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.

Intention, Perspective, and Distraction

It seems that I can’t count how many times a distraction has side-tracked me from doing something I felt was important. I’ve encountered plenty of distractions that seemed to sabotage, slow down, or stop my progress. If only I could make them… Oh look, a birdie!

What if that perspective is itself a distraction? What if I’ve got this distraction thing all bass ackwards? Far from being a negative thing to be avoided, what if distractions are intentional and useful?

Intention and Perspective

To validate their perspective, an artist intends to distract and to capture the attention of their audience. When my attention follows distraction my perspective is affected by my need to increase attention to distractions.

Perhaps it’s true that behind every distraction is an opportunity waiting to open a door to different perspectives. It would seem as though distractions invite questioning to resolve defenses. That sounds useful to me.

Could distractions be the way out of my First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble?

Thought holds a vibration, a language that perspective uses to design reality. Perspective expresses design through patterns of thinking and feeling. Any change in pattern will change perspective and vice versa. I make these changes through intention.

When I feel distracted from my intention, I can defend and stay or consider new perspectives. Could this be a choice point? – that sounds useful to me.

My reality has defining boundary lines and distinct meanings. Those meanings that drive my perspective also serve as vital structural rules of my creation. As I affect the meanings of my perceptions,  I change the influence of my distractions. I can use them to change my degree of illumination.

That sounds useful to me!

What Does Fourth Degree of Illumination Accountability Mean?

What does it mean to BE accountable for my life? What is Fourth Degree of Illumination accountability?

Living in a duality world, I like the following (BE-DO-HAVE) “or” mantra:

  • “I am exactly what I want to be right now or I’d be something else.”
  • “I am doing exactly what I most want to do right now or I’d be doing something else.”
  • “I have exactly what I want to have right now or I’d have something else.”

Repeating this mantra as my personal “truth,” I tend to take responsibility for my life in ways I never imagined before. As the responsible party, I realize my power to make changes, because I LOVE who I am and want to explore what ELSE I will love.

When I want to make a substantial change, I first consider accounting for my life by acknowledging that I LOVE who I am, what I do, and what I have NOW. Loving what is at the same level as what may be evens out the transition energy. Like bridging across rather than climbing the abyss.

Accountability brings me to –

My Account Payoff

How I feel about what I experience is my PAYOFF. As I embrace my payoff, I love it. After all, I’ve gone to some effort and energy to achieve it. Then I look into what OTHER PAYOFF I might enjoy JUST AS MUCH and begin embracing that, too.

I entertain the idea that I might also enjoy achieving my current payoff in a different manner. Like the kid in the sandbox making a sand castle, I can play with my design as much as I wish until I get it “just right” – that is, I experience sufficient sensational payoff.

In acceptance of the fact that I am experiencing exactly what I want to experience, I open the possibility that I may account for my life in the light of Fourth Degree of Illumination gratitude.

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?

Illusion of Separation to Accountability and Gratitude

In my First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble, do I perceive separation where there is none? In my bubble, division underlies competition – the concept that one separate thing is different than another and so comparable. That difference is a conflict I intend to investigate and perhaps resolve.

Inside the bubble, I interpret wholeness as “complete rightness” – “I’m all right.”

A shift out of “the bubble,” requires resolving the disharmony within, which could include considering how I am contributing to the tension and imagining how I would rather think and feel.

What might happen when I intend to think and feel in a certain way before I begin my day or before I engage in a specific experience? First consider, then imagine, then intend, and then act. ex: “Today I’m choosing to be open-minded and feel positive in whatever situation I’m in.”

Resolving Many into One

What if I assume wholeness rather than separation? Rising in awareness from my defensive bubble to Fourth Degree of Illumination gratitude, what if I take on accountability as the creator of my perceptions? Such awareness would balance the books of separation into oneness. Equations equalized. What would happen to my conflicts as I accept awareness of wholeness, oneness?

When I cease to perceive from a basis of difference and instead perceive from a basis of wholeness, might I cease to perceive competition, discord? How would I experience my life then?


Prior to 4th Degree I attended to this OR that – “but” – focusing attention on one thing at a time. This encourages competition for my attention – First Degree Illumination. What might happen to my attention when I attend to this AND that as one – inclusion?

I wonder – would acceptance of Fourth Degree Illumination accountability mark the end of conflict?

Might I dispel the illusion with a shift in perspective from inside the bubble to gratitude for it?