Often when resolving a problem, people will say something like, “Let’s get to the root of the problem,” or “Let’s get to the core of the problem.” If you are trying to remove dandelions from your lawn, if you mow off the top, that doesn’t fix the problem. Your lawn will look better for a short while (like half a day), and then you will notice they are still there, growing back with vigor. If you don’t get to the root, the problem will persist. The idea is that if we don’t get to the real source of the problem and only address what is on the surface, we are not going to make progress in improving the situation.
This is a correct principle and could apply to just about any area in life. You could apply it to your finances, relationships, health problems, emotional problems, or spiritual problems. It applies to problems in world government and other social problems as well. Anywhere there is a problem in our world, to solve the problem we need to get to the core of the issue. But, just as it is with dandelions, it is so much easier to just make surface level changes that seems to help. It is much more difficult to make the tough decisions that will really solve the problem. Government officials rarely have the courage to address the core of the problem. But also most people are unwilling to dig in and see the truth of what has caused their problem. Most people don’t want to take responsibility for the problems they face. It is human nature that we want to blame problems on something outside of us. Each of us has an ego, and our ego demands that we are “right”. So, when we have contributed to a problem (knowingly or unknowingly) one of our first responses is to justify ourselves, so that we appear to remain innocent, and someone or something else is to blame. Arbinger Institute wrote two very good books about this, “Leadership and Self Deception,” and “The Anatomy of Peace”. I highly recommend both books. They illustrate how we deceive ourselves into believing that we in the right when we aren’t. We have all done this. In fact we are so good at it we don’t even realize we are doing it. We have so completely deceived ourselves we are blind to having done it, and we are sure we are innocent and the problem is being caused by another source. We don’t want to see that the root of the problem lies within us. That is a bitter pill to swallow, and it is never pleasant to discover it. But once we address the core of the problem within us, it is so liberating!
So what is the core of the problem within us? For each of us there are elements of this that will be unique, but for each of us there is also some common ground. As I have coached hundreds of people over the years, I have found a common denominator that seems to be almost universal. As we work through the layers of outer symptoms of the problem (leaves of the dandelion), and finally get down to the root, I find the same conflict within each person. It is conflict between the truth about a person’s identity, and what the person has come to believe is the truth about their identity. There it is, the core of the core of the core of the core of the problem. I say it that way because so often a person thinks they have found the root of the problem, but as we continue working… wait, there is more. And then we finally get to it! This is not easy to address, because we fiercely defend our false identities, we are so deceived about who we are, it may seem crazy to suggest we are someone different than we have to believe in.
The truth is that within each of us is a brilliant spirit that has existed for eternity, with infinite potential. Each of us is a child of a loving God. Our lives have purpose. We are eternal beings going through a physical experience. And we have come to believe that our physical experience is what defines us. But there is so much more to us than our short experience in this body, and part of us remembers the truth of who we are, and our infinite capacity. Another part of us sees us as very limited, through a very distorted lens, often a very dark lens. When we can align ourselves with the truth of who we really are, then we have peace of mind. Then we have hope and confidence. We were created in the image of God, and the better we come to know God the more clearly we will see the truth of who we are. All the attributes of God are within us. He has perfected those attributes, we are still infants in God’s eyes. But that is the truth of who we are: intelligent children of God who have always existed, with infinite potential. Open yourselves up to this truth, be teachable, and you will find greater joy and peace of mind in life than you ever thought possible.
That is all for today. I will write more on this another day. I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of this topic.