essays, Personal writing

Awakening from the Matrix: on the purpose of “agents”

Recently I’ve been feeling like I’ve been awakening from the Matrix. What I mean by this is I’ve been coming into my power: trusting my intuition, unleashing my creativity, knowing that I don’t need to wait for anyone’s approval. This is a form of initiation.

As this has happened, it’s been illuminating to see the number of people who have taken it upon themselves to tell me to stop doing what I’m doing. It’s too transgressive! Too outside the box! Too personal! These people have entered my life without invitation and deemed it appropriate to tell me what to do.

agentsRemembering the first Matrix film, I’ve understood these people as akin to the agents described in that film. Early on in the film, Morpheus tells Neo that any person can transform into an agent at any time, and that an agent is a person so attached to a given way of life, they will die to protect it.

Similarly, the people who’ve acted as obstacles in my life have demonstrated their attachment to received ways of doing things: conventional paths, thoughts, habits, and moreover, the conventional ways I have been in relation with these people. In a word, these people have seen me wrestling free from a box that’s become too small for me, and they’ve desperately told me to get back inside the box.

In a way, this is actually a gift, hard as it can be to see when it occurs: when an agent enters our life, what the Matrix is really doing is double-checking our impulses: through the agent, the Matrix is asking whether we’re sure of ourselves, whether we really want to do what we’ve set out on doing. Accordingly, we gain the opportunity to turn back if we wish, or to continue forward having checked in and declared our values.

agent transformationThe reason I have become able to see the dynamic in this way is that, upon reflection, I have realized I myself have acted as other people’s agents many times: some examples that come to mind are people who wanted to break off romantic relationship with me, and I was resistant; or people who’d begun to see creative success and spurred my jealousy. In both cases, people have sought to liberate themselves while in my sphere, and this transformation has tickled insecurities in me that have led me to try to sabotage or stall the person. Was I as liberated as them? Had I had the courage to do what they were doing? If not, I have unconsciously acted upon this knowledge as an oppressor.

Knowing that we all have the capacity to become agents as well as Neos, it becomes easier to give grace to those who act as agents in our lives; they are only speaking from their own insecurity, their own deep-down awareness that they have been too fearful to do the kinds of things we ourselves are doing. Furthermore, when an agent manifests in our life, this is a form of gift: the agent is giving us the opportunity to check in with ourselves and affirm that our path is really the one we want to be walking. Do we truly want to be liberated? Without the agent, we’ll never know.

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