No Problems

by Dennis E. Bradford, Ph.D.

in intellectual well-being

What if there were somewhere you could go where there were no problems?

Such a refuge would be good to find, wouldn’t it?

Sometimes we need solutions to our difficulties, and sometimes we just want them.  (Sometimes, too, we don’t actually want solutions because, we fear, if we weren’t trying to solve our problems, what would we do?)  We spend our lives seeking solutions – and it’s a never-ending quest.

Our economic problems are ensuring that we have enough clean air to breathe, enough clean water to drink, enough nutritious food to eat, and enough security to protect us from our enemies (including invading microorganisms such as harmful bacteria and viruses).

Those, though, are not typically our only problems.  Most adults spend a lot of time and effort having and nurturing children.  If memory serves, President Obama once said that having a child is the start of living with your heart outside your body (in other words, there’s a critically important being external to you that, with no guarantees, you do your best to love).  Our children’s problems become our problems.

It’s often the same with our parents.  With their increasing age comes illness and increased frailty and feebleness.

As if these kinds of problems were insufficient, there are the immense and seemingly intractable problems of living together with others to whom we are strangers.  While we used to live in tribes composed of a few families, now we are living for the first time in a global village and there’s often precious little agreement about how we should proceed.

Where There Are No Problems

 

The chief purpose of this post is to provide good news by indicating that there is a safe refuge that provides shelter from our storm of problems.  Where is this place of no problems?  How can we go there?

There is no agreed-upon terminology for articulating it.  Permit me to use the terminology I prefer, which is the terminology of Becoming and Being.

The key insight is this:  all problems occur in Becoming; there are no problems in Being.  

If so, it follows that deliverance from our difficulties cannot be found in Becoming.

That explains a lot, doesn’t it?  Despite some progress in some important areas, human history is largely a history of failures, a long story of inadequate solutions, a narrative of madness.

This is not to deny that many very clever solutions have been attempted; rather, it is to explain why they have failed or are failing.

Where is salvation?  Outside Becoming, in other words, in Being.

This is why, for example, “The only interval in which I can be saved from time is now” (from A Course in Miracles).

If we only ever attend to Becoming, we shall always be stuck with our problems.  Is it really necessary to live and die attached to unsolved problems?  No.

It’s true that, insofar as we are limited to Becoming, we shall always be stuck with our problems.  What is not true is thinking that we are necessarily limited to Becoming.

Ego delusion is thinking that we are limited to Becoming, that we are stuck being separate selves, that we are nothing but these ego/I’s.  In other words, ignorance of our own true nature keeps us bound to our problems.

How is ignorance of our own true nature cured?

It’s not cured by thinking about it.  We want to understand ourselves so that we can solve our problems and live well or, at least, better.  However, the problem of understanding ourselves cannot be solved in the usual way of conceptualizing better.  (It took me several decades to realize this.)

The cure is very simple:  drop thinking.  Stop conceptualizing.  We have been ourselves all along; the problem is that our compulsive thoughts obstruct us from realizing that.

Since concepts are principles of separation, it is impossible to conceptualize without separating.  Since separation is always the cause of dissatisfaction, incessant conceptualizing causes incessant dissatisfaction.

To drop thinking, to stop conceptualizing, even for a moment, is to glimpse Being.

That is the justification for the claim that there is a refuge where there are no problems.  It’s not the usual kind of justification, which is a sound argument (in other words, a valid argument with true premises).  The usual kind of justification requires conceptualizing, whereas the justification here requires letting go of all conceptualizing.

The ego is not part of Being.  There is abiding joy in Being, whereas there is none in Becoming.  (The only joy in Becoming is the temporary joy that is opposed to sorrow.)  If there is no abiding joy in Becoming, to stay bound by Becoming is to condemn ourselves living without abiding joy.

A Course in Miracles asks, “How else can you find joy in a joyless place except by realizing that you are not there?”

Problems require separation.  There is no separation in Being.  The cure for the problems of Becoming is opening to Being.

Is opening to Being a difficult accomplishment?  No.  It is not difficult to be what we are.  It is simple to be what we are, to be at one with ourselves, to realize that the separation is unreal.

A Course in Miracles: “The full awareness of the Atonement, then, is the recognition that the separation never occurred.”
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SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:

Dennis Bradford, Getting Things Done

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