Why is life a series of problems?
It's good to ask questions about life. . . answers shall be given.
Somebody asked "Why is life a series of problems?" The questioner seems to be whining in frustration and admittedly she has really grown tired trying to cope with the barrage of life's problems. "Why do problems keep on coming?", she seems to lament. "I am so tired of problems. Can't I be given a break?", says the monkey mind, a voice that's most likely screaming inside her head.
Well, if you've been asking the same questions as this woman and are also weighed down by a barrage of life's relentless problems, or if you're someone who's simply yet genuinely curious, let me congratulate you. Welcome to life! You've just arrived at an important crossroad in your life. Shall you cave in with bitterness like a victim of circumstances; or can you rise past through it by surrendering to "what is" in tears yet in awe and reverence?
And for those who continue to ask certain questions about life, sooner or later, answers shall be given to them. Remember, no less than Jesus Christ had once said:
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."— Mt. 7:7
Well, that promise is meant to be fulfilled albeit in God's terms (and not to get lost in the mire of history), yet, only for those who care to listen and abide.
Problems: Boon or Bane?
Problems suck! Who wants them anyway? Not me, of course! But wait. What if there's another way of looking at problems? What if there's some real value to it? Certainly, I don't want to be missing anything.
For a while, let's consider these answers to the question why life is a series of problems-
- Problems can help us grow internally as human beings. They can be our greatest teacher. Every problem is an invitation to grow. Numerous lessons and resiliency are supposed to be learned from the process and through overcoming problems. If same problem is recurring it only means some lessons have yet to be learned. Once such lesson is learned, the problem normally loses power and ceases to be a burden. Most pills are bitter to swallow. Yet, they can make us feel better afterwards.
- Problems provide variety to life. And human nature needs variety to be happy. Fun! Fun! Fun! Let loose. Let go. Don't take problens so seriously. Everything is temporary including problems. So why not have fun instead and treat it like a game to play, a game we play to win.
- Problems are cracks where light can shine through in our lives. They can serve as doorways for us to get to know who we really are at our core as human beings (soul or spirit) . Through them, we discover our strengths within. Without problems humans have the tendency to live only at the surface (external) level of the body and mind / emotions.
- Earthly life is a journey which is usually carried through along a bumpy road. No one's life path is straight nor always up which is an illusion and a mere seduction of the world. It's the nature for any life form to have its ups and downs, and problem is its downside. Nothing is supposed to be unusual with the occurrence of problems. It completes life as night completes the day and as the out breath follows every in breath.
Face to face with our true self, naked and having been shown both its positive and negative sides- inside and out, navigating through bumps can only allow us to learn acceptance and true love for that which we see. . . not the false image that we and the world have deliberately conditioned us to be.
The "downs" can drive our creativity to adapt or to innovate more than the "ups".
- Taking on any life's situation is a matter of perspective. As what Eckhart Tolle often teaches: If we identify with the problem entirely, so much so, that it becomes "us", then, it can consume us whole and is in control of us. It can easily throw us far off center and can make us feel so miserable. Whereas if one takes the view that a problem is only a situation (one of the many) that normally happens in life, and not life itself, and where life is an infinitely larger picture, then, any situation can be allowed to come and go, just like the clouds that can hover under the clear blue sky. With this perspective, we can be the driver of the problem and of our own life, and not the other way around.
Every problem is a challenge for us to become better persons, Now . . . another challenge is up. Who wants to back off? Facing it squarely, I choose to win (anyway); backing off, I'm sure I have lost already even before the game has begun.
"Suddenly you're ripped into being alive. And life is pain, and life is suffering, and life is horror, but my god you're alive and it's spectacular."- Joseph Campbell
Sometimes, the process of learning how to move on from a chronic toxic state of mind into a more supportive and positive mindset could be a daunting task, especially if done alone. Counselors' help can be sought and self-help tools abound. It's sure won't hurt if we can try one tool that suits us. An effective tool (at least, for me) is Neuro -LInguistic Programming or NLP. Among others, it helps to reduce the problem into a manageable size via the use of the imagination, which, by the way, is a powerful gift if used creatively. It is a stepping back to provide breathing space while affirming thoughts and happy feelings are imprinted. Practice makes perfect! Booyah!
A change of heart and a change in mindset
The above are some food for thought coming from someone (me) who's gone through similar abyss (and came out alive). It was an attempt to give some answers to profound questions and to see what'd work for anyone who'd care to pay attention. An initial caution though is in order inasmuch as: (1) what works for me do not necessarily mean [it may] will also work for you; and (2) these ideas would require a complete turn-around, a change of mindset (and heart) as well as trust, vigilance and consistent practice.
[Note: And who would want to transform or be changed? It's much more convenient to stay and hold on to one's default system, isn't it? People, in general, seem to want to obtain a different result by using or applying the same old formula (old mindset) to same situation over and over again, one that gave them problems in the first place.]
Have you ever heard of William James' admonition:
"If you can change your mind, you can change your life."?
Trite and hackneyed? Well, what if he's right? What if it can work? Would it not be something worth doing?
"You can find your way back . . . one inch at a time."
"The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure." -Joseph Campbell
May you be willing to be open and flexible. Explore and undertake an inner adventure and be ready to go dig deep down into and beyond an agonizing emotional field - the dramatic world of problems.
Speaking of drama, the drama and stories we put around the situation usually create the problem and the concomitant sufferings for us. What if we can strip down every situation to its barest truth, what do we see? Will there be any problem? I guess none, just the naked truth is revealed. It's like calling spade a spade minus the fears and sob stories. A kind of death to oneself in order to see and become light to oneself and for others. And as the saying goes, the truth will finally set us free. Drop the drama . . . right now!
"O death where is your victory? O death where is your sting?"— Cor. 15:55
After all, we can only die now to our old self-defeating problems. And be reborn anew unto another fresh start.
Tired? Then, probably you just need to rest? Yes, you can rest right now. Surrender to "what is". Another way to go is to learn more from Byron Katie. Personally, I found her teachings some kind of tough love but, definitely, very helpful.