Why your problems are a problem

Patch Adams - Don't focus on the problem

For those not familiar with the film, Hunter Adams (Robin Williams) commits himself to a psychiatric institution for trying to commit suicide. His recovery comes not from the doctor, but from seeing something new, something that he hadn’t seen before, and insight that came from speaking to a fellow patient. His drive to help others also gained him the nick name ‘Patch’. (Just thought I’d thrown that in there)

These messages are not new. We have known for quite some time that focusing on our problems isn’t good for us (way before 1998), not good for people around us or society overall. Negativity is causing mental and physical ill-health, impairs our ability to make better decisions for ourselves, causes the illusion of separation from our loved ones as well as all other relationships we have, and provides such a level of discomfort and dis-ease we try to escape our emotional responses/feelings.

So, I realise I’m being a little repetitive here. It is clear that we just haven’t got the message; personally I think that teaching children in schools how the mind work would be really beneficial, and there are programs such as IHEART doing just that, but that’s for another day.

Let’s be clear here, we all have shit to handle.

Okay, maybe the word ‘shit’ is an unhelpful judgement in itself. Let’s say “we all have stuff to handle”. Life has always been out of our control; it always has and always will be filled with uncertainty. Ironically, that’s not the problem. Our ego, expectations and judgement is the real issue here. We don’t deal with change well, and yet it is the most natural part of our entire existence.

Our life isn’t always ideal, and we do have influence over it by our own thoughts and actions, but if you take judgement out the picture, then it is neither good nor bad…It just is the way it is. Our ego likes to be in control, to have things our way. Our expectation is that everything, and everybody around us will fall into line, and judgement is how we look at things.

Focus / attention is an important and impactful tool of the mind, so much so that it impacts all aspects of our lives, positive yes, but in context of our discussion right now, it can negatively impact our body (mind and physical).

“There is no mind body connection, they’re one and the same thing. As our mind perceives our body feels” (Peter Crone)

A problem is something that we have but do not want, and when our minds focus on something we do not want, we don’t always explore what we do want instead of that problem. This causes us stress. There’s a great deal of literature and YouTube videos about stress, and so I am not saying that stress is bad, in fact, we have to have an element of stress in our lives, but our ability to pay attention to something that we have but do not want means that we miss opportunities to work on the outcome that we want instead of the thing we don’t want.

An outcome is something that we want. Yes, we could go absurd here and say we want lots of money or have a holiday 365 days a year, but let’s not go daft. Some of the so-called problems or negative judgements on elements of life cannot be solved, and yet we could still dissolve any mental suffering or anguish if we really wanted to. If an outcome is something that we want, and your outcome was that you wanted a smooth, peaceful day, whatever that looks like for you, then you are more likely to take or create opportunities to fulfil that outcome, whether that’s breathing or listening to your favourite song and singing out loud in the car.

News alert! Yes, we have stuff going on in our day, stuff that we have to handle, but a day does not make you stressed. The day’s events may influence your reactions including your emotional triggers, but your emotional response is only reacting to your construct of the world, which includes your ego, expectations, and judgements. The mind is influencing and messaging our body to be prepared and to respond accordingly. We construct the world around us by the concept that we have learnt, but this doesn’t mean that we cannot learn new concepts to construct a new world; we do this be seeing something new, something we have never seen before.

So, what do to? Well, there’s stuff to do and there isn’t at the same time. Our struggles come from an illusion of separation, an illusion of disconnectedness.

  1. A problem is something to handle but with a negative judgement attached; that belief causes the illusion of separation, that we and the problem are separate entities. Try sitting with the discomfort of it all and asking, where within all of me, is this coming from? After all, discomfort will not harm us, we’re just feeling what’s going on in our mind and body at that particular time.
  2. What would you like to have happen instead of that problem? Put your attention to at outcome. Remember, an outcome is something that you want, so if you aren’t there yet, then perhaps the outcome is to relax and not over think it.
  3. When you do have an outcome…. live into that space. If you want a happier Wednesday, smile, laugh, make conversation with people, create the outcome!

I speak to people who appear are comforted in some way by focusing on their problems, another blog perhaps, but if you really could, wouldn’t you want to be more authentically you? to have more peace? Clarity? and respond to life from that space?

Have a good day, thanks for reading.

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