On my personal blog, I wrote a post about learning to stem a strawberry with a straw. It was a hack that my young daughter taught me and even though I’m quite habituated to using a knife to core a strawberry, I attempted this new method for the fun of it.
In the process, I was thinking of quote from Andrew Cohen, “Everybody wants to get enlightened but nobody wants to change.” And I was bowled over by the insight, if I resist changing everything that I think I know how to do, how will I ever recognize the one thing I might need for transformation? Perhaps what keeps us from change is just that we think we’ll be able to know/determine/predict what it is that we need to change.
Instead we can cultivate an openness to doing things differently.
About a week after that insight, the pencil eraser mouse on my laptop (see picture below) that I’m fond of using got a rip in it and became unusable. I have a replacement somewhere but once I had small children, I put that replacement in a “safe” place never to be found again along with about 100 other things… 😊
My choices: 1) tear my house apart, 2) figure out what that mouse is really called, order it and probably pay more for shipping than it’s worth, or 3) learn to use my laptop’s built-in track pad mouse effectively.
None of those seemingly will bring me enlightenment. But given my recent insight, I thought learning a new way to navigate my computer could help build new neurological circuitry. In fact, when I went to play my morning brain trainer game on Lumosity, I found that for a game that required matching shapes, I went from being able to clear about 60 in a minute to only clearing 38 in a minute when I started mousing with my track pad. But I’ve kept at it and in about 7-10 days got back to my previous level.
So what’s the point? UC Berkeley professor and researcher Alison Gopnik likens the circuitry of the adult brain to boulevards – fewer streets but we with higher speed limits we use to get someplace quickly. By contrast, she describes the neural pathways of kids brains to the streets of old Paris – many more of them that wind all around.
Perhaps it’s hard to become enlightened as a grown-up because we are on the wrong street and we bypassed the turn-off long ago. If we want to create the conditions for change, perhaps we need to travel on some side streets now and again.
How about you – what have you changed lately? Have you become or noticed someone who became enlightened? What did you/they do to get there? Do you know what the mouse in the middle of a Thinkpad laptop is called?
For most posts like this – a little story-telling mixed with philosophy, please visit my personal blog at https://wynneleon.wordpress.com or follow me on Instagram @wynneleon
(featured photo from Pexels)