One can travel every corner of the world and never get any farther away from his problems. He might gain new problems which, for a time, allow him to forget about his old problems. But a universal constant is that issues are never too far from the surface.
Smiles offered to us as we travel through Thailand come from monks who have problems just as gang members in Guatemala City might give us scornful looks. Each of us has problems, and each of us feel equally compelled to fear them.
Nevertheless, the more we run from our issues, the more destructive it becomes to us and likely also to those around us.
Think about it: Has our running away made us any happier? As travelers, it’s difficult not to be overwhelmed with pleasure and awe when we encounter the new and amazing things on the trail. But when the evening creeps around and we find ourselves staring at the hostel bunk above us or the stars overhead, we may still find our wonderful memories stained by the return of that old issue we never dealt with.
It is there for a reason. And it’s not going away. Not until we turn and face it. And it will only grow in time like a cancer.
But there’s some good news involved with this frightening thought. Firstly, even the most minuscule problems that others deal with mean just as much to them as the bigger issues do to us. We may see their problems as less profound than ours, but there’s no proof that this is the case. So it might help knowing that each of us are made aware of our problems in our own way and with an individual, yet collective sense of urgency.
Essentially, we’re all fighting a private battle with our past. And each of us feels the same apprehension over sharing, fear of failing to overcome, even the embarrassment of the original issue. So that leaves us — the entire human population — all fighting the same battle but on an individual level. Imagine how easy it would be to simply deal with it as the collective group of the equally frustrated mind-warriors that we are!
Also, problems seem more profound to us at different times in our lives. But the imperative to act is always constant. If we close our eyes and think back to the last long term pressing issue we had, we will note that the initiative to handle that issue may have come and gone, but never lessened in intensity. Even when we have sought to skew it with projects, detour it with distractions or even drink it away.
Looking up a hill before we climb it always seems to look much less intimidating from the top. But if this hill stands between where we’re at and where we want to be, it simply must be scaled.
Tools that make this process much easier include communicating with others and stating reachable goals with their assistance; forgiving others who might have wronged us along the way; forgiving ourselves for the same; offering genuine trust in order to realize that pitfalls as well as safety nets are available and inevitable; being a person others can trust; and of course, love for the people who’ve taught you.
No more running away from our challenges. Change the pattern. Surprise the world. Chase them down instead.
Featured cover image Source.