Two-bit Guru | Let it Percolate | Photo of a lathe in a machine shop.

When I was in my early 20’s I worked in a research lab where I met a man named Elmer, the most unique inventor I have ever known. He was something of a magician when it came to creating all sorts of innovative devices, gizmos, gadgets, machines, whatever. I self-appointed Elmer as my mentor because I was fascinated by his skills and his imagination. Over five years of working together, we became close friends, in a teacher-student sort of way.

Elmer taught me how to use the machine tools in the shop, how to think of concepts such as molecular activity in a simple way, and how to think both logically and intuitively. Presented with, say, the problem of making a device to be used in a research project, Elmer would first think about it consciously, often bouncing his ideas off me, much to my delight. Then he would shift his attention to something completely different and pay no attention to the issue at hand. He might ignore it for minutes, hours, or days. He would do that over and again throughout the course of the project.

He once said to me “You have to let it percolate.” This offhand comment was my introduction to having a conscious awareness of letting go, of giving intuition a chance to solve the problem. Simple advice but it was one of the most important things I have ever learned.

Elmer passed on years ago. After attending a memorial service for him, as I was driving home I was surprised to suddenly burst into tears. I pulled over to the side of the road and, as though the truth was bursting through all by itself, I said out loud through my sobs, “Dang it Elmer, I loved you.” I knew he heard me.

As time went on I developed the habit of silently asking for Elmer’s help with mechanical or material or physical realm problems. In an uncanny way, things seemed to fall into place when I simply asked for guidance. Over time, it seemed as though Elmer’s spirit had become present in me, ever ready to help.

The priceless instruction to let it percolate wasn’t a solemn lesson, just an observation made by a man who loved creativity and was fascinated by possibilities. The idea of asking for Elmer’s help later led me to accept the idea of asking the universe for help, and much to my delight, it worked! In a multitude of ways.

There is such a vastness of truth and knowledge for us all to explore if we only learn to accept the wisdom of intuition, and to accept the wealth of information always available to us in our everyday lives.