Dog vs. Bathtub & Man vs. Problems
Everyone has challenges.. Yes? The question is: Why? (Yes, that's what I always want to know...). What is the point of all these challenges? Sometimes It seems like you just get comfortable and everything is working fine, when suddenly out of nowhere something gives you a challenge... A car cuts you off, a problem at work, a health issue, whatever it is... Why is it there? Most people think it is a problem, something that shouldn't be happening, even a cosmic mistake. But, regardless of what you believe, a fundamental spiritual perspective is that the universe is aware, sentient, and an active part of our life, meaning there are no accidents. If there are no accidents, then how do we explain challenges? If its happening to you deliberately, then it must be one of two things: a good thing or a bad thing. Most people approach a challenge as if its a problem. "How dare this thing happen to me?" or "Why is the universe punishing me. What did I do to deserve this?" or even better, the infamous "WHY ME?"
One of my very favorite quotes is from spiritual teacher Dr. Joseph Michael Levry seems to give the perfect answer to this. "A problem is a solution to another problem that you just haven't discovered yet."
What does this mean? It means that in a spiritual universe, where the universe is awake, there is never a bad thing happening to punish us. It means that when something shows up, we are actually mistaken in how we see it. We see the problem through a faulty lens, a bad perspective, because the problem is coming to us as a good thing. In otherwords, we become the victim of what is happening to us, rather than an active participant in the universal process of growth.
When we do the same things every day, in the same way, we have become stagnant (You hear this all the time about routines and the love life). Spiritually speaking, stagnancy is the precursor to death in the same way that change is the precursor to movement and life. Even in nature, we see that nothing but rot and gross things grow in stagnant water. To remove stagnancy, you need movement. In other words, problems come to force us to change the way we are doing things, the way we are seeing things, even the way we are feeling about things. Each thing that arises in our life as a problem actually shows us a place where we are conditioned and are on autopilot because anything that is a problem we see it as separate from the Divine Conscious Universe in which we live. But if there are no accidents, and the Universe is good, and awake and love is the highest force for good, wouldn't it actually be a miracle that something comes into your life? Wouldn't it be much more fun to see that the universe is giving you a miracle? A blessing? Something to be grateful for?
I have a story here. I took my dog to the park the other day just after it rained. She had the best time running, digging, chasing balls, playing and enjoying the dog life. And in the process she managed to get herself completely covered in mud. Not like "I walked through a mud puddle", it was more like College Frat Mudwrestling. She was solid brown. There was no way I was going to let her into the house and track all that mud in the house, and no towel was gonna survive an encounter with this kind of mud! I knew that if she stayed muddy soon she would be smelly, my floors would be muddy, carpets and sofa's ruined, and I knew that it create many more problems would need to be cleaned up, so being of a higher perspective then her (like the universe is to us) I did what I knew what was necessary to prevent all of those other problems: A BATH! I picked her up and brought her into the shower with me. She whined and squeeled for a whole 5 minutes, like it was the worst thing ever, such a punishment, and looked at me like "how dare you do this thing to me, how dare you give me this problem, everything was going so well!" For her it was a problem. For me it was a solution to a problem that she didnt' even know existed... Could it be the same thing for our problems? That the universe is actually just giving us that much dreaded doggy bath? Could that be it? YES! Our problems are actually solutions to problems that we dont' know exist yet because we are still limited in our perspective! I want to add one more piece into the mix here, which is the concept we all know "The Universe never gives you more than you can handle." That means that if you get a big problem, the kind that seems its going to sink your boat and leave you huddled and shivering in a life raft for days, instead you are actually getting a big solution... A Big Solution To A Problem You Didn't Know Existed...?!?!!! Some people may even call this a MIRACLE. How about that for using your spiritual practice to see things differently! Then all you have to do is have courage, persistence and positivity to turn that frown upside down, to become a victor and not a victim. The more you practice, the easier it gets, which is actually the point. A spiritual person, better yet a spiritual teacher is not someone who doesn't have problems, but someone who has faced the most problems and no longer fears them.
So i guess in the end it comes down to the fact that the only problem we have is the fact that we see things through our own limited conditioning, our own faulty perspective, which... (and I say this with a bit of a smile and the certainty that I can actually hear the universe smiling)... seems to be the problem.