How to identify an unsolvable problem


Problems with problems

Thoughts on mental relaxation from Christa Schyboll

Having problems is commonplace. But whether we master it, handle it wisely, sit out or even enlarge it is decisive for our quality of life. Shouldn't we hold the strings of action in hand even in problematic situations?

"If you have a problem, try to solve it. If you can't solve it, don't make it a problem." Thinks Buddha. Fascinating advice. But also a feasible one? I am currently facing an unsolvable problem and shouldn't it be treated as a problem? Here many people should shake their heads dubiously and wonder how realistic such wisdom is and whether it ultimately amounts to repression, glossing over or distorting reality. Because the fact is: if I have a problem that I simply cannot solve with all the means currently available to me, it does not automatically disappear. I can neither think away nor claim it away, nor conjure it away. As a rule, the acute problem needs an answer or action and otherwise threatens with logical consequences. So I keep struggling with it.

But what is the point if it just doesn't lead to anything because my power and possibilities have simply come to an end? This "why" question, however, is often not posed by the endeavoring mind because it simply cannot bear to lose out and want to completely solve its problems. In his own sense, of course, as the winner of the whole thing. If necessary, he not only takes on the fight against the "whole world", but also against himself. Often he loses, if something clever from the sky does not fall into his mind.

So what should be done specifically if I am to treat an acutely unsolvable problem as a non-problem in the Buddha's sense? Above all, one must first question one's own inner attitude towards the problem or the consequences. This also includes elementary questions such as whether there is a risk to life. This is mostly not the case. The rule is quite common. He has to do with deadlines or time pressure, for example. Or it is about anger at work, private life or in the neighborhood. Or it's about illness, money or relationship issues that are just at the top of your personal bestseller list. The normal problems of everyday human life. If you have carefully circled the currently unsolvable problem, you would do well to empathize deeply with it emotionally. Does it make you feel uncomfortable or even afraid? Is the body still reacting cautiously or is it already reacting violently? What exactly are the fears associated with the problem? Why are they so difficult to overcome? In the end, is there a lack of courage as to why the problem seems so unsolvable? Or are you so completely hopeless for completely different reasons?

On mined terrain

The next realization would be the question of internal resistance, which needs to be clarified. This is almost always there when a problem arises. We are in resistance to something or someone, which is why, among other things, the problem weighs so heavily on us. There may be good reasons for this in individual cases. For example, injustice that may have happened to us. It's hard to stand being blamed for something you didn't cause. Sometimes we are exposed to lies and slander. Every half-truth, half-information or disinformation, every form of distortion, manipulated suggestion is harmful. Or every gossip with third parties about it, with whom one would like to build up a tricky mental team so as not to bathe so lonely in one's own problem, atmospherically aggravates the already difficult situation. Whatever lies behind our problem: We are in a mined area in a very personal war zone. There is already hot shooting and we have to see how we get out of this film. And a fresh, acute problem is not always new at the same time, but sometimes even ancient, without us recognizing it directly.

If we fail with all efforts of normal problem solving, there is often only one last path left. It can become the silver bullet if you follow it consistently and firmly stand by it. The magic word is: acceptance. An inner acceptance of what is now. As soon as we accept a state as given because we lack the power to change, we are usually rid of the problem. In this case, however, acceptance does not mean resignedly saying yes because I am in a powerlessness myself, but rather recognizing that this powerlessness is part of my apparently necessary spectrum of experience for the moment. Like it or not.

About the lifting of the resistance

No further resistance is necessary or even sensible if everything has already been tried in the good. Further resistance or struggle against something or someone aggravates the already difficult situation and makes us suffer longer and more violently without it being pacified. Problems are always also non-acceptance. However, this form of acceptance is not about the question of law and justice on a human level. Also not about consenting to the wrong and unwanted, but about inner surrender to what is now. If you can do that, you can get rid of your problem quickly. You get rid of worries and pain in the best sense of the word.

The ego, however, will rebel. It defends itself violently and is outraged when it is supposed to accept an injustice. The ego lives from the struggle that has to end in victory. Otherwise it will feel fatally injured. In this way, it additionally nourishes the existing pain that is already rampant. But if you understand that the external problem is just a stage, a tool and also a current learning opportunity for completely different skills, an inner change occurs. An insight that goes deeper than the external problem. Here new sovereignty can be born. You become calmer, clearer in thinking, feeling and acting. You also become freer. You may even recognize a fateful entanglement, even if you are actually innocent. Especially for people who are brave fighters by nature, it is sometimes precisely about the non-fight that has to be learned. About the inner peaceful Aikido, which finds other possibilities than the fight against enemies and injustice.

If all possibilities have been explored in a problematic situation, everything necessary has been said openly, no compromise is possible, the one who wins the inner acceptance the fastest. He is thus rid of his internal problem because he is depriving the external problem of its power. And with it the opponent who harasses him. He then simply leaves the situation, which he can no longer change anyway. Right or wrong. Now he can find peace himself.