Two Paths to Awakening: The Matrix and Sense8

I recently started watching Sense8 on Netflix with my partner, just months after re-watching the matrix series. I find that work by the Wachowski sisters has a unique blend of masculine and feminine principles. Their films often appear explosive and dynamic on the surface, but the way that the story seeps into your consciousness slowly lends to moments of insight, felt more as soft openings and subtle clarities that contrast the violent scenes and gripping stories. In this way, watching a Wachowski film a second, third, or fourth time will always bring a new level of understanding.

My favorite aspect of The Matrix is how the sacred feminine is expressed in the mother of the matrix. She is the unknown variable, the twist of fate, that intuitive knowing that is hard to put into words or understand. I savored the forms that she took and the important role that she played in the undoing of Neo. However, although the Sacred Feminine was present in The Matrix, I always felt that it was a strong illustration of the Sacred Masculine. Neo had to learn how to become “One” with The Matrix in order to fight it. His journey required centeredness, discipline, and clarity of mind in order to fight illusion and wake up. Although Trinity brought an aspect of love and relationship, most of the journey had to be taken alone, which exemplifies the hero’s journey of individuation spoken about in many male-written psychology theories or philosophies.

I have only finished the second episode of Sense8, but the matrix overtures are unmistakable. And at the same time, there is something quite contrasting to The Matrix. There are eight main characters instead of one. In this way, relationship does not only offer a source of support and inspiration for the character’s journey, it becomes the journey itself and plays a central role in the process of awakening. Instead of discipline and mental clarity, the character’s wake up through their senses. Their power is found in their sensitivity and receptivity to one another. Also, another element of central importance is that they learn to trust their intuition. Many spiritual traditions emphasize not-knowing as a practice, but The Sacred Feminine is often a path of learning what our knowings are. Although the two seem to contradict one another, I believe they essentially are the same and can become mutually supportive on the path. Lastly, the feeling of Sense8 is much less linear than The Matrix. The Matrix breaks the code step-by-step, scene-by-scene, fight-by-fight. In Sense8, you are not ever really sure what one scene has to do with the next. The attention quickly drifts to an entirely different setting that is seemingly only connected by a shared sense, feeling, dream or memory.

It would give me great pleasure to continue to dissect the different approaches to awakening that these two series present. However, I began writing this post because my thoughts took me to look up the Wachowski sisters before and after their transition. I was curious about how their art seemed to beautifully accompany their transition from male to female. I only got as far as looking at their pictures on Google images (sometimes images give me all the information I need). The before and after images of their transition so clearly portrayed a process of blossoming, a transformation that was expressed from inside-out. For me, this depicts a path marked by the Sacred Feminine. Whereas many spiritual traditions focus on going inward to discover truth, I have found that the Sacred Feminine unfolds truth through outward expression. The difference here is also in what kind of truth we are speaking of. The Sacred Masculine may center around unveiling ultimate truths, cutting away illusion to discover the bare-naked emptiness that we wade in. On the contrary, the Sacred Feminine places a vital importance on personal truth; it is through our authentic expression of that malleable and particular version of the truth that we are able to align with, understand and embody universal truths. I also realized there is a difference here in how these paths relate to identity. Whereas a practice based on the Sacred Masculine might work to detach from identity as a form of illusion, the Sacred Feminine works to express identity as a form of truth. Of course, truth and illusion are two sides of the same coin, and a genuine spiritual search would require a light and playful attitude with both. But the form in how we play with these two sides of our nature can manifest quite differently. Both are valid, and both can lead us to liberation if that is what we genuinely seek.

Also, just like gender, spiritual paths are not so black and white. A person may have a tendency to practice or connect with the Sacred Feminine or Sacred Masculine depending on the balance they need to find in this life. I find that the path of the Sacred Feminine can help us develop more masculine qualities, while the path of the Sacred Masculine aids in unfolding our feminine nature. The more I walk on my path, the more the two become integrated. At this moment, it seems important for humanity to give words and form to the Sacred Feminine, because it has been hidden away and undervalued for so long. Hopefully, as we evolve and give voice to the Sacred Feminine, it will no longer be necessary to distinguish the two, because we will have integrated and embodied these truths sufficiently. For now, we can glimpse at this possibility through the life and art of the Wachowski sisters.

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