Problem Solving and Accountability

How problem solving helps me resist awakening into accountability,

and what I might do about it!

A problem is defined by Mr. Webster as, “a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.” Problems are need-based, requiring solutions. With a problem there is a sense of obligation to attend to it – often right away. Problems grab my attention – just as threats do.

When threats come up, I go into defense mode. My vision narrows. My muscles tense. I get ready for combat. Perhaps not the best mode to be in for taking accountability or awakening into bliss.

Sometimes problem solving looks like a cat chasing its tail. For example, a gambler may borrow money so he can plunk it down at the table, figuring he’s lost so many times before, this time he must surely be the winner. His solution to each loss (itself a problem to be solved) is to solve the problem of funding the next attempt at the “big win.” It’s the same thing addicts face every time they need a fix.

Is Problem Solving an Addiction?

Problems tend to beget more problems. The solution to each problem seems to create more little problems of its own. After while, I’m caught up in wildfire fighting – solving problem after problem. Until I can no longer hold the fire hose, I’m so damned tired! Yet, I’m still looking for that next big win over my problems.

Problems need solving, which tends to capture my attention and imagination – and my energy – until I realize problem solved or realize futility and give up or realize some other outcome. No matter how I solve the problem, I make the problem real – I realize it. Once real, the problem and the attention I give to solving it own my energy.

And there’s the thing, then. Anything I make real, I tend to defend. Judgment, justifications, distracted attention – all play defense when I’m “working the problem.”

How might I go about effectively solving problems without getting into defense – without making the problem the problem, defending it as real, important enough to focus attention on it, and making it much more difficult to solve as a result?

How About Wording?

Let’s look at words for a moment. I like to think of words as little soap bubbles that encapsulate sound vibration, symbolism, meanings, defense, emotions, and a bunch more stuff. Put meaning-full words together into sentences and paragraphs and you have rich imagery that does something deep within the non-corporeal me that affects my corporeal world. My image of the world IS my world. That’s why words are so important.

Fortunately, symbolism, meanings, and emotions can change in relation to words. I don’t have to settle for common definitions that I may incorrectly house in my vocabulary. I can play with definitions. Unless, of course, I’m with others. Over time, I tend to surround myself with people who help me fortify and defend my previous definitions, symbols, and meanings for words. The moment I change my definitions, and speak those words out loud, others will tend to question my sanity, my motives, my connection with them. I may feel threatened enough to abandon my new definitions. Or, I may instead courage-up and perhaps find that I can lead my circle of friends and family into a new era.

The Power of Vocabulary

My vocabulary can change, too. I’m not stuck with words I’ve used in the past. I can consciously choose to replace need-based words with words that up-lift or help me awaken into accountability – that will affect my underlying belief system.

For example, my underlying belief is that a problem must be solved – else it wouldn’t be a problem. The word, problem, has certain connotations that I strongly hold onto and defend. Whenever I hear that word, my mind goes instantly and instinctively into problem solving mode – distracting my attention. The pull to problem solve is so strong in me that I accept that redefining the word will not change how I feel about it.

Instead, I chose to replace the word, problem, with the word, opportunity. To me, problems feel more immediate and need-based. Opportunities offer an invitation to excel – like a game I can win. Opportunity still grabs my attention and so are not the ultimate answer for me – this word exchange is a sort of step-stone measure. Perhaps my next shot will be exchanging the word, opportunity, for the word, catalyst – a neutral word that invokes a sense of change already in progress, a ball rolling downhill.

Beyond Words

Viewing the world as a problem to be solved sets and keeps me firmly within the First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble – fighting, competing, and needing! The words I hear myself speak can help me remain face-down in the mud of my problems or help me rise above them where I can see the field for what it is – an illusion.

Words can offer a beginning to change from defensiveness to openness and then to accountability. I move from problem solving into taking on my life with a sense of boundless gratitude and broadening awareness.

I can use words to change my perspective from problem solving to opportunity acceptance. Then onward into full gratitude and perhaps awakening into full accountability.

Watering the Weeds of Distraction

In my First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble, I work at awakening into full enlightenment. Sometimes I experience distraction from that goal. You know, the illusive finger of fate that points your attention and intention away from your present goal? Even when I accept that such distraction is of my own making, I still on occasion find myself “off track.”

Perhaps such derailments are the result of confusion over the relationship between attention and intention. Intention directs while attention connects. To accomplish a task, one must give attention to what fulfills the intention of that task.

For example – A firefighter controls the direction and flow of water shooting out the fire hose. His intention directs while his attention connects the water with the fire. When the fighter is distracted from his intention or attention, he ceases to be an effective firefighter in that instant.

Attention without intention ensures a future of distraction

Some distractions grab my attention for days – disrupting my intention from the enlightenment I seek. As I focus more attention on the distractions, I seem to get even more distracted as my world seems to darken. Now I begin to notice how people aren’t getting along with me and each other. I have to honk, shout and do hand gestures at all those insensitive and unconscious drivers on the road. I might catch a cold or feel “down” for a while – validating the truth of my sense of darkening.

Parasol Thinking

My need to attend to this one distracting thought overarches all other thoughts – like unfurling a gigantic parasol over the entire universe, turning day into night, blocking out the sunshine that once ruled. My attention to distractions has clouded my vision and I lose sight of my intention.

