysterious beautiful woman, Trinity, who takes him to meet his internet mentor Morpheus.
Anderson’s ‘Username’ is Neo. And when they meet for the first time, the following conversation takes place, which I am quoting here, for reasons that will, I hope become a little clearer.
Morpheus: Do you believe in Fate, Neo?
Morpheus: Why Not?
Neo: Because I don’t like the idea that I am not in control of my life.
Morpheus: I know EXACTLY what you mean. Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain. But you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life. There is something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, 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 am talking about??
Morpheus: Do you want to know…WHAT…IT….IS?
Neo: (nods his head, yes)
Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window..or when you turn on your television….you can feel it when you go to work. When you go to Church. When you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: That you are a SLAVE, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage. Born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch….a prison for your mind…………..Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is……You have to see it for yourself.
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……
Neo: (reaches for the Red Pill)
Morpheus: Remember, all I am offering is the Truth. Nothing More.
Neo: (takes the Red Pill)
Morpheus: Follow me.
While this movie was made in 1999, I felt the same feeling that Neo felt, way way…wayyyyy back in 1964. And even further back in 1956, after my father died.
How My Father’s Early Death Changed Me
The first chink in the Matrix was losing my father at the age of 8. How could this be possible? The world didn’t make sense. Only old people die, not my wonderful father, aged 35. That was the first challenge to my sense of safe Reality. The second was my encounter with a funny sounding word, which I had heard on a TV show the year after my father died. Some guy at a party was smoking a funny looking cigarette–remember this in America’s Age of Innocence, soon to crash down in the next decade. The guy was talking about “Zen”….and I’m thinking as a naive 9 year old….”WHAT’S ZEN?”
Flash forward 5 years to 1962, I wandered into a corner store, and on a book stand, along with cowboy novels and torrid romance stories was a book call Zen Flesh, Zen Bones.
How Can I Teach You Unless You Empty Your Cup
“There’s that Word!”I bought the book and read it. The first story in the book is about a professor who meets a Zen Master, who asks him if he wants to know about Zen. The professor answers, yes. and the Zen Master proceeds to pour a cup of tea. The tea overflows the cup, and finally, the professor says, exasperated,” The cup is full, it can’t hold any more!” The Zen Master says, “Your mind is like the cup. You are full of your own preconceptions about the way things are, so how can I teach you unless you empty your cup?”
Do you see the connection between that story and the Matrix?
If you don’t, that is good! Inquire!
At that young age, I knew there were questions that I did not have answers to, and the only way to find them out was through deep inquiry. I finished the University, where my studies further confirmed these issues.
How Does Our Culture Condition Us?
Later, after I had graduated, I met a fellow who I thought might have some answers. I asked him why it is so difficult to change, and he said that our cultural conditioning makes it so. So with these types of deep personal questions and questions about the world, why the wars, why the suffering, why are things the way they are, I decided to take up meditation.
That was in 1971, and my Western body was not so used to sitting for long periods of time, which method has been used for centuries or even millennia, by virtually all spiritual traditions, both Western monastic traditions, as well as Native American traditions, and Asian traditions.
Well, a lot has transpired in that time. In some ways I think I have some answers, and in other ways, not. Even Einstein, one of my great heroes said something to the effect that the more you know, the more you realize the depth of things and how little we know.
That is true on the Macro Level, but on a practical level, what I did learn, was a great Existential Truth.
What is ‘The Second Law of Thermodynamics?
Physics calls it ‘The Second Law of Thermodynamics”. As Chemwiki says, “Why is it that when you leave an ice cube at room temperature, it begins to melt? Why do we get older and never younger? And, why is it whenever rooms are cleaned, they become messy again in the future? Certain things happen in one direction and not the other, this is called the “arrow of time” and it encompasses every area of science.”
Heraclitus, the Greek Philosopher called it, “everything changes”.
The Book of Ecclesiastes says, “A generation comes, a generation goes”.
And I say, “Stuff wears out”. In this case, my knees.
We Are All Connected, Whether We Realize It, or Not
And I also felt that not just myself, but other people had a similar problem. I have often thought of the song by John Donne, “No Man is an Island.” He said, “Each man’s joy is joy to me, each man’s grief is my own”. I am not the only one with knees that are wearing out. So I asked myself if there were a way to help not just myself, but others, too.
Well, we can stave off wearing out. So I set about searching for something that would hold my knee together for at least a little longer. I went to the internet, found a supplier, and brought a product to market. It was a very good one, but I felt that, based on customer feedback, I could improve it.
Do You Also Have a Feeling of Change, of Impermanence?
Yes, change is inevitable. However, the thing is, there are a lot of ways you can keep ‘Father Time’ at bay. From proper diet, to various herbs and spices, to special foods that promote healing. As well as foods NOT to eat, that actually hurt your health.
If you feel like your knees may be ‘impermanent’, take a look around this website, and note especially 26 Home Remedies for Sore Knees.
Thanks for accompanying me on the journey to pain free knees!