What if you were certain that your future is bright? Would you feel happy? If so, what would it be worth to you to attain that happy state of mind? If we envision this worry free ideal as a goal, we can start to see the path we need to take in order to get there.
Let’s start with the notion of how we go about solving problems. Once we’ve assessed the problem and have a good understanding of what needs to be achieved, the next thing we need to do is consider what resources we have available to us. In this scenario, when the problem has already arisen, we have a degree of certainty about what the problem is and what we are capable of doing to solve it. In other words, we can assess our capacity for problem solving fairly well in the present moment.
By contrast, when we are dealing with a hypothetical problem, i.e., one that has not yet arisen, there are many unknowns. For one thing, we don’t even know whether the problem will arise or not, but also, we don’t know the extent of the problem and we don’t know what resources we will have to deal with it if it arises. What we do know is that, if there is a problem, our greatest tool for dealing with it will be our present moment awareness.
So it turns out that we are much better at solving real problems. Hypothetical problems are impossible to solve because, due to the lack of certainty about the extent of the problem, we will never know whether we’ve done enough to solve it. A more general approach to hypothetical problems is more advisable. If we strengthen our capacity to be aware in the present moment, when we are met with difficulty we will have the tools to direct our available resources towards a potential solution. The more that we apply this approach in practice, the more we will confirm its validity and we will gain greater confidence in it.
This confidence in the value of mindfulness is what will lead to the worry free life I mentioned at the beginning of this post. When we know that mindfulness itself is the source of all solutions, then we will be certain that our worries and fears are not warranted and this will give us an enduring sense of satisfaction and safety.