Finding the Opportunities Within Problems

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Problems are the leading edge or horizon of change in our lives. Before real change is possible, we first have to see, feel, and understand what is. What is the source of the reactivity we are encountering in ourselves? What do we perceive to be at stake? What assumptions are we making? What representations of ourselves and others are involved?

Finding the opportunities for growth within problems is possible only when we can learn to look at them in a way that reveals what we most need to see. There is intelligence in the ways that problems are constructed in the mind. This idea is expressed in the image of a lotus flower with its roots in the mud and beautiful blossom above. Metaphorically, this evokes the possibility that the mud of our struggles can give rise to growth in the sunlight of awareness.

These reflections can be the subject of deep inquiry in mindfulness meditation practice and/or in psychotherapy. We can learn to practice with problems: to bring self-reflective awareness to the mind-set we bring to problems and to cultivate a wise relationship to problems.