What If Knowing the Answer to Life's Thorny Problems Was Like Having a Random Number Generator?
The Random Number Generator…
I was logging on to my online bank account earlier in the week — I have one of those little gadgets that generates a random number I have to enter — when it occurred to me what a wonderful thing it was that the gadget always works.
I don’t know how it works exactly; whether the numbers are stored on the machine, whether it is getting them from somewhere in the ‘cloud’, or whether it really is a random number generator (and then how does my bank know it’s the right number to let me in with — more questions!)
The point, though, is that the number comes from somewhere, somewhere that doesn’t require ‘me’, Cathy to do anything. Nowhere in the process am I having to remember long lists of six-digit numbers and then pull up the 24th (or whatever) rotation so that “I” can log into my bank. I press a button, something happens, and I have access. I don’t need to think about it between log-in sessions, it just works whenever I need it.
As I marvelled at this wonder of technology, it struck me what a great illustration this was of how we arrive at solutions for problems we might face in the future — problems that we sometimes feel are ‘on us’ to carry around with us now.
It’s something a lot of us do without realising — we hold onto the reins of our lives and jobs so tightly because, if we let go, something bad will happen.
We might not see it quite in this light; we’re just aware of a tension, a tightening of the stomach, a nagging at the back of our head, or an inability to fully ‘let go’ of over-preparedness and trust that we’ll know when we need to know.
It’s as if we’re the one having to programme the GPS, and to hold in our heads every single permutation of the route, rather than trusting that the GPS will know how to route and re-route us when we press ‘go’ or when we get to a diversion.
Life’s Easier When Answers Fall Into Our Lap
I don’t know about you but it looks way easier to me to carry around a tiny device that tells me what number to enter, than it is to remember and recall reams of numbers — and to feel the obligation on me for remembering.
I love it when I just ‘know’ something, when it’s so obvious I’m not thinking about it.
Yes please I’ll have tea!
So why do we think that some problems require ‘us’ to solve them? And why does it look like all the efforting achieves something?
I wonder, sometimes, whether my conscious figuring out of things really does add as much value as I think—I know I could come up with a six digit number if that was the process for logging into the bank, but if I was responsible for remembering the right number each time, wow, that would be tough!
What if this idea applied to life as we live it, every day, and it wasn’t just some cool analogy that we could smile at in an article like this; applauding my cleverness at creating a connection between one thing and another.
What if life really is like this? What if we have access to something, some infinite capacity, that goes beyond what we can consciously remember in our mind?
What if we don’t have to do anything — anything at all? What if everything we need is there for us when we need it?
In some places in our lives we’d call this experience, in others intuition, in others, maybe it would show up as ‘common sense’.
I was at an event last week where a participant called it ‘magic’, like lighting touch paper and setting off a firework, a spark of imagination leads to we-know-not-what.
I like to call it wisdom, because it looks true to me that it’s both in us and beyond us. There’s something I do (I have a gadget and I press a button) and something running in the background that is where the magic actually happens.
The only thing I do know is that it’s completely reliable, and that there’s no way in the world I can predict what number it will generate.
Kinda like life!