Learning to Live in the Matrix

Sometimes…no…often…maybe all the time these days, I am forced to stop and wonder what the heck I’m doing. When I know, almost for sure, that most of the crap we care about is just crap, how do I go on pushing it? Pretending that it’s not crap.

Plugging into the Matrix. When I do it with awareness, is it any different from simply plugging in? Or being plugged in without my knowledge? I’m beginning to wonder. When we bring mindfulness to our actions, does this awareness change the outcome of our actions, or does it end up actually changing the actions themselves?

Take, for instance, the teaching of grammar. Take, for instance, teaching at all. In a school. With rules. And grades. Ask me, when I’m on the mat, holding someone crying in the middle of a Holotropic Breathwork session, what I think is important about getting good grades. Unequivocally – nothing. Ask me, in the privacy of my home, whether knowing what a predicate adjective is will make a difference in anyone’s life. None.

Which means that I live with a whole lot of deep psychic discomfort – going to work every day and – even if I’m not the one brandishing A’s on a report card as the ultimate reward, still  – upholding a system that counts these as sacred and all-important. Children come to my office all the time. Many of them are crying – because they got detentions or low grades and ‘my parents are going to kill me’. What a complete and absolute waste of a life to worry about this stuff! And yet…what would it take to unplug completely? My theory is that we all live with this sort of psychic discomfort every day. We know – with certainty – what’s really important, and yet we live without. Because we are plugged into the Matrix and unplugging is way too uncertain. Especially when it come to our kids.

Schools are the ultimate marketers of the illusion. They sell every sort of lie – that success in the classroom will ensure other sorts of success; that hierarchies exist for good reason; that those who look good are good; that following rules makes you a better person. Schools educate to keep the status quo, to maintain basic principles that keep the rich rich and the poor poor. It has seemed to me that choosing between schools is about deciding which evil to live with rather than about deciding between good and bad schools.

Growing up seems to mean growing comfortable with my disillusionment. Life does not offer up solutions or positive outcomes to the really big problems we face. I thought that it would – if I worked hard enough, learned the right stuff, went to enough therapy, met the right people. Hard work doesn’t pay off – not in the way I expected it to. And that seems to be the best kept secret, ever.

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