The Red Pill
"This is your last chance," rebel leader Morpheus tells Neo, holding a coloured pill in each hand. “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."
This sequence from the iconic film "The Matrix" released in 1999 has, in recent times, been appropriated by right-wing extremists and other fringe groups. I completely disassociate myself from all that and return to the original interpretation as a symbol and metaphor for enlightenment and transcendent awakening.
I have been fascinated with the dynamics and mechanics of what makes organisations tick for as long as I can remember.
But I have also been equally fascinated with the dynamics of how to think effectively, and how to not think, and the practicalities of how to apply all this to the tough times that affect us all - and especially now in the post Covid-19 world.
For many years I felt that the organisational and personal dynamics of change were two quite separate fields and thus different lines of enquiry. Eventually, I realised that they are not. They are inter-connected. Everything is inter-connected. We are all inter-connected.
I do not simply mean this as an idea or a concept but as a felt and experienced reality.
However, for the vast majority of us, for the majority of the time, we just can't see it - our minds get in the way.
When I first saw "The Matrix" I immediately saw it as a powerful visual analogy for what I was experiencing.
About 10 years before that, I had set out on a personal journey of discovery into "the meaning of life, the universe and everything".
I was serious and sincere in my intentions without fully realising what I was getting into, I took the red pill.
The journey of personal development and spiritual growth starts by developing a good working relationship with your mind.
The initial stages of this process focus on the conscious mind and working on all the things you can do to develop a more resourceful mind.
As you engage with this process you soon realise that your mind has many unconscious aspects that you need to make conscious and work on.
Then, at some point, you become aware of your spiritual or higher self.
The best way to think of this is as your personal portal to the universe and "everything out there".
Taking the red pill describes the point at which you seriously start to engage with your higher self...
On my journey to this point I had immersed myself in the study of
psychology, self-help and personal development. I had practised positive
thinking, visualisation, affirmations; I had also embraced NLP and
other techniques of self-improvement. I worked my way through various
religious and spiritual practices. I had also done a lot of work on
myself to deal with the baggage of my past.
As a result of all this I mastered certain skills in life and in business, and I became fairly successful and what I used to describe as a fully functional human being. At that time I felt that with the mastering of these various skills I had at last got a working model of how to do life.
Curved Balls And Shattered Certainties
But, having made the commitment to dive deeper into the inner spiritual dimension, what I found was that every time I thought that I had mastered it and got the hang of it all, life threw me a series of curved balls that shattered my certainties and exposed them as delusions.
If You Take "Life" Seriously It Engages And Starts To Take You Seriously
Firstly, what I didn’t know at the beginning of all this is that when we start to take Life seriously - or The Energy Of Life as I refer to it, it takes us seriously, and that changes everything.
We live in an energetic world, and how we feel inside most of the time - our dominant emotional state - has a major bearing on our experience of life, especially over time. In other words we live in a participatory universe.
The Rules Of The Game Change
In simple terms it quite literally reverses the rules of the game. All the things that used to work no longer work. The old skills become irrelevant. The model cracks and old certainties fail.
Secondly, I discovered that once we start out on this journey there is no turning back. This is a high wire walk and the only way is forward.
Relating To, And Interacting With, The Energy Of Life
The key thing I very rapidly experienced was that there was an interaction taking place between my inner dialogue and accompanying energy states and The Energy Of Life.
The interaction was a combination of verbal initiation, questioning, reflection and intention on my side, and an intuitive reception of response, supported by external changes of circumstances, and my perception and attitude towards them.
This was rarely an immediate cause and effect but rather analogous to a dance, and often a very slow dance at that!
I came to experience this dance as a relationship which developed and deepened over time and which, as with all relationships, involved a degree of trial and error, learning and development.
An excellent insight into what happens when you take the red pill and
journey down the rabbit hole and on into wonderland is shared by
personal development blogger Steve Pavlina in a series of 3 videos.
I have created key point summary notes to accompany each video and provided the links to the videos and notes below. But let's start with his outline of the challenges you will experience when you take the red pill.
* Feeling alone and disconnected from everyone else. This is specially happens if you don't have a peer group or support group who are also on this path.
* Relationships can seem a bit less real - it's as if everyone is part of the dream.
* Feeling ungrounded/insecure/unsafe and you have the feeling that you have lost something but you can't turn back.
* A sense of oscillating between both lenses so you're moving forwards backwards and forwards between the external "objective" reality and the internal "subjective" reality of your higher self.
* Experiencing a lower tolerance for the inauthentic…
* Anxiety and fear can arise - a sense of existential uncertainty - the feeling that the old reality is broken.
* Trust issues - worries and concerns about objective reality - difficulty trusting what is real and what is not real.
* Whilst eventually all this blends together it does take time a long time, and Pavlina says that when he went through all this: “I thought I broke my reality”.
Pavlina offers 3 solutions:
(1) The Truth Based Approach
This is all about curiosity - challenging and experimenting with the experience of broken reality. A new desire arises within you try to find out how things work.
(2) The Love Based Approach
This is where you focus on building a new relationship with your higher self.
Things get a lot more intimate with this approach. You are looking at building an intimate relationship with your higher self.
It is as though you engage with the dream or simulation on a different level. With this approach, feelings become more important.
This is all about purpose, meaning, adventure and playfulness. Ask yourself: “If I was starting afresh knowing that this is a dream world - then how would I approach it?”
(3) The Power Based Approach
This is where you start probing your limits, this is a place of experimentation and seeing how reality responds.
This is about testing what's possible and without attachment to the outcomes.
Face your fear and ask: “If this is a dream world then why should I be afraid?”
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
Return to: What Is Spirituality?