You Are the Solution

Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha

"When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself".  -- Tecumseh

Take a look at the picture at the top of this article. It shows Siddhartha Gautama at the moment when he became enlightened and became Buddha. I find this is a brilliant image. 

When you look closely, you'll notice that inside the circle there is light and beauty. Outside of it are the demons, tempting and threatening Siddhartha in the darkness.

All of that light and beauty, all of that protection from the darkness and fear, Siddhartha created from within himself. And you can, too.

I am not a Buddhist (nor any sort of “~ist”). I have chosen to share this image with you because it speaks to me. It shows that peace and beauty come from within. I am not concerned about how some Buddhists might disagree with me on this point. I am interested in the universality of the human experience. Siddhartha was a great teacher. 

You create your own reality. You were dealt a hand from the Deck of Cards of Life. Some people were dealt a great hand but lost all of their money. Some people were dealt bad hands and never knew the rules of the game. Still others were dealt a modest hand and walked away with all of the chips.

It can take us a long time to realize that we are even in the game, let alone learn the rules or become a master.

Your life condition is the poker hand you have right now. The past doesn’t matter -- the cards you had before. It doesn’t matter how many chips you had before. All that matters is the cards you have in your hand right now and how you play them. The past can be useful to learn from, but too many of us spend much too much time and energy there.

You can complain that the other guy is cheating or that you were dealt a bad hand. It still doesn’t change the fact that the cards you are holding are the cards you are holding. You still have to play them -- or fold.

So, drop the idea that your life situation is someone else’s fault, or society’s fault, or karmic fault. You are responsible for yourself. If you are miserable, then you have to change what you are doing, because whatever you have been doing isn’t working.

In any situation you are the one who has to change, not the other person. You don’t have control over the other person. You can't change anyone else. You can only change yourself. 

This does not mean that you should allow other’s to treat you poorly. Demand that you are treated with respect, but don’t disrespect others in the process. There is a big difference between standing up for yourself and trying to control others. Controlling others doesn’t work.

Look at the picture again. Siddhartha found his enlightenment by going inward, past his mind. He did not think his way to enlightenment. He did the opposite. He shut off his mind and experienced his true being.

I believe that at our core is our spirit. And that spirit is connected to everything else. It goes by many different names. We all have the ability to tap into it.

The great teachers from around the world describe the same thing from their different cultural points of view. Look inward to overcome the animalistic urges.

If you are still breathing, then you have the opportunity to change your life for the better. 

But you have to do it. No one is going to do it for you. People will help you along the way, but you have to do the heavy lifting. The really impressive people are the one’s who overcame great obstacles.

“It always seems impossible until it is done,” said Nelson Mandela, who accomplished the impossible.

If you would like help changing your life for the better, you can contact me because that is what I do. I work with people worldwide via Skype to help them on their path. The first meeting is free. Take the first step and drop me a line. I look forward to hearing from you.

Paul Crouse

Paul Crouse is a spiritual teacher and advisor, life coach, writer, speaker and photographer based in Kyoto, Japan. He helps people who consciously want to change their lives for the better. He helps people build a strong inner foundation, while helping them to clarify and achieve their goals. He works with people worldwide via video calling or face-to-face in Kyoto. He also leads workshops and seminars, both online and in person, for organizations and companies.