Many of us are drawn to meditation as a way to resolve something about our life. Maybe we're looking to be more peaceful, or less angry, or kinder, or a better partner in our relationships. Meditation practice does have much to offer, but it's worth asking: what exactly do we believe needs fixing?

In her book, Everyday Zen, Charlotte Joko Beck writes about the distinction between problems and decisions:

Life from morning to night is nothing but decisions. The minute we open our eyes in the morning, we make decisions: Should I get up now or should I get up five minutes later? Particularly, should I get up and sit! Should I have a cup of coffee first? What should I have for breakfast? From morning until night we make one decision after another and that's normal; there's nothing strange about it. But we see life in terms of problems, not decisions.

After meditation, we explored this tendency to frame our life as a series of problems. Joko Beck suggests the following:

  • "People want a mechanism for making decisions, for solving problems. There can be no fixed mechanism. But if we know more and more who we are, out of that will be make our decision."
  • "If I feel completely muddled it isn't that there's a problem that I have to find some way to solve; I just don't know who I am in connection to that problem."
  • "Where does that come from, the ability to make a wise decision? It comes from increasing clarity about who we are and what our life is about."
  • "The knowledge of what needs to be done slowly clarifies with [meditation] practice...the most important thing is daily sitting."

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