We all experience problems and difficulties. Most of the time, we feel that these problems and difficulties come from outside, from the world.
But the reality is that problems and difficulties never come from outside, appearances to the contrary, but they are always created inside in the mind.
We create, unknowingly, these problems and difficulties ourselves.
By creating in our head the way the world should be: we create in our heads the belief that some things should and some things should not. And then, when things happen not according to the should – shouldn’t structure that is in our head, a problem comes into existence.
But the should – shouldn’t structure is not in reality, is not in the world, is not outside, but it is in our head. It is our own construction.
It could very well be that some of these constructions are logically built according to our way of thinking, of reasoning, of seeing the world. But the thing to understand is that the logic of our mind does not equal the ‘logic of the universe’, to give it a name.
Yes, the universe has a logic, and we have no idea what that logic is. How could we know its logic if we don’t even know what the universe is, where does it come from, or what its meaning is?
What do we know of the universe, really? The more we know, the more we know that we do not know (and because of our technology, we now know much more than ever before!).
This does not mean we should not have a should – shouldn’t structure in our minds; it is ok to have it. Actually we need to have it in order to guide us and in order to live our practical lives. But we also need to remember that this should – shouldn’t structure that we create in our minds, as useful and necessary as it may be, is like having walls.
And these walls are in our head! Not in the world, not in the universe, not in things that happen, but only in our heads.
And problems are exactly that: situations that happen to hit the walls of our mind.
I am talking here about literally everything: other people, ourselves, life, death, money, relationships, love, everything.
We create a should – shouldn’t structure about relationships, about other people, about life and death, about money, etc, and then, when something happens that hit these walls, we have a problem.
It is ok to look out at the world – the relationship, the other people, the money situation, etc – to try to solve the problem, but we also need to turn our vision inwards and look deep and seriously into the walls in our mind and ask: are these walls well constructed?
We could say that our whole moral and psychological life is nothing but the positions of the walls!
What we need to learn is NOT to make the walls in our mind too thick.
Because we need to discover that if there is anything that we can truly know, is that we know nothing!
And one of the best ways of softening the walls of our mind is to be open and recognize how other people, especially people we admire and see as models, act and react differently than ourselves to similar situations.
This is not an easy thing to do; it is not that I am a master at it, not at all. But just knowing that the problems are not outside but that are within the walls we create in our minds, just knowing this, it makes it easier to come out of problems, not to be so shaken by our difficulties, not to be so hit by our troubles. And it also allow us to forgive more easily another person or ourselves.
At least, just knowing this — just knowing that the should’s and should not’s ARE the walls of our mind, and that problems are nothing but a situation hitting one of these walls — makes our existence more fluid.
And as Lao Tzu wrote hundreds of years ago:
“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, gentle, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is fluid is strong.”
We need to learn to live a more aware and mindful everyday-life and then, from that attention, to learn to stop, relax, and flow.