It all started with a simple decision to buy an Apple TV, a simple device that hooks up to your TV and allows you to wirelessly transmit from your computer to your TV. It is amazing technology although the one flaw I discovered was that all the programming has to be channeled through iTunes so videos I have downloaded on my computer won’t necessarily be picked up. I was excited to connect up and test it out however on my laptop, an iBook G4 I discovered that I could not connect because I required iTunes 10, and that required an updated operating system. “No problem”, I thought, “I have a copy of OS 10.5, and all I have to do is load it.”
Of course, memory being so fallible I had forgotten that there was no such thing as simple when it came to installing a new operating system. First I needed to clear more space on my hard drive, then I had to custom install as I still had limited capacity however eventually I began the installation and all seemed to go well when the process just stopped and an error message popped up. I tried to restart the computer and at this juncture my worst nightmare began to unfold. All I could get was a blank screen and a message that said, “local host:/ roots#” “What the &@#!! does that mean?” After some time I manage to complete the whole cycle a second time. I cannot load the new system and I seem to have lost the original one.
I am now completely out of my depth and feeling quite despondent now I have managed to turn a functioning computer into an inert box. I join two Mac Forums and post a plaintive plea for assistance. I get no replies. I call my local MAC repair service and am told that it is likely my computer is toast, I have tried to load a system too powerful for it and likely wrecked the hard drive; it will cost me $90 to find out which is basically a waste of my money. I sit for a moment trying to avoid the sense of despair that comes from being so dumb then I pick up my spirits and decide that this is the excuse I am looking for to buy an iPad, something I have lusted for some time. Timing is a bit inconvenient as the new generation is not due out until later in the year however, I still have my desk top and my iPod, so impact will be minimal except when I travel.
By the time I take myself out for an Americano and a long walk around the beautiful seawall in Kitsilano I am feeling detached and surrendered. En route I encounter a beautiful bald eagle coming in to land on a totem pole, an auspicious sign as the eagle normally signifies Spirit at action in my life. Although in the moment it does not feel totally appropriate, I enjoy the magnificent image of this giant predator gracefully landing its 60” wingspan on a pinnacle above my head. About half an hour later, there was a synchronicity that proved significant. I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a MAC sign, a store that does service and sells second hand computers. This is not a place I regularly frequent but I felt drawn to get a second opinion. At first I was berated for not realizing that my computer could not handle the new OS Leopard, then my confidence was further eroded by confirmation that I was “screwed” but then a glimmer of hope. I could try and use utilities to “partition” my disk, which may then allow me to load the original software. It was with limited enthusiasm that I embarked on a venture that based on my usual success rate would achieve squat however with minimal difficulty I managed the partition. It is amazing that 37 gigabytes of information can be wiped clean in the blink of an eye. Then my first stumbling block, how to eject the disk from a computer with no operating system. I was again at a complete loss but had good fortune when I entered a query into the Mac Forum and found an answer. Press Option, Command, O and F at the same time while pressing the restart button. This took a little manual dexterity (try it if you don’t believe me) but the disk shot out like a flying saucer. I began to feel a certain sense of optimism, I had already found the original OS disks that came with the computer, so I started to install and sat mesmerized as the first disk loaded seamlessly onto the cleaned drive. My euphoria was not to last, midway through the second disk I watched horrified as an error message popped up and the disk ejected. I was stunned and tried again with the same result. I waited a while then attempted to continue a third time, no luck – I was no further ahead than when I started. I had a computer that may or may not be working but without an operating system, I would never know. Sadly I resisted the temptation to shut it down as I suspected it would not restart. I put it to sleep for the night then followed suit myself. To say the least it had been a frustrating day.
The next morning I awoke and as is my custom, I began my morning mindfulness meditation practice. I was fascinated to watch my mind obsess over the computer; it was like a dog worrying a bone; it did not want to let it go; I would bring my attention back to my breath and then notice myself revert to worrying about my computer. Yet from this observation emerged something of value. It crossed my mind that in my obsession to fix it I had given no consideration to whether this experience had anything to teach me. In addition I ignored a number of clear signs warning me not to go forward. Then an insight: for someone who set an intention every morning to live a soul directed life guided by synchronicity and serendipity, and to find meaning from the experiences of my life, I had been remarkably obtuse and resistant. Clearly, as far as this computer fiasco was concerned, I was not walking my talk. I had ignored the signs that I should not load Leopard at all; I had not looked for any deeper meaning rather I had become obsessive about fixing the problem on the level that it had occurred. It is a key practice as a spiritual coach to explore the relationship between the outer circumstances of your life and the inner journey but I had been acting as though the inner journey was not a factor. I knew my next step was to explore what the metaphysical meaning of my experience could be and how it may relate to the journey of the soul.
I began to journal looking for relevant connections between my frustration with the computer and my life’s journey. I recalled that many years ago my computer problems had often functioned as extensions of my consciousness. I started by the presumption that the existing operating system is my current state of consciousness. The metaphor began to flow; I desire to evolve as a spiritual being; occasionally I may get off track and try to embark on a path for which I am not suited or perhaps for which I am not ready; I will receive clear signs not to proceed but if I ignore them and push ahead I will get stuck.
Suddenly the fog clears and I know what this is about. Recently I was given a book for my birthday by a dear friend, with the intriguing title Pregnant Darkness, Alchemy and The Rebirth of Consciousness, but I realize I am struggling through it because I think I owe it to my friend. I have tried twice before to explore alchemy; once with a book called The Philosopher’s Stone followed by one titled The Emerald Garden; I could finish neither of them. Many of my friends have taken an eighteen-month program with my teacher Atum but when I subjected this issue to my DecisionClarity model I got a clear “No”. It seems clear to me that I should not pursue alchemy for a spiritual evolution. For some reason it just isn’t my path. As Ram Dass once said, “we can only become as conscious as we are ready, we can’t rush our evolution.”
I felt complete with the inner journey so I planned to take the computer to the Mac store to have the software reloaded, it may cost a few bucks but hopefully it will be working again. However later in the day I wondered half seriously whether now I had done the inner work the software would install. Somewhat self-consciously, I loaded in the disk and moved over to my other computer. I expected at any moment to hear the disk eject but the minutes moved into half an hour and slowly but surely the blue line extended across the screen indicating that the data was still loading. I decided not to look in case I jinxed the operation but finally leaned over and to my delight I saw the words, “Welcome to OSX Tiger” My computer was born again! Although I had to reload the music, photos and key files, it could all be done wirelessly and my computer worked better than before, as some previous glitches appear to have disappeared. Like a phoenix it had risen from the ashes to be completely renewed. Coincidence, synchronicity or miracle – I know what I believe.