In order to get good "court sense," a beginning racquetball player must put up with the difficulties of learning how the ball bounces; only then will they understand the ball's nature and become relaxed and proficient. The player must face the problems through practice, however. If they try to think it out, they will never learn the intricacies of the game.

When things come up in our lives and present themselves as burdens rather than simply something to be solved, we probably aren't yet sure how to play the game; we haven't acquired enough wisdom to dispatch the problems quickly and easily. It would be similar to a novice racquetball player that isn't certain how the ball will bounce - off the ceiling, off the floor, the four walls? - and finds herself chasing the ball all over the court! An experienced player, on the other hand, simply moves by what we might call wisdom or experience to the spot where they know the ball will end up after it does all it all of its bouncing!

When we develop wisdom, problems might remain but their impact doesnt. There are still things to do and figure out, but they no longer present themselves as tribulations. To acquire this wisdom, however, is the tricky part; it involves either a lot of experience with the numerous things that can come up, or an intuitive wisdom that acts without having to study each new problem in depth. Intuitive wisdom, or insight, just knows! Either way, life's problems fade away and we shrug them off as if we have faced them a million times before and know exactly what to do without the accompanying confusion and worry.

How to develop this wisdom is the question. We can never develop it by reading books about our problems; there are way too many diverse problems and not enough self help books. We need to actually experience the pain of one problem completely, and not run away by diverting our attention. We cannot simply gloss over our problems quickly with temporary fixes as we have in the past; we have to get to the nitty-gritty of our problems; we have to get to the root of the big problem.

When we do this, we begin to see a connection between the immediate problem and the big picture problem. What I am trying to say is that the immediate problem is only a tip of the iceberg of a greater problem, and until we solve the greater problem, the little ones will pop up forever to plague us. Until our minds become as clear and open as a child's (but with wisdom) we will fall into a trap of making quick fixes for symptoms, but never cure the basic disease.

Once we are able to see the utter straightforwardness of our problems, then all of our problems, big and small, will cease to cause difficulties; it is a matter of perception. Once we see the valley from the height of the mountain, then, because of that lofty perspective, our experiences in the valley change forever. Once we see that our problems cannot touch the real us, that nothing within existence can, then the problems are no longer problems at all and only the next thing to be done. The peaks and valleys now level out as our expectations and our tragedies moderate into a calm, ordinary, but never dull, life.

Life lived at this level is full of wonder; for every moment becomes a moment lived in eternity as we drop our shells of self. There is no longer a "me" against the world, because the world now becomes "me", and we become the world. Each problem becomes merely circumstances, none better or worse than those that came before or that will come after.

Existence is now seen for what it is; changing circumstances within a framework of time and nothing more. And although the circumstances must be addressed, they no longer have a hold on our hearts.

Our hearts have flown away, to a place of which we cannot speak, but a place where the weight of the world is no more. And this is where we dwell.

Author's Bio: 

Anagarika eddie is a meditation teacher at the Dhammabucha Rocksprings Meditation Retreat Sanctuary and author of “A Year to Enlightenment.” His 30 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Thervada Buddhist monk.

He lived at Wat Pah Nanachat under Ajahn Chah, at Wat Pah Baan Taad under Ajahn Maha Boowa, and at Wat Pah Daan Wi Weg under Ajahn Tui. He had been a postulant at Shasta Abbey, a Zen Buddhist monastery in northern California under Roshi Kennett; and a Theravada Buddhist anagarika at both Amaravati Monastery in the UK and Bodhinyanarama Monastery in New Zealand, both under Ajahn Sumedho. The author has meditated with the Korean Master Sueng Sahn Sunim; with Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia; and with the Tibetan Master Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. He has also practiced at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Zen Center in San Francisco.