The Problem That All Religion, Psychology and Spirituality Are Trying To Solve
Bill Cottringer

“Should we all confess our sins to one another we would all laugh at one another for our lack of originality.” ~Kahlil Gabran.

There is a very large “elephant metaphor” in life’s living room, that when not mentioned, it keeps us all from experiencing our full potential in learning, growing and improving into our best selves. This “elephant metaphor” is our vague personal image as to what is basically “wrong”—or what the main problem is—that is in the way of our getting to where we want to be from our efforts to get there. The biggest problem is seeing this problem as plural, which is very natural, vs. being singular and common for us all.

Why is this elephant in the room so hard to talk about? For several good reasons. In the normal evolution of our thinking, we tend to first dissect things apart and notice their many differences which become annoying and eventually the enemy that needs to be defeated. The trouble with this type of thinking, is that it only represents half the truth about what we are doing in trying to get where we want to be. The other half of this journey involves rejoining things back together again, to remember and appreciate their singular commonality, unity and wholeness, because that is the only way to be truly successful in getting to the finish line.

The many problems and obstacles in our way have multiplied 1000X-fold since their original metaphorical start in the Garden of Eden. And back then, there was only one single sin that somehow got mistranslated into a library of “sins,” each with their own set of good and bad connotations. Uncovering the original sin is a very slow and painful process in human growth because it is wrapped in very powerful metaphors with very strong judgments about good and bad and what each may mean for eternity. That is serious business!

To get at the true meaning of our central human problem we have to suspend the typical good vs. bad and right vs. wrong dichotomous judgments hiding the truth about what is keeping us from getting to where we want to be—successful and happy in overcoming the fundamental problem that is keeping us from being genuinely successful and authentically happy. This fundamental problem has been called many things but they all represent a very fundamental “facture in our being,” caused by and resulting in an even stronger sense of a separate self apart from everything else in life that ironically is both our gift and curse, depending upon which half of life we are working on.

This ‘crack in the cosmic egg” as it was called by earlier philosophical human potential writers has many symptoms that we all fight:

• An annoying sense of incompleteness, emptiness, alienation and not belonging, which we desperately want to fix.
• A lack of basic trust and confidence in the ultimate goodness of life, giving way to over-confidence and ego pride of being successful in doing it our own winning way.
• A prevalence of skepticism of all suspected truth that doesn’t have trusted proof, in favor of personal, situational preferences.
• A predicament in which we are forced to let go to the faith that something either is or isn’t, or that continued searching isn’t worth the investment for practical reasons.

Obviously religion, psychology and spirituality have all made great progress in helping people understand this fundamental fracture of being and doing something about it. But real progress in overcoming this formidable obstacle to personal growth and improvement, relies on accumulating enough painful failures to accept the truth that you simple can’t repair the fracture with the same kind of thinking—overloaded with self-centeredness and pride—that created it. And that process starts with disassembling the many layers of moral judgments of “good” and “evil” that we have been unproductively added by us all collectively to cover the real nature of the fracture from sight and understanding.

And this important realization has to be followed by a gradual letting go to pure faith that this is exactly what we have to do, despite the fact that the necessary de-egotizing and de-moralizing about the fracture’s cure is so contrary to human nature. A true paradox! The trouble with that reality is that it is human nature that has to be transcended and that challenge doesn’t presently have a prescription. It is a highly personal thing to finally learn how to use the gift nature of your self-consciousness to undo it’s curse nature, in healing the fracture. It is like trying to use a saw to put two pieces of wood back together again.

The only sensible advice anyone can give is to use your thinking to keep asking and answering why you aren’t where you want to be regarding anything you are doing, until you can’t hide from the real answer—what you did to cause your own fracture and what you insist on continuing to do to make it worse. That may be where we are all different, with different monkeys on our backs. And it will take a long time for that invaluable insight to take hold in order to get results. The only thing you can do to speed it up, is to pay closer attention to the important connection between what you are trying to do, why, and how, and what you are feeling about the results you are getting. I guess Dr. Phil would summarize it as, “How is that working for you?”

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA and also a business and personal success coach, sport psychologist, photographer and writer living in the mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Passwords to The Prosperity Zone, You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too, The Bow-Wow Secrets, Do What Matters Most, “P” Point Management, Reality Repair Rx and Reality Repair coming shortly from Global Vision Press. He can be contacted with comments or questions at 425 454-5011 or