Sunday, February 26, 2012

Flipping the Switch

I'm reading Sree's post on flipping The Switch. I find myself muttering things like, "Yes! That's it!" and "Oh, yeah. Of course!" Images pop into my head: my visual translations of Sree's prose. Phrases come to mind.

I want to share some of the things that Sree's words inspired in me.

Ah Hah!
As I read Sree's description of the instantaneous nature of cognitive change, I thought "Ah Hah!" The instant at which cognitive change occurs might be synonymous with what I would call an ah-hah moment. You might not expect it or see it coming. You might be ready to give it up because it seems as though it will never come. Without a clue as to how it occurred, everything lines up and you see it clear as day. You break through the clouds. If you were an ancient Greek, you might cry, "Eureka!", but more likely you'd say, "Ah, hah!" or "Oooooh!"

The effort to see it in the moment is indiscernable. Once you see it, you can't un-see it.

The thing that struck me most is that, since you can't see it coming, it's useless to try and gauge when it will come or whether or not it will come. You just go forward waiting for the surprise.

An image that popped into my head was that of rows and rows of dominos arrayed to topple once the last domino is put into place. For some of us, in some areas of understanding, the dominoes are almost completely arrayed and waiting for us. You add one here and another there to complete the chain. Then, with a nearly effortless flip of your index finger, you tip the first and all of them topple.

Sometimes there are large gaps in the domino arrays and you have to spend time filling them in. It might take years. Nonetheless, once the last gap has been filled, the effort required to topple them all is no more than that of the person who inherited a nearly gapless array.

Sometimes you get so anxious to see them fall that you topple the master before all the gaps have been filled. Many dominoes fall, but not all of them. You get a partial ah-hah! You feel like you've made progress, but something haunts you, a sense that you're not done yet, that there are still dominoes standing.

I think it's the last set of circumstances that can be the most challenging. You wonder what you did wrong or if you'll ever get it right. You go back to the dominoes that toppled to see what you missed and therein lies the rub. The challenge isn't what you did wrong with the dominoes that toppled; the challenge is to look into the arrays of dominoes where you missed gaps. Rather than circling back to dominoes you've already toppled, you move forward to new ones.

Knowing You Can
What I found most inspiring in Sree's words was the difference that comes from simply knowing that you can experience cognitive change, ah-hah moments, and comprehensive domino-felling. While knowing that you can do it doesn't immediately lead to doing it, it does dramatically improve your chances. Knowing you can causes you to look for it and expect it. Knowing that you can causes you to keep going when you'd otherwise give up. Knowing that you can allows you to better see and understand the gaps in your domino chains.

You don't have to know how or when or even why. Just knowing that you can achieve complete and lasting change makes an amazing difference. Sometimes, it's all the difference you need.

Anyway, that's what came to mind this morning as I read Sree's post. Thanks, Sree!

Happy Sunday,

1 comment:

  1. I read, chuckled, thought, thought again, censored and decided to post with the intention to continue the dialogue trying to assemble my dominoes and have my long awaited AHA moment.

    I do enjoy reading the blog. Reading, contemplating, and practicing. I see one "problem" though and I'm anxious to see through it. For years I was quoting Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha" where he wrote "you can teach knowledge, but you cannot teach wisdom". It still applies, but I want my story and I want to believe I still can write it!


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