I just finished the chapter in Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now" that really stretched my thinking and radically shifted my concept of what a "problem" really is. Tolle initially makes a statement that "all problems are the illusions of the mind" which immediately took me aback and actually made me a little angry. My first thoughts where "Why would anyone want to create problems in their life?", "They are anything but an illusion!" and "Aren't problems a natural course of living and it is our role to learn how effectively find a solution"? But as I read further, I really began to understand where he was coming from in making this statement and it really shifted how I view problems now.
Problems simply exist when we are unwilling to take action. We live in indecision and as such are not living in the "NOW". What really helped me best understand this was his analogy about being in a life or death emergency situation. If you've ever been in that situation, you'll understand the concept that you're mind didn't have time to process it as "a problem". Your adrenalin is pumping and you are completely present in that moment. You are not weighing your options, you are taking immediate action. You not allowing past conditioning of your mind to play into your actions at that moment. You are totally aware and present and tapping into your intuitive response to that situation. For example, if a loved one was in a car crash and you had to quickly get them out of that vehicle, you would not sit there and postpone taking action to evaluate your options. You'd be fully present in that moment and immediately do whatever it takes to get that person out of the car. You'd trust that inner voice with complete faith and take immediate action based on its' guidance. I then understand what Tolle was referring to when he said problems exist when we're not willing to take action. "Problems really are just situations that need to be dealt with or accepted", as he puts it. When we add the element of time to that situation, our mind takes that situation and creates it into what we perceive to be "a problem". It means we have decided to not take action on that situation now and allow that situation to survive and take on an identity within our lives. And once we do this, we take on the burdens that come with carrying problems around – guilt, resentment, fear, anxiety just to name a few. I can now see the truth in his statement, "When we you are full of problems, there is no room for anything new to enter, no room for a solution."
While it will take me awhile to fully grasp this concept and consistently apply it in my life, I feel he's provided the seeds that will help nurture that process. I will forever be more aware and present anytime I perceive a problem to exist and try to separate it from the element of time by taking action on it right away.