The most remarkable thing about the sequester crisis in Washington is that the whole “problem” is self-caused. Our leaders designed a terrible Sword of Damocles that would drop and half-kill the country unless we worked together to find a sensible way forward. Then they refused to work together to find a sensible way forward.
Now we have a big problem. And everybody’s happy, really. We like problems.
The little-mind in each of us is a problem-solver. It feeds on drama and conflict. The egoic self needs trouble and difficulty so it has something to “fix” and make right. It loves to be right! It needs enemies and “bad” people to keep itself busy, to keep itself one rung above the rest of humanity.
And if there isn’t enough conflict, the little-mind will unconsciously create some, just to give itself something to do all day. Most of us can see this readily in others: people who just seem to be looking for something to argue or fight about, people who take offence when they don’t really need to. But we cannot see it in ourselves.
The media know how invested we are in trouble, so they take every situation and immediately create a black-and-white “conflict” and invite you to take sides. (You can do this by texting Yes or No to the question of the hour and they will post the results.) This means that we live in a world where most of the trouble is self-caused—that doesn’t mean the conflicts aren’t real and painful and sometimes tragic. We just have to acknowledge that most of it . . . didn’t have to happen in the first place.
Eckart Tolle writes, “The mind unconsciously loves problems because they give you an identity of sorts. This is normal and it is insane.”
So, I want to say to myself, to you, Let’s not create any problems today. Life already comes with real and genuine suffering: loved ones are sick, children are in need, friends are out of work, people in my neighborhood are still trying to rebuild their homes after hurricane Sandy. I want to be present to this real need, and I can’t do that if I am led by my little-mind self, frothing up the waters with a lot of made-up crises. I don’t need that today.