If you have been following the essays thus far, you should have arrived at a set of simple rules to use at any situation in life:
Step away from the situation physically, emotionally and in your thoughts. Then ask: How much do I know about this situation? How much of what I know is real knowledge (of the laws of nature at play here)? How much of it is really ignorance (what is it, that I really don’t know)? How much of it is my bias masquerading as knowledge? As soon as you engage in this enquiry, you are no longer a helpless participant or an unwilling victim. You are not a product of your experience! You are really in charge of your own life (at least at that moment)!
You are not able to capture or clarify all the answers. That is fine. No need to panic. You have shown the commitment to step back and ask the questions. That is the beginning. Look around and see what is happening?
Are you able to talk it through by your self or with others as needed? You feel the pressure but you don’t feel the tension. Every one is engaged, but nobody is getting out of control. Your words and actions are calming. There may be a lot of activity, but not everything is chaotic. Where it is chaotic, you know why? You can feel the Knowledge being dominant over bias and ignorance.
You are in a tough spot. Some one is really angry. But you don’t see the anger in them. Instead you feel the need to know what it is that is causing the anger in that person. You also see the ignorance of the anger in that person who is angry! You don’t relish in your knowledge or step aside and avoid the situation. Instead you see the stress and suffering of the person in anger. You show empathy and compassion. This reduces the anger and creates a climate for better communication. You were neither unhappy with the anger before nor are you happy with the calmer climate now. You see them both as effects of the connectors!
You see your child in the couch. You want to think that he/she is procrastinating and wasting the time. But, you pull back and say to yourself “that is a judgment without evidence”! That is the effect of bias overwhelming knowledge. You feel the anger because you want your child to do well in the school exam that is due shortly. Again you hold yourself back since you have the knowledge that anger is an outcome when bias (induced by attachments) is the dominant connector. Instead you ask your child of the intentions and plans. Your manner and your spoken words and their tone tell volumes to your child of your affection and care. This is not the first time your child has seen your care and concern. He/she has no intentions of letting you down. After a brief conversation, there is a better exchange of information and knowledge is dominant and the next steps happen according to the situation and constraints. Progression of these events creates a pattern and hence a life long habit for communication between you and your child!
You are free to speak your mind. This freedom has come about since you speak very little and only when required. Your thought and reflection always precede your words. As a result, people look up to what you have to say. Your reflection and constant enquiry of the connectors leaves tranquility in you that is endearing. You say few words and yet people say that you are eloquent and they enjoy their conversation with you!
On those rare occasions, when you are angry, agitated or upset, you recognize the effect of the bias, soon there after. Since you know the cause, you are not afraid or dismissive of the result. Your reflection soon identifies the attachments, the sources of your bias. You learn to recognize them and put them in check. Your unstable behavior comes to an end.
There will certainly be occasions when you will be at a total loss. Agitation and despair are parts of the natural order. They are as certain as the sun rises in the east each day! Since you are now in the habit of reflection and analysis to seek out the connectors, you are looking for evidences, which in turn minimize your ignorance and your bias. You never claim to be fully knowledgeable, but the required knowledge accumulates on its own accord. You don’t seek to be wise or tranquil, but wisdom and tranquility become a part of your nature. You are fully engaged in the world of activities like the lotus leaf growing and thriving in the pond full of water. The lotus leaf is never tainted by the water. But as a human being living in the real world, you will be tainted by your bias and ignorance. Both are parts of natural order. Unlike the lotus leaf, you are endowed with ability to reason and hence make choices. Your constant enquiry into the connectors – your chosen path – leaves you minimally affected or perturbed by all that happens in your daily life!
As a professional – scientist, researcher, manager, whatever your profession may be – you have only one process in mind all the time: the process of identifying the connectors at play and their relative proportions. You are not swayed by positive results any more than the negative results. When they fit the laws of nature pertinent to that field, you accept them as valid. You are always vigilant for bias and erroneous data or evidences. Conclusions are the outcome of such analysis, never a matter of opinion or personal judgments. You become recognized as the objective referee on the matter. When the laws at work are not clear, you are committed to learning more. You are always a student. Passion to learn the laws at work is your life long quest.
As a friend you are always seeking evidences and an understanding based on them. You are not afraid to speak up when it is warranted as much as you are not hesitant to compliment when it is deserved. Your friendship is not a matter of mere spoken words, but an expression truly felt and experienced by others. You merely live your life of exploring the connectors and others see the warmth of friendship in you!
Life is simple!