When we talk about problems in processing, we are not talking about things that one solves, as in a math problem, but about persistent difficulties which remain fixed and which one can’t seem to solve.
For example, we are not talking about solving the “problem” of how to pour the concrete foundation for adding a new room to a house. That is something you handle by studying construction or hiring an engineer. Instead, we are talking about problems such as needing to add an extra room but not being able to afford it. In this case there is a conflict, with two things in opposition. The need for a room and the absence of money.
In the sense that we are using here, it is only a true problem if it is a persistent condition that exists because of two things in conflict.
If there were only one rather than two things involved, it would carry through to its natural completion. But with two things in opposition to each other, they hang suspended and cause the person’s attention to fixate.
In theory the person should be able to figure out one side or the other. In our example, he would either figure out an alternative to adding a room or some other solution to his need for extra space or he would figure out a way to make more money or build it more cheaply or whatever. These are the normal mechanics of living life and solving the one sided “problems” which are no more than exercises in how to get things done.
But when two things lock up like this, they become difficult to confront. When the person tries to confront the problem of needing more room, he stirs up his money worries and can’t think about it clearly. And when he tries to confront his money troubles, he gets distracted by the worries about needing the extra room. And so the problem persists, continually nagging at him and never really resolving unless some outside force intervenes.
And he will become habitual on certain kinds of problems, so that even when a specific situation is solved by gratuitous fortune, he gets the same kind of mess going again as quickly as possible.
Furthermore, all logic and appearances to the contrary, if he has gotten stuck like this you will find that he is himself creating both sides of the problem. He is stuck because he is putting both opposing forces there and holding them in opposition and sitting in the middle between them. That is why he can’t think and do something to change the situation.
There is more to discuss here, but we should run some processes first.
Most of these processes use “What is the problem?” as the first question. They are generally simple alternating commands where you spot the problem and then spot something about the problem and then spot the problem again etc. You need to keep spotting the problem because it will change and your awareness of it will increase. Also, an earlier problem that underlies the first one may come into view, so don’t make a point of continuing to spot the same problem.
This is very simple. Just alternate the two commands, letting the problem shift around or letting an underlying problem come into view as needed.
a) What is the problem
b) What part of that problem could you confront
15.2 Games and Creation
At basic, we are balancing the nothingness with an infinity of creation. As a person becomes blocked on direct creation, he still continues to add to the richness and variety by playing interesting games. When he can’t do that either, he starts creating problems compulsively because that at least gives him some kind of game and creation.
By inventing problems or games, the person begins to create causatively and can get off of the stuck compulsive creation that is holding a problem in place.
Each of the following 3 processes has two commands that should be alternated.
15.2.1a) What is the problem
15.2.1b) Invent a problem of comparable magnitude
15.2.2a) What is the problem
15.2.2b) Invent something worse than that problem
15.2.3a) What is the problem
15.2.3b) Invent a game that would be more interesting than that problem.
15.3 More on Confront
15.3a) what problem could you confront
15.3b) what problem could another confront
15.3c) what problem could others confront
If one has a problem of this sort (two things in conflict), and one “solves” it without confronting or taking apart the source of the conflict, the solution doesn’t actually remove the original problem but simply buries it. In our example of needing an extra room (perhaps one now needs a second bedroom for a child) and not having enough money for it, one might “solve” it by borrowing money or even by getting divorced.
This in turn becomes a new fixed idea because the solution must be held in place to avoid the original problem. And being fixed in place, it will in turn become a new problem. This is a self perpetuating mechanism which leads to ever more problems.
Let’s do some processes on this.
15.4.1a) What is the problem
15.4.1b) What solutions have you had for that problem
15.4.2a) What problem has another had with you
15.4.2b) What solutions have they had for that problem
15.4.3a) What problem has another had with others
15.4.3b) What solutions have they had for that problem
15.5 Incomplete Communications
The earliest problems came about through fixed ideas that rest firmly on the protest button that we addressed in the previous chapter. But the protest itself comes about because of communication barriers. And so we can also handle problems by addressing stopped communications.
15.5.1a) What is the problem
15.5.1b) What communications have you left incomplete about that problem
15.5.2a) What problem has another had with you
15.5.2b) What communications have they left incomplete about that problem
15.5.3a) What problem has another had with others
15.5.3b) What communications have they left incomplete about that problem
The person is creating their own problems.
15.6.1a) What is the problem
15.6.1b) What part of that problem could you be responsible for
And then run:
15.6.2a) What is the problem
15.6.2b) What part of that problem could you admit causing
Since we are concerned with problems that have two sides in conflict, lets practice spotting two things at a time.
Look around the room and spot two objects at a time until you can comfortably hold two things in your mind at once.
15.8 Running Both Sides
Now lets look at the two sided nature of problems. And let’s run back chains of problems because the person creates the same problem again and again.
This can be run many times, each time taking a problem back down a chain of earlier similar problems until the chain dissolves. Keep running this until you feel freed of the weight of past problems.
First spot or recall a problem. Then do the following steps over and over until either the problem dissolves or it seems to be getting more solid or has stopped changing (no new material is coming up). If this happens (becoming more solid or not resolving), then spot an earlier similar problem and run these steps on it. Keep going earlier similar until the entire thing comes apart with real relief.
The commands are:
a) state or restate the problem
b) spot something about one side of the problem
c) spot something about the other side of the problem