I shared the story below just over two months ago. April seems like a lifetime ago in many ways. A lot has changed and a lot hasn’t. Many of us are still working from home and using Zoom to conduct business. Recent events in the news have sparked protests and heated conversations across the globe in all forms of media. Given the current climate in the world, I felt inspired to share the profound lesson I learned from Zoom again this week. May it give you a wider perspective and perhaps help you understand why we are seeing so much anger and frustration. Feel free to share this wherever it might be helpful:
These days, I use Zoom all the time for Life Coaching sessions, Private and Group Family Constellations sessions, and also for my weekly A Course in Miracles study groups. I truly appreciate this technology that allows us to connect virtually while we are sheltering at home. Yes, there are some challenges when WiFi connection is bad or people forget to unmute themselves before talking. However, there are also many benefits to this way of gathering, like no rush hour traffic and the ability for people to join from anywhere in the world. For this reason, I intend to continue facilitating both virtual and live events when it is safe to meet in person again.
Along with the blessings and challenges, Zoom has provided me with a profound lesson. At the beginning of most meetings, I do a quick tutorial to help attendees who are new to Zoom get familiar with the basics. We discuss things like how to mute and unmute yourself and switch between Speaker and Gallery view. I discovered quickly that how you navigate these settings depends on what kind of device you are using. I have only been using my laptop to Zoom, so that is all I know.
The button to switch between Speaker and Gallery view is in the upper right-hand corner of my computer screen. That is not the case for those attending with a tablet or smartphone. When I told them to look there for the button, it simply wasn’t there. Since I don’t use a tablet or smartphone to Zoom, I had no idea what to tell them. When I couldn’t help, some well-meaning attendees on iPads tried to tell those on smartphones what to do. Sadly, that wasn’t helpful either. No matter how many times they repeated themselves or how insistent they were with their instructions, due to the smaller screen, it’s completely different and some options are not there.
That’s when I asked my partner to do some Zoom experimenting with me from his iPad and iPhone. He joined a meeting from both of his devices and we discovered together how to do some of the basics. At some point during this process, it hit me what a powerful metaphor this is. If I am not able to see things from another perspective, no amount of repetition will help me understand and resolve a problem with another person. If my only experience of Zoom is on a computer, I can tell a person on an iPad 300 times to click a button in the upper right-hand corner, but if it doesn’t exist on their screen, it won’t help. If that function works differently on a smartphone, we will both end up frustrated, annoyed and no closer to a solution.
It seems to me that’s what’s happening in this country and around the world anywhere there is conflict and divisiveness. We are expecting someone else to see things from our perspective or do things the way we do them, when that may not be an option for them. They may not have the same resources we have or they may see things very differently based on their culture, life experience, or level of understanding. In other words, their screen is set up differently or their device navigates differently. If I never took the time to explore Zoom from another kind of device, I would only be able to assist those who attend my virtual events on a computer that works exactly like mine.
Thank you, Zoom, for giving me a practical and tangible frame of reference for this spiritual truth. We are all using different devices to navigate this thing called life. May this metaphor be helpful to anyone struggling to see things from another’s perspective. I haven’t tried Zoom on an Android or a PC yet, so like many of us, I still have more to learn!
Until next time, may you find compassion and understanding for anyone who may be using a different device to navigate life.
Understanding is appreciation, because what you understand you can identify with, and by making it part of you, you have accepted it with love.
A Course in Miracles ~ T-7.V.9.4