A Very Exciting Time
I love a good movie, but more than that, I love a great scene. I’ve got several that pop into my mind right away that I’ve watched over a dozen times. Just short segments handpicked from the arc of the movie’s plot that can be applicable to any number of situations outside of whatever fictional universe the story takes place in.
The Matrix is a popular trilogy in which humans fight machines in a war for survival. The story line begins with a man named Neo who is thought to be ‘The One.’ A prophecy states that he will lead the humans to salvation and end the war. Pretty big shoes to fill.
My favorite scene in all three movies involves the main character, Neo, and a crew member, Tank, right before Neo is about to begin his training. After introducing himself, and speaking a bit about the war, this is what Tank says to Neo:
“Ya know, we’re not supposed to talk about this, but…….. If you are……… this is a very exciting time. We’ve got a lot to do. And we gotta get to it.”
Tank can’t even get all of the words out he’s so excited by the possibilities. (Watch the clip here.)
So why oh why, in a column that’s centered around the journey into yoga, meditation and spirituality, am I beginning with one of my favorite sci-fi references?
Because I think it’s important for you to understand where I’m coming from.
My yoga mat and meditation cushion are sacred places for me. It’s a place where I come face to face with every bit of myself. Some parts I really like and others, not so much. But I still show up. I’ve been showing up on my meditation cushion every morning for almost ten years. I’m not as consistent with my physical practice of yoga, but I usually get 2-3 per week. In both cases I get the opportunity to do the work. And notice the wording here. Opportunity. There are days where it feels like I ‘have to’ go to yoga or ‘squeeze in’ my meditation, but that’s such a shit way to look at something as epic as this.
In the scene, Tank knows what they are up against. The very survival of his species is at stake and if Neo fails, they all die. And he’s excited! It’s day one, the guy has literally no experience in this fictional world and he has to become, quite literally, the best human of all time.
That’s you. You’re The One.
And my goal is to get you excited about that.
Meditation, at least as I see it, isn’t about enlightenment. If you think it is, more power to you but have you ever met somebody that thinks they’re enlightened? They’re pretty insufferable.
To me, meditation is about taking responsibility for yourself. Most religions have a kind of hierarchy where you can check in with somebody who is higher up than you are to see if a specific action is right or wrong. They give you the information and then you abide accordingly. That’s always seemed like a cop out to me.
I grew up Roman Catholic, going to private school and Mass on Sundays. To be honest, I think it was more of a cultural thing than religious for my family (Irish/Italian), but either way I grew up with the Church as my pillar for spirituality. And every Sunday I would sit in the congregation and listen to a guy in robes tell me all about heaven and hell, good and evil, right and wrong, the works. And I noticed that there wasn’t really any room for discussion. He got his chance to speak and explain, but all of my parts were just choreographed call and response. That kind of thing works when you’re a kid, and I guess in some ways I see the benefit that religion had on my early life, but right around high school age the light bulb goes on and you just don’t really understand why you’re taking what one guy says as absolute truth.
He doesn’t have access to any better truth than you do.
But meditation isn’t like that. To be fair, some meditation is. Some meditation ‘gurus,’ or whatever they want to call themselves, like to think that they have the answer and you should only practice their way. If I were you, I’d stay away from those types. It’s just replacing one type of crutch with another. Meditation to me is more free form. You can sit, you can lie down, you can walk, your call. The ways in which you can meditate are countless, but they all tend to have one thing in common.
No matter what type of meditation you do, it’s about looking at you. It’s about holding up the mirror right in front of your face and asking the tough question of ‘do I like what I see?’
And if you’re willing to do that work, I’ve got to warn you that there will be a lot of times where the answers suck. There are so many times where I sit on my cushion and don’t make it the full length of my usual session because I can’t stand myself. In those moments, I know the truth of what is my own personal right and wrong and I know that I’m not behaving in a manner that's in agreement with my true values.
That’s a bit of a gut punch, because when that happens you’ve got nobody to point the finger at.
There’s no priest who may be wrong. No god that has a ton of rules that seem impossible to uphold. There’s just you. You and all of your decisions, good or bad.
But if you can get over the initial hump that is the boredom of keeping a consistent meditation practice, something interesting starts to happen. You start to notice what your true values really are. You realize one action makes you feel good and another action makes you feel bad, something you never would’ve noticed if you hadn’t taken the time to sit with yourself.
So you start doing more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff. Your life off of the cushion starts to change. Things start to line up in accordance with the true nature of your best self because you can see the choice in every little decision that you make along the way. A weekend retreat to Hawaii or an existential trip on LSD might give you a quick reprieve where you can find some sort of higher self, but you’ll always have to come back from those. Can you find that same higher self Monday at 9 AM when you’re running late for work and someone cuts you off in traffic?
I believe you can.
Because I believe that you are The One.
I believe you have the ability and the responsibility to live a life of integrity. I believe that you can ditch the crutches you’re using right now. I believe that you can show up in every interaction of every day as your best possible self and make this universe a better place. And the best part is that you get to decide what all of those things mean to you.
I’m not going to give you any answers because the truth is that I don’t have any for you. Nobody does. Only you can decide your own truth and only you can put in the work to get there.
So as you can see, this IS a very exciting time. And we’ve all got a lot of work to do. So let’s get to it.
That’s just something I’ve been sitting with…
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Kevin Davi considers himself a jack of all trades. His journey as a healer began when he became a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Yet, the cannon of western medicine wasn’t enough. He had to look deeper. An avid yogi with a daily meditation practice for 10 years running, he continues to explore bridging the gap between mind & body, in hopes we can all learn to intuitively treat ourselves with the love and care we deserve. / Visit Kevin online and on Instagram.