Saturday, July 17, 2010

Never a Problem

The Buddha taught that there’s never a problem with being exactly where I am, and yesterday the truth of that statement came home to me fairly clearly. First of all, where I am is the only possible place I could be, at least at this precise moment, which means it’s out of the question for me to be anywhere else. Thinking of the here and now as a “problem” suggests that I think there’s a better place somewhere, a place and time where I would be happier, but there’s actually no other place, at least at this moment, than exactly where I am. Since this is true, the idea of a problem needing to be solved, a better situation needing to be found, becomes meaningless. There is never any other place than right here, and therefore, as a matter of plain fact, there is never any real problem. Also, I’ve realized for a long time (at least when I’m fully awake and aware) that all that exists in any present moment is thought (or consciousness, or awareness). There certainly seem to be lots of material “things” in the present moment, but these – if I analyze them carefully – exist only in thought, or consciousness. The fact is that everything in any present moment is thought. If this is true, and if the present moment, as I said earlier, is the only place I can ever be, then it follows that the only real power in life is thought. What’s especially fun to realize is that this thought, this power, being immaterial, has no boundaries whatsoever. There’s absolutely no limit to what I can think and how far my thoughts can extend. A thought about being brave or compassionate is never born, like a material entity, and never ends, but extends out to infinity. It’s power is unlimited. Therefore, how could there be a real problem in any present moment, when infinite power is always there with me. When I think about it, I realize that a problem arises only when I feel somehow powerless, but how can I feel powerless when any present moment contains never-ending power of incalculable force and variety? It might be, in fact, that the present, right where I am, is always the opposite of a problem – always a moment when everything is precisely as it should be and must be, and when power is expanding out beyond the farthest horizons. I guess what this is all about is going from a tiny picture to an amazingly big picture. When I’m thinking that the present moment is a problem, I’m seeing the smallest possible picture – the picture of little, isolated, vulnerable “me” surrounded by other isolated and threatening entities. It’s a nightmare picture, for sure, one that naturally leads to a thoroughly problem-filled life. However, when I change the picture to the biggest and truest of all – the one that shows both the endless reaches of space and the vast inner horizons of limitless thought – I see clearly that there can never be a genuine problem in a universe of such boundlessness. There are changes, yes, and differences, and ups and downs, and happiness and sadness, and success and failure – but these are like breezes blowing in the never-ending wind of the universe. They’re not problems, just the way things are at this particular, inescapable, perfect, problem-free moment.

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