Beyond learning the ropes

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By Stella A. Estremera

Spider’s web

Saturday, March 1, 2014

IT’S fascinating how as we grow older, we realize we have more to learn. Unlike when we were young, we thought we knew it all.

My buddy Kublai and I would often take a dig at each other for the boastful, overbearing young Turks we were. Matched with our not so normal skills, we were perfect candidates for popping buttons and blasting egos, and boy, did we pop and blast. That was almost three decades ago for me and almost two decades for Kublai… we’re ten years apart in age, that’s why, and our theory is that the most boastful beings in this planet are above average kids in their twenties and early 30s.

Mellowing down isn’t just about doing things slow, it is lowering the ego and letting wisdom take over. But, as another friend pointed out, not everyone reaches that level simply because the ego is very difficult to junk.


Like learning the ropes. As new hires, we were often told to learn the ropes and the tricks of the trade. We learned the ropes and learned it well. Those who have stopped evolving will likewise stop at that and drumbeat as loud as possible how he has learned the ropes.

The more advanced being would soon realize that there are many other ways to tangle and untangle, climb up and down, and even swing on the ropes. The truly evolved will focus on all the fun ways to do so and be unencumbered about the self and how one can manipulate the rope. The self is now but the tool, the fun being the focus, and the ropes as a means for discovering more. But the real experience and realizations are in the fun or “un-fun” and not the rope and the self learning the ropes.

It’s complicated.

In the book “Innocence, knowledge, and wonder” by Osho, it reads, “A finger pointing to the moon is not the moon, but it has a tremendous utility: It can point to the moon.”

“If you become too obsessed with the finger, that is your fault, not the fault of the finger. If you forget the finger – and you have to forget it if you want to see the moon – then the finger has served its purpose.”

It will be difficult, however, to just do away with the self. After all, we were groomed to give high regard to it. Everything is focused on it; from the looking good to the feeling good. In the process, a full experience is ignored.

Sad to say, many of us are obsessed with the finger, we can hardly see the moon.

Wrap your brain around that while I try to figure out how to get back into this loop called, the server.

We jump on to this thing we call technology, the medium, equipment, and be-all of present-day business, especially newspapering. Trip the server, and every one freezes. Worse, trip the power line and the whole Mindanao stands still.

How easy it is to get entangled in the tools – the ropes, and failing to see the loopholes where we can jump in and out of. The more techie-inclined may be able to tinker with the system. The others will just wait for the power and the server to return. The practical ones will simply pick up pen and paper.

Indeed, we sometimes obsess over the finger, the computer, the power, the server, we forget that all these are run by individual brains, which we have a share of. Beneath all these are our capacity to act, our ability to participate. But we easily give up that power as we entangle our lives into our gadgets and never learn how much fun there also is in the unraveling. Think: ego, self, soul. Think: tools, fingers, moon.


Contact Stella Estremera at

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 02, 2014.


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