Instead of seeing things through the lenses of despair, try on the glasses of hope.
“You have to understand that most of these people are not ready to be unplugged and many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.”
(The character “Morpheus” from the film The Matrix)
In Jesus-speak, what Morpheus essentially meant is described in the parable about four different types of soil:
A farmer went out to sow seeds. As he was scattering the seeds some fell along a path but the birds came and ate them. Some fell on rocky places where there wasn’t much soil. These seeds sprouted quickly but, because the soil was so shallow, the plants were scorched by the sun and the sprouts withered because they had no roots. Other seeds fell among thorns which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seeds fell on deep, rich soil and produced fruit. Those with ears should listen.
And, what it means:
There are some who hear the word of the kingdom of the soul but fail to understand it. These are the seeds that fell on the path.
There are others who hear the word and welcome it at once with joy, but their roots are too shallow and do not last. When difficulties arise, they fall away. These are the seeds that fell on the rocky places.
There are still others who hear the word but the worries of the world and the lure of riches choke the word and so the seeds produce nothing. These are the seeds that fell among thorns.
And finally, there are those who hear the word, understand it and produce fruit. These are the seeds that fell on deep, rich soil.
(Matt. 13:3-9 & 19-23 [my translation/paraphrase])
The farmer in the parable is God.
But when a person will begin to experience self-awareness in his/her life and what causes that awareness to emerge are mysteries.
“Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death. Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong. That is your oath.” (from the film Kingdom of Heaven)
Each of us takes pride in something. For some it’s the beauty of their physical appearance, for others it may be their intelligence, or their artistry, or even their skin color or nationality.
Yet who among us was consulted when these attributes were handed out? No one asked me what color skin I wanted or where I wanted to be born or what I would look like or how intelligent I would be. Nor will any of these things mean anything to us or to the world when we go to our graves. Therefore, taking pride in such things seems ludicrous. Worse, we often use our gifts and talents to highlight the differences between ourselves and others – the ego’s preferred means of dividing us. By doing so, we turn blessings into curses and cause nothing but discord.
Death has no power over us (none of us, not just Christians) because we are not the form – the body we’re in. The body will disintegrate like all other forms. We’re primarily spirit — that non-material, otherworldly stuff within each of us — and we survive the disintegration of the body.
Therefore, we have no excuse for not living according to the spirit – no excuse for not overcoming fear and being who we really are. We must remove the masks we wear and express our love and uniqueness to the world in whatever manner the spirit dictates.
Love/God bats last.
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.” (Luke 12:4)
In other words, human beings are not given power over life and death.
If true, then all of the wars fought since human beings first inhabited this planet have been pointless.
NEO: This isn’t real?
MORPHEUS: What is real? How do you define real? If you’re talking about your senses, what you feel, taste, smell, or see, then all you’re talking about are electrical signals interpreted by your brain.
(From the film The Matrix)
This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way:
Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.
(From A Course in Miracles)
We are living in a virtual reality comparable to The Matrix. But it is not metaphorical.
We have no direct contact with the physical world around us. All sensory data we receive comes to us in the form of electricity, which is interpreted by the brain. Our mind controls the interpretation of the five dimensions of data it receives from our sensory receptors (i.e., the eyes, nose, ears, etc.). In other words, we perceive the “outside world” entirely in our minds. Our lives in the outside world are lived entirely in our heads. As the unchallenged interpreter of sensory input, the mind controls our perception of the physical world. Since we have only indirect contact with the physical world and there is no device available to calibrate our senses, we don’t know whether or not we are perceiving the “true reality” of the physical world at all. What do objects “really” look like “out there”? We don’t know.
It also follows that the mind can misperceive and can even create distortions; it can change the “scenery” – that is, our perception of physical objects – whenever it wants to. Examples: When we sleep, the mind shuts our senses down for the most part; the mind can “forget” sensory data during intense physical trauma, perhaps as a defense mechanism. And who hasn’t taken a sip of a drink — water for example — believing it to be something else, such as iced tea? Initially, the water will taste like iced tea until the mind catches up and adjusts.
In short, sensory perception presents us with a virtual reality that is extremely limited and unreliable.
The only certain knowledge we have comes from “inside” us – from the soul. And what the “voice of the soul” has to tell us is far more important than the virtual reality we are currently experiencing through the senses.
A Course in Miracles uses two terms to address this distinction: “perception” and “knowledge.”
Perception is inherently illusory because it is based upon the interpretation of sensory data by the ego, which is nothing more than a distorted set of beliefs that perceive the body as our ultimate reality and, therefore, limits our understanding of who we really are. Flowing from these distortions is our primary, erroneous belief that we are separate from God and from one another.
Knowledge, by contrast, is the reality that lies beyond The Matrix, beyond the world of sensory perception. But it can only be recognized by the soul, not by the virtual world of the senses. Knowledge reveals our true nature: we are one with God and with each other. “Sin is regarded as lack of love, or as a mistake calling for correction and love, rather than for guilt and punishment.”