A Beautiful Butterfly In Cambodia

Change Your Paradigm – The Matrix And The Butterfly

Change your paradigm

There’s more to life than the American Dream we’ve been sold. In this series I present an alternative way to view the world and your surroundings. There is so much out there to experience, enjoy, and incorporate into our lives. It’s all there for the taking, but getting there is the hard part. In this series I show how to to change your paradigm to give yourself a fighting chance of taking the path less less traveled to live up to your potential. How you act on what you discover is up to you, but I hope you take your own plunge into a happier and healthier life.

The Matrix

Yes, in a previous life I was a geek. Now I’m a nomad who just got my very first smartphone (a very cheap LG Android phone) and used an iPad for the first time in November 2012. How far I’ve fallen from grace, some might say.

But yes, I refer to this movie for a specific reason. In the movie, Neo exists in an alternate reality. He has a normal life and everything seems normal. Why would you question your reality? But in his case there was a good reason to question everything. The real world was a dark, uninhabitable abyss after a war between humans and machines.

After humans lost the war, the machines took over and harvested humans to power their infrastructure. Each human is plugged into the Matrix, the alternate reality Neo uncomfortably exists in.

How about that right there – an uncomfortable reality he exists in. For how many of you does this explain your daily life? You go through the motions in autopilot, but you feel a bit empty, a bit hollow, like something is missing. You know there’s more out there, but you’re not sure where to look or what it is that’s missing.

Back to The Matrix now, after Neo is discovered as potentially being humanity’s savior he is given the option to swallow two different pills. The red pill will get him out of The Matrix and into the real world. The blue pill will send him back to The Matrix and he won’t remember anything.

Of course, Neo chose the red pill. Most of us don’t though. There are social pressures, debts, families, responsibilities, etc. These keep us from following our dreams. They keep us from swallowing the red pill.

To me, swallowing the red pill is the first step in taking the plunge. It’s the realization that your life has a greater purpose. It’s the realization that you’ve discovered a path less traveled, and you wholeheartedly want to chart a new course for your life down that path. It’s the realization that the world is full of abundance and possibility instead of scarcity and survival.

Swallowing the red pill is easy. Once you reach that point it’s almost impossible not to. The hard part is following through and actually traveling down that path to reach your full potential. The alternative is a lifetime of living a lie.


Butterfly Life-cycle

Butterfly Life-cycle

Cambodian Caterpillars

Cambodian Caterpillars

If my The Matrix analogy didn’t do it for you, or you haven’t seen the movie, I present a more concrete example. Buddhists are very fond of butterflies. Well, who isn’t actually?

But they are fond of butterflies for their life-cycle  They start out as an egg, then a caterpillar, which is hardly the most beautiful thing in the world. But the caterpillar builds itself a cocoon, settles in, and comes out the other side as one of the most beautiful life forms this planet has.

A Beautiful Cambodian Butterfly

A Beautiful Cambodian Butterfly

To  Buddhist, it symbolizes the transformation of being born (caterpillar), meditating (cocoon), and enlightenment (butterfly). To you, it can symbolize the same as what I presented above – recognizing that life as a butterfly is possible, but you need to put in the hard work of building a cocoon first.

Happiness Plunge

Before starting The Happy Nomad Tour I wouldn’t have described what I did in 2011 as swallowing the red pill or building my cocoon. I guess that’s the richness of traveling (the only thing that costs money yet makes you richer) and something all these experiences have taught me. This is the first article in the series because as the motto of this site says, you have to “make the decision to be happy.” That starts by swallowing the red pill or starting to build your cocoon.

Going back to the butterfly analogy, I would say I’m in the process of constructing my cocoon at the moment. It’s a lifetime endeavor. I hope someday to emerge as a butterfly.

I think that’s what the Happiness Plunge process is in the end. All the preparation and getting to know yourself that I advocate is really building the cocoon so you can transition from caterpillar to butterfly – or at least get the process started.

8 replies
  1. Owen Lipsett
    Owen Lipsett says:

    This is my favorite post of yours so far, which is saying a lot. I particularly appreciated this section:

    “Swallowing the red pill is easy. Once you reach that point it’s almost impossible not to. The hard part is following through and actually traveling down that path to reach your full potential. The alternative is a lifetime of living a lie.

    I think just like for Neo, the hard part may be finding your way to the red pill.

  2. JG Bajas
    JG Bajas says:

    I think both the red pill and the blue pill is a misrepresentation of reality. It attempts to paint us in the corner or perhaps it’s only true on a certain level. The red pill is supposed to free us from the limitations and troubles of the matrix world. Our true nature as conscious spiritual beings is perfection and harmony but we need the imperfection of our matrix-like world to achieve the main mission in this material world – to learn how to love unconditionally. I do believe you’re on the right track Adam and I also believe we can also find fulfillment wherever we are.

    • Adam Pervez
      Adam Pervez says:

      Namaste, please don’t forget that this was the first in a series of articles. I completely agree with you, but the first step is awareness/consciousness that the red pill exists, that there’s more out there, etc. For sure, in the end, unless we all take up a hermit life, coexistence and balance between the red/blue pill worlds is necessary for a happy and healthy life. Thanks for the great comment and namaste!

  3. Catherine
    Catherine says:

    I swallowed the blue pill but I’m saving the red pill for later. Hope I don’t forget that it’s in my pocket while I’m working up the courage to be who I really am… Hmm… do we even HAVE pockets in the Matrix?

    • Adam Pervez
      Adam Pervez says:

      I have it on good authority that there are indeed pockets in the Matrix. Don’t worry! There are also holes in the Matrix, so I hope you swallow the pill before you get a hole in your pocket!


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