Not every situation which seems like a solution, is actually a solution. And not every situation which seems like a problem, is actually a problem.
All situations are mere possibilities.
During challenging times, it is important to be reminded that life is nothing more than a series of experiences.
Life seems to throw challenging experiences at us at the most unexpected moments. And usually we have very little control over what type of experience it will be, when it will happen, nor exactly how.
We may be able to manage or control certain experiences to some extent. But it's never really entirely our choice how these experiences arise.
Life can present us with all types of horrible experiences. At the most unexpected times, life can throw something at us that we could not imagine was ever possible and this can cause all kinds of suffering in us and others. And the more active we are in life, the more unexpected things will happen to us.
This fact of life should not be underestimated. Sudden death, famine, war, disease, poverty, etc, are all obvious examples.
Still, how we interpret and respond to the various experiences life throws our way is 100% our choice.
Usually, when you don't know how to handle a particular experience that life presents to you, you choose to label it a problem. But what you interpret as a problem, may very well be, and usually is, a welcoming possiblity for someone else.
So in reality, these types of horrible experiences are not problems at all. There really are no problems in life. There are just experiences. And you can choose to turn these into problems or possibilities. This is a choice we all have.
Possibilities & Equanimity
The trick is, in order make this choice and turn whatever life throws at you into possibilities, you have to be in a state of balance or equanimity. Equanimity means being in a state of mental-emotional calmness and composure, especially when difficult experiences arise.
Developing equanimity in your life is very similar to practicing good oral hygiene. The standard for good oral hygiene involves flossing after every meal, but at least once a day is acceptable.
Similarly, at least once per day you should also be flossing your mind, or clearing out negative thoughts and emotions from your consciousness, to ensure you can cultivate and remain in a state of equanimity.
Practical Guidelines For Flossing Your Mind & Cultivating Equanimity
Here are a few simple guidelines for flossing your mind and developing equanimity in your life so that you may begin turning your situations into possibilities:
This form of meditation is a phenomenal tool for quickly resetting your thoughts and emotions. It is arguably the best mind flossing tool that is available to us in the 21st century.
The way it works is that you think of a word that makes no sense to you, one that you will not consciously recognize its meaning, and repeat it over and over again in your mind. What happens is that as your mind repeats a word it doesn't understand, it stops focusing on other thoughts and emotions and tries to figure out the meaning of the word being concentrated on, in effect erasing or nullifying any scattered or fleeting counterproductive thoughts or emotions from the forefront of your consciousness and reseting your perception.
It can be any nonsense word you like. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Iggily biggily. Gollygoops. Ittly bittly. These will all work. You can even make up the word. It doesn't matter so long as your consciousness can't register its meaning or any thoughts or images.
In my experience Hindu Sanskrit words tend to work best, and if someone can teach you the exact pronunciation, they tend work even more profoundly. You can find a lot of information about transcendental mediation words online for free, but you have to make sure you can pronunciate the word as correctly as possible as it does matter how you say it.
Here's a short list of Sanskrit words to get you started. Just pick any word you resonate with and repeat it until your mind resets: Aing, Shiring, Hirim, Kiring, Shirim, Kirin, Shiam, Shiama.
This is another form of meditation that is also a great tool for flossing your mind. By watching your thoughts, you can identify those that are counterproductive and label them as nonsense in your consciousness before they imprint the emotions. This is important because thoughts and emotions can easily manifest into words and actions that then turn into habits, define your character, and become your destiny.
Practicing mindfulness meditation regularly will help slow down your mind and help you begin thinking carefully about the emotions you're feeling and words you should say, allowing you to begin understanding how these will impact the actions you take in any given situation.
This method is often a bit challenging for beginners, but do not be discouraged to try as it is a very powerful method. The key is to not engage and overanalyze your thoughts and emotions as they arise.
If you've never tried it before I recommend finding a quiet place you can sit for a while without distractions (ie no phone, tv, etc). Then you simply turn your attention to your breathing, and deliberately breathe as quietly, slowly and as deeply as possible. After a few minutes of breathing this way, you'll very likely become aware of your thoughts. Simply observe the thoughts and let them pass by, refocusing on your beathing until you're completely immersed in the present moment.
The use of mantras are closely related to transcendental meditation in that they are words or phrases that are repeated to produce profound psychological effects. If you've ever chanted during yoga class, or listened to Gregorian monks chanting and felt a profound sense of calm, then this may work really well for you.
The big difference between transcendental meditation and mantras is that with mantras, you usually are consciously aware of what you're repeating in your mind or singing out loud. That is actually the whole point.
Mantras are positively charged affirmations that force your mind to focus on positive statements that if repeated, over and over again, will erase other thoughts at the front of your consciousness and replace them with what is being concentrated on instead.
There are plenty of free resources out there for using mantras. You can find hours and hours of chanting audio online that you can put on and sing along with, or just have a listen to and follow along with your mind.
My favorite is repeating to myself positive affirmations that begin with the words, "I Am". Insert any positive words or affirmations after these two and repeat them for a few minutes to see just how quickly and easily you can floss your mind of negative mental-emotional debris.
The use of yantras is another great tool for flossing the mind daily. Yantras are special diagrams that have a profound effect on human consciousness.
In Sanskrit yantra means "form", as in these are complex arrangements of forms. In a sense, yantras are similar to machines in that they create a whole different forcefield that you can enter that normally isn't there without it.
All yantras are constructed of arrangements of triangles, with the most simple one being the equilateral triangle. This is important to understand because the basic building material of your body, as well as of everything in the universe, is composed of triangles. All microorganisms have crystalline structures made of triangles, as do all the stars and planets. All the chakras ("wheels") or energy centers of the body are actually triangles that are moving from one dimension into another.
By focusing on yantras, either in your mind with your eyes closed or staring at them with your eyes open, they can nullify negative thoughts and emotions and realign your mind with elevated and expanded levels of consciousness to help address your situations and possibilities more clearly. There are literally hundreds of images online of various arrangements of yantras that you can download to your phone or print out. I recommend focusing on the traditional yantras of the Hindu chakra system, in particular the anahata (heart) chakra, and its various arrangements.