Wherever you feel stuck in your life, the way to gain traction and get into the flow again is by shifting your perspective. Pushing against whatever is blocking you only makes the problem worse, or generates a new problem. This is because you are not seeing the root of the dilemma. You are not aware of how your mind is programmed to generate opposition, and then react to it as if it is real.
Although they seem very real and insurmountable, the obstacles in your way are actually caused by a dysfunctional premise. A faulty set of assumptions about yourself and the world around you sets you up as a separate person having to compete for survival in a threatening world.
Most of us never see that our mind is the source of our suffering. We are so used to thinking of ourselves as a separate mind and body that we can’t imagine things being any other way. This appears to be our reality, so it remains beyond question.
However, just because things appear to be a certain way, doesn’t mean it is so. Our ancestors believed many things we now know are not true. They were convinced that the earth was flat, the sun rotated around it, and the universe was constructed by a super-human God.
There are many seeming obstacles in your way that prevent you from getting what you want and being happy. Pitting yourself against these obstacles and trying to overcome them with sheer willpower makes for a good drama and can energize your life with an immediate sense of purpose and meaning. However, this approach wears you down and leaves you feeling defeated in the end.
The reason that “fighting the good fight” doesn’t work is that you are using the same mechanism to solve a problem which created the problem in the first place. Imagine that the anti-virus program you are running to fix a problem on your computer has the virus secretly imbedded within it. So, every time you activate the program to get rid of the virus, you re-introduce the virus.
This is what happens when you try to solve a problem with your thinking mind. Of course this is what we all do because it is the only thing we have ever done, and it is all we know how to do. But that doesn’t mean it works.
Your mind is used to chronically thinking about a problem and proliferating solutions. This further embeds you in the mechanism of rational thought and prevents you from seeing how your perception is programmed to respond with a prescribed range of responses. Trying to solve a problem by thinking your way through it perpetuates the notion of you fighting against some opposing force to achieve your liberation or get what you deserve.
What actually works to resolve a problem for good is when you see the situation that is bothering you from a completely new angle. A true solution often comes into focus only when you step out of the entire framework in which you are viewing it. This allows you to see how your mind habitually frames your experience in a way that causes you to feel like a victim and suffer accordingly.
Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” This is an example of how changing the context can resolve the problem. No one can argue with the premise. When someone becomes your friend, they cannot remain your enemy. The problem of course is how to do this.
Shifting your perspective is not the same as overlaying your thinking process with a new belief. When you perceive someone as an enemy, it won’t work to merely convince yourself they are your friend. This approach occurs when you want to be good, moral, or spiritual. We often try to love someone because we think it is the right thing to do.
This is spiritual bypassing and magical thinking, and is not part of a spiritual path. It is just another way you try to resolve a problem using the mechanism that created it. You are trying to replace a negative thought with a positive one, but you have not actually changed your point of view, so it remains a superficial or cosmetic fix. These can quickly come undone when you become emotionally charged or lose your composure.
To change your point of view you have to be able to see how you got where you are in the first place. You have to be aware of how your mind is programmed to create enemies in order to validate itself. This is deeper work and requires some dedication and effort.
This work of shifting your perspective in order to see the actual cause of an obstacle is spiritual practice. It is not glamorous and has little to do with ideals like loving your neighbor as yourself, or being compassionate with all people. These are not possible to achieve without the work of self-awareness that enables you to uproot your aversion, fear, selfishness, and greed at their root. However, as you do the work to expose the hidden patterns in your thinking mind that generate chronic opposition, you become able to genuinely love and care about other people.