Albert Einstein, best known for developing the theory of relativity, famously said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” In this profound insight is hidden the solution to most of our problems, which appear as a knot, a tangle, issues jumbled up and misunderstandings with people.
You become anxious when things turn unpredictable – someone expected has not turned up, what is anticipated does not happen, the outcome of your efforts is disappointing, or worse still, you have been betrayed by someone you trust. What is required to solve these problems is going to a higher level of understanding of reality, which implies knowing what is not known. To do this, it is important to charter into the unknown, and what stops us is not our intelligence or capability, but doubts.
Shakespeare called our doubts traitors. He writes in his play, Measure for Measure:
“Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.”
One should not fear to attempt. Because to remain in an unfavorable situation is accepting something that is not really our destiny. Every human being is bestowed with the gift of free will; to take decisions by applying one’s mind. But why would one not apply one’s mind? Due to conditioning. There is a secret satisfaction in living like a victim – my condition is miserable because of this and that. So and so is responsible for my woes, my problems, my difficulties.
Most of us never grow out of this childish thinking of skirting away from the burden of responsibility by either succumbing to the situation, surrendering to the tormentor, or taking refuge with whoever around appears more powerful. It seems weird but that is what we do most of the time – bad behavior, dishonest transactions, and outright violations of decency are tolerated – bringing down the overall quality of society.
It is important to let go of this idea of “I” as the centre of the world. The attitude of “I like this” and “I don’t like this” is the root cause of difficulties in life. Why are you dividing reality into what is agreeable and disagreeable to you? Why not face and accept reality as it is? Why not treat difficulty as a lesson, an exercise in growth, and a chance to better yourself? What you see as good may be bad for another, and conversely, what causes you discomfort might comfort another.
Beneath the outer differences, everyone is the same. Here, the idea of lifting the level of your consciousness comes in. It is not only lifting – seeing beyond the horizon – but also extending it from “I, me, and mine” to “we, us and ours.” It is about expanding one’s consciousness in all directions.
Is not every human being a part of the world? And planet Earth is a part of the Universe. Our limited time and space here are not islands but exist as part of a larger system that goes much beyond what we can see and understand. So, how can I treat my thoughts and feelings as separate from the rest? My task must be to free myself from my self-created prison by widening my circle of compassion and accepting my reality – no matter what it is. The moment I do this, in no time, things will start changing for the better.