quantum leap beyond a mediocre life

In physics, a quantum leap or quantum jump is a change of an electron from one quantum state to another within an atom. It is discontinuous; the electron jumps from one energy level to another instantaneously. ~ wiki

Electrons keep changing – leaping – vibrating – all the time. But minor changes are insignificant. Its said that the only thing constant is change.  Only when the energy level jump is significant, does it really matter as a quantum leap.

In the monkey story, the monkey is living a happy life initially, then it starts to pick up some wooden apples, becomes so posessive about them, and eventually learns to let them go and get on with life. It’s decisions (i.e. its behaviour) was based on an evaluation. The monkey evaluated the real satisfaction it got from eating fruit (which it probably took for granted), and a hypothetical far superior taste it imagined from the wooden apple. I guess this evaluation of the real with the unreal was what lead the monkey astray.

But the irony is… that though for a reader it is clear that the monkey’s perception of wooden apples was flawed, for the monkey, it appeared to be very much real. So being in the monkey’s situation, how to overcome this flawed perception?

There are plenty of situations. Just one example would be a typical case of a person having a more active life online, than facing offline reality.

In the monkey’s story, would it be possible if the monkey thought long and hard about it? Most probably the monkey wouldn’t even start, wouldnt even acknowledge that such a thing was necessary. And even if it tried that, going by what Einstein said… “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it”, that might not even have worked!

So some kind of quantum leap is vital.

In the story,… the monkey’s acute hunger and fatigue was the driver for such a quantum leap.

But does it always have to happen the hard way….? For many it may never happen at all… as Henry David Thoreu had observed:

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.

There is a well known saying…

A mind is like a parachute, it works only when its open!

and another maybe lesser known one…

Nobody ever complained of a parachute not opening…

Choice seems to be between letting life pass/rip by and plonking ungracefully into a grave some day, or actually landing there with a parachute 😉

The basic premise of the Arbinger institute is the concept of self-deception, and ignoring it amounts to self-betrayal. As the book Leadership & Self-Deception says, even acknowledging that there is some scope for improvement by itself is a significant first step. (Of course it goes on to give various approaches to going forward).

There is a phenomenal movie – Patch Adams starring Robin Williams.

[Of course one might recognise that Sanjay Dutt’s popular time pass comedy Munna Bhai MBBS was based on it it, but while the story line is similar, there is really no comparison at all. Patch Adams has a beauty, quality and depth and in a class of its own]

The movie begins with Patch (Robin Williams) in a mental asylum with several other patients. One of the patients is an old man, Arthur. Arthur abrubtly confronts people showing them four fingers, asking them “how many do you see??” and getting exasperated with anyone answering the obvious “four”. Patch answers four as well initially. While everyone treats Arthur like yet another lunatic, Patch encounters him again and makes another attempt to answer… here’s the dialogue from that scene script

Arthur: How many do you see?

Patch:  There are four fingers, Arthur.

Arthur: No, no, no. Look at me.

Patch:  What?

Arthur: Y-You're focusing on the problem.
        If you focus on the problem, you can't see the solution.
        Never focus on the problem. Look at me!
        How many do you see?
        No, look beyond the fingers.
        How many do you see?

Patch:  (looking at him, sees a reflection in his eyes) Eight.

Arthur: Eight. Eight. Yes! Yes!
        Eight's a good answer. Yes.
        See what no one else sees.
        See what everyone else chooses not to see...
        out of fear and conformity and laziness.
        See the whole world anew each day.

What is our real potential, and how little are we really living up to it?

This idea is beautifully explored in the Disney-Pixar movie Ratatouille

dream big...

Tony Robbins in his book Awaken the Giant Within You talks about how powerful a decision can be. This of course is a powerful aid by itself. I don’t know how much resolutions work – there might be a shadow of failure involved as well. Just having a strong intention could make a bigger positive beginning. Both Tony Robbin’s book as well as the Seven Laws of Spiritual Success by Deepak Chopra talks about how important an action, however small it may be, is vital to getting things rolling!

This is not a comparison of the above books, I’m just relating them to each other as I see things from my point of view. I feel each of the books say something very positive and significant, and are well worth reading.

In general I’m a kind of lazy fellow, and for me I’ve found that this approach works better for me: work on being more clear on what I really want. Once that’s done, do something atleast one small thing, to actually get things rolling.

I don’t know – maybe one cannot really make a quantum leap in the quality of our life just like that. If we look at nature, a ripe fruit falls naturally, there is no grand plan, it just happens on its own. So I feel instead of resisting it, because a leap is generally into unknown and involve certain amount of risk – one only needs to facilitate it with an open mind

What I feel is that any kind of leap isn’t just some one time event…  I hope to make it a way of life… like a mountaineer would continuosly ascending a mountain,  like the solution to the nine dot puzzle…

One Response to “quantum leap beyond a mediocre life”

  1. Anusha Says:

    Excellent post Sanjay! Such depth.

    The _decision followed by small action_ approach is in general fairly effective. But sometimes too much soul-searching may actually be a hindrance to action. And sometimes too small an action may be counter-productive too. Sometimes we just have to make the quantum jump. An electron musters all its energy and jumps. The electron is then in a higher energy, it evolves.

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