The great Indian Buddhist saint Shantideva said, “If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.”
This is very applicable advice for us even today. Our personal lives, societies, and communities can be vastly improved by applying this simple practice. In general, we are all trying to make our lives meaningful, we are working to accomplish our own heart goals and to achieve certain things. We are giving energy to projects or people or relationships or intentions that are important to us, for one reason or another. But sometimes we get caught. Sometimes we find ourselves stuck, unable to move forward or back, like an ant in a spider web, thrashing around and getting nowhere.
Why does this happen? Because we have lost our flexibility. We forget that the world does not function according to our own plan and schedule. Basically, our ego takes over and becomes a control freak. We try to control everything. We expect everything to work according to a plan … our plan.
But this is not a realistic expectation. If we can step back and look at what is going on, we will realize this. Just thinking about this, knowing this, reflecting on it, and applying the words of Shantideva to our situation will change our situations entirely. It will bring peace. Basically, it will help us to loosen up, to take things easy.
Please be clear; taking things easy does not mean laying back and not doing anything. It means being compassionate and keeping the peace and sanity of our own mind. It means taking responsibility for the only thing we can really control – ourselves. Once our minds are peaceful and calm, all of our positive potential will awaken, and ripen, and bear fruit. Then what happens is actually we end up getting what we want. Our life’s goals can be achieved without aggression, without fighting, in a peaceful way.
This is very simple, practical advice from thousands of years ago that can we apply to ourselves, to our own minds, in today’s world. We just need to practice it to make it work for us. Try it and see.