12. Story

Then, there I was. Just as I am today. Now, here I am. Just as I was, then.

To say that something was different now (then) would be to misinterpret what had happened (happens). As I said, this car adventure may have been just before or just after “that day that altered everything.”

Parlor tricks and puzzles on white boards are the content that I remember from the presentation.

Paris in the spring…

This guy Joe came into my sister’s house. Seemed like a reasonable fellow, ruffled slightly greying hair, slightly unkempt business suit, personable and relatable. He set up whatever there was to set up and got to talking. I don’t remember anything of what he talked about but I do remember he brought a small white board or maybe a large presentation pad of paper with him and he placed it on an easel and at some point he drew the image above on that white board/pad. He asked one of us to tell him what it said, and I did. Duh, that’s easy. I know how to read. After all, I know stuff and I’ll show you.

Now today, he may have used something more like this video to make this particular point, or not. (This video was used to make this point in one of my classes where I ultimately became a Master).

When I watched the video I’m pretty sure I counted the basketball passes correctly, and I’m pretty sure I read the words in the triangle correctly. Then, the reveal of my selective attention came. I stood up, there in my sister’s living room, and I pointed to each of the words including the XOXOX. Now point out each letter in each of the words. …E…T…Oh.

Maybe the “reality” that I think I see is only a pattern, something that my mind recalls seeing before, so that when I see something similar my mind “does the rest” – fills in the blank, glances over a few “minor” details. OK. I’m listening. Maybe a little closer now.

Then, after some additional not remembered conversational content this widely known (today) 9 dots puzzle was put on the whiteboard. Without lifting the pen, connect the 9 dots using four lines.

Limited options in my “thinking”

Now (then), I was only 19 years old. I didn’t have much exposure to “the world” despite what I thought. So the term may have been in wide use at the time, but I’m fairly certain it was not. Some time after encountering this puzzle I heard the word paradigm for the first time. Didn’t know a thing about paradigms. And then, to find out I was existing within a paradigm. Well, that was a surprise. Later on I’d read about world views and terministic screens and context and matrices and social constructionism and I would add information or knowledge into my store of knowledge about those things. But this nine dots puzzle – it was a surprise, especially within the context (that I didn’t know was a context) of all that talking that was happening that I don’t really remember at all. Learning the answer to this nine dots puzzle wasn’t some piece of knowing something like reading or being told about a concept and then understanding that concept.

It was experiencing the thing for itself. It was an unconcealing. A reveal. Paris in the spring and nine dots. Parlor tricks and puzzles. So I was interested now (then), paying attention in some new way a little closer than I had been. When I say “experiencing the thing for itself” I was now seeing some part of the role I played (I play) in determining what I thought was reality. See I thought (think) that reality was (is). Just that it is. It is reality. In fact, I KNEW (KNOW) that reality IS. Now this charlatan, this magician, this humble and calm, lightly rumpled guy named Joe had me seeing all sorts of things that I hadn’t seen before that just maybe, like a gorilla, had been there all along.

Yet I wasn’t thinking about any of that at the time. I had no language to describe any of that. I didn’t even know how I’d ended up in that conversation…didn’t remember any of it anyway.

I was workin’ on a mystery. Goin’ wherever it leads.

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