“It’s Just a Kiss”
Perhaps this was true with Persephone, who spoke these words in Matrix Reloaded. However, the kiss that Trinity gives Neo at the end of the first Matrix movie, certainly seems to have had a great impact. He “comes back to life,” after being shot dead.
This “magical resurrection” scene is one that has been greatly criticized for 20 years. All of the drama leads to this climactic scene — and all we get is some “magic kiss,” and Neo awakens and saves the day?
What is this – a Disney fairytale? Did the writers run out of good ideas?
Or is there more to this than at the usual movie-critiquing level?
What is somewhat lost in the drama of that scene is Trinity telling Neo, for the first time, that she loves him. She had come close to saying this before several times – but held back.
That expression of love and the kiss have much more to them when understood in their kabbalistic framework. How this aligns with the Matrix story is quite amazing.
Four Stages of Love Leading to the Kiss
Trinity was told by the Oracle that she would fall in love with the man who would become “the One.” What we find in kabbalah is that there are specific stages of intimacy related to this, leading to a very special type of kiss.
This is expressed in a four-stage process of love in a relationship:
“The Zohar states that a kiss is the merging of one breath with another. Love begins with physical attraction. Then, as lovers begin communication, they begin to speak. As they get closer, they stop speaking and are merely aware of each other’s breath. Finally, they come still closer, and their communication becomes a kiss, at which point they are actually in physical contact. At this moment, in the kiss, they are aware of each other’s life force. Kissing is thus a natural consequence of increased intimacy in speech. The two mouths come closer and closer and progress from speech, to breath, to the kiss. Thus, “There are four levels in the intimacy of love: physical attraction, speech, breath, and the kiss.”
From ‘Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide,’ Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan.
Recapping the above, the four levels of intimacy in ‘love’ are:
- Physical attraction
We will now examine how these four occur between Trinity and Neo in the first movie.
Stage 1: Physical Attraction
The first of these stages between Trinity and Neo, physical attraction, we learn of by way of a third party.
The Oracle sneaks in this bit of information to Neo at their first meeting:
“You’re cuter than I thought. I can see why she likes you.”
The Oracle lets on that Trinity has a physical attraction to the person Morpheus has said is “the One.”
Prior to this meeting, in the car ride over, Neo asked Trinity what the Oracle had told her. Despite being told she would fall in love with “the One,” it was too early for the latter to express her love to Neo. She remained silent.
Stage 2: A Special Kind of Speech
Though Neo and Trinity engage in some level of conversation early on, their first significant “back and forth” exchange occurs when he decides to go save Morpheus from the Agents who have him in custody.
The level of speech between Neo and Trinity at this moment was unique, as it was ‘confrontational’:
Neo: I believe I can bring him back…. What are you doing?
Trinity: I going with you.
Neo: No you’re not.
Trinity: No? Let me tell you what I believe. I believe Morpheus means more to me than he does to you. I believe if you’re really serious about saving him, you are going to need my help. And since I am the ranking officer on this ship, if you don’t like it, I believe you can go to hell. Because you aren’t going anywhere else. Tank? Load us up.
There are two points to make regarding the above.
- Just prior to this exchange, Trinity again stopped short of telling Neo she was in love with him:
Neo: I’m not the one, Trinity. The Oracle hit me with that too.
Trinity: No. You have to be.
Neo: I’m not, I’m sorry. I’m just another guy.
Trinity: No, Neo. That’s not true. It can’t be true.
To which she again fell silent. It still was not yet time.
- Trinity’s ‘confrontational’ dialogue, relates all the way back to the Garden of Eden story when Eve was formed.
“And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man is alone; I shall make him a helpmate opposite him.”
The original term for “helpmate” in that verse is “ezer kenegdow.” The meaning is one who takes a position of ‘opposition’ to the other. This is not meant in a ‘bad’ sense in any way Rather, it is beneficial, in terms of challenging assumptions, giving constructive criticism, etc.) This is the significance of the dialogue above. It bonded them together as only a conflict can.
It is interesting, that the following verse from the Bible was presented shortly after Eve was ‘separated’ from Adam:
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Note that the verse indicates a separation leading to unification. This is another key kabbalistic concept: The point of the above separation is to come together to create something even greater than what was.
This is the power of the restrictive ‘feminine’ aspect of the “left side.” The “One” includes both sides, and the other ‘half’ for Neo is Trinity playing the above role.
The tenuous dialogue between Trinity and Neo was significant ‘speech’ in the path to the ‘kiss.’
Stage 3: The Breath Leading to the Kiss
This is a particularly subtle concept. Again, the clue is Trinity coming close to expressing her feelings to Neo but holding back.
After rescuing Morpheus and sending him back through the phone line, Neo and Trinity have a few moments alone in the train station.
She turns to him and says:
“Neo, I want to tell you something, but I’m afraid of what it could mean if I do. Everything the Oracle told me has come true. Everything but this.”
There is no more to the conversation. For the third time, she stops short.
They stand close to each other for a full twenty seconds – until she leaves and Smith appears. During that time they do not say a word. There is nothing but ‘breath’ between them. This is the third stage toward “the kiss.”
Stage 4: The Life-Force of a Kiss
Finally, we come to the scene depicted in the image at the top of the page. To understand why the kiss and verbalization of love occur now, we need to return to the introductory templates of worlds of existence and levels of the soul.
- The first stage of physical attraction in humans is associated with the lowest of the worlds and basic soul level of Nefesh.
- Speech, which is communication that goes “back and forth,” relates to the middle world of angels, which as mentioned are ‘messengers’ (malakim) and corresponding Ruach level of the soul.
- Breath relates to the next level of the soul, Neshama, which actually means breath!
- Finally, the fourth level of the soul called ‘Chaya/Life’ This relates to the ‘life force’ of creation. Neo and Trinity become “aware of” this with the kiss (Neo can hear Trinity during this time) as mentioned in the Aryeh Kaplan quote above.’
Neo, by virtue of his risking his own life for the sake of others (selflessness/bittul) reached this fourth level, the world of existence (‘Atzilut’) that is “outside of creation,” on his “path of the One.” This is where the ‘life force’ emanates from, and with it, the power of this special kiss.
All of this relates to the deeper meaning behind this verse:
“Awaken not love, before its time.”
Song of Solomon 8:4
Finally, it is no coincidence that this ‘4th level,’ equated with the life force and resurrection, aligns with the coming 4th movie – The Matrix Resurrections.