While I focus on what I don’t like – the distraction – the rest that I do like starves for my attention. “Energy flows where attention goes.” (Huna principle 3 – Makia)

And, Oh, the Weeds, the Weeds!

Could my distracted attention be “watering the weeds”? Perhaps.

Or –

Maybe there’s something useful in the negative, distracting thought. What if I’m doing distraction “on purpose?” Could what I don’t like – that which is holding my attention hostage – be the result of a hidden intention that can lead me to an awakening? What then, eh?

What then, indeed!

Perhaps when I’m faced with a compelling distraction, I might ask some [maybe useful] questions about my intention:

  • What am I avoiding with this distraction?
  • How am I avoiding it? (looking at behaviors and captive thoughts)
  • Why am I avoiding it? (looking at emotional payoffs)
  • Who am I as I take accountability for my thoughts?

Old Feeding on the New

Or, how I resist change in a world of change, feeding on the new to preserve the old.

All stories, even literal ones, are expressed in symbolic ideas. Aspects of me enjoy feeding on ideas. From the author of the story who feeds on sales royalties to readers who devour the author’s story, everyone

I have to have a story-line – it’s my justification for existence. That story is at the core of every thought I have, every choice I make. It is the bones, the structure of my reasoning. Perhaps that structure has to do with my truths – my values. Who I think I am.

In my First-Second Degree of Illumination, babies represent the favored food of most predators. Predators tend to prefer their food fresh, full of vitality and possibilities, and easier to procure. It’s a fact of the jungle.

Inside my head, ideas compete for my attention. Those I attend to grow and mature while those I ignore tend to die off. Ideas represent life as experiences within the story.

Instinctively, well-established, well-defended, and predatory older ideas tend to devour newer, younger ideas. Even when a new idea is given attention and approval, old ideas may still overwhelm (“eat”) it. It’s part of my defense of rightness program.

Old ideas tend to follow a process of defense. This looks a lot like politics, in which I appear to make changes while not making a change:

  1. Resist change at all cost;
  2. Failing that – a new idea comes up – I seek to repeal the change;
  3. If repeal fails – and a new idea begins to stick – I seek to incrementally change it to resemble the old thought;
  4. Failing that, the old hides behind the new, seeking to take credit, mingling the old with the new and calling it progressive.

Feeding on Ideas

I’m pretty much an indiscriminate feeder – preying on all sorts of ideas in the form of emotions – as long as my “food” pleases my palette and satisfies my needs.

In this manner, I retain order in the jungle of my mind.

Through emotional sensitivities, I feed my need to keep the old-guard in place – resistant to substantive change. Even when I perceive change, things soon revert to “stable” old ways.

All this keeps old beliefs safely in place – and my conscious awareness securely within the bubble.

And yet, feeding promotes ever more feeding… until it can’t. Then what happens?

What Drives My Causal Process?

Is need the universal causal element in my First and Second Degree Illumination bubble? How can I identify needs and bring understanding to my causal experience?

Sometimes it seems I’m going in circles, trying to figure out why I keep recreating the same conflicts resulting in the same need for resolution.

In my repetitive reality, I apply accepted patterns from the past to present process regardless of appropriateness. I run the same patterns of needs over and over, hoping for a different outcome, yet expecting only one.

I think, What comes from a thing is a reflection of what it came from. And what reflects comes more of the same.

Perhaps my ability to choose has a hidden agenda, one that seems to contradict itself: I can not not choose without comparing. When I turn what I choose into something I need to defend, I could be defending that choice forever! As my defense responses become automatic, I can no longer re-choose that thing. I can only choose to defend it or to defend my defense of it. My only apparent freedom is in choosing whether or not to defend my defense.

The Need for Value

I create ways to experience and “measure” who I am as value compared to the values I assign to others. In the bubble, I constantly compare and compete over values. That value is assigned by me and makes conflict possible. My judgements of right/wrong, good/bad, of sufficient value and insufficient value. Then with reasons based on agreement, I justify the value of my existence compared to…

My perceived lack defends my need for gain, my need to compare loss and gain, my need for conflict over loss and gain, my need for purpose within my reflexive bubble existence. All a zero-sum game in which need supports more need that in the end results in nothing. Do I see smoke and mirrors?

How can I change a second degree bubble defense into a genuine third degree choice? Once I defend what I choose, my freedom to choose again about that is either to defend or change. And once I’ve chosen I automatically defend for or against other defenses.

To break the defensive cycle, I might ask some questions to elicit options and help pull Self out of the reflexive quagmire:

  1. What else – could stop my need to defend?
  2. How else – could I  behave than defensively?
  3. Why else – could I be non-defensive?
  4. Who else – could I choose to be when not defending?

How I Use Pseudoscience to Convince Me of My Truth

Due to a comprehensive field of fear, I defend myself from awareness of anything outside my First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble. I don’t have to perceive accurately to survive – just be correct enough. To that end, I apply the scientific method – with a twist.

That twist is pseudoscience that I employ to hold my truths firm against a world that constantly challenges them. To continue defending my truths, I occasionally accept falsity as truth and assume evidence that may appear to support my truths – without question. When MY interpretation is THE interpretation, I get rightness and certitude.

Always better to assume rightness than question it!

Read more How I Use Pseudoscience to Convince Me of My Truth