The Magic Box
“The World is a mystery that we should never stop trying to solve
but we should never expect to truly achieve that task”
“I just don’t know where to file that” said Steve in a rather dismayed tone, “it doesn’t make any sense to me”
We’d been talking about the innate desire that we all have to try and make sense of the world. Neuroscientists seem to think that it’s a left brain thing. That good old left brain constantly asks ‘Why?’ and in the absence of a reasonable answer will simply make one up…
In contrast right brain is happy to just ‘go with the flow’.
The problem is that in our western society we’ve become pretty much left brain obsessed in the way that we seek to inculcate our young into the ‘right’ way of doing things. Rules, rules, rules and more rules is delicious food to our left brains and what neuroplasticity tells us is that whatever we focus on expands and gets stronger.
So, guess what? A left brain dominant culture creates people who have strong left brains and hence strong rational, logical ways of doing things. Great for a civilised culture but where’s the juice?
Life is in the cracks isn’t it? In the detail between the lines…
Which brings us to The Magic Box.
Faced with experiences that just can’t be filed away in the most logical and rational pigeon hole what does left brain do?
Either ignores it or makes it up…
Remember that scientists seem to think that we can only consciously process about 2000 bits of information per second but we are actually receiving about 4 billion (yes billion) bits of information per second.
So faced with stuff that just doesn’t fit we either pretend it isn't happening and ignore it – easy to do when there is so much stuff coming at us anyway – or make a reason up for how it fits.
But what sort of stuff are we talking about here and why should we care anyway?
Go back to “Getting Beyond Thinking” and you’ll see that limiting ourselves to just ‘trying to work it out’ limits our lives to a narrow corridor of options that fit within a pre-determined range.
Opening ourselves up to the mystery opens our lives up to an incredible range of possibilities. And that’s where The Magic Box comes in.
You see if we ignore magical things then we dismiss them from our lives but if we find a way of filing them in a logical, rational and meaningful way then we allow our rational minds to take them into account. And yes as we acknowledge them and focus our attention on them we allow the possibilities to grow.
Back to an example. Steve was having trouble with his business and with his relationship. Faced with the problems at hand Steve was desperately trying to ‘work things out’ and in trying to ‘work things out’ he was limited to the information available and his predisposed way of viewing the world. That is, his concept of ‘how the world works’.
Thinking about it from an existentialist point of view – faced with a problem in the Present Steve’s mind gathers all of the information and then goes back to the Past through everything he knows and all of his life experiences to try and find a similar problem that either he has had or that he has maybe read about or heard about. Then he tries in a very logical way to ‘work out a solution to the current problem.
Only thing is that solutions to problems such as relationship issues are not logical or often rational. We are not mechanical robots hence you can’t just input the data and then expect to get just one answer. Illogical problems produce a range of answers and what the left brain hates more than anything is uncertainty so it keeps on searching for more possibilities and going over and over the problem and the information available. Hence we churn…
This in turn gives us no peace of mind and actually increases our level of stress and therefore decreases our level of well being.
So, what to do?
Well think back through your recent past and consider the key events that have led you to where you are right now. Draw a line back through them and consider the possibility that where you are right now may have in fact created those significant events that brought you here – in other words – is it possible that time may in fact be going backwards? That the present created the past and in fact the future may be creating the present you are living right now?
Consider also those key events one at a time. Did you plan for those events to occur? That is, did you ‘work it out’ back then so that those things would happen?
Bet the answer is an emphatic ‘no’.
So, if that’s the case – what makes you think you can ‘work it out’ right now? What makes you think that the only solution to your problem at hand can come from ‘working it all out’?
Maybe now you are thinking it’s time to let go a little bit. And maybe you are wondering how but you still have your pesky left brain refusing to give up even a little bit of control for FEAR that things might completely STUFF UP and you will MISS OUT on something?
So, here’s the drill – The Magic Box.
Acknowledge that some stuff just happens… That the world IS a mystery. That life happens in the cracks and that sometimes it makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE at all. And that sometimes these illogical and unplanned things that happen are actually some of the best most amazing things – that they are MAGIC.
Like Steve who met his wife in a restaurant in London because he just happened to be there on a work visit and she just happened to be there on a holiday and they just happened to have a mutual friend who just happened to be in town at the same time and incredibly enough they both just happened to phone him when they were there and not surprisingly he just happened to think that it would be easier to kill two birds with one stone and ask them out to dinner with him at the same time.
And imagine their surprise when two months later - despite their mutual friend trying to dissuade their union because Steve was now in Hong Kong and she was still travelling the world – they found themselves back in Australia at EXACTLY the same time and at EXACTLY the same party. Who would have imagined?
And where might one logical, rational, mystery solving, and obsessed left brain like to file such a thing?
IN THE MAGIC BOX OF COURSE!
So, what to do with all this information?
Well, choose to INVITE some more MAGIC into your life.
Get a nice little box and write THE MAGIC BOX on the side of it. Put it somewhere nice in your house and then every time something even the slightest bit magical and unexpected happens, write it on a small piece of paper and file it in the magic box.
Every now and again go and open your magic box up and read through all of the magical experiences that you have in your life. Bring your conscious attention to these and choose to invite more magical experiences into your life.
Try it just for 30 days like you might try a swiper or swisher or whatever those hand held non powered vacuuming things are – see what happens to your life.
Above all EMBRACE the MYSTERY of life. Let go of the need to make sense of everything and create a space for the world to fill up with MAGIC!