Do You Have a Problem?

The Nature of Life, and Our Relationship to It

For many years I’ve been involved with advisory, coaching and developmental services to assist people in overcoming adversity and challenges. While there are countless forms of difficulty any one of us can experience, the truth is they all ultimately boil down to a single problem that has two facets.

The first facet is when we find something wrong in the world. Let’s be honest, most of the ways of the world are beyond our ability to influence. That does not mean we should not try to alter them, it means our efforts will likely prove to be futile. Yet our ability to be effective in any attempt to change the world is greatly enhanced when we understand and accept the nature of the world.

This first point matters because when we perceive there is a problem with life itself, we position ourselves in a context of great stress. We are opposing the nature of things. On the other hand, if we can find acceptance, the stress decreases which then increases the likelihood of our effectiveness in dealing with the situation. So understanding and acceptance are outstanding strategies for real results.

The second facet is when we find something wrong with ourselves. Once again, honesty will show us that much about us is simply not likely to change no matter our desire or efforts to be different. And once again, we return to understanding and acceptance as the magical elixir to approach any personal developmental need. Similarly, self-judgment and self-condemnation are extremely stressful and unproductive.

The wisdom of Tao now arises.

It is quite useful to see and know that things are simply the way they are. Every opinion we have of the situation is the root of our difficulties. With awareness comes understanding. When we understand, we are able to work with the nature of things rather than in opposition to them. We act through knowledge of the current in the river of life, rather than in ignorance. As a result, we navigate more effectively and to greater result. Better still, understanding is found to be the secret path to acceptance and thus to transformation.

Seeing True

The problem with the problem is that we experience it as a problem.

Perhaps everything is perfect for time, place, circumstances and the way in which we perceive.

There is the way of releasing, which is too often misconstrued by our limited ideas about forgiving. In order to find harmony, we must “forgive” all those people, things, situations and outcomes with which we find fault. To do so we must first engage them in ways that lead to understanding, which in turn leads to releasing.

With still more inner work, we can transcend the very nature of our relationship to those factors which were formerly seen as problems. Then we come to a radical acceptance, where no lack or wrong is to be found.

In order to change anything, first look within.

Seeing True in Action

Pick any challenge or difficulty you face. In writing, describe the circumstances as best you are able, but try to keep it relatively simple.

Now turn within and write answers to the following questions.

·      Can I be certain this description is completely true?

·      How does it affect me, and why do I consider that a problem?

·      Is this feeling and experience a familiar one? In what other circumstances does it occur?

·      In what ways do I seem to benefit from feeling this way? Do I feel justified or wronged? Does it support me in blaming or feeling vindicated?

·      If I were to see it differently in order to release it, how would it look?

·      What keeps me from seeing it that way?

Consider discussing this with someone you can trust, and likewise trust to provide honest feedback.

Sometimes this kind of exploration must be performed multiple times. Keep looking for situations that are similar, and come back to deepening your understanding.