The Serial Problem Solver

(The third of three articles)

For the average human adult, life has literally become a series of imaginary problems to be resolved, though we may not think of them all that way. As such, the idea of no longer creating problems leads to an even greater problem. Not only is the movement of life mostly defined in the context of those problems, the one seeking happiness is also defined by the problems. Without problems, the whole movement of life, as it is presently lived, ceases, along with the seeker.

Because of this perceived threat, the typical response of mind is to create another problem by looking for a way to prove that problems do exist and are not imaginary. This will likely take the form of pointing out the suffering that exists in the world, but this is an attempt to justify imaginary problems by pointing to the suffering caused by the attempt to fix imaginary problems. cliff edge The one who escalates the fear of almost falling off a cliff to terror, panic and anger by imagining a problem, will point to the terror, panic and anger as actual problems that do need to be resolved. He may also point out the problem of the park service not building a fence, or the friend not warning him, as actual problems to be resolved, which are also part of the imaginary problems. If he sues the park service and loses the friend, these actual problems are just the result of acting on imaginary problems.

Another response of the mind that is attached to problem solving is to imagine how empty life would be without the problems. First, it should be pointed out that positive change does not have to occur in the context of struggle. There is no suffering in the creative, joyful expression of improving life, though it's likely to look quite different from the response to imagined problems. The choices will be more loving and harmonious without the attachment.

Peace that passes understanding

peaceful lake

Secondly, it's only the habit of thinking of life in dramatic terms that leads to the idea of emptiness occurring in the absence of those problems. The absence of problems is what is referred to as Peace, and it's because Peace is an absence that it doesn't lend itself to understanding. Understanding requires conditions, and the absence of something is not a present condition.

Peace, therefore, is not conditional, and so does not change with the conditions as conceptual happiness does. When we say Peace does not come and go, we simply mean that it is not a set of conditions, which is a requirement for anything to come and go. We could say that it is here now, but that's not really accurate since it implies certain conditions that are present. We can say Peace is what you are, but only in the sense that this is what remains in the absence of what is imagined, and is therefore what you are not. What everyone has been searching for, is actually an absence, and it is therefore permanent and cannot be disturbed.

Self Actualization Home

Living Consciously (part 1)
Living Consciously (part 2)
Split Mind
When does feeling become suffering?
Breaking Habits by Healing the Split Mind
Our Tendency to Imagine Problems
Is Struggle the Effect or Cause of Suffering?
Happiness is an Idea (first article)
Are There Really Problems?(second article)
The Delusion of Burt the Bunny
Realization Vs Thinking
Imaginary Feelings
Realization is Self Evident
Seeing Through illusions
The Habit Game

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Self Actualization

Self Actualization

"To identify oneneself as a separate entity in a universe that refuses to acknowledge and support that separateness, is suffering."
Phil Beaumont

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