Dealing with Problems

All of us have problems.  Some big and some small but none of us can escape that fact and we spend a lot of energy trying to become problem-free.

According to a parable of the Buddha, we each have eighty-three problems.  No matter what we do, we will always have eighty-three problems.  If we manage to remove one of these problems, another one will take its place.  In other words, as long as we’re alive, we’ll always have problems.

The most interesting part in this parable, per Buddha, is that we also have an eighty-fourth problem – the problem of wanting to rid ourselves of our problems.  But although the Buddha teaches that we can’t be free of the eighty-three, the eighty-fourth problem is the one we can deal with.

If we can accept that we have eighty-three regardless, then trying to force them out of our lives is precisely the wrong approach for anyone who wants to live a peaceful life.  In forcing against them, we feel frustration and desperation, the antitheses of peaceful.

Whether it is true or not, the lesson in the parable is noteworthy.

Problems can be suffocating.  We become frustrated and try to run from them and therefore from our lives.  We become desperate because we’re trying to push our problems away rather than accepting that we have to face them eventually.

It takes more energy and causes more heartbreak to fight against them than to accept that they exist and will always exist.  But once we get to that point, it becomes easier to shift how we perceive our problems.

It’s seems to me that the only clear way to peace is to take our problems and be nourished by them.  They can be opportunities for growth and enrichment.

Since Stefanie’s death I have constantly been nourished and fulfilled.  It doesn’t “solve” the problem – that would be impossible – but within my heart, joy surrounds sadness, and that joy nourishes my life.

Steve Hagen, in his book “Meditation Now or Never” writes “It’s within our own hearts and minds where our problems are created.  And it’s within our own hearts and minds that we can find freedom”.

I have found freedom from the strangle hold of grief, can you from your problems?

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