The oracle

Resistance often shows up insisting that it can predict the future.

The voice in our head, the one that knows everything, also knows that you will be rejected, that the work will be misunderstood, that you’ll end up shamed.

Not just the voice, but the circle around us can do this as well if we choose to listen. Wearing the hat of the ardent supporter, they will try to protect you by predicting the demise of that next thing you were pinning your hopes on.

And it’s easy (and tempting) to give them credit for soothsaying because they know so many other things. They (“we” if we count the voice) know all about the failures and disappointments of the past. They know all about the hard work and all about how others have stumbled. And so, of course, they must also know about the future.

A lesson from a koan is really valuable here. Voices that purport to know the future–whether they are psychics, astrologers, family or the noise in our head–are pretty effective when it’s vague enough, but terrible when it comes to specifics. That’s because when it’s vague, we complete the story on our own, creating our own fact patterns after things happen.

The simple question to ask the oracle is: I have a handful of beans. How many are there?

As much as we might want an oracle, there aren’t any. What we need, it turns out, are supporters who trust us and have our back.