Finding my way to “Inner Peace” with Kung Fu Panda and friends turned out to be more entertaining then I had expected. My sister was using her Navigator to help her with driving instructions. I am more accustomed to using Google Maps and studying the directions beforehand. So this constant interaction with the Navigator was most interesting.
Despite the monotonous voice, the ‘Lady’ seemed to have a mind of her own. Her instructions sounded firm and one had the feeling that disobeying her would lead to dire consequences. Every time we ignored her suggestions, there would be urgent cries for correction. As the turns were ignored, there were sulky announcements that she was ‘recalculating’. She would come back with a set of new instructions and every few metres there would be a fresh warning that we needed to turn. It soon became a cat and mouse game – wherein I was now seeing this unknown person as a character that could be teased. You could literally push her buttons by making unplanned detours. This would leave the ‘Lady’ troubled and confused. Resolutely, she would return with a fresh set of instructions and the more chaos I created, the more frequent were her warnings. Now her nagging and repeated instructions were beginning to annoy me. So I finally put the device on mute. But after completing a few errands, the mischievous temptation to trouble the device returned. I was beginning to miss this Lady that I had created in my head. When I got back in the car, the silence was noticeable. As though I had finally won in this game of advice and disobedience and caused a gloom to descend on this helpful Lady. This result was not very enjoyable. So I gave the Lady her voice back. For a while we followed her directions and the thought came that she was recovering her composure. This perception was hilarious, but nevertheless – almost believable. The voice seemed more even and the instructions more spaced out. Then at one juncture we took an unmapped bridge and she began crying out ‘Drive on the highlighted road’ in what sounded like a panic stricken voice.
Laughingly, I finally ended the whole drama and switched off the Navigator.
This is exactly what we do in life.
We project our own stories on another and create a complete character and drama that is entirely based on our own perceptions. I was able to give this monotonous, artificially generated voice a whole personality effortlessly. I could imagine her trials and her relief with equal ease. Her temperament was read as bossy, efficient, sulky, troublesome, concerned or helpful – all as per my interpretation of her ‘reaction’ to my choices.
All this while – knowing fully well that this was simply a game and that too one that I was playing with a piece of artificial intelligence. My choices were simply generating effects which were being spelled out by a neutral voice. But I was taking this response personally and attributing qualities to the voice.
No wonder our life dramas are so much more complex and engaging. Wherein we are completely lost in the stories we have created and can totally lose track of our contribution to the whole scenario. We are unable to see any hope for change, because we have not learned to recognize the sound of the voice in our head. We become victims in dramas that pack in so much noise, that one forgets to look for the mute button.
Listen with discernment.
The road to the Sparkling Stillness within each of us becomes apparent only when we slow down enough to see it.