“If You’re Not Part Of The Solution…You’re Part Of The Problem”
People who become involved in movements for social change many times focus on the problem, whatever they perceive the problem as being from their particular point of view. They then proceed to attack this problem head on as though they were involved in a war bent on killing this problem. They empower their efforts using the energy of anger and outrage to fuel their movement. And, over time, their movement ultimately fails. It may seem to progress for a short time, but ultimately, in so far as the movement is fueled by anger, hatred, and fear, the movement fails leaving people in pretty much the same condition they were in previously. This I call being a part of the problem. You attack the problem, which has been created by anger, hatred, fear, greed, and self-centeredness, using more anger, more hatred, more fear, more greed, and more self-centeredness. Is it any wonder the problem fails to be resolved?
To solve the problems we perceive around us, we must be aware of where the problems arose from; what gave them their physical manifestation into our material world. All things physical have a spiritual root out of which they spring. I see our problems today as having arisen from the supernatural qualities of self-centeredness, out of which greed, anger, hatred, fear and the like spring forth. These attitudes which we internalize within, given some time, will manifest into our physical world around us. If we fixate on the problem of security, then over time, security issues will manifest. If we focus our attention on problems of money, then over time, money problems will manifest. If we focus on fear and allow ourselves to be driven and motivated by fear, then our fears will be manifested in the material world around us. It is all just a matter of time. We focus and fixate upon problems which begin in the sub-conscious mind, giving these problems the psychic energy they need to become manifested in the physical world. Then we act surprised as to why this all occurred. This is the problem based method of societal change, and I think we have seen over the past several centuries that it just doesn’t work.
Being part of the solution is different. Here we acknowledge where the problem came from; from the supernatural qualities of self-centeredness, and all that this quality brings with it. We then fight self-centeredness with the only true weapon we have; the power of unconditional love. We focus on what it means to “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” These are noble words found in most every religion, but never properly understood or practiced. In loving our neighbor as we love our self we focus on taking care of the needs of others, as best we can, as though we were taking care of our own needs. With this attitude, greed and self-centeredness begin to decrease. Fear also diminishes as it is replaced by love. Anger begins to diminish as well and leaves the door open to forgiveness and healing. Out of this mix made possible by focusing on the solution rather than the problem, true societal change is possible, and will naturally spring forth. The trick is to remain focused on the solution (Love) rather than the problem ( self-centeredness and fear).
Thich Nhat Hanh, in a retreat he gave for Israelis and Palestinians commented that, “We are not here to study peace. We are here to become peace.” This is wise counsel. When we study something, we often times fail to internalize that subject. Instead we focus on the problems surrounding that subject such as the perceived obstacles in bringing the desired goal to fruition. Then we get bogged down in over coming these obstacles rather than focusing on the subject at hand. Thus when we study peace, we do not study peace, but rather the obstacles in the way of peace. In doing this, focusing on the problems rather than the solution, we empower the obstacles and forget about the peace we started out desiring. In becoming peace, we internalize peace and empower the spiritual quality of peace in our sub-conscious mind. From the sub-conscious mind the spiritual quality of peace then has the power to become manifest in the physical world around us, given the needed amount of time, mental focus, and discipline. If, on the other hand, we allow ourselves to be distracted away from the solution and back into the world of the problem, then we empower the problem and forget the solution.
It all boils down to this: are we looking for solutions based in love, or are we looking for solutions based in fear? Love based problem solving will eventually work if we have the needed mental and spiritual strength and discipline. Fear based problem solving will ultimately fail (even though it may seem to succeed for a time), and requires no great mental focus or discipline to bring about this failure. This is why people instinctively use the fear based method. It is the easy way out, which we hope will work, but in the end fails us miserably. In order for any social reform program or movement to succeed for the greater good of all, it must be love based allowing the spiritual quality of Love to gradually address and overcome the quality of fear and the problems associated with fear. When Love finally overcomes fear, then true change will come naturally and quickly. May we all stay rooted in the solution today instead of the problem.
Watching The Wheels. John Lennon
Will Smith on The Power of Thought.
David Ickee: Problem, Reaction, Solution.
Norman Vincent Peale: The Power of Positive Thinking.