One of the prime causes of people’s suffering is that they make something out of nothing. They take something that is just a transient thought, feeling or sensation and they turn it into a more elaborate and palpable thing. They make an issue out of it. Rather than just observing that, on the last few occasions, they had thought in a certain manner, responded with particular emotions, or felt specific sensations, they decide, instead, that they have a mental, psychological, emotional or health issue.
How do we turn something that happens more than once into an issue? Such as an unpleasant event or circumstance arises. It makes us think about some aspect of ourselves; it brings up certain emotions and we have physical sensations in our body. This response that we have to this event is something that we do, probably unconsciously, in response to the isolated event or circumstance. We could respond in a different way if we make a conscious effort, but we don’t even know why we are experiencing the response we have. When a similar event or circumstance comes up a few more times and we notice the same unpleasant internal response, we create our personal story about it. Or better yet, we ask someone else to tell us their story about it.
We could have simply noticed that we have been repeatedly responding to this matter in the same particular way. We could have consciously observed ourselves in the next similar circumstance so we could create a different outcome. But instead, we make an issue or problem out of it. To us it becomes a tangible or an undeniable fact and because of it, we are no longer responsible for our thoughts, actions or feelings. Our reaction to the situation or circumstance becomes something solid. It is now a thing that we have that we need to treat, address or get rid of. The issue replaces the actual experience of the situation. And therefore we suffer.
There are three P’s to creating an issue out of something. In order to make our story into an issue, we must make it Personal, Pervasive and Permanent. These three adjectives turn our concept of what happened in response to the situation or circumstance into something solid. It becomes (or has become) something we can analyse, read about, get treatment for, seek advice for or discuss with people. All these things take our responsibility away from the way we respond to the situation or circumstance.
To make something personal, we take ownership of it. It becomes OUR problem. It has meaning about who we are and it begins to define us. We now believe that the particular thought, emotion or sensation is a flaw that we have—that we have a condition that prevents us from responding in any other way.
We make the response pervasive. It happens ALL the time, no matter what we try or do. It is constantly occurring and always there. No aspect of our life is unaffected by it. It’s everywhere.
Finally, we make it permanent. It’s never going to go away unless we get it treated, do something to get rid of it or pray for a remission. We are this way and we can’t expect any better.
These three P’s allow us to make an issue out of something. They let us get wrapped up in our own unique story about an event or circumstance, rather than be open to the actual experience of it. If we would only just fully be present to the experience as it happens, we could take responsibility for how we respond to the event or circumstance. But when we make an issue of it, it is no longer in our control.
What issues may you have created that allow you to evade responsibility for your response to a particular situation or circumstance?
Using the Stage 1 SRI exercise we start to reconnect to the parts of our body we have alienated or disconnected from. Using touch, breath, movement and energy in positions 1, 2 and 3 we learn that it can be safe to experience our body again. This brings a sense of peace and joy in acknowledgement and acceptance of our disconnection.