Monday, October 10, 2011

Guidance or Matrixing?

I think I've talked about the idea of matrixing before. It's a term that I've mainly heard used when talking about photographs, videos or audio recordings where people see or hear something that wasn't there in 'life'. Faces in windows, mirrors or the trees. Like, say you're looking at a door. There's a stain pattern in the wood and it looks like a face. Or a person. One of the doors at the salon I go to has a pattern on it that looks like an evil monkey face.

It's not *really* a face. No one purposefully put that pattern there. It's an accident of shapes and then my mind making sense out of random things. Our brains are trained to recognize faces and the shapes of people, so we see them where they aren't.

A similar thing can happen to people in life. Where we see patterns and a meaning where there isn't any.

Say that someone notices a streak of the number 5 coming up in their life. They catch the fifth bus, they find five dollars, they have five china cups with the same pattern, etc. etc. etc. And then the start looking back through their life and they find more and more fives. So they start to think that the number five has a mystical, personal meaning for them. Does it *really* mean something?

Well, in so far as our perception dictates reality, sure. But does it mean that there's some divine force out there putting all these fives in that persons path? Or is it just coincidence and the way our brains work combining to make us see a pattern and meaning where there isn't one?

And what the hell does this have to do with anything, I hear you asking.

Well. I know a lot of people who feel guided by divinity of one sort or another. Most of them have not felt so guided for their entire lives. It's something that came later to them.

So they're noticing something. The end of some thread and looking back and seeing this pattern. It's something that is only clear to them in hindsight. And, of course, now that they've recognized the pattern they look for it in everything and tend to find it because that's how it works. If you want to see the pattern badly enough you will see it.

Of course, people who believe that they're being guided or believe in the pattern will argue that it is there and that their god/gods/divine essence put it there. And it's kind of hard to disprove that.

Sometimes you don't even *want* to disprove it because it's so easy to fall into it yourself. I was thinking about this, about how some people feel *led* which is not something that I've ever really felt. I've felt drawn to do this or that thing, but I've never really noticed a pattern of the kind I'm describing.

Anyway. I was thinking about some of the people I know who feel that there's been this pattern, this presence in their lives that they only recognized at a later date and I realized that I could find a similar pattern/presence in my life. And for a few minutes there was this weightless sort of 'oh shit' moment because it deals with something I had left behind. An aspect of that that, at the time, I had neglected because of personal emotional issues.

But, having given myself time to calm the hell down - is it really a presence? Or is it just that this thing appeals to a part of my personality, so I've been seeking it out both consciously and subconsciously and now that I'm thinking about it it seems to be a pattern imposed from the outside? Combined with the lack of direction I've been feeling lately in regards to spiritual things that would make it an easy solution to latch on to.

Clearly I'm holding back on jumping that bandwagon because, frankly, I suspect that it's more to do with my own brain than with anything external acting on my life. But then, I'm a skeptical person by nature. Not very trusting, even of my own experiences, such as they may be. The vehicle through which we experience reality is limited, our understanding is limited, and it's easy to make something out of nothing.

Also, October and the upcoming Samhain, always make me nostalgic. Make me miss things I've left behind and feel the pulse and pull of them more acutely than I do at any other time of the year.


  1. I think we find patterns where they're already meaningful for us, where we want them to be. The best example I can think of is a friend of mine who feels that God keeps putting a certain verse in front of her to encourage her to continue with ordained ministry. The verse has nothing to do with ministry except that her pastor said it to her once in trying to convince her, but now every time she sees it on a shirt or cup or whatever, it's a sign. From the outside, I'm fairly sure she doesn't actually see it more often than other verses - she just notices it more. But it works out to the same thing. She keeps noticing it, and it keeps having the same effect of the first time.

    Generally, I don't believe our whole lives are led. But I think occasionally something might be purposely placed in front of us to make us think and help us to see signs where we need to see them.

    And then of course, there's the possibility that those signs from way back aren't so much divine signs, but rather something from within ourselves. That one's much more personal and specific to me, but lately I've been finding out that a lot of things I thought were weird about me are a lot more common than I expected, so maybe it's also true.

    I wasn't "led" to Greek mythology in the sense of someone else pulling me to it. But I loved it, and absorbed all of it I could. That definitely affected where I am now. Whenever anything connected to Greek mythology and gods popped up, I would notice it and cling to it, and when I found out people still believed those things today, there was really no other way for me to go. But that was my choice and me leading myself, the patterns are there because they're things I sought out.

    So...I would say it definitely means something. It's just that everyone has to figure out what their signs mean. It could just be your brain telling you that it's missing something, that might turn out to be something small you can add to what you're already doing without major changes. Or it could wind up being something bigger, maybe something outside yourself, or a mix of the two.

    Whatever it is, I hope that you figure it out and that it brings you good things. :) I think you're smart to take it slow and not rush to a conclusion, that doesn't usually go well for people. Testing everything is generally a good idea.

  2. I think that's what I was trying to say. That we're looking for a sign or a meaning and we notice these patterns and attach meaning to them where they don't inherently have one maybe.

    You made the patterns because of your interest in the subject, but why did that subject speak to you in the first place? See what I mean? If you keep coming back to the same thing over and over again in different ways, what's the draw? Why can't you let it go like you do so many other things that interest you and fade away? It's somehow more than those other things, right?

    I think I'm saying this all badly.

  3. Hm. I don't think you're saying it badly at all, that makes sense. I don't have an answer, but the question makes sense.

    I think I'm a bit of a skeptic too (which is weird, considering all the crazy things I believe :D), and I've always just figured there's only more to it because I made it that way. But you're right, I have a lot of interests, even a lot of religious ones, and the fact that they've come and gone while this one stayed might be more significant than I give it credit for.

  4. I notice patterns quite a lot, but now that people have told me that its normal for our brains to do this, I've been much less likely to believe God is trying to tell me something and am just chalking it up to brain awareness. :)

  5. Susanne,

    I try very hard to remember that it's just a function of my brain and doesn't have to have any Deep Meaning. But part of me *wants* there to be a Deep Meaning. So that's a problem.


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