Last Tuesday night, my yoga teacher began class by telling us that he had put his iPhone in the laundry earlier that day. He freely admitted that it was his most cherished possession– not to mention expensive, but that after a mere 6 hours of practicing non-attachment, his iPhone started working again.
I felt sort of smug. Almost a year ago to the date, I’d spilled water on my iPod, baked it, exploded it, blogged it–and survived. Or so I thought.
My teacher went to explain that sometimes bad experiences become a part of us even when they are over. The mistakes we’ve made in the past clog our vision; it’s as though we’re looking through a dusty window.
I recalled how poorly I had handled the whole baked iPod thing when it happened. I’d cried, angsted, blamed myself and even refused to buy another one so I could “teach myself a lesson.” My teacher went on to explain that we need to do more than simply “survive” bad situations. We need to practice radical affirmation and experience them with “joy consciousness.”
Something about what he said made me think I was probably still carrying that mala–the anger over the mistake. To get rid of it, I needed to learn new habits. But how could I learn how to react better to a broken iPod a year after the fact?
Then the next day at work, as I lifted a flimsy paper cup filled with tea up to take a sip, it collapsed in and spilled tea all over my MacBook. The computer turned off. Luckily, a co-worker was headed to the Apple store later. My first trip to Apple in SF, and my first opportunity to from new habits–joy consciousness!
Then I tried to turn it on at the Apple store and discovered that my MacBook didn’t work anymore. And I found out that the only thing you can do for wet electronics is wait 72 hours. But I did get to spend two of those hours working off an iMac at Apple before heading back to the office–joy consciousness!
Back at work, the only computer they could find for me was a Dell that seemed like it might have been from 1998. It barely worked, but it really reminded of the computer I’d used to write my first short story in 6th grade. I loved that story–joy consciousness!
Then, 12 hours later, my BlackBerry stopped receiving email. I had no Internet at home. I couldn’t keep up with work, or reach out to my few friends in SF. But I did rekindle (no pun!) my love of print books–joy consciousness!
“How are you so calm?” All the Californians in my office asked me. Joy consciousness…obviously.
72 joy conscious-filled hours passed. I was on my way home to turn on the computer when I passed an innocuous building labeled “Tech Collective.” So when I got home and tried to turn on my computer and it didn’t work, I knew exactly where to go. To my zen place…and back to the Tech Collective. They said they thought they could fix it–and it would only cost me 80 bucks–and only if it worked.
Three days later, I got a voicemail from the 22 year-old kid I entrusted with my precious MacBook. “Hi RB, it’s Matt–with your tea-spilled-on-MacBook. I opened your computer. The tea got all over the worst possible place–your logic board. I have to say it was a mess.” Long silence. Then, “But I was able to fix it.” Joy.
I went to class with the same teacher last night, and afterwards, I rushed to tell him the story, concluding, “….I really feel like I had to erase my malas and wash my windows! I think the MacBook thing happened for a reason. So, I tried to approach the situation with joy consciousness—“
He burst out laughing. “Are you serious? I mean..that’s awful! How much did you have to pay to fix it?”
For a moment I was about to be offended–but then I realized–it was just the radical affirmation I needed.