How to Solve Our Human Problems
4 things you need to know to actually solve your problems.
For those of you who missed our last weeks post use this link.
Today we are looking at the first chapter of the book How to Solve Our Human Problems: Desire.
The four points we’ll be covering are:
- Meaning of Dharma
- Understanding the real nature of our problems
- Gaining clarity about where do our problems come from
- Finally —sink or swim. It’s up to you!!!
You’ll need some patience because we first need to create a context to understand these four points. Ok? So, here goes.
This is the title of the chapter and before talking about the 4 points a little clarification is needed.
Desire is not always a bad thing. There are, in fact, some very good desires — for example the desire to help others to be free from pain; desire to improve our self for our own sake and for the benefit of others — this one is a funny one : you improve yourself and the world around you gets a better life. How’s that for cleverness? Does it work for you? Can you see how it may work for you and for the folks around you?
Here Desire is a short for Desirous Attachment — which in Buddhism is a big no no. Problem is that most people do not understand it is a no no. Very simply put — Desirous attachment is a belief — believing that say if I have this or that I will be happy. Ask yourself how do you feel when you do not get what you want? How do you feel when your opinions are not accepted or disregarded? You now may begin to understand why desirous attachment is a bad idea. More on this bad mind in the future. For now just accept and if you want to understand more about this bad idea called desirous attachment check out Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s books — How to Understand the Mind : Joyful Path of Good Fortune.
Now to business.
- Meaning of Dharma: it may not sound entirely relevant but first we need to understand that Dharma means protection.
Dharma also means Buddha’s teachings which are instructions teaching us how to find protection.
- Consider the things we seek protection from and how do we find protection.
- Ask yourself how successful are we in finding protection from difficulties?
- Understanding the real nature of our problems.
Exercise: Imagine you are in a hurry to an important meeting. Your car has just broken down. While kicking your car for not working a passer buy asks you ‘Is there a problem old chap?’ you’ll probably say ‘yes old chap there is a problem’ and if in return you are asked ‘ what is the problem then?’ the answer will be the blooming car is broken. That’s the problem.
However if you are asked to describe how you are feeling what would your answers be???
If you think about it in a calm way[preferably not when your car has just broken and you are late for that meeting], you’ll realize that your real problem is how you feel — more then the fact that you’re late for the meeting.
This reveals the nature of your problem — feeling. Which is a part of your mind; not your brain not your nervous system but your mind!!!
So our problem(s) are to do with our mind. And their nature is our feeling(s)so repeat after me: wherever there is a problem there is unpleasant feeling and wherever there is unpleasant feeling there is a problem. if we have unpleasant feelings we have a problem; if we are free form unpleasant feelings we do not have a problem. And even though it is very tempting to disbelief/disagree with this one last point if you accept it it will set you free!!!
Think about it!!!
- Gaining clarity about where do our problems come from
Next: say you agree that indeed it is reasonable to say ‘My problem is my feeling which are a part of my mind’. Now, if someone where to ask you where do your unpleasant feelings come from? It is very tempting to say — my unpleasant feeling come from the fact that the car has broken down. Eh uh!! is the wrong answer! Car broken down cannot give you an unpleasant feeling.
What does give us our unpleasant feeling are our delusions — a completely wrong way of understanding things based on exaggeration and which mostly goes unnoticed in our mind.
Buddha said that all our unpleasant feelings -our problems- come only from our delusions.
So the fact is our problems — unpleasant feelings- come from our delusions -wrong beliefs based on exaggeration.
At this point we need to reflect
- i am constantly seeking protection
- most of the time I seek protection from the wrong thing — broken car etc. And so most of the time we find the wrong solution — buy a Japanese car…
- now that I understand that my problems are unpleasant feeling inside my mind which arise due to my delusions what can be done?
4. Sink or swim, it’s up to you!!!
Simply stated — if you begin to understand things the way Buddha explained them you’ll be looking more into your mind in the pursuit of protection and solution to your problems. This is because you now have wisdom.
Swimming in our context means — fighting our Desirous attachment -remember from the beginning of this post?
Sinking means — sinking. Falling back to a state of complicated affairs and being like a Yo Yo up and down in accordance with your Email inbox or with the status on your Facebook.
This post is just a brief intro to the basic understanding that whenever we have a problem there are two problems
- outer problem
- inner problem
These two kinds of problems should not be confused. If we are clear about them we will deminish our delusions which are the casue of our unpleasant feeling -especially our desirous attachment- and we shall begin to have more inner peace; then we shall be able to solve the outer problem regardless of the difficulties they may present us.
There you are — 4 things you should know if you want to solve your problems. More information in a class near you