“It is this feeling [that there is something wrong with the world] that has brought you to me.
DO YOU KNOW what I am talking about?”
“Maya . . . ?”
“Do you want to know WHAT IT IS?”
“Maya is everywhere.
It is all around us, even now in this very room.
You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television.
You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church,
when you pay your taxes.
It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.”
“What truth . . . ?”
“That you are a slave . . . .
Like everyone else, you were born into bondage.
Born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch.
A prison for your mind.”
–Morpheus and Neo from the movie, THE MATRIX
Is this science-fiction? This world can’t be a slave world can it? Who are the captors? What do you mean, that I am not in control of my life? What are you saying, that I don’t have free will? That I am controlled by cause and effect? That there is no part of me that is any better than a rock?
If I am a slave, what does that mean? It means I am not free. What does it mean, not to be free. To be a slave means that you can be made to go and do things that you don’t want to do.
Doesn’t slavery have to be dramatic, with a master beating a servant and other such violence? Doesn’t slavery have to involve two characters? How could I be a slave if it’s only my mind that forces me to do things that I don’t want to do? Aren’t I, in fact, free as a bird, because I and only I decide what I am going to do each day when I get up from bed? Isn’t that freedom? So what, that I need to eat at exactly 12:30 everyday and I have to drink a soda sometime in the afternoon and I have to check my email sometime after dinner? That doesn’t make me a slave. Even if I am compelled to do these things sometimes against my own will, no one is really forcing me. I am a slave to my own mind, so what? I am pushed around by my emotions, so what? I am no one’s slave.
No one said Maya is easy to see. No one said Maya is obvious. No one said Maya can be seen by simply looking at yourself and your life. But what has been said, over and over by countless wise people throughout countless traditions writing within countless texts, is that Maya is real. Maya is delusion. Maya is a prison. A prison . . . for the mind.