There are no problems to solve

דיה לצרה בשעתה
“The suffering of the hour is enough for it” (“Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”)
 – Rabbinic saying meaning, You have enough trouble today without worrying about the future.

Focus your attention on the NOW and tell me what problem you have at this moment. I am not getting any answer because it is impossible to have a problem when your attention is fully in the Now. A situation needs to be either dealt with or accepted: why make it into a problem? The mind unconsciously loves problems because they give you an identity of sorts. This is normal, and it is insane. When you create a problem, you create pain. All it takes is a simple choice, a simple decision: No matter what happens, I will create no more pain for myself. I will create no more problems. – Eckhart Tolle (1999)

Stop looking for problems

Lester Levenson noticed that whenever he was thinking, he worried, and that whenever he worried, he was thinking: the two went hand-in-hand. It is the ego that constantly creates problems, and this produces a state of constant anxiety.

There’s no end to problems in the world. You go on and on forever and ever solving problems in the world, and you’ll have more and more. As long as you are conscious of problems, they exist. Only when you discover the real you are there no problems. (1993, Session 2)

Most of us have the mistaken notion that if we anticipate everything that can go wrong we can somehow prevent or mitigate problems. Sometimes we anticipate trouble in order to psychologically prepare ourselves for it. Then again, some people console themselves when things go wrong by saying, “I knew this was going to happen.” But as strange as it may seem, it is the negative thoughts themselves that create the problems. Our expectations are like commands that we issue to the universe. We don’t know when our expectations will become reality, and they don’t always become reality, but they are the sole cause of all events.

Before “science” became the dominant religion in the world people believed that “the thought summons.” The thought still summons, and quantum physics has proven that reality is completely dependent on our consciousness. In spite of this scientific knowledge, however, scientists still cling to the outdated belief that events have an objective existence.

Because expectations create all events in the world, optimistic people lead happy lives and pessimistic people lead unhappy lives. It is also a fact that people who believe in God are much more optimistic, and this optimism makes them more interested in raising children. If you want to change from a pessimist to an optimist, the first thing to do is to put all of your faith and trust and hope in God. Trust in God is all or nothing. Either you trust in God or you trust authorities and experts and doctors and buy insurance.

Another thing you should do if you want to be an optimist is release negative thoughts the moment they occur. Any time you feel anxious, stop what you are doing and acknowledge your anxiety: “This thought makes me feel anxious.” Allow yourself to feel as anxious as you possibly can, as if you were an actor auditioning for a frightening scene. Then, when you’re good and frightened, switch your point of view so that you are the director behind the cameras. I, the director, am observing me, the actor, acting frightened. When your fear is spent, exhausted, go back to being “me, the actor” and bring up more fear. Then, when you are full of fear again, switch back to being “I, the director” and observe “me, the actor” acting frightened. Keep doing this until you can’t summon up any more fear no matter how hard you try.

The third thing you should do to become an optimist is to practice seeing the good in everyone and everything. As Saint Mariam of Jesus Crucified said: “Be very charitable; when one of your eyes sees what is not right, shut it and then open the other one! Change everything into good.”

Besides “the thought summons,” there is another old belief that one should never say out loud what one desires. If you want to win the competition, say, I will win, God willing. If you want your loved one to recover, say, It’s up to God. It’s the attitude that, I am content with whatever God wills to happen. This is the message of the song “Moonshadow”:

If I ever lose my hands,
lose my plow, lose my land,
if I ever lose my hands,
I won’t have to work no more. – Cat Stevens

The moment you die, all of your troubles are over. What a relief! Rebirth is your only real problem, but as soon as you stop viewing that as a problem, there is no more rebirth. And how is this accomplished? By fearing neither death nor life.

What is meant by not rejecting the conditioned? It means looking upon the (heavenly) form and formless realms as if they were two of the hells and looking upon the realm of birth and death as though contemplating a garden. (Vimalakirti Sutra)

Samudaya (‘origin’): Now this, monks, is the Noble Truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving (tanha, “thirst”) which leads to re-becoming, accompanied by delight and covetousness, seeking delight here and there; that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for becoming, craving for not becoming.* – Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

(* The craving for not-becoming, or not being reborn, is a fear of living.)

Lester Levenson: Problems and How they Resolve

To the world everything seems hopeless; they feel helpless. We know the way out. No matter how much the world hurts, we know there’s a way out. We have hope and a direction. And what is the way out? Not looking to the world for happiness, but looking to the place where happiness is, right within us, within our own consciousness. Unlimited joy and freedom is our natural, inherent state, which we have, through ignorance, undone by imposing concepts of limitations—I need this, I need him, I need her, and if I don’t get what I want I am hurt, I have trouble. Growth, on the other hand, is letting go of these concepts of lack and limitation; or, on the positive side, going within and seeing this unlimited Being that we are and choosing to remain as such.

