Why Do We Hold Onto Traumatic Events Rather Than Learn From Problems?

03/31/2017 11:47 am ET Updated Apr 03, 2017

The nature of the mind is to acquire, as this makes us feel safe. But acquiring is an illusion, as it is short-minded. What we have done is to create for ourselves a situation whereby we ‘gather’, but this activity in our mind ultimately leads to weariness and boredom. If we allow a problem to endure over a specific period of time, rather than rushing to solve and erase a problem, this ironically allows us to be fully free in the mind. These are the memories which insert the images that we transport within our mind. We need to question whether thought can actually dissolve our problems. The fact is, thinking never really helped us in solving our problems. Even so, we rely on the mind, the intellect, hoping for a reasonable solution, but the truth of the matter is that we have accepted, and kept ourselves satisfied, with only a partial solution.

Any problem is always new. This means that for any challenge or obstacle, there must be a new response, as each situation is very different to the experience that occurred before, or the one occurring next. In other words, each problem is always new and thus undergoes constant transformation. This requires us to think differently as each problem demands a new response. It is impossible, then, that there can be any new solution to any problem unless the mind is free of several things: thought, assumption, comparison and expectations. This emptiness – a true freedom – is the opposite of the pattern of acquiring. It is the starting point, not the goal to be attained at the far end. Any sort of an internal evolution needs to happen first, and it is this discovery of transformation, rather than the passive acceptance of the highest level of each and every organisational system, that will solve today’s problems.

It is the acceptance of authority that makes us lazy, because we are so comfortable with not being held accountable to any responsibilities. We need to ask ourselves why we refuse to see the essentiality of being passively aware. We don’t really want to release our problems, for what would we be without them? We would feel insecure. So we would rather cling to something we know how to deal with, which we believe makes us safe and secure. But this does not solve the problem. It is simply an escape.

This in-depth or unknown territory – not knowing where it may lead – creates fear and dullness, and is, for must CEOs, the biggest worry keeping them awake every night. If we are connected with our inner-self, feeling secure, safe, inspired and at ease, it is possible for us to make such a shift. When our thought realises that it cannot possibly do anything about fear because it creates a higher fear, then there is silence, resulting in complete negation of any movement, breeding fear yet again. As long as there is fear – biologically, physically, and psychosocially – we are limited.

Time is an underlying factor of fear and thought. So as long as we don’t change, we will never change, and this becomes a constant postponement, a social escape. Time and thought create fear because time is the fear that something will happen; uncertainty grips us as we face the unexpected and the unknown. This is where time comes in. Time, which up to now has covered up something, producing a repetition that no longer solves certain situations or creates a deeper comprehension, that moment creates some deep secret desires which will likely not be fulfilled, such as image, reputation, authority, recognition.

So then we step up our power, authority and influence, craving for lust, envy, gluttony, sloth, greed, anger and pride. We hide the reality that we are actually very scared and unclear about what we do. So time is involved in fear, such as fear of death which comes inevitably to end off our life, often unexpectedly, lurking around the corner. The uncertainty of this makes us afraid. So time involves fear and thought. There is no time if there is no thought. Thinking about that which has happened yesterday, being afraid that it may happen again tomorrow, brings about time and inundates us with fear.

Many try to escape by convincing others that is in ‘vogue’ to have desires accumulate, but this is actually a positive pole for greed. People deliberately take charge to increase the pace of business operations and demand astronomically high expectations from others, frequently resulting is organisational self-destruction. At the end of the day, they say they are proud of achieving the impossible, but very few actually realise what it takes to achieve that, making them arrogant and unhuman. A moment when leaders and decision-makers embrace self-depreciation and pull themselves together with all the audacity they have left, revealing a lack of patience, a lack of comprehension for deeper meaning, a lack of selflessness, driven with problems of fear. Such a state excludes most leaders and decision-makers from courageously learning from the unknown.

