A merchant used to come and sit through all of the masters sermons. This continued for months and he was usually the first to arrive and last to depart.
One day master beckoned him and asked him if he was seeking something specific.
The merchant replied “ Master, I am beset with so many problems: my business is going down, my teenage son does not obey me, my married daughter is constantly being harassed for bringing in more money, my wife has cancer. I come here everyday first because it gives me peace and second because I hope that I will find solutions in some of your insights”.
Master was moved. He looked at the beleaguered merchant and smiled before asking” Do you know why do you have so many problems and why will they continue to multiply?”
“No Master”, replied the merchant.
“Well, problems that you face will never get solved fully because human life is a play of paradoxes. If you are gentle to people, you will be used & if you are harsh, you will be isolated. If you are interested in somebody they will not be keen on you and if you are indifferent chances are they will try to woo you. If you are frugal you will not enjoy a life of senses and if indulgent, you will not have a life of soul.
Essentially, life is an ongoing optimization problem as you need to balance opposite traits in your being. However people convert it into a deficiency problem by selecting one trait and letting its polar opposite go. The problems then keep multiplying because you stubbornly refuse to understand their nature.”
“So master, what is the solution to these problems” the merchant wanted to know.
“The solution to these problems” master replied “is not outside, in these situations changing themselves. It is inside in either you changing your action if situation is flexible or your viewpoint, if it is fixed. When you recognize a situation as an outcome of your actions you gain the power of changing it by selecting a different action. When a situation is fixed like your body or parents or diseases or death, change your viewpoint by accepting it and by going through it with grace.
Both the cases, whether you recognize the possible alternatives for your actions or choices available for your viewpoint, serve to broaden your awareness. This enhanced width of consciousness is ultimately the objective and solution to all your problems. Remember, problems are the Yoga exercises that your consciousness needs to stretch itself. So first embrace them and then search for alternate actions to move them or different viewpoints to accommodate them. That’s the solution to your problems.”