Monday, 29 July 2013
The Pit And The Jigsaw
When you're stuck in a pit, how many ropes do you really need to get out?
Say you're there, and a rope gets chucked down. Then another, then another.
This rope looks shiny and pretty. This other one looks glittery. That one there looks like it's made of tinsel. That one there looks pretty strong. That other one looks quite modern, like a hi-tech rope.
Surely if you connect them together, you'll have a super rope. And that's the point, right? We just want the best possible rope, so it makes sense to just keep collecting them, keep trying to combine them all.
It is so easy to think in these terms, and almost everyone, myself included, does it sometimes.
Perhaps what might be of more use though, is if we start - just start - to approach this whole situation in a slightly different way.
If we start to think of ways we can question, just to ourselves, when we're alone and nobody's watching, whether 'getting the whole thing understood' is really a wise thing to have as the one single, central goal of what we're doing with all this.
To get the 'grand theory' that pulls it all together. If we can just get that, then surely, we'll be fine, right?
It makes so much sense to think in these terms, but perhaps we should start thinking a little more about the pretty obvious fact that nobody who has ever thought in these terms has ever had a happy ending.
Because the fact is, we're not trying to solve a puzzle. We're trying to escape a pit.
So instead of waiting for all the different pieces of rope to be brought together perfectly into one perfect rope that perfectly makes sense to you and everyone, and perfectly lifts us up with no slips, no setbacks, no falls, nothing, perhaps it might be wiser to grab a length, pull, and don't stop until you see daylight.
The point is not to get out in a perfect way.
The point is to get out.
So you get it wrong, fine - get it wrong. Get it wrong and try again, try something new, try a new way of doing it.
So this bit makes sense but that bit doesn't? Stop trying to make sense of it all, grab the bit that does make sense to you, use that.
And are we really being as clear with ourselves as we can possibly be about this?
Are we taking the time to see this in what we ourselves are doing?
And if the answer is anything less than 100% yes, you might do very well to think about how you can check yourself, and make sure you're not, even for a moment, slipping back into that autopilot response of being passive, and sitting there like a tame consumer, at the bottom of the pit, collecting all the answers you can, and waiting for the magic to happen.
Life is waiting at the top.