How to Escape Endless Human Problems

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Sometimes problems can seem insurmountable; you can see sunshine over the looming  summit, but it's always just out of reach.    Will this snowy blizzard of bitterness ever end?

Problems are everywhere.  We have problems at work, problems at home, problems with our health, problems with money, problems with happiness, and on and on.

How are we supposed to live a happy life with all these non stop problems?

how_to_escape_endless_human_problemsI have a secret, maybe some of you already know, but for those that don't, this is going to change your life.

We need to look a little deeper at  the  true nature of  our problems.

There is a difference between outer and inner problems, and one thing is for certain,  outer problems are never going to cease.    The very nature of life is a constant juggle  between  good and bad, happy and sad, health and sickness.

We can't control these outer problems, but we do  have control over our inner problems.

Unhappiness  arises as a result of our discontent over external conditions.

There is one universal goal, one thing that all humans are striving for; no matter where you live, who you are or  what you believe in; we all want to be free from suffering and we all want to be happy.

Everything that we do in life is in an attempt to fulfill these wishes.   Everything.   If you look closely you can tie every decision, action and motive of every living being to the fulfillment of these wishes. Our problems arise because something has come into direct conflict with this wish.

If we learn how to change the way we react to our outer problems we  can control and change the effect this problem has over us.   We can solve our problems.

Outer problems  such as  a rainy day ruining your outdoor  party  or  catching the flu before your vacation are what we call conditions,  these conditions test your peace of mind.  Without these conditions your state of mind would likely remain peaceful,  but coming back to the fact that there will always be more problems, we need to learn how to remain calm amidst these problems.  There is a big difference between conditions and reactions, the crappy weather is a condition to make me angry, but my reaction is entirely my own.

We need to distinguish between inner and outer problems.

Lets take a look at some outer and inner problems

  • Your car won't start – outer problem
  • You car won't start and you become enraged and angry – inner problem

What if   you acknowledged that your car is broken, but didn't get upset and become enraged.  Can you see how your inner peace isn't disrupted.   You can calmly and effectively deal with your outer problem.

  • Your partner broke up with you unexpectedly – outer problem
  • You turn into a  jealous, grief stricken mess  – inner problem

What if   you allowed yourself to feel  loss, sadness and hurt without letting  these emotions  consume you?   What if you understood at your core  that you can't control other people and that they are not the true source of your happiness.  You can give yourself the tools through mindfulness to move on without allowing the situation to destroy you.

  • It's raining on your outdoor party – outer problem
  • Instead of enjoying the day you stomp around and make life miserable for everyone – inner problem

What if  instead of complaining all day, you move your party inside and make the best of  the situation.  You could still have a fabulous day, it might not be exactly as you expected, but it might turn out equally  great.

  • You develop a terminal illness  – outer problem
  • Instead of enjoying your last days you develop anger and denial and enter into deep depression – inner problem

What if   instead of spending your final days in deep, dark  depression you used  your time to truly live in the moment and appreciate each moment. You could spend your last days  overcome with joy or filled with sadness, it's up to you. Regardless of how you choose to react the situation can not be changed.

By changing the way you react to your problems you can completely change your states of mind, which completely effect your happiness. This is not saying that there are no outer problems, and that you don't need to take the appropriate steps to solve your outer problem, it is just saying in the process of doing so you can keep a calm, peaceful state of mind.    By keeping your state of mind calm and peaceful you will be better equipped to effectively deal with the problems at hand.

These states of mind  take a lot of work and practice, and it is unreasonable to say that your inner states will never be outplayed by those sneaky  outer problems, but in time we can work  towards making our inner states a little happier.   We can do this one problem at a time.

So  let me ask you, what exactly  is your problem?

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About the author

Tina Williamson

Tina is a student of Buddhism, meditation and yoga. She writes about cultivating happiness through mindfulness at her own blog: Barefoot Beginnings.
Tina lives near cottage country in Ontario, Canada with her husband and two dogs. Also a vegetarian and animal lover she enjoys photography, travel and nature. But mostly she's just a free spirit trying to follow the path.