Essence of the Summs Technique: sincere attempt to engage spiritually with the material universe.

A curious aspect of so many of Summs’ special techniques was that what worked one day might very well not work the next. Summs thought this was because in employing a technique you knew to be successful, you would become overly sure of yourself and presumptuous about it, you would feel you were Mighty and In Control, which were feelings that were totally incompatible with Summs; for it was the essence of every Summs Technique that you perform it as if for the first time and in a spirit of gentle humility.

For example, usually when he was doing the dishes he would employ his Slow Technique, but that one wasn’t working today. The way it was supposed to work, he would tell himself to “go so slowly it took no time at all” and after having inched with super slowness a couple saucers back in the cupboard, he would usually “SNAP” to discover that not only had the dishwasher been unloaded but the counters had been wiped clean and totally reorganized. But this time — probably because he was trying to use his technique like a piece of technology, a light switch, there for his convenience, rather than as a sincere attempt to engage spiritually with the material universe — he did not “SNAP” to find his chore behind him at all, but only noted bitterly how little progress he seemed to have made.

Then though a funny thing happened. And this, too, was not so unusual an occurrence, that one of his misapplied techniques, which didn’t work, became suddenly a new technique that did.

For when he groaned to himself that this was taking “forever”, it dawned on him suddenly that the problem might not have been that he was not going slowly enough but that he was going far too slowly. And on thinking this he did soon SNAP but in the direction opposite to the one he expected. For where was the fire in his belly? he now started asking himself. Where was the pep, the get up and go? What had he been doing with his life all this time?

“Go!” he said — and placed one dish with both hands in its place quickly.

“Go!” he said and quickly used two hands to return two dishes to their places, doubling his efficiency.

“Go go go!” he said and now he was unloading with an urgency he usually reserved for life saving emergencies — the cups, the pots, the silverware — and he was done. . . . Now onto the counters. Now onto the waste bin by the desk, thinking all the while how foolish he had been over the years to have conducted himself with such insufferable slowness and fake calm, as if a person had infinite time in life, as if one didn’t need to approach life in a spirit of great urgency!

Now he was out the door to get cracking on some things he’d been procrastinating on. Oh there were a lot of things but the very first item on the list would be to quit his yoga class, which he’d been meaning to do for months, for years in fact, because the instructor was far too agressive and always calling him out. Mr Summs! he would growl from across the room, Mr. Summs! (Oh how he hated him! How that man always called him out!) Come on Summs that’s not stretching — reach! stretch! (But how could he know what Summs was feeling? And fine, maybe it wasn’t actually stretching but still it felt good to have his arms like that — what did the instructor care? He was getting paid anyway!) That was the very first thing Summs would accomplish! “Mr. Sari, here I come!”

%d bloggers like this: