I often say that upon awakening there is a ceasing to have problems. Problems are really fictions of the mind. They are judgements and opinions about what is happening, what has happened, or what might happen. We are the ones that make things problematic. Put another way…the only problem we have is that life is not going the way we think it should.
Awakening is also a seeing through the fictitious “me.” Who has problems? Only the fictitious “me.” If you really don’t identify with the fictitious “me” and realize there is only the Self, where can the problem arise? It is like saying “I have a problem with myself.” There is only the Self…why do you see the Self as problematic and who would see the Self as problematic?
Many of the things we call problems are not happening now and do not exist in the now. The problem is created because of something in the past we did not like or a future do not like seems to be coming. Really, if all the focus is on the now…what problem is there? You are currently reading this post…what problem do you have right now in this very moment? You would have to dig up the past or try to reach into the future to create a problem, but right now there isn’t a problem.
Awakening brings an acceptance of what is as it is and being present. The mind/ego does not accept things and then calls them problems. This is how the ego strengthens itself and solidifies the appearance of division…the ego makes things wrong and problems. It gives itself something to fight and resist. The awakened to not resist what is. Instead of fighting the current of the river, swim with it and all the power of the river is yours.
It is not that happenings that most people would call a problem no longer happen to those that are enlightened. The same happenings happen. However, the enlightened don’t take issue with what happens and make it into a problem.
For example, say you are driving to a meeting and while on route your tire goes flat. For many, this is a problem. Now all sorts of thoughts and emotions arise. “Just great! That is all I needed! Now I will be late and may even lose the deal I am trying to close!” Who knows what you would be thinking and feeling, but it might be along these lines. What happened (i.e. flat tire) is a problem and you resist it (thrashing about mentally, emotionally, and verbally). The focus might also be on the future losses and additional problems caused by this current problem. A downward spiral of anxiety, frustration, anger, and who knows what else.
Someone who is awake may drive to a meeting and also get a flat tire, but what happens is totally different. There is a total acceptance of what is happening…oh, I have a flat. No rebuke on reality or of one’s luck. No fault. A flat tire just happened – it is not bad luck or otherwise labeled as negative. Now acceptance does not mean you can’t do anything. It is not like you will sit there the rest of your life on the side of the road with a flat tire. Acceptance just means you are not thrashing against “what is” mentally, emotionally, and verbally. You accept the flat tire for what it is, but then in stillness you can look at your options and alternatives…and then act – instead of react.
“OK, I’ll pull over and assess the situation. Yep…I can’t drive on it without damaging the wheel, so I will have to put on my spare tire. First, I will call the person I am meeting and explain that I have a flat tire…I will be late or we can reschedule.” In this way, you act in regard to each situation as they arise. But at no time is it considered a problem…something unwelcome that must be overcome.
Often, the situation is not under your control and can not be overcome. Say you are trying to fall asleep before a busy day. Just as you are about the fall asleep, the neighbor’s dog starts to bark and it re-awakens you. After a minute or so, other dogs in the neighborhood join in. The barking continues. Many would see this as a problem…this situation is not welcome and should not be and is keeping me from important sleep. There would be internal resistance to what is going on and because of the resistance would find it impossible to fall asleep.
However, if there was acceptance and surrender to what is, then the barking of the dogs might not stop you from falling asleep. If you can’t sleep through it, then maybe you would meditate instead. The situation will not last forever, but for as long as it is – so be it. The awakened do not make the barking dogs a problem. They do not resist what is, they do what they can, and they accept what is as it is for as long as it is.
Again, if you realized there is only the Self and no other…it is the Self barking…you are barking. If you resist it, what you are resisting? Who is this “I” that is resisting it? This is why the awakened do not have problems…they only have happenings that arise and their actions, but the happening is never called a problem (or something unwelcome).