Problem. It is a constant feeling, a thought on everyone’s mind, all the time. Soon after we wake in the morning we remember, there is a problem. Somewhere. The mind is seeking for something it is uncomfortable with. Byron Katie would of course ask, “Is it true?” “Can you absolutely know it is true that you have a problem?” I love this. And I use it, though I find my practice hits it at another angle. Both are great for me.
Let’s see. I have a problem. What is my problem? Well, I feel something bad about something. So, is my problem the situation or my feeling? I would say it is the feeling. So that’s what I need to address.
Firstly, can I stop the feeling from coming? No. That is not possible. Feelings come about on their own; they appear in our mind, backed up by thoughts that support their orientation, i.e., good or bad. But thoughts and feelings are just in our body when they are. How could we possibly prevent such a thing from occurring?
Secondly, can I do something about the issue itself? Well, what is doing? Doing is a physical action by my body in real time. How do I know what I am doing? I see it. I see myself doing it. Now. Here. So, can I not be doing something I see? No. That would be physically impossible. This is what I am doing now, and it is always now. So, “this” is what I am always doing. Why is this relevant to my problem? Because if I’m doing this then I cannot be doing something else, something else that could perhaps address my problem. Really? It doesn’t feel like that! It feels like I can absolutely do something that would address my problem. No. It’s not physically possible to do something other than what you see yourself doing because you only have one body, it can’t be in two places at once, and it cannot multiply itself.
Often, our problems involve other people, like we think, “If only so and so would do such and such then I would no longer have this problem.” So, then the third question is, “How can I get so and so to do such and such, or, to stop doing such and such?” Well, how would that happen? I would have to ask her/him to change the way she/he is acting, to do the thing I want her/him to do. Can I do that? Well that gets back to number two above, my doing. I can’t do something I’m not doing. Why can’t I do it in the future? Well you might, but in the future, it will also be now, and you will only be able to do what you see yourself doing in that moment, which will really be what you just did. Furthermore, regarding getting someone else to do something we want, that person has the same limitations we do in our ability to act as we wish. She/he only can if she/he sees that she/he does.
I believe I have covered all options for fixing problems, whatever they may be, and the answer to each inquiry was “no.” Then the real question is, “Is there a problem if I can’t do anything about it?” How would our mind feel if it really understood that there was nothing it could do to fix anything in our life? Would it still view situations as problems? Perhaps a little bit differently like when an illness or catastrophe presents, and it is clear there is no way out but to surrender, let go. That must be the answer. That is the way to eliminate problems.