Book Review: Escaping the Matrix

22 05 2005

Book Name: Escaping the Matrix: Setting Your Mind Free to Experience Real Life in Christ

Authors: Gregory A. Boyd and Al Larson

Publishers: Baker Books

Read other reviews of this book.

Disclaimer: I was not paid to provide this review. All I received was a complimentary copy of the book.

Escaping the Matrix seemed to have an interesting summary of it’s context and purpose – assisting Christians from escaping the thought processes that sometimes entangle us and keep us from experiencing true freedom in Christ.

The authors use the film The Matrix as a backdrop for explaining not only the battle that goes on in our mind, but the secret to conquering our struggles in our thought process. I must be one of the few people who never saw The Matrix. I considered viewing the movie before reading the book, but decided that my naiveness would afford me the ability to be more objective about the book’s actual content. My review does not cover the material in reference to the movie.

The book is divided into two sections. In the first section, What is the Matrix?, the authors lay out their theory about the self-defeating way the brain organizes and handles memories. The second section, Escaping the Matrix, offers ideas on how to work with your mind to remove these self-defeating throught patterns. Each chapter is followed by an exercised designed to apply the teachings that precede it.

Section 1 – What is the Matrix?

As we venture into section one, The Matrix is defined, in this instance, as the mis-truths that our brain perceives. Our brains weave them into a web that keeps us bound from experiencing the world as it really is. We are imprisoned by it.

There are a few key terms that are used in this section:

  • Neural-net – in the brain, a distinct pattern of neurons firing on one another as the result of a trigger.
  • Neurochips – a lie-encoded memory implanted in our brains that sets off fears, anxieties or other inappropriate behavior when activated by a trigger.
  • VAKOG Code – When our senses become involved in a memory – Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory and Gustatory.

We all have neural-nets installed in our brain by our experiences. Very often, a Neurochip is created by a traumatic or seemingly traumatic situation. The example given in the book is of a woman Doreen. At age 9, her brother put some grasshoppers down the back of her shirt while she was sleeping outside. Upon her awakening, she was quite frightened, even thinking that she was being eaten alive by bugs. As a result, she became immobilized and terrified by any insect, which really affected her ability to function in life.

The authors suggest that individuals should become detectives of their minds to identify the thinking patterns that are dehabilitating. How do we do emotions? When a certain neurochip is activated, what VAKOG Codes come up? What do we see? Color or black and white? Are there any sounds? Do we have a feeling come over us? Can we smell anything? We must break down these memories to try and key into the lies so we can debug our brains.

The web of the Matrix reorders things in our heads. Instead of God being the source that pours into us through his Holy Spirit, Satan has reversed our patterns by influencing us through the World. Our lives are impacted by so much around us. A battle rages for our very minds. We need to push it aside and set God as our source. But that’s not enough. We have to breakdown all these neurochips to be truly free.

Section 2 – Escaping the Matrix

How do we get free from these patterns that hold back even the staunchest Christian? How do we destroy these neurochips? First we must make sure that our relationship with God is in right alignment. There may even be a neurochip in our brains that holds us back from trusting the Lord in all situations. So we must open our eyes to the things that could be preventing this from happening and then prepare to experience ourselves as the person we really we are. The book lists a number of scriptures that define for us who we are in Christ.

Now, we’re ready to deal with these neurochips. A number of methods are presented.

Smashing the Lies in Our Minds – This technique has us visualizing pictures or video of the destructive behavior and then smashing it. We also combat other lies that relate the the behavior or thought with truths and reinforce who we are in God’s eyes through the scripture. The image smashing continues as long as necessary, until the neurochip is finally broken.

Experience the Freedom to Love – In order to experience this, we have to not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil – the place where the Matrix began. Once we ate of the fruit, we lost the ability to love as God loves. Not only do we not know how to love God, but often judge others instead of loving them. Again, the authors send you to an internal exercise to examine how you think about people to move beyond this.

Overcoming Wounded Memories – (aka The Theater of Life in Christ). This visual exercise has you sitting down with Jesus in a movie theater. The main feature is the story of your life. Credits roll – The Story of My Healing. The story begins first with a pleasant memory before a traumatic event that you are trying to be healed from. Then it jumps to a pleasant even after the memory. With the film rolling forward and backward and Jesus at your side (along with some other techniques), you will find healing. Doreen, the woman who feared insects, used this technique to be set free from this fear.

Overcoming Depression – In order to overcome depression, we must discover the inerrant memories that trigger the emotions, and collapse them with truths. This is much like “smashing the lies”, but instead of just destroying them, you replace them with a positive image.

Sal’s Impressions of the Book

I must admit that I was quite excited about reading this book. I have many struggles in my thought processes. I’ve read books and listened to tapes on several of the “methods” suggested to overcome – some Christ centered and some not. Within a few pages, I realized that not only was this material not really new, it was centered around the movie, The Matrix more than it was around the Bible. While I could appreciate some of the comparisons, especially the idea that the web of lies that Satan weaves is an intracate matrix, I couldn’t get past the movie formula as their model for success.

I say there’s nothing new in this book. I find similarities between their methodology to other Christian approaches including the Theophostics ministries that have become popular in the last decade. I also saw parallels to some of Anthony Robbins’ Personal Power material – which is not Christ centered at all.

I would say that the book is not completely without value. The chapter on love had some very good points and reminders for Christians and our constant battle to understand the power and breadth of God’s love.

It also might give you some new things to think about the next time you watch the movie The Matrix.

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