Problem-Solution. When glancing at the words where do your eyes focus? Where does your attention dwell, on the word ‘problem’ or does it tend to fixate on the word ‘solution’? Chances are we are inclined to shift attention and focus on the word solution. So, what’s the problem (pun intended), with this? During the first few weeks here with Pal Pandian I came to understand directly and deeply what we are missing in life when our attention fixates on solving problems.
We can easily substitute the word ‘situation’ for problem. It is more inclusive and applicable. Pal used the word situation speaking to me about the deeper levels of Vasi yoga. The reason this came up and was important for me to see in myself is that it is a, or rather the, primal knot in my awareness. The one that must be encountered fully. It must be experienced and lived in all its nuances in order to transcend the limitations inherent within it.
As a society we are programmed to resolve situations of every type throughout our days and lives. Be it work, relationships, money, health, and virtually all other aspects of life, we possess a certain tendency. Fix it, resolve it. It is a sort of impulsiveness, of trying to move through any given situation without fully encountering it, resting in it and thus coming to know it fully.
A perfect example came up just a few days ago and in a rather ordinary way. I have had problems emailing blogs/newsletters for some time now and realized the third party company really wasn’t working. Speaking to a friend here in India, he suggested I use the email service of the company I use for web hosting. After a bit of research I called them up and enlisted the plan. The problem was that it was a completely different format and one that I had no idea how to use. Approaching my friend Murugan, I asked if he could help.
“Sure I can help you,” he said, “but why don’t you just call their service desk yourself and see if they can walk you through it?”
“Oh yea, they do have the guarantee that they will assist you once you sign up – makes sense to me.”
Murugan suggested I call the company’s India offices but I chose instead to call the one located in the U.S. thinking that it would be smoother. Boy was I in for a surprise. Early the next morning I waited for over 30 minutes and when the rep came on the line I could barely make out what he was saying. Talking so fast as to be inaudible, I gathered my myself and began to explain the situation. Without fully understanding what was needed he started giving advice on how to work the program. It was of no use as I couldn’t get him to start at the beginning, much less take the time to lead me through the first (most difficult for me) steps. Over an hour on the phone and nothing was accomplished.
Reporting my disappointment to Murugan the next day he insisted, once more, that I call the line here in India. Figuring that I had nothing to lose at this point I took him up on his suggestion. This time my call was answered immediately and by a young man who not only spoke evenly, was in no rush to finish the call and move to the next, but also took immense pleasure in helping me step-by-step! Being Indian he immediately noticed the website and the blog I was attempting to email.
“So, you are from the U.S. and this is your website, Siddhavasihealing.com?”
“It is,” I replied.
“Oh I really love this picture and the blog you have on Navaratri. This is wonderful. I want to read all the blogs,” he exclaimed, “but now let’s walk you through all this so you can learn how to use our email service so that all the other people can see it too.”
Less than an hour later this young man had taught me every detail of the email campaign service. Listening closely to my questions he guided me in learning their resolution. However, not once did he jump ahead to offer any advice or direction. Instead he waited for me as I learned each part of the process. He never tried to move out the situation and substitute a solution.
What I learned from this relatively mundane interaction was what Pal had spoken to me several weeks earlier. It had been a very difficult and trying time for me. If you’ve read my book, Rivulets of the Absolute, then you may recall that Pal calls Vasi yoga a very difficult and demanding practice. It is indeed extremely challenging….to say the least. Requiring immense patience, determination and stamina one must be utterly committed. The beauty is that nothing is excluded. In this way, I learned a valuable lesson simply from being on the phone resolving a computer issue. Isn’t that simply wonderful?
This neurosis of impulsiveness is also reflected in the world of healing. I recall some time ago Pal told me, “For many, many years I learned from so many teachers. Even now, each and every day I am always learning, always keeping a beginners mind. But, while learning I never think how to apply these things, what they would be used for, or what diseases. This learning, this beginners mind to all aspects of life you should always keep. Without it we grow old and is the basis of all illness.”
Since Pal Pandian is a native trained healer his approach to Siddha medicine and healing is vastly different from the academically trained Siddha physicians. Much like the doctors of allopathy, when a patient comes to them presenting symptoms, they immediately begin to think of the medicines to give. It is here that they miss! They don’t sustain in listening to the symptoms or the person.
We don’t like to sustain in our situations and problems in life. Instead we compulsively try to come out of them. Reflexively we will try to catch or substitute some type of solution. Just so we can move on to something else. This is why I call it neurotic. However, should we resist these urges and instead feel ourselves in any given situation the most natural and beautiful thing happens: the solution effortlessly appears. How does it come to us and from where does it come? “The beauty,” Pal said, “is that the solution to every situation, lies within the very problem itself.”
This lack of effort is beautiful because we are no longer striving to achieve anything. Instead are meeting life in a fully open, trusting and stressless manner. Like when we were little children and filled with wonder and vigor.
“The obvious is the most elusive.”
The above quote is the most succinct form of wisdom I have ever encountered. Spoken by Pal to me several years ago, it continues to unfold in both my awareness and experience. The beauty of it all is that it shows up in all areas of life, whether fixing a computer issue, relating with others, giving healing sessions, and even the practice of the Siddhas yoga called Vasi. Only a few days ago Pal spoke the following words to me on this subject and my own attitude to the practice:
Think of the flow of the stream and not a waterfall.
Flow with what is within and with the current of nature.
In a mind as clear as still water even the ripples are reflecting its light,
for we come through in waves.
Be soft in your practice but hard in your discipline.
Be accepting of all and let go of everything.
Being at peace is the passion of everyday life, for that is the only path.
Think with your whole body, and feel with your whole heart.