Many of us, when faced with a challenge or difficulty, identify what confronts us as a problem. I have a problem with this. 😉
Reality arises from our words, our language. What we identify is. What we say and what we say it is, becomes. When we give something a name we give it a life.
A tree, for example, is a tree. It’s not a fish or a cloud or an ice cream sundae. It’s a tree because we identify it as a ‘tree’. The word ‘tree’ has been assigned to a tree and that’s the reality we describe. If, at the start of our English-language world, we had assigned the word ‘fish’ to mean tree then we would know it today as a ‘fish’. The word ‘fish’ would not alter the essence and nature of a tree, its functions and its relationship to its environment, but only the naming of it. But that’s not how it is, so we say ‘tree’ to mean tree.
The word tree represents a plant having a permanently woody main stem or trunk, ordinarily growing to a considerable height, and usually developing branches at some distance from the ground.
The word fish represents a cold-blooded, aquatic vertebrate that commonly has gills, fins, and scales.
(And English is a great language to speak because it borrows and is derived from so many other languages by people who had their own ways of describing and naming things which offers us insight to how language and the world of ideas develop).
Language makes a thing so for the one employing the language used to describe that thing. In other words, we use language to create a reality, consciously or not.
Let’s look at a rainy day.
The child who wants to play outside might say, ‘this sucks!’ and for that child the rainy day is an unpleasant reality. Another child for whom playing outside or sitting inside to watch tv or play video games makes no difference might casually say, ‘ahh, that’s cool….I’ll just go watch tv’ and the rainy day has no real impact. And a farmer who depends on the rain to water his crops would express gratitude, or relief, saying ‘thank you’ and for him the rainy day is a godsend (assuming a faith in a god, supreme or otherwise) and thus, an awesome reality.
So then, we see 2 kinds of illustrations of how language is used to describe reality (tree) and create reality (rainy days suck!). In both cases the end result is the same – reality for the observer.
The reality is not absolute, however, because the words used to describe or create the reality can be replaced along with the context in which the word is employed. By altering the language we shift reality, describe reality, or create reality. This suggests that reality is context and context reality. How reality is seen and related to differs according to where we stand in relation to it and what determines our relative position is language – the words we use and abide by.
Therefore, when we say we have a ‘problem’ we need to look carefully at what arises.
First, in terms of the word’s origin, it is derived from the Greek word próblēma which means, obstacle.
‘Obstacle‘ is defined as ‘something that obstructs or hinders progress.’
So a problem is something that is blocking you from moving forward, something that is stopping you. A brick wall will stop you from moving forward if you walk or run into one. Then you’d have to find a way over, around, or under it. And this is possible only if you see those possibilities. You would have to be able to see climbing, digging, or a change of direction as other ways (possibilities) to approach the challenge. If you don’t see other possibilities then the challenge becomes a problem (obstacle).
(If you are flying then that same brick wall is not a problem because it will not obstruct or hinder you because your reality [context] is different. However, you will experience different challenges that occur in a flying context – challenges which you will define as problems or possibilities.)
As we describe challenges that confront us we must be careful not to use language that will cut us off from possibilities. In reality (if you allow) we are never confronted by problems unless we declare it a problem by the language we employ. In truth, we are only faced with possibilities, not problems (obstacles).
If we view challenges or difficulties as possibilities we give ourselves access to options that would not exist if we use the word problem to describe them.
To drill a bit deeper into these ideas, a problem is an obstacle and an obstacle is a THING. If you view a challenge, or yourself, as a THING then you are very limited in what you see, how you see it, and therefore, how you approach it and what you can do with it.
A thing is defined primarily as a material object without life or consciousness; an inanimate object; or, an object, fact, affair, circumstance, or concept considered as being a separate entity.
A thing is a separate entity and separate entities exist in a physical world of matter wherein all things are separate. This is the world of brick walls, obstacles, problems.
In a world of energy all things are one, not separate. The world of energy is the world of options, no obstacles, unlimited expression, and possibilities.
It is important to highlight this contrast of the ‘two worlds’ of energy and matter as they offer 2 ways of seeing, being, and operating in the world.
Possibility is defined as the state or condition of being possible; anything that is possible.
The root word of possibility is possible.
Possible is defined as that may or can be, exist, happen, be done, be used, etc.
A possibility is more than a thing. A possibility is anything that can happen or be done.
A problem is something that stops, hinders, or blocks you and your progress.
When confronted with a challenge or difficulty which you describe as a problem, how might your use of the word problem impact your ability or willingness to overcome the challenge?
Is the challenge even something that needs to be overcome, as if it were an enemy?
(can you see how language, expressed mindlessly, never says what we mean? can you see how we may not mean what we say? can you see how the words we use might suggest something we do not intend to say?)
Maybe our approach to challenges or difficulties is off-base. Maybe, instead of solving a problem we need to transform our seeing which results in a shift in reality (context).
What might be the impact on your thinking if you saw challenges and difficulties not as problems but as possibilities? What would open up for you? What becomes possible with this language and way of seeing?
I like the word possibilities not only for what opens up to us but because it does not suggest anything at all that we can form attachments to. For example, if we were to use the word opportunity (which is a great word, by the way) this might set us up to view what confronts us in a positive light. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course. It’s just that the associations with what is positive, like happy or optimistic, for example, might not match what we’re feeling or thinking, in which case, the dissonance can become a new obstacle.
The word possibility does not suggest we think or feel anything in association with what we are faced with. Possibility does not suggest anything positive or negative. It only suggests that anything can exist, happen, or be done – that’s it. And that landscape of anything gives us as wide a field to explore as we are willing to allow for ourselves.
So instead of seeing challenges, difficulties, and problems we can alter our language and shift our seeing to create possibilities, options, and solutions.