How To See Obstacles As Learning Opportunities

Meditation is a great way to forget about you problems and just relax in a worry-free environment. But what do you do when your problems are too big to just forget about? Having these problems on your mind while you are trying to meditate can disrupt your practice and make it difficult for you to relax. Everyone has these types of large problems that are hard not to think about from time to time, but when you do have these problems, it is important to know how to handle them, and how to adjust your meditation practice accordingly.

A good way to face your problems in order to help your meditation practice is to realize what your problems are, and recognize them as learning opportunities, rather than actual problems. Meditation teacher Pema Chödrön says “Rather than seeing everything as a problem, or an obstacle to being happy, or even as an obstacle to meditation and being present, we can see it as a teacher that is showing us something we need to know.” By choosing to see things as a learning experience rather than a problem, you are immediately allowing yourself to: 1) relax a little by knowing that you are not having a problem, you are just having a new experience to learn from, and 2) learn from your mistakes, and try to avoid them in the future. Learning experiences are always better than problems, so why not try and see your problems as a chance to learn and better yourself? 

Sometimes in life, one of our greatest problems is the recognition we receive from others, or in this case, the lack thereof. For example, people often times feel like they are not given proper credit for their efforts at work, and that is a problem for them; or they feel that they are not paid enough attention in their daily lives. Zen Master So Sahn suggests that craving social approval is not healthy, and that if someone pays special attention to you, that is great, but if they do not, you shouldn’t worry about it. By not worrying about how people see you, you are allowing yourself to live a more carefree life, and getting rid of the notion that you have a problem when people do not give you the attention you want them to.

Everyone has “off days” that seem like they are never going to end. Whatever kind of problem you are having, whether it is something work-related or something that has to do with your social or family life, it is important to know how to adjust your meditation. It is also important to know that this feeling will pass, and that you will get through it. It may be a rough road ahead, but with a little meditation, and a lot of believing in yourself, your problems will pass, and you will be happy.