I strive to confront my thoughts over and over again as they result in decisions and actions that I suspect are rooted in anonymous assumptions, beliefs, and mental routines. Part of the problem is that the assumptions and beliefs operating behind any given choice or action I take are not immediately clear to me. It’s like the operating system on this laptop I’m typing on for this blog, I know it is working behind there but it doesn’t tell me so.
Why do I bother with this murky matter? I mean, it isn’t as if I’m not reasonably successful in this life. Things are going well for me.
The answer is that I sense I am operating at an embarrassingly low level of achievement relative to my potential. Not to go too far off on some ‘you can be anything you think’ sermonette, I do, however, believe that our paths in life are to a large degree constrained by our thinking. How we come to think of our world affects how we engage it and operate within it – its people, things, and situations.
I think that is why so many exchanges in the movie The Matrix strike me as profound, provocative. Take this excerpt from a dialog between Morpheus and Neo, where Morpheus is trying to help Neo rethink his understandings of the Matrix reality.
“This is a sparring program, similar to the programmed reality of the Matrix. It has the same basic rules, rules like gravity. What you must learn is that these rules are no different than the rules of a computer system. Some of them can be bent. Others can be broken. Understand?”
Understand? Uh, ummmmmm, well…. not particularly well, it seems. But like Neo, I do sense there is something wrong with the Matrix; just can’t quite put my finger on what it is.
My rules of reality, what I’ve come to believe about how the universe works, is less certain than I want to believe most times, I suspect. When I see me acting as if I can’t make a living without a good job or THIS job, for example, there’s a suspect assumption operating somewhere in there. When I dismiss options out of hand with the same old ‘that can’t work’ or ‘that’s been tried before’ – there’s a suspect! Or when I find myself overlooking things, or not even noticing some situation or detail – whoa, what was that about. Suspect!
I’m afraid the Bible admonition is true: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.”
“Some of them can be bent. Others can be broken.” I find that testing my reality is a daily challenge.
A quote by Gordon Livingston seems relevant here: “The most secure prisons are those we construct for ourselves.”
About the Author: Master Hobbit