Your Problems Are All in Your Head

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The Buddha

Literally. For most people, something becomes a problem if you decide it is. Joseph Goldstein tells the story of a highly accomplished teacher who went on a retreat in a building just outside of a town in India. The local people decided one night to have a huge party across the road. The teacher on retreat could hear the music clearly. At first, he got angry, wondering why the people of the town did not have more respect for his retreat.

Then he realized that the sound was just sound and it was only annoying because he chose to find it annoying. He went back to meditating.

As is often the case, the observations of Buddhism invite the objection that some people are in intolerable situations. If you can help them, do so. If not, don’t worry about it. For the most part, worry about yourself.

Another Buddhist teacher talked about his good, middle class, American parents, who have a long list of items that have to be exactly right for them to be happy.

The longer your list, the more likely you are to be unhappy because it is more likely that something on your list will not be just right. And happiness does not depend on external circumstances. Meditate and find happiness inside your head.

If you see something as a problem, stop and think — is it really a problem, or are you just making it a problem?

Keep meditating.

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