Any time we have trouble, any time we have a problem, we’re being the limited ego. We’re trying to express the Self through the limited ego and it’s too small. We get squeezed and it hurts. So, if there is a problem, the thing to do is to ask yourself, “What am I doing? Wherein am I desiring, seeking something with ego motivation?” If the answer comes, if you see how, ego-wise, you’re causing this so-called problem, you’ll automatically pull the cause up from the subconscious into the conscious. And once it’s conscious you’ll naturally let go of it. The reason why we don’t let go is because the cause, the thought that initiated the difficulty, is subconscious. So, either we make the thought conscious and let go of it, or—and this is the higher and better way—we know strongly enough that we are the Self, that we are not this body, this mind, this world. And when you feel the Self, the feel of the Self is nothing but unlimited joy and all problems immediately resolve.

I sound quite indicting when I say any problem, any trouble, is ego-motivated, but that, you’ll find, is true. When you will be your Self there is no problem. There is nothing that will not fall into line perfectly, harmoniously, with no effort. The more ego-motivated we are, the more difficult it is to accomplish something, the less harmony there is, and the greater the misery we have. And it is really as simple as I’m putting it. What’s not easy is to let go of these wrong habits of insisting upon being an ego. . . . However, the moment we choose to let go of them, we can. If we say we can’t let go it’s because we really don’t want to. The desire to let go isn’t strong enough.

Then Yeshua said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and let him come after me.” (Matthew 16 : 24)

Q: I have a friend who has problems. She’s Catholic and very pious. When things get blackest and she has no more hope and is at the bottom, at that very moment something happens so that everything turns out right.

Lester: Do you know why she must reach bottom?

Q: Well, she has faith and she knows that—

Lester: No, she doesn’t have faith and she is not pious: this is her trouble. You see, faith would cause her to let go and let God. Pious would cause a similar thing, surrendering and being humble. Outwardly she’s the way you say but inwardly she’s the way I’m saying. You see, she tries to control everything herself and that’s not letting God. She tries and she tries and she tries.

Q: She prays.

Lester: Yes, she prays, but she wants it the way she wants it, not the way God would want it. She’s found out that her praying for it doesn’t help her. You don’t have to pray if you surrender. You’ve got to let go and let God. When does she let go and let God? When there is nothing more she can do, then she lets go. In the extreme she lets go. And the moment one lets go, everything resolves itself. Can you see it? In the extreme, she feels, “Oh, there’s nothing more I can do,” and that’s when she lets go and lets God. If you can show her this point she’ll see it, most likely, and then she’ll be more consciously able to use it.

Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity

Q: I keep trying to tell her that she must be confident.

Lester: Conviction, stronger than faith, absolute conviction of God—that will do it! Let go and let God and then everything straightens out. But when we try to do it ourselves we have trouble.

Q: When you say, “Let go and let God,” does that mean that you should work strictly on inspiration, or just sit back and let things happen?

Lester: Have the feeling of letting things happen. To accomplish this we have to let the ego-sense go. The ego is “I am an individual, Lester, and I have a body and I do things.” That’s wrong. If I am the Self, there is no Lester. I have to get Lester out of the way and let Self or God operate. When achieved, you’ll move in life, you’ll sort of float through things, but there will be no effort. If there’s effort, there’s ego.

Now, of course, you’re going to have to use some effort because you’re not starting off as the realized Self. You see, when this girl is at an extremity, she lets go and things happen effortlessly. That’s letting go and letting God! Professing faith, professing all these things doesn’t do it. Actually having them does it. The fact that she has troubles is proof that she doesn’t have the conviction of God because God is all, God is perfect, and if God is all and God is perfect, everything must be perfect, and that leaves no place for imperfection or troubles. Take the attitude, “Whatever happens, so be it!” So, it’s the feeling that I am not the doer and that I let go and let it happen.

Q: I can’t tell when I’m ego.

Lester: When there’s no effort, there’s no ego. The more the effort, the more the ego.

Q: When the effort is extreme you have to more or less go the other way anyway.

Lester: Yes. I’m trying to give you a method of knowing whether it’s ego or not. The more the effort, the greater the ego. However, you’re going to use effort until you’re fully realized. Now, there will be times when you’ll use no effort and everything will fall perfectly into line for you, so at times you’ll be your Self.

Q: But doesn’t this type of thing make you indolent, that you don’t do any action? Is it that you shouldn’t try to do anything? That’s what I don’t understand.

Lester: Indolence is an action, a negative action. It is the act of holding yourself back from moving. Right now it is impossible for you to be actionless. To achieve the actionless state you should try to let go of your ego more and more, because now you can’t do it totally. If you could, you’d be fully realized. But if you keep letting go of the ego, you will eventually drop it and be the witness and be not the doer. Does that make sense or have any meaning? Be not the doer. Let it happen. Have the feeling that it’s God’s world, whatever’s happening, so let Him.

