Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lessons From The Matrix: There Is No Spoon

There is no spoon.

Spoon Boy: Do not try to bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Spoon Boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Spoon Boy: Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends. It is only yourself.

The spoon is a metaphor for our fixed views of 'reality'. Our preconceptions and fixed ideas are like the spoon - we rarely see them for what they are; we build them up and add weight and baggage to them to the point that they are heavy, hard and unbendable. Reality, like the spoon, is not permanent and it is not immoveable. Often we only see black and white, but when that happens, we fail to see the million unique and brilliant shades of gray.

A while back now, I had the flu about a month prior to a powerlifting meet. I felt okay going in and decided to play my three squat attempts conservatively. The first two went fine. For my final attempt I called for, I think, 480lbs. I was confident, but as I stepped out of the racks, I was shocked at how crushing the weight felt. I stood there gathering myself and preparing to descend into the hole as a part of my mind thought "Damn, that flu must have really wiped me out. 480 should NOT feel this heavy!". After standing there, for what must have been at least 20 painful seconds, the crowd screaming encouragement, I decided to rerack it. I walked back to the warm-up area, a little discouraged at the prospect of every weight feeling like that when the people on the platform began yelling for me to return. When I got there, they told me the bar was misloaded to 600+lbs - over a hundred pounds more than my requested weight. I was given 10 minutes to recoup and then I got my 'fourth attempt' (three whites, by the way). At that point, if I had known the actual weight on the bar, I doubt I would have budged it, let alone walked it out of the racks, let alone even contemplated squatting it. My 'ignorance' allowed me to feel the weight for what it truly was.

Doubt and negative self-talk will end your efforts long before you even begin to scratch the surface of your potential if you let them. Many of us have developed an inner dialogue to protect our egos from potential harm. The trick is being able to recognize it when it starts to rear its ugly head and see it for what it is - not the truth, but an extended response we have assigned to a given stimulus and now habitually and unthinkingly follow. The itch does not require the scratch.

This inner, and largely unconscious inner dialogue can manifest itself as a training rut. It can also manifest itself as routine and addiction. Breaking free of the well worn paths of blame, shame, guilt, entitlement, and doubt, requires a separation of stimulus and reaction, performance and process.

You have to let it all go, Neo - fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind.

Other "Lessons From The Matrix":
Causality & Choice


Anonymous said...

Great post Boris. I might be tired, sleepy or unmotivated, but I can never predict what I can do, till I lift the bar out of the rack.

Neghar said...

Interesting that you would write this today, when I was just having some negative self talk about my slow progress with bringing my bodyfat back down...

I often need to be reminded to let it all go.

Boris said...

Thanks vkp78. Agreed.

Me too. Most of my blog posts are in the 'reminder to self' vein.

Anonymous said...

Fabulous post, Boris. I too love the Matrix trilogy for the underlying Zen/Buddhist message. Is there an underlying Christian message? Sure; all paths are born of - and lead back to - truth, essence and being.

Gubernatrix said...

Great story Boris!

Boris T said...

Funny enough I had a conversation with a friend and posted on my blog about that around similar issues self-delusion and negativity.

We fail and are weak becasue we talk ourselves out of it even before it begins. Our body's don't fail us, our minds fail our bodies.