Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.
The little prasaadam pushtaka we are purusing is 'Many Problems One Solution', from Guru-ji, Swami Tejoymayananda.
CATEGORISING THE PROBLEM
How to approach a problem? Firstly, see the given situation objectively and assess why it is a problem for you. At this stage we may find that the situation is simply that, and not a problem at all. (For example, you are at work, the boss is throwing a fit about work not done - is it my work? No. is it work with which I have some responsibility? No. Okay, boss has a problem, I just need to watch.) However, it if continues to present as a problem, proceed to categorise it. Here are some possibilities;
An imaginary problem - fear of something, negative view of one's career prospects or building up a simple cold into a serious case of major tropical infection.
A subjective thinking problem, based on strong dislikes, prejudices, attachments, et cetera.
IDENTIFYING THE SOLUTION
Those are the three basic categories and most of our every day problems - and even some big ones - will fall into one or other of them. It requires that we have the ability to stop and think before going into reactive mode, or blind panic. Having paused for the long breath, as it were, we can now progress with working out how to deal with the situation.
If it is a factual problem, one can take an age old example;
1 sit quietly with a paper and pen
2 write down the situation under review
3 jot down all possible solutions for it
4 shortlist the most practical of these
5 run through and shortlist again - and again if required, to not more than three, then pick the solution that is within your capability to implement
6 then do it.
Work on it the same way one might if planning a major journey from one end of the country to the other! Make the problem an interesting conundrum and enjoy the process of overcoming it. To sit and worry about it, to fret at the 'what ifs' of a thing and come to only negative conclusions is not at all productive and certainly misery inducing.
If the problem falls under the imaginary category, the need to correct one's thinking about the fear or concern is required in order to find that the problem lay totally within ourselves. For example, we have a fear of snakes which results in even a picture of one causing us to scream and recoil and break out in a sweat. We live in a city where snakes have not been seen for over a century. From where does such a fear come? Only within our own imaginations! Phobias are as many and varied as the individuals who have them. Nowadays, there are all sorts of behaviour therapies available to help 'correct the thinking' and eradicate the fears… but it will still boil down to it being the sufferer who must embrace the idea that their fear is no longer necessary for them and that life is better without them. In short, imaginary problems require of us to 'get real'.
If the problem falls into the subjective category, we have to apply some deep and meaningful thinking; we know our prejudices, likes and dislikes, attachments are presenting as problems when it seems that we are all the time thinking thoughts and spouting words of hate, disgust, vitriol… and when the world starts to 'hit back'. If we have an ounce of decency within us we will start to wonder 'oh wait, could it be me that is the problem?' Then we can begin to self assess, start to detach ourselves from the situation and take a more objective and whole vision. A narrow vision may be due to insufficient information, limited thinking, personal idiosyncrasies, sheer selfishness; any number of personality faults. Any solution which arises from a narrow vision, will be a 'narrow' solution and will not solve the problem in the holistic sense. Anything which benefits the individual, but still leaves others in a place of danger or harm, will prove to harmful to that same individual eventually.
What, then, is 'right thinking'? This will be discussed next week.