What is the secret of life?
Is there a secret to life?
Why Do So Many Things Go Wrong?
I wondered when I was a child why so many things seemed to go wrong and why so many people were unhappy. It did not make sense to me. I assumed that most people want to be happy so why weren’t they?
One of the things that has always struck me is how many times people turn something into a problem. Whether it is someone else’s behavior, clothes, interests etc. Although it can be justified, not everything deserves to be turned into a problem.
People who turn most things into a problem often find them where they do not exist – they create them. Their perceptual lens is a problem lens.
Having a problem focus changes how we operate as individuals and as groups. It causes us to hold back, hide and fear. In a problem oriented culture, we may do the same in our interactions with different individuals and social groups.
When we see “problems”, we are not seeing reality. We are not open to the larger context of all of life around us. In essence we are getting only a small part of the picture.
The Danger Of Problem Focused Thinking
Problem focused thinking can be dangerous.
The problem oriented mind identifies problems according to its own likes and dislikes and biases of various sorts. So if I have a problem oriented mind and I liked snakes, I might not identify the snake slithering toward me as a threat. Or if I met someone who looked a lot like a dear friend, I might not notice the coldness in their eyes and wonder about them. Or if I like a particular ice cream I might not notice that the product now includes a lot of additives that can promote ill health.
Our likes and dislikes often become filters that we use to make decisions in life that can actually do us harm.
Another way that problem focused thinking trips us up is that it causes us to notice events as potential problems which means that we are often noticing what I call “symptoms.” If you sneeze you hav a symptom of something not quite right with your nose. It could be allergies, a virus which is becoming a cold or flu, or something more serious. When we are problem oriented we try to get rid of the symptom usually before we know what the problem is. When we do that, we may create temporary relief while letting the real problem fester and become worse.
Problem focused thinking can cause us to make relationship mistakes also. It can cause us to make choices based on the feelings of others rather than our real needs. We can then sacrifice our time and energy to please others and neglect our own important needs.
The Secret Of Life: It’s Not Problems
When we are problem oriented most of us create problems for ourselves because we are trying to escape our problems which we have created!
When we are trying to escape we are disengaging from the present so we are actually disempowering ourselves from finding a positive path forward. Problem identification and escape can become a dynamic that governs our daily lives and our relationships.
One of the reasons that wise people encourage meditation and the practice of detachment is to keep us engaged in the present but to let go of the problem/escape dynamic that makes it hard for us to live in an enthusiastic and unconflicted way.
The minute we turn something into a problem we create aversion. I am not trying to be naive and suggest that we do not have any problems. If a tiger is running toward you and your mind starts thinking about a problem and how to escape it, you are not using all of your energy to actually deal with the situation; you mind is actually diverting your attention so that you have less of your attention to bring to bear. It is interesting that in our mind focused world, we have not really noticed how much our mind may be causing our problems.
The Secret Of Life
The secret of life is to embrace it in each moment without reservation. The reason that it is important is that then you bring your whole self to each moment. You are fully engaged and not holding back. When you do that you gain more from the experience of each moment. You lose that distraction that compromises your efforts.
When you embrace each moment, you are loving each moment of your life. You may not necessarily love everything going on, but you are loving each moment of your life and so make the most of each moment whatever is in it. Over time you will focus more and more on those things that bring more to your life and where you bring more to life, which makes each moment a gift for everyone.
So the secret of life is to love each moment of it and when you do you will find that life loves you back.