Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Writing In the Dark

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

College Arrogance

Back in my college days I was always right. If I didn’t like the way something was being taught, either the method of teaching was stupid, the professor was stupid, or both. My judgment was, of course, clear.

Well, as it happened, I’d had this one professor who, on the first day of class, had a video to show us and asked that we take notes while watching it. After beginning the video, he promptly shut off all the lights—the only “light” remaining on being the small TV at the front left of the classroom.

A few minutes into the movie, someone asked the professor if he could turn a light or two on because he couldn’t see where or what he was writing. To this the professor stopped the video, turned all the lights on, and then stood there is silence for what seemed an eternity.

After we had all aged a few years, he said that when he was in college the same thing happened to him. He said it was a lesson to write notes while focusing more on the video than the notes being taken. This would require that the note-taker set a finger on the edge of their notebook at the start of a line and continue to slide that finger down the imagined distance to the next line so that their writing hand would know where to carry on with the notes.

The professor then turned all the lights off and restarted the video.

As you may have suspected by my opening comments, I didn’t like this at all. It was most certainly the dumbest exercise I’d ever been asked to do in my life. What a dick this guy was.

That was both the first and last time I attended that class.

All of this took place back in 2005.

A Toolbox Without Tools

January of 2012 rolls around, and I can’t help but notice that there are some really strange things happening to me.

One of these is that my dreams, at least the ones I’d remember on waking, were becoming more frequent, more vivid, and more intense. For about a two week period I consistently woke up between 3 and 4 am. (A few times I’d woken up at exactly the same time—3:34 happened at least two nights in a row. But I’m left wondering if it was actually 3:33 and I just hadn’t turned myself over to see the time until a minute later).

After that, I spent about a week waking up between 4 and 5 every night. And in the time following, and at its peak, there was at least a solid week where I’d wake up every single night, an upwards of seven or eight times per night, with the memory of some wild and crazy dream I’d just had. (And I do mean wild and crazy—like there’s-some-bizarre-ass-shit-inside-that-needs-to-be-healed kind of wild and crazy.)

I had been interested in the idea of lucid dreaming and taking control of my dreams but my awareness and remembrance had been, to the above point, so few and far between that I’d never written my dreams down as recommended. As my dreams became more frequent, vivid, and intense, I figured it was a better time than ever to do so.

Yet because I couldn’t have remembered them all enough to write them down upon waking for the day, it meant that I had to write out my dreams in the dark. And so I’d lay there doing just that—I'd write a line and move my thumb; write a line, move my thumb. And suddenly it dawned on me what was occurring…

Oh, how it made me laugh! Oh, how I laughed! So arrogant I had been! To ever think that I knew better than the Universe itself! The audacity to think that Life was not giving me exactly what I needed! Oh, how I laughed!

The Moral

The key here is to take a hint from this once supremely arrogant author.

Too often, we think we know what we need and get all bitchy moany when it doesn’t make an appearance, or at least not in the way we’d imagined it would.

However, the truth is that the universe is quite deft at managing itself. It knows what it’s doing and knows when to do it—it’s we who typically don’t—it’s we with our silly notion of “human exceptionalism” hardwired into our psyches, driving us to behave like we’re beyond Creation’s intelligence and separate from cosmic law.

But we’re not. And so we must learn, at which point it’s often hard not to do anything but laugh.

Note: This text is a modified version of a post originally published on 3/15/12 to former personal blog “Without a Story.”

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