Because we are often overwhelmed and insecure about how to approach problems, we over-think our problems – investigating, comparing, analysing, dissecting, and discussing – increasing the complexity of the way we regard our problems. In fact, with every escape we breed further problems because we don’t allow sufficient time to explore the source of the problem. We opt for problems to be resolved immediately, all the while increasing our real conflicts.

But truly, we never really allow any problems to bring about a crisis in our day-to-day life; we are so much more comfortable escape because we fear we will be excluded from the closest community, team, organisation and society. Instead we just want to forget it, but forgetting a problem unconsciously drags it along with us.

It is the common urge in today’s modern world to have every problem resolved quickly, avoiding a true understanding of the problem, but rather allowing us to escape. This is actually the problem: how we look at problem solving. As long as problems burden the mind with fear and anxiety, we will never truly rest. There is the fear of something that happened yesterday, the fear of something that might happen later today or tomorrow, the fear of what we have known, and the fear of the unknown, which is tomorrow. We can see very clearly that fear arises through the structure of thought – fixating about that which happened yesterday of which one is afraid, or about what might happen in the future. Thought breeds fear. Hence we continue to accept partial problems with partial solutions that won’t eliminate any problems for the long-term.

We must regard at the problem as a whole, not a particular part of a problem, but rather in its entirety, such as the entire way we do business and interact with people and stakeholders, comprehending each problem in its totality. No doubt this is going to be the most difficult challenge, as we are used to acting and reacting to a given specific problem, not to seeing that all human problems are interrelated. This leads to a certain point where our problems are being multiplied, resulting in disturbances in relationships and a continuing lack of comprehensive understanding.

That is why it is recommendable to move toward to a totally different culture, not one based on authority, but one that cultivates complete freedom and integrates inclusiveness, togetherness and commonality. Because we are so incredibly driven by fear, anxiety and worries, we assume we need authority to lean on for protection and safety. But this notion is misleading and dominates us. When we feel inner security, inspiration, ease and a sense of serenity, we attain clarity, consciences, compassion and courage. This requires the practicing of mental stillness, even though our mind is literally capable of hard thinking, of reasoning to the very end. We must think beyond thinking and regard problems comprehensively.

Intellect will never solve our problems. As leaders and decision makers, we never see the waving of the leaf in the wind; we rarely pay attention to that which really matters for evolving in self-knowledge and engendering a deep feeling for life, purpose, meaning and sense. Instead we are furiously and firmly gripping onto intellect. Yes, the intellect can reason, discuss, analyse and reach conclusions, but these are limited because we are conditioned. But the gentler side of the mind – sensitivity, consciousness, responsiveness, comprehension and instincts – is not conditioned and guides us right out of fear and anxiety.

But because we are insecure human beings, we have cultivated and protected the intellect as an untouchable doctrine, simply believing we must have tangible knowledge, experiences that prove to us that it is the intellect that solves problems. We have reached a situation whereby we are controlled, dominated and depend on others more than ever before. We have actually accepted conditioning and in so doing, have divided society into a dual community, all stemming from our insecurity and desire for protection.

That is why we need to look as a whole. But this requires us to be courageous, to be clearer, and to be conscious and compassionate. At the stage when the ‘me’ and ‘self’ comes to the end, we will feel secure and safe to relinquish habits, hopes, desires and prejudices that no longer serve our purpose. We will never understand the ‘self’ by analysing and comparing, but by seeing things and by being aware that growth and thought won’t get us anywhere. As long as we feel insecure and overwhelmed – whether this is because we feel this way or are told so – we will continue to accept partial solutions, we aggravate the real problem of holding onto possessions or traumatic events because we erroneously believe they make us feel safe and secure.

This, then, is the major problem of today’s problem solving: we put the ‘me’ and the ‘self’ on centre stage to lure people into surging for power, reputation, image, title, and positions of prestige. We are, however, actually deluding ourselves from our core problems.

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