Can You Be Peaceful Even When Solving a Problem?

Sometimes trying to find parking is a problem. Does it need to make you stressed?

Problem Solving Provides a Challenge for Me

Not just the challenge of finding a solution to the problem. But the internal challenge of staying peaceful even when I haven’t yet found a solution.

My life-long tendency is to get somewhat stressed–tense, anxious, impatient–when I’m working on a problem. I notice head and neck pressure. And I start pushing myself harder and harder if a certain pace of progress is not maintained.

Sometimes I give up in exasperation. Sometimes I find a solution. But most of the times I stubbornly persist in problem solving, locked into an obsession with finding a solution. It takes over my life. I can’t rest. I can’t think of anything else until the problem is solved. Needless to say it’s a common source of stress for me.

How Can I Use The Work to Deal with this Stress?

I’m just starting to explore doing The Work on the stress I get when problem solving. Here are some ideas I plan to explore with The Work.

1. Identifying and questioning my motives in any problem solving situation. What do I want? Why do I want it? I think this lies at the core of my stress. My attachment to the outcome is where the pressure comes from. I look forward to identifying, questioning, and turning around my motives.

2. Noticing who I’m trying to please. Often, I feel more stress when I’m in a position of responsibility to others, or if I’m trying to impress others. This is an added layer of stress that I can question. I can do this by writing Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheets on the people who are expecting results and then questioning and turning around all the stressful thoughts I write on my worksheets.

3. Questioning the pressure of time. When I solve problems, there seems to always be a pressure of time. “It needs to be done right away!” I think this is would be a very valuable area to question. Is it true that it needs to be done by Wednesday? I look forward to questioning my deadlines.

Let Me Know Your Ideas

If you have used The Work to question your stressful thoughts around problem solving, I’d love to hear your experience. And if you have any suggestions for me as I do my work, please let me know.

Have a great week,

“If you think that you have a problem, you’re confused. Go inside and know what’s true for you: that is the medicine, that is the freedom. It’s the freedom I enjoy.” — Byron Katie, Question Your Thinking, Change The World

Get two new articles about The Work of Byron Katie every week, plus my checklist for the Judge-Your-Neighbor-Worksheet. Subscribe to the newsletter here.

If you like this article, feel free to forward the link to friends, family or colleagues. Or share the link on Facebook or other social media. If you have thoughts you’d like to share about it, please leave your comments below.

Todd Smith has been doing The Work of Byron Katie on an almost daily basis since 2007. He is just as excited about this simple process of self-inquiry today as he was when he first came across it. He also enjoys writing about The Work, and training others in the subtleties of this meditative process. Join Todd for The Work 101 online course, private sessions, virtual retreats, and his ongoing Inquiry Circle group.