Human Science

Because I had problems with Internet communication on my computer the other day, I had a little extra time on my hands. I then thought that rather than waste it, why not take care of one of the items on my long-term agenda -- upgrading the memory on my computer.

When I arrived at the service area at the local electronics superstore, I was greeted by four individuals in line ahead of me. Though that might not seem so bad, consider the fact that they were there to have their laptop computers serviced, and at the time, there were only two technicians on duty. Since each customer took ~15-20 minutes to service, I was looking at a half hour or more wait. I had been on this slow moving service department line before, and I had seen the look on the faces of the people “patiently” waiting. Well this time it was no different, as the person in front of me had that same silent, but frustrated look.

Because I had lost landline DSL connection to the Internet, I was forced on that day to use a wireless Wi-Fi connection at McDonald’s and Starbucks. Now as I stood in this slow moving line, I thought that rather than stand around nervously for half hour waiting for my turn, I could make use of the wireless service that might be available in the store. And so I pulled out my computer from its case, and awakened it from sleep mode. I then discovered that a free Internet connection was indeed available in the store. However, when I tried to connect to that Wi-Fi service, it did not work. And yet when I put the computer back in its case and looked around, I noticed that the line in front of me had suddenly moved two spaces. That normally would have occurred over 15 minutes, but instead it happened in fewer than 5. I then understood that because I shifted my attention away from the “problem” of the line, life responded and moved it along overcoming the duration of time.

Now I sensed I was in one of those moments where I had the presence of mind to overcome and master life’s conditions. Taking that cue, a moment later I made the conscious decision to give up all concern about the lengthy wait. As a result, the line moved again two places in less than 5 minutes. When I was then called to be serviced, I had in essence been served in less than 10 minutes, when it would ordinarily take 30 or more. When I first explained my need to the technician, he said that the added memory could be installed within two or three hours. I thought that was too long, and asked him if it could be done sooner. Sensing my time constraints, he then said his tech people could do it in 45 minutes. I thought that was fine. I could after all go out to get something to eat and return in the allotted time.

He then told me it would cost around $140 for 1GB of memory, which was the maximum additional amount my computer could hold. After filling out the paperwork, I was prepared to leave, but then stopped myself from assuming that our communication was over. As a result, I held my ground and waited for him to speak. He then proceeded to tell me that if a technician didn’t return within the next ten minutes, he would install the memory himself. I naturally accepted this new course of action.

Now sensing that time was disappearing before my very eyes, I again held myself back from rushing off. He then said he wanted to check the memory configuration in my computer before he did the work. After a quick check, he told me that the computer would only take a 2gb chip, not a 1gb one, though either way it would only add 1gb of usable memory to the system. For a moment, I thought that would mean that the price would now double, but he surprised me by saying that it would cost less for the 2gb chip because it was on sale! Thus, my bill now went down by nearly $50, despite the fact that I used a bigger chip. In the back of my mind, I thought that small wonders were rapidly accumulating through my conscious effort.

When I then finally went off for the allotted 10-minute period, I came upon and watched a beautiful video on one of the flat-panel TVs called ‘Above California.’ When I arrived, the film was just showing my favorite spot in the state -- Mt. Shasta, the 13,000-foot snow-capped cylindrical peak in the north. I saw that as a good omen now, even as I have often thought of Shasta peak as a symbol of ultimate aspiration in life, including my own. Feeling light, lilting, and joyous because of all these events, I then returned to the technician who was in the process of completing the installation for me. At that point, I did not want to force the conclusion of the transaction, for I knew that right inner attitude could attract additional small miracles.

A few minutes later, the transaction was completed and I got the additional memory that would speed up my computer. In addition, I was equally happy because a potential half hour or more wait in line had been cut by over 75%; that an originally proposed 2 to 3 hour installation was reduced to a mere 10 minutes; and that my bill was substantially reduced from the original quote. I clearly perceived that it had all happened because I made conscious use of time through efforts of inner detachment, calm, and patience at various points along the way. It was a powerful reminder that if we make use of our inner power, time will shift from being an obstacle and adversary to becoming an ultimate instrument and ally.

--Roy Posner 14:13, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

See also other Case Studies on Life Response