Enjoying fluid encounters

There's a marvelous Taoist teaching story about two boats colliding. When we see an empty boat drifting toward our own boat in the water, we take no offense when the boats collide. When we see a boat full of rowdies ignoring our warnings about the impending crash, we take offense when the two boats collide. Same boats, same collision, two different reactions.

In the synchronous innovation space I introduced yesterday, we take no offense from colliding with others. We are empty of fears, conditioning and upsets waiting to happen. We either identify with the water that floats all the boats or we see our own emptiness as something we have in common with the approaching boat. We're in synch with everything that is happening and simply go with the flow of the moment. Our emptiness gives rise to innovations that seem to us and others like right conduct, right timing, right proportions and right balance. We are in harmony with the complexity we are witnessing by seeing it simply as it is.

On the right, I've pictured the books I've read about innovation in the past few years. For me, this has unfolded as a stream of fluid encounters. I was not in control of the quantity of books or the sequence I read them in. Often I had started more than one and moved between them fluidly rather than finishing one at a time. What came to my mind from so much spontaneous and serendipitous reading was profoundly fulfilling, delightful and provocative. How I read them proved to be a more profound lesson than what I read in these books. If you're also in this space of synchronous innovations, you may resonate with my story about reading these books fluidly.

If you're in the space of methodical innovations, this bounty of books may appear as a treasure trove of resources. These volumes contain a staggering number of techniques, models and frameworks for becoming more innovative. They offer valuable solutions to problems we encounter with being stuck, blocked, stifled and uninspired. Then I look like a resource who can function very resourcefully having read all these books. You have positioned yourself to become more resourceful by taking advantage of these resources. (The bibliography can be seen here as a pdf Google doc)

If you're in the exceptional innovation space, then this wall of books presents a major obstacle. You may feel intimidated, challenged or put down by this display of power. I may appear exceptional to you and my accomplishment would then seem unattainable to you. By putting this wall of books on a pedestal, you put yourself down for not being as talented an innovator, as capable a problem solver or as ambitious a reader. You would create a troubling collision between fixed traits or evidence of inferiority.

If you're in the primal innovation space, this pile of books could bury you or extinguish your flame. It poses a threat to your safety, composure and ability to concentrate. It could stir up lingering fears, regrets and dread about another collision. There's no doubt you already know what trouble this is to you and your kind. There's no question you know how to handle this encounter. Whatever you do without thinking qualifies as primal innovations.

Back to the space of synchronous innovation space, these other three spaces are empty boats too. They provide enjoyable experiences of fluid encounters when we don't know what to make of them, don't react with any certainty and don't stifle our innocent wonderment as they unfold.

No comments:

Post a Comment