This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill...the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill...you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
— Morpheus, The Matrix
Some times good cinema gets it right. A good film can sometimes open the third eye just a little bit. Perhaps just enough to see the light so that we don't mistake this world for the true world. In the example of The Matrix, by taking the red pill we see things as they really are. Maybe for a moment we are able to come out of the trance and catch a glimpse of true reality. Then the eyelid of the third eye closes. But not completely. We still remember the transcending experience. We are now convinced there is more than meets normal vision.
When we take the blue pill all that we are capable of perceiving in our head are, feelings, thoughts, concepts, mental images, free floating anxiety, and an internal dialogue. Our so-called head world, in addition, faces the outer world which is coercive. If we play the outer world's deadly game we can have some leisure and put our worries to rest for a while. If we keep swallowing the blue pill, thereby becoming drug dependent, any thought of not having our blue pill causes deep anxiety. We get angry. Our neck hurts as does our lower back. Everything is chaotic without the blue pill.
Much of Zen is going through cold turkey. We just stop taking the blue pill and gut it out. There is no radio blasting away, or iPod earbuds in our ears. The cell phone is turned off. All routes to cheap diversionary entertainment are blocked off. We are alone in a small cabin in the mountains. Our nearest neighbor is 7 miles away. We are sitting on an old rice bag stuffed with cotton in front of our shrine with two small candles glowing. There are no distractions. All our anxieties begin to rush forward—they need our attention. The blue pill is still in us. Our thoughts demand our attention. But we ignore them. It is only the blue pill. Next week we go into the abandoned mine at night and sit alone with a small candle glowing. The blue pill's power is getting much weaker. We are able to cone down our concentration.
One night our concentration becomes 'one-pointed' during meditation. It is like seeing a pixel on the computer monitor from which the images on the monitor screen are composed. We have blasted through the phenomenal light cone, so to speak. We just took the red pill. It is our first time. In a matter of minutes are body is bathed in an invisible magnetic-like light. It is beautiful, awesome, powerful, and silent. We don't know quite what it means or how it relates to phenomena or even our eventual death. Maybe one day we will. In the meantime, we are overwhelmed by the power of this light. We remember the words of Zen master Rinzai: "The pure light in a moment of awareness in your mind is the Buddha's essence within you." We weep with joy. No words can describe this. Then we go down the rabbit hole of Mahayana to see just how powerful this light really is because we want to save all sentient beings.