Spirituality: The Goddamn Red Pill.
“Here it is, it’s in my soul and it’s so beyond my control.” ~ Statue, Fueling
It could not have been more than two seconds from the time the light turned red to green when all of a sudden an extremely agitated driver in the lane next to me yelled, “It’s a green light, asshole!” at the woman in front of him.
He obviously startled her as she proceeded to dart off, and while I felt bad for the poor lady, I could not help but laugh when I read the “Life is good” tire cover on the back of the pissed guy’s Jeep as he drove away.
Later on in the day, I thought about that heated driver again and after my monkey mind proceeded to wander for a bit, I found myself thinking about that scene in The Matrix when Morpheus offers Neo the red pill — you remember, the one that if swallowed, will show him just how deep the rabbit hole goes (aka: awaken him to the truth).
As I thought about that crossroad Neo found himself at, I related it to my own life, wondering, “What if I never set out on this spiritual path?”
I considered how much easier things might be if I did not give a shit about others and lived from a completely reactionary place, acting impulsively on my emotions just like that uber-pissed guy in the Jeep did.
It was at that point, however, that the reality of my situation set in and I realized that just like Neo after swallowing the red pill — once I stepped foot on this path… there was no going back.
There was definitely a time in my life when I did not give two shits about yelling at cars, or really take others’ feelings into consideration (unless they were friends/family), but these days, things are different.
I find that as frustrating as it sometimes can be, the times in which I do feel an urge to act on my agro (aggressive) compulsions, something is now instilled inside of me that usually just won’t let me (damn you, mindfulness, and your subsequent sense of responsibility).
Trust me though, I am no saint — fuck, shit, balls (there, point proven) — but it is through working with both traditional and non-traditional spiritual practices that I have found how it becomes increasingly difficult to allow myself to be shitty towards other people, which, as a nice bonus, frees up my mental and emotional wellbeing to spend more time in a place of peace and serenity.
Still, this process of awakening can be exceptionally brutal. Something as seemingly simple as catching even a minor glimpse of our dark sides can be terrifying and make even the most devout practitioner want to throw in the towel.
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche broke this down to a science when he said,
“My advice to you is not to undertake the spiritual path. It is too difficult, too long, and is too demanding. I suggest you ask for your money back, and go home. This is not a picnic. It is really going to ask everything of you. So, it is best not to begin. However, if you do begin, it is best to finish.”
Now, I do not want to give anyone the wrong idea and say that endeavoring on the spiritual path is not worth it, because it is. I am sure those of you reading this, who are walking the walk, know exactly what I am saying, but you also know it can be extremely tough… but worth it.
The great Sufi mystic Rumi once said,
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
And we make these changes by taking little steps inward each day — opening our minds, laying our heart armor aside and connecting to the deep space of love within ourselves.