This afternoon I came to appreciate the wisdom of St. John of the Cross’ emphasis on “nada, nada, nada.” And I didn’t even need to be given a koan by a Zen master. A worthy substitute, I can assure you, is trying to install a Linksys wireless router.
My old one had inexplicably stopped working. The new one wouldn’t start to work. My first call to India-based tech support led to a koanic download that supposedly would solve all my problems.
Nada. It didn’t.
What I kept getting, after dutifully connecting the router as instructed, was an error message that basically said, “We have been able to connect to the Internet. But your router is a mystery to us. We are unable to configure it because the installation program does not support this strange device we’ve encountered. Good luck, and goodbye.”
I’d bend down to stare at the router sitting under my wife’s desk. Yes, it was a brand new Linksys WRT54GS router, fresh out of the box, which I was trying to install via Linkys’ configuration program. The whole thing was a mystery. Just like God.
I took the path of hoped-for enlightenment so many have followed: I journeyed to India. Again. Via a toll-free number. This time my tech support guru led me through a manual install. It seemed to get the router working, but now my ThinkPad laptop couldn’t connect to it as I was able to before.
I had a sneaking suspicion that this might just possibly have something to do with the laptop falling off a TV table yesterday. Indeed, IBM tech support (in Atlanta) told me where the wireless hardware switch could be located. It’d been knocked to the “off” position.
Yet my wireless Internet connection was still nada. Nothing. A software problem was suspected. I tried to turn the software on. Nada. Nothing. I wasn’t able to perform a system restore, as IBM had suggested. Nada. Nothing. I was at my wit’s end—which doesn’t take long to reach when it comes to wireless computer mumbo-jumbo.
I gave up. I started composing a “help” message to IBM tech support, hoping to reach a more exalted level of software competence. I confessed my ignorance. I pleaded for a return call.
Then I glanced at the Wireless Network Connection icon. It was back to normal looking. I disconnected the modem cable. I was online! I had done nada. Nothing. Yet I was connected. Clearly, a message from the great god Nada in support of the Wu Project.
I had an overwhelming desire to get in touch with my inner nothing. An attitude of gratitude for getting my wireless Internet back. I took a nap. Nada for twenty minutes. Then I picked up a St. John of the Cross book and read some before I meditated. Not quite so much nada as with my nap. But a lot more nada than I’d experienced while working on the router problem.
Nothing can be a wonderful something. Doing nothing finally got my wireless connection working. Hopefully it’ll get my soul in good order also (assuming I have one).
This passage from St. John is from his creative tribute to nada, a sketch of the Ascent of Mt. Carmel.
To reach satisfaction in all
desire its possession in nothing.
To come to possess all
desire the possession of nothing.
To arrive at being all
desire to be nothing.
To come to the knowledge of all
desire the knowledge of nothing.
To come to the pleasure you have not
you must go by a way in which you enjoy not.
To come to the knowledge you have not
you must go by a way in which you know not.
To come to the possession you have not
you must go by a way in which you possess not.
To come to be what you are not
you must go by a way in which you are not.
Did you ever receive the $250 rebate on your new laptop?
Posted by: Roger | September 05, 2006 at 12:20 PM
Roger, yes I did. Or maybe it was $200 that I agreed to. Regardless, the rebate affair ended up agreeably. In fact, I just ordered another ThinkPad Z60m to replace my wife's increasingly out of date E-machines laptop.
Posted by: Brian | September 05, 2006 at 02:55 PM
My transcendental experience with a new Lenovo ThinkPad went similarly. I finally achieved the state I was seeking by switching from Linksys to NetGear. Most of my electronic solutions come by unplugging, waiting a few counts, and replugging. When I solve these mysteries, my husband sometimes thinks I am holding out on him when he asks, "How did you fix that?" and I say "I don't know." But the truth is, I never do know. It either fixes itself or it doesn't. :)
Posted by: Mary Beth | September 07, 2006 at 09:31 PM
Mary Beth, you've attained a Zen state with your computer than I can only dream of. But I've had some glimpses, such as what I wrote about.
The Linksys WRT54GS router has been working fine the past few days. Much better than the WRT54G, for sure. My mother taught me to say (and do) "knock on wood" after statements like the one I just made.
I tried to resist the temptation. But the side of our house was within reach.
Posted by: Brian | September 07, 2006 at 09:58 PM