The Matrix and Walking as “The One”

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 Matrix, 1999

The interesting question is….which is more important?

I re-watched The Matrix for the first time in ages last week (yeah, I know, I am on a sci-fi/fantasy movie kick…but heck, it’s giving me good philosophical fodder, so hang in there with me).  The power of this modern myth is encapsulated in this quote – Neo’s ability to walk the path.

Plot recap for those of you who don’t geek out on these sorts of things:  Neo, the main character and a talented computer programmer/hacker, gets recruited by a gang of rebels who have “seen the truth.” What they know is that the universe in which everyone appears to live is actually a computer program, a constructed reality called “The Matrix” established to keep human beings ignorant of the fact that intelligent machines are mining their bodies for energy.  Neo and his buddies can enter and exit The Matrix thanks to some nifty hi-tech equipment, and they do so to try to disrupt the program and move the human race away from captivity and towards freedom and enlightenment.  To make real progress though, they need a special kind of person – one they call “The One” — who can manipulate The Matrix and ultimately foster peace between the machines and mankind.

Neo’s gang believes he is The One; Neo himself is not too sure.  In fact, after visiting The Oracle (a clairvoyant), he’s pretty darn sure he’s not The One at all.  On top of that, he doesn’t even know exactly what The One is supposed to do.  He’s not sure the path of The One is his, nor is he sure of what that path looks like.

Nevertheless, Neo knows for certain that he has an important role to play in the unfolding drama. He goes into The Matrix ready to die in the process of conducting a near impossible rescue of  Morpheus, the rebel leader.  Neo stays completely present with each challenge, calls upon his skills, bends his mind, and is ready to risk it all (Does that sound like Yoga Sutra 2.1 – Tapas, svadyaya, ishvara pranidhana –  to anyone? Sure does to me…!).  In short, he walks the path.  If he were The One, this might not be all that difficult, but what’s so interesting here is that he’s convinced that he’s NOT The One.  He shows up as The One because he has to – to support his community and to give the team hope and a fighting chance.   And it works!  He starts exhibiting unique powers – high speed kicks, running up walls, stopping bullets (yeah, see the movie for this stuff – awesome graphics for sure) – that only The One could possess.  His confidence builds with each of his successes, and before the movie is over he’s convinced even himself that he’s The One – simply by walking The One’s path.

I love what this fable has to offer me.  For starters, it suggests that I don’t need to know exactly who I am, what I need to become, or what my end result is supposed to be before I set out on the journey. I just need to walk the path.  And in fact, by walking the path, I will actually become the walker of the path.  It’s the order of operations that matters here.  You don’t need to know exactly what the path is or whether it’s the one you’re destined for before you start walking.  You just start walking.  The path you walk then makes you who you are!  (So yes, you’d better choose a good and worthy path.)  The best part about this tale?  The path Neo walks is probably NOT the one he would choose for himself.  It’s the one he’s needed on.  Hmm.

In my practice, I’m working with showing up as The One Who Can Pike Up to Handstand In the Middle of the Room.  And The One Who Can Seemlessly Transition Between Tittibhasana and Eka Pada Koundinyasana.  In my teaching I’m speaking as The One Who Transmits What Is Needed.  And The One Who Chooses Just the Right Pose and Theme at Just the Right Time.  I’m not those people – not yet, and not entirely, anyway.  I’m not even sure I know those paths – what they look like, what the stops are along the way.  But I’m walking them to see if they become me.  I’m not even sure I’m choosing them, to be honest.  Doing yoga and teaching yoga chose me, and seem to be what people need from me right now.   So I’m going to keep going.  And I am going to allow myself to be convinced that those poses and powers are on their way.
If you’re working on Tittibhasana too, and want some more immediate and practical tips, check this out….


~ by bridgetannlyons on September 5, 2012.

2 Responses to “The Matrix and Walking as “The One””

  1. You wrote the right blog post today! I needed that. Thanks!!!!

  2. love your posts Bridget!! thanks for sharing. xo

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