It is amazing how easily the mind creates problems. Everyone has problems; I’m sure you could name at least a handful of things off the top of your head that you consider to be problems in your life right now.
I used to look at things this way, too. When I would walk into work and one or two of my co-workers called in sick, I would get angry. I would stew in this anger for hours, internally bitching at this problem. I would get in a negative mind-space and carry an attitude.
Not long after, I would get the task completed, whether my co-workers were there to help or not. I realized that I was capable of handling this problem on my own. But still, the next time a co-worker wouldn’t show up, I would get in the same negative frame of mind and stew in anger for hours until the job was once again completed.
Recently, however, I started looking at “problems” differently. Thanks to Eckhart Tolle’s writing in “The Power of Now,” I now look at problems as “situations.”
Tolle’s writing focuses on separating ourselves from our mind and the “reality” that it creates for us. Here, Tolle addresses how real-life situations get translated into mind-made problems.
“If you found yourself in paradise, it wouldn’t be long before your mind would say “yes, but. . . .” Ultimately, this is not about solving your problems. It’s about realizing that there are no problems. Only situations — to be dealt with now, or to be left alone and accepted as part of the “isness” of the present moment until they change or can be dealt with. Problems are mind-made and need time to survive. They cannot survive in the actuality of the Now.”
This paragraph reminds me of this quote from Charles R. Swindoll: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
Little annoyances and inconveniences pop up throughout our days no matter where we are or what we do. This is the 10% — so small that it should weigh no true impact on the remainder of our day. Yet we blow these issues out of proportion, acting as if they are the 90% — accepting that we are “having a bad day” or “have bad luck.”
If we were to simply accept them as they are — meaningless speedbumps — our minds would be able to stay clear and ready to focus on more important tasks or situations.
You will be confronted with situations you don’t like every day. If you allow those situations to turn into problems, you allowed your brain to create a negative that you will then have to stew in before realizing just how meaningless it is.
When confronted with a situation, ask yourself: “Can I fix this right now?” If the answer is yes, fix it, and it will no longer be an issue. If you can’t, accept it for what it is and move on. Your brain is meant to be used as a tool for far more important things than short-term concerns. Don’t waste your precious brainpower on trivial issues.
Next time something annoying happens at work or you get cut off in traffic, determine whether the situation can be resolved upon your action. If not, accept it and move on. Don’t allow your mind to seep into negativity.