Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by life's challenges? Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night worrying about your day to come? Do you spend too much time overall dwelling on your problems?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're not alone. Many of us live life as though it's merely a series of problems and challenges that need to be faced and handled -- or avoided and swept under the rug! In fact, even when we feel like we're handling our problems, we often worry about them much more than the situation requires.
A Radical New Way To Think About Your Problems
Here's a question to consider: what if all your problems are just memories?
Now, I know this may be hard to accept, but what if all the supposed problems you have right now are just memories? I'd like to challenge you to explore this question for yourself in a personal way with one of your most cherished problems -- that is, the one you think about a good deal of the time -- and at least entertain the possibility that even it is just a memory.
How You Look For Your Problems
The reason that problems appear to persist through time is that whenever they are not here in this moment, we go looking for them. That's right; we actually seek out our problems. This means we filter our experiences based on the belief that we have a particular problem and -- here's the kicker -- we unconsciously censor anything that does not support the belief that we have this problem, including the fact that the problem is not actually here now.
You may not have thought about it this way before, but you've probably seen it happen with someone you know. This person believes that they have a problem and even talks about the problem often. Yet every time you see them, you see no indication that the problem is even there. They are only telling you about the problem, not experiencing it directly.
You may have also seen them on the few occasions when the problem actually does occur, and they say, "See, I knew it. I never [fill in the blank]," or, "I always [fill in the blank]." For example, "I always mess up when there are people listening." Or, "I never know what to say to him." (This is a clue: when we use words like "I never" or "I always," we tend to grossly exaggerate the frequency that something is actually occurring because of our emotional attachment and miss the fact that the problem is not even here now.)
This habit of filtering for our problems simply reinforces them and causes us to suffer. So, the next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, lying awake at night gnawing on a problem, or you catch yourself thinking about that issue that just never seems to go away, try this exercise with yourself instead. It will help you leave your problems where they belong -- in the past -- and open up your perception to the fresh new slate that exists for you, right now, in this moment.
A Process To Release The Burden Now
- Think of a problem that you used to believe you had. I purposely phrased this question in the past tense because, as we discussed earlier, we are entertaining the idea that all problems are simply just memories. And, in fact, they are. If you're having a hard time accepting your problem as existing only in the past, then allow yourself to include the last 10 seconds as part of the past. And the last second. And the last. Most of us think of the past as years ago, last year or at least yesterday. For the sake of understanding what I am suggesting, please allow yourself to view the past as anything that's not happening in this moment.
- Now, ask yourself this question: "Could I allow myself to remember how I used to believe I had this problem?" This shift in consciousness may make you laugh, it may make you tingle inside or it may simply open the possibility in your awareness that yes, even this is just a memory.
- Then ask yourself: "Would I like to change that from the past?" If the answer is yes, ask yourself: "Could I let go of wanting to change that from the past?" Now, this may seem counterintuitive, but in my experience, when you want something, you are holding in mind that you do not have it. In other words, want equals lack. And the feeling of desire actually keeps what you want at bay. Check it out for yourself. Would you rather want a million dollars in the bank, or would you rather have it? Would you rather want to change your problem from the past, or would you rather change it? Now let go as best you can.
- The completion question in this series is to ask yourself: "Just for now, could I let go of wanting to believe I have that problem again?" And then do your best to let it go.
If there's still some clinging to the memory of the problem in this moment, then repeat the steps from the beginning until you can fully let go.
As you work with this perspective more and more, you'll find it easier and easier to let go of even (what you used to believe were) long-standing problems.
Outrageous But Practical
This is, of course, an outrageous perspective based on what most of us believe, yet it's also quite practical. Most of us believe that thinking about our problems and wanting to change them will bring change, so we do it over and over again. But if you examine your own experience, I think you'll find that positive change most often comes at the moment you let go of all your thinking and wanting.
Now, don't get me wrong here. This process is not a substitute for taking right action. It's just that as you relax the tightly wound coil of association you have with your problem, and the wanting to change it that keeps it locked into your experience, you've eliminated the burden of believing the problem is actually happening now. This frees your energy up to deal with what is actually here in this moment, and which may or may not still require effective action on your part. In other words, the reason this perspective is so practical is that as you release the burden that comes from believing there is a problem in this moment, you're much more likely to see and act on solutions, rather than only seeing the problem itself.
If you use this simple but powerful process, I promise you the results will surprise and delight you. I have seen just this one process quickly and easily free people from painful, long-standing problems, problems that had been part of a person's experience for decades.
Give this radical approach to problem-solving a try when you find yourself dwelling on your problems and I'm confident that you, too, will begin to experience the joy and the freedom that each new moment brings.
This post is based on the principles explored in the new movie, "Letting Go: Transform Your Life, Transform the World," featuring Hale Dwoskin. It is the culmination of over three decades of experience with a simple, powerful, elegant and easy-to-learn technique that shows you how to tap your natural ability to let go instantaneously of any uncomfortable or unwanted feeling, thought or belief. For more information, visit www.LettingGo.tv.