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  • Thomas Bien

What to do When You Don’t Know What to Do

We all experience frustrations, aggravations, and tensions in our daily lives. But occasionally, life throws us a dilemma that can completely overwhelm us. We question ourselves about everything. We don’t know what to do.

When this happens, it is helpful to remember that the emotions we are experiencing are just a flow of energy in the body and mind. While they may seem way too permanent, they actually are temporary, like everything in life. With this perspective, we can see about being present to what we are experiencing rather than pushing it away. The attitude is: So this is what sadness is like. This is what grief is like. This is what anger is like. This is what despair is like. This means that we allow ourselves to taste the actual experience we are having instead of thinking about it. We let go of any preconception that we somehow should always know just what to do.

In this way, we allow the turmoil to gradually calm down, till we gain clarity and perspective again—till we know what to do, and just as importantly, what to avoid doing.

None of this should be taken to mean that this is easy, or that, by using this as a kind of technique, we can be spared the experience of our suffering. But with it, we will have a chance to come through in tact and with wisdom, while avoiding saying and doing things that will only make the matter worse.

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