“The healing you long for doesn’t come from changing anything. It comes from the ability to see and be with what is.” ~Mary O’Malley
If you are honest with yourself, you will see that your mind believes the opposite of the statement above. In addition to solving problems, your mind creates them. It is a problem factory. It is addicted to struggle and it turns even the smallest things into problems and then spends most of its time trying to figure out how to fix them. If it isn’t concerned about the new pimple on your chin, it is concerned about how your neighbor mows his lawn. These little concerns mushroom into big concerns, like “Will I get cancer?” or “Will they reject me?” or “Will I have anything left in my retirement fund?”
If you watch your mind, you will see that as soon as it solves one problem, it comes up with another. And if it can’t solve one, it throws you into despair. I often say that we are sitting in paradise, constantly trying to unravel a ball of yarn – and believing if we just unravel, then everything will be okay. I have news for you. Trying to make your life okay will never make it okay! That is just the game of the problem factory. And the ball of yarn is endless. What would it be like to take a break from this endless struggle inside and step out of the problem mode? What would it be like to know that there is no ball of yarn to unravel? What would it be like to be able to connect with the ‘paradise’ that is always with you, right here, right now?
There is a quote by Eckhart Tolle that speaks to what we are exploring here. It is about how you can become an alchemist, turning your struggling self into the free-flowing aliveness that you truly are:
“When the pain body has woken up, you may experience turbulence. Be present. Give it your complete attention. Don’t let it overwhelm your thinking. Watch it. Feel its energy in your body. Full attention means full acceptance. This brings forth a transmutation into radiance.”
What he means by ‘pain body’ is all of the stories, resistance and struggling that happens in your mind. Rather than getting caught in your struggle, you can learn how to watch what is going on inside, feel the energy in your body, accept what is here, and become curious about it. This allows for what Eckhart is calling the transmutation into radiance. We were all conditioned into fear, shame, anger and despair when we were young, and these emotions are nothing but trapped energy that longs to be released into free-flowing aliveness through the power of our own accepting attention. Can you imagine just being with your fear, anger or shame rather than reacting to it? It not only is possible, it is your path to freedom.
The problem factory is all about trying to control life. Curiosity is the willingness to look at what is. When you can look at what you are experiencing without turning it into a problem, magic begins to happen. This is what Rumi is talking about in his poem, The Guest House. It is one of his best-known poems, but very few people know the last half of it where he says, “Learn the alchemy true human beings know. The moment you accept what troubles you’ve been given, the door will open.” I would say it a little differently, “when you can be curious about what difficulties you have been given, a door will open.”
So be curious today. Know that whenever you become tight – whether you notice your body tightening, your mind or your emotions – know that it is just trapped energy asking to be released through your willingness to simply be curious about what it happening right now.