Patterns of Thinking and Patterns of Life

Patterns of Thinking and Patterns of Life

“I see you reading a book after a long time” Lulu, my parrot said after taking a close look at me, and the book in my hand. “You are smiling; what’s on?”

Parrots have a special talent for reading minds. “You know what? There are coincidences, and there are synchronicities. Surely you too would have experienced it,” I said as I put away my copy of ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’.

“Tell me about your synchronicity.”

“I just finished a Marathi book, Ranbakhar. It is about the Adivasis. Their exploitation. About denuding the jungle around them.”

Lulu, My Parrot (Greg Hill Unsplash)


“I am reading ‘The Plunder of Commons’. I often read two books simultaneously. Like ‘Plunder of The Commons’ and ‘Ranbakhar’. Their themes overlap to a certain extent. And also overlap, marginally though, with ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’. Who placed these three books in my hands? Is there a purpose?”

“There are patterns. You tried to seek meaning in them. You see them as meaningful coincidences.”

“Haha! Patterns. Meaningful coincidences. Looks like you have read Carl Jung, Lulu.”

“I saw you painting and doodling yesterday.”

“Yes. I watched a video on it. Tried my hand at painting and doodling.”


“Did you notice that there were patterns even in doodling? You wanted to be creative, but you could not shake off the patterns.”

“Oh, now I understand your question about doodling. It seemed to be out of blue. Hmmm …. Let me take a look. Yes, you got it right. I seem to have used only two or three patterns.”

“Doodling is freewheeling. Nobody asked you to restrict yourself to three patterns but you did.”

“Yes. True.”

“Because patterns are all in mind. They dictate how and what we do. We can’t erase them easily. Certainly not without conscious effort. For creative expressions, they are a hurdle.”

“I take your point. The patterns of thought are a hurdle for creativity. Predictability is the biggest blemish on anything creative, a play or a movie. Even a two-liner ‘sher’ takes an unexpected turn in the second line. PG Wodehouse ends every chapter of his story with such a twist that you can’t put down his book. Incorrigibly predictable, though that itself is a pattern!”

“You said it. There was a predictability in the responses of Kangana and Sanjay Raut. Besides their language, predictability contributed to the ugliness of situation.”

“Leave them alone. They are best ignored. That incident makes me think about how we handle conflicts with set patterns. It is also damaging to our interests.”

“I saw it in your negotiations with unions. The real issue is how to break free of those patterns. How to be predictably unpredictable. Patterns evolve as parental messages get recorded in our mind.”

“That’s the question – ‘how to break free of patterns to be creative.’ Let me go back to the doodles. Hmmm…  I think stopping to consciously explore a variation seems to be the key.”

“That puts you in the ‘adult’ mode straightaway, if you understand the Transactional Analysis term. This was beautifully captured in the Ford car ad. There is a provocation. But the driver stops to think of the correct response, instead of getting carried away by the instinctive response.”

Staying in Adult

“Staying in ‘Adult.’ Yes! Tendulkar thought of kind of next ball a bowler was likely to bowl and readied himself for instantaneous response. He watched videos to decipher the pattern of a bowler’s responses to situations. And he also thought of surprising the bowler with different shots.”

“If you do not wish to try anything new, you ought to accept mediocrity. Trying out anything new is not like taking a lay person’s plunge in the swimming pool. It is like the way an Olympic diver takes the plunge. There is practice before performance. A lot of thought goes to plan the performance. And finally, you train your mind, give it clear suggestion, before you dive and somersault.”

“But success creates a pattern again.”

“Haha! And you must break it!! Plan your next doodle. Do not work like an automaton. Work. Reflect. Identify patterns. Break them. Create new patterns of excellence. Reflect. Do you get me?”

“Got it, boss!”

“Don’t forget what Fritjof Capra says. ‘Understanding of life begins with the understanding of patterns.’ Do you get me?”

Vivek S Patwardhan

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.

“Aroehan: Creating Dream Villages in Mokhada by 2025: “No Malnutrition Deaths, No Child ‘Out of School’, Reduction in migration by 50%.”