Q: How do we get rid of problems?

Lester: The moment you say, “I have a problem,” you’re stuck. You are making it real. You can’t get rid of a problem because you are making it real. You’ve got it.

Q: So, if we say, “There is no problem at all,” will they vanish then?

Lester: No. If you say, “There’s no problem,” they won’t vanish because you’re saying, “problem”. You’re mentally holding the problem in mind and therefore sustaining it. Erase “problem” from your mind. Know that everything is perfect and then the problem is necessarily nonexistent.

Q: Well, I think that way, that everything is really perfect.

Lester: If you really do then everything must be. You see, naturally, life is totally effortless. There is no effort in life whatsoever if we are our natural Self. But we’re trying to be a limited ego, and that takes effort. It takes effort to be limited when your natural state is unlimited, and the more you try to be limited, the more effort it takes. But to be your unlimited Self takes no effort. Just like your friend, when she got to the extreme she would let go and everything would straighten out with no effort. [As long as] she was trying and trying, things were getting worse and worse, but when she gave up and let go, things resolved.

Q: Well, she had to go out and look for a job; she had to go to an agent. She couldn’t just sit down and wait.

Lester: I say all she had to do was to let go and be her Self. Then even if she locked herself in a chamber somewhere the things would have come to her. You don’t sit down and wait, you don’t do anything. Just let go of the sense of agency. You just know that everything is perfect and then the slightest thought you have will quickly come into being. There’s no limitation on God, the Self. Whatever you thought would have to come into being if you let go because you’re invoking your infinite power, your Self. Nothing can stop it!

Q: But at the same time you have to struggle to get some action.

Lester: No, I said just the opposite. I say lock yourself in a chamber and padlock the outside of it, and if you do what I’m saying you’ll find that it will be effected. It has to be. Nothing can stop it! Omnipotence is invoked!

Q: What is prayer for? What does praying mean?

Lester: Praying is for those who need praying. When you know what you know, to whom are you praying? If you are That, why do you have to pray to It? See, praying admits duality—I pray to God. Maintain your Oneness. However, when one prays it is best to pray for one thing only, more wisdom, so that you eliminate all need for any prayer, for any asking. It all depends on one’s state of understanding. Most people in the world today need to pray, but prayer admits duality—God is out there. And we should know that God is within. Even though Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within,” we still look for God without and He’s not out there. He’s only within. He turns out to be our very own Beingness. The word “I” with nothing added to it is the God we seek. When you say “I am something,” that isn’t God; or “I and something,” that, too, isn’t God. But just pure “I” and only “I”, that is God. That is why it is said that God is closer than flesh. It’s “I”, and how close is “I”? It’s closer than the flesh is. And that is God—your very own Self!

Q: That’s a very good feeling.

Lester: Yes, because it’s reminding you of what you know subconsciously, that you are that Self. Just hold onto the word “I” only, “I, I, I, I”, and you’ll become more exhilarated! Just try it when you’re alone. Just “I, I, I” and not “I am a body, I am a mind,” but “I, I, I”, that feeling of Being.

I think the word that describes God more than any other single word is Beingness. God is all Beingness. We are, when we look within, all Beingness pretending we’re a tiny part of It, a limited body-mind. But when you look within you’ll see that you are all Beingness. Beingness is God. Beingness is also Awareness, Consciousness. They are the same thing. Later on, you’ll see them as identical: Beingness, Awareness, and Consciousness. So be your Self and there never will be a problem. Seeing a problem in the world is trying to be a limited ego body-mind. If you think you have a problem, you do. If you’ll just accept that God is all, God is perfect, that’s all there is, and look at perfection, that’s all you’ll ever meet with.

Q: Then we have to wipe out the word, “problem”.

Lester: Yes. You have to wipe out the words “problem”, “can’t”, “don’t”, “won’t”—all negative words. In the future, when man is in a state of harmony, all these words will disappear. (pp. 11-18)

A kind of waking trance — this for lack of a better word — I have frequently had, quite up from boyhood, when I have been all alone. This has come upon me through repeating my own name to myself silently, till all at once, as it were out of the intensity of the consciousness of individuality, individuality itself seemed to dissolve and fade away into boundless being; and this not a confused state but the clearest, the surest of the surest, utterly beyond words — where death was an almost laughable impossibility — the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming no extinction, but the only true life. It is no nebulous ecstasy, but a state of transcendent wonder, associated with absolute clearness of mind. – Lord Alfred Tennyson

* * *

Levenson, Lester (1993). Keys to the Ultimate Freedom: Thoughts and Talks on Personal Transformation. Phoenix, Arizona: Sedona Institute. (http://www.freespiritualebooks.com/keys-to-the-ultimate-freedom.html) (download)

Tolle, Eckhart (1999). Practicing the Power of Now: Essential Teachings, Meditations, and Exercises From The Power of Now. Novato, California: New World Library.

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