Whose Problem Is It Anyway?

Published under: Spirituality

I’m learn­ing a great “self secret” about the nature of my mind and my problems.

Most of us spend our entire lives think­ing about how to solve our prob­lems. We waste count­less hours active­ly engaged in con­ver­sa­tions about our prob­lems with our­selves, our friends, our ther­a­pists, or just about any­one who will lis­ten. But, we still have prob­lems. We’re all still suffering.

Although suf­fer­ing is use­ful in that it shakes us up and makes us ques­tion our real­i­ty — there is a path to free­dom. Con­sid­er this insight offered by Ten­zin Wangyal Rin­poche at a recent retreat.

Our prob­lems should be like shoot­ing stars mov­ing across the sky — there for a moment and gone the next. We, on the oth­er hand, expe­ri­ence wis­dom like a shoot­ing star — with our prob­lems com­ing on steadily.

Accord­ing to the Bön Dzogchen med­i­ta­tive tra­di­tion of Tibet, our thoughts arise from a clear emp­ty space with­in us — and then van­ish back into that empti­ness. Our essence is pri­mor­dial­ly pure and clear, like a crys­tal. This is the true nature of our mind. And, the wis­est part of us knows this.

When con­front­ed with a prob­lem, try ask­ing who is the one doing the look­ing? Who is the one that’s see­ing the prob­lem? Obvi­ous­ly not the wis­est part of us. The “wrong” per­son is actu­al­ly doing the look­ing — and we’re very attached to that per­son. In fact, we’re empow­er­ing that per­son — and as a result, we empow­er our prob­lems — instead of let­ting them van­ish quick­ly back into the emptiness.

Rin­poche also sug­gest­ed that we ques­tion the pop­u­lar prac­tice of ana­lyz­ing our inner child. In the end, all we’ve man­aged to do is change our cry­ing inner child into a smil­ing one. But, there’s still an inner child who’s doing the look­ing. Why not have our inner wise per­son do the looking?

This is but an intro­duc­tion to a sim­ple and yet pro­found way of shift­ing our per­cep­tion of real­i­ty. Try it out when you’re faced with a prob­lem. Ask your­self who’s see­ing this as a prob­lem? Who’s hold­ing onto this problem?

A part of me is tempt­ed to look at this way of ques­tion­ing as yet anoth­er problem.

You can learn more about the Tibetan Bön teach­ings at The Lig­min­cha Institute

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