Solutions are closer than they appear
It seems to me that the solutions to our problems often already exist and are within our control. We just need to step away from the problems long enough to see them and to listen.
I last wrote about some difficulties I’ve encountered in expressing very different aspects of my Self. I closed that piece by saying “I’ll figure it out.”
That’s not just an expression I use as a way to avoid whatever situation or complication I’ve encountered. It is an acknowledgment that there is an issue that needs to be dealt with and a temporary setting aside of that situation while I find a solution as an outsider.
Setting a problem aside while you find a solution isn’t the same as giving up. It gives you time to address the problem without it being the focus of your energy. It’s okay. See it. Acknowledge it. Then set it down for a while. I promise, it will still be there when you get back to it.
So that’s what I did, and instead of worrying about it I turned my efforts to mindfulness, some relaxing and exploratory meditation, and dharma talks.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term “dharma talk”, it simply refers to an informal discourse or lesson given by a teacher. In my case, a Buddhist teacher, Gil Fronsdal, who’s talks were centered on the Eightfold Path.
As he spoke about Right Livliehood I found myself feeling agitated with the frustration I’ve been feeling about that very subject but I did my best to let it go and listened.
When he made the point that it isn’t just “what” we do for a living, it’s “how” we do it. I began to relax and listen more intently.
It isn’t the first time I’ve heard this. It is, in fact, something I’ve written about and is something I practice intentionally. I just forgot about it. More accurately, I wasn’t mindful of it.
Living intentionally doesn’t mean “living perfectly”, it means to live with intention, to have focus, a goal, and to bring things into your daily practice that, hopefully, become habit. It is a foundation upon which we build a life of meaning.
So the framework for a solution was already in place and, as it turns out, so was the solution.
There is one thing that all aspects of my Self have in common; a desire to create positive change in myself and others. So long as I keep that in mind in any of my endeavors then the conflict is superficial at most. It exists only in my interpretation of those separate parts of my Self and is overcome by approaching them with that common goal as my focus.
With that in mind, I’ve enrolled in the six week class offered by Stanford through Coursera, “Love as a Force for Social Justice” with an eye on using what I learn there, and from wherever it leads me, as a method of integrating those separate parts of my Self.
It still makes sense to keep the expression of those different aspects of Self publicly separated because of their approach to that common goal but so long as I stay on task (after doing some restructuring of the political efforts in particular) I believe the conflict is resolved.
Image by Faye Cornish.