Roger Harty: A Problem Without Thought Is A Situation

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I FIRST came across this idea about 12 years ago in a book called ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle (over 33 million copies sold!). In the book Eckhart says that we have no problems in life.

To this day I can still remember the page I read it on, and thinking what a ridiculous statement.

To be honest at the time I was unable to get my head around it. I returned to the page on many occasions and read and reread it but to no avail. I still couldn’t make sense of it.

After about a month of confusion it was only when I paid attention to his clarification on the matter that the point he was trying to make began to make sense and it gave me a whole new insight.

His clarification was that a problem was only a problem if we began to think about it. If we removed thinking from it, then what we call a problem suddenly becomes a situation.

We either deal with the situation if we can, now or in the future or accept that we are unable to deal with it and leave it as it is. (Accept that we are unable to deal with it)

Thinking about it which often comes in the form of worrying truly brings nothing to the table except a waste of valuable energy and regularly leads to confusion. In fact excessive worrying about a problem, can be quite dangerous can often result in ill-health.

If we change the word problem to situation then a whole new world emerges. A situation by its very nature calls us to some form of immediate action.

We either deal with the situation or don’t deal with it but for God’s sake there really is no point in worrying about it.

How do we do this? Simple.  Take thought out of the equation .If we don’t think we cannot worry so therefore the problem quickly becomes a situation. Again, deal with it or don’t.

So when I sat with my initial confusion with this whole idea of not having a problem it all began to make sense when I began to take the thinking mind out of the equation.

I also began to appreciate the benefit of practicing meditation on a regular basis as this helps to control the thinking mind. Every skill in life requires practice if one is to enhance it. Meditation is no different.

A good question to ask here is, was Eckhart Tolle the first person to come up with this practice? I don’t think so. I believe this is ancient knowledge and furthermore I believe it is the main essence of The Serenity Prayer.

However thank you Eckhart for your insight.

The Serenity Prayer is the common name for a prayer written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971). The best-known form is:

The Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

Change things, Accept things but don’t worry about them—– they are only situations!

• Next week I am going to write about — A cake without flour is not a cake.

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