The first step in solving problems is to get to know what actually is a problem.
The next important step in solving problems is to get an answer to the question, “Where is the problem?"
Where is the problem?
In the teachings of Ramana Maharshi, the problem lies in our view, about the presence of the problem. It is basically our seeing that there is a problem which accounts for the aforesaid question. It could be a little startling that happiness, sorrow and even our view about the absence of a problem is all our own perception.
So the location of all problems of life is in our mind, where all perceptions take place. All our experiences happen in our mind when we say for example, I am happy, I am sad, I am worried etc.
A small activity in the spiritual workshop is worth mentioning regarding the existence of problems of life in the mind. Several pillows were arranged to look like a maze on the floor. A few volunteers were asked to look for the path to reach a destination. Their eyes were then blindfolded and were asked to walk through the maze one by one, without contacting the pillows. After a while they were asked to stop in their mission and the cloth over their eyes was removed. When the volunteers opened their eyes, they could not find any pillows (which were to represent problems) on the floor. If reflected upon, it is our erroneous and blind way of thinking and understanding that makes things appear as problems, in truth when there is none.
In what form does problems present themselves in the mind?
It is a simple truth that problems and reaction to problems are all in the form of thoughts in the mind. The mind is nothing but a collection of thoughts, having no physical location. The above mentioned exercise in solving problems reveal the care taken by us to pass through problems when actually there is none.
How problems thrive
Problems thrive owing to the fact that we give attention to them. In fact a problem owes its existence to our holding on to it. For example a torturous thought or a worry can be replaced by another simple thought like having a cup of coffee.
All problems are present in our mind and they thrive owing to our attitude towards them.
Nest to follow in the series of Solving-problems is 'Where is Happiness?'
To be continued
This article is an attempt to reflect on the teachings of Ramana rendered in a spiritual workshop held by RMCL (Ramana Maharshi Centre For Learning), Bangalore.