Not one day goes by without most people encountering some form of disappointment or frustration. One example: You put the pen down and now you suddenly can’t find it. Another: Your computer crashes.
In Buddhism, there are five bad reactions to challenges. They are called hindrances since they hinder your ability to understand how to act so as not to cause worse things for yourself. Whenever you are feeling uneasy and stressed, it’s usually because you are caught in a web of these hindrances. They often turn into habits of your mind, meaning that every time one of these five ways gets used, the hindrance become stronger and you are more likely to react like that in the future.
To reveal these five hindrances, let’s take the example of a computer crashing. The following are five ways you could respond to this event.
1. Seeking solace in pleasure
This hindrance refers to any pleasure you might want in the mistaken belief it will cause you to be happy by allowing you to forget your hardship. And so, you avoid this computer issue by turning to something like eating ice cream or watching your favorite show. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these things. They only become an issue when they are only about avoiding something that you need to attend to.
Anger comes from believing that people or things need to be something other than what they are. You feel as though the world is treating you unjustly since your computer should be working. This anger goes from mild irritation to turning into a rage so you throw your computer out of window.
3. Turning apathetic
This hindrance is usually referred to as lethargy. You tell yourself that it is too much effort to handle a computer that is not working. This hindrance is yet another way of avoiding what you understand you need to do.
This hindrance has the tendency to spin a worst-case scenario, even though you do not have the facts to back them up: “My computer cannot be fixed”; “I will never get my data back.”
It is unlikely that worst-case scenarios will come to pass. Maybe all your computer needs is a reboot. Unfortunately, you are so busy forecasting a future that is filled with computer armageddon that it never occurs to you to attempt any number of possible solutions.
5. Doubting yourself
This hindrance reveals itself as a lack of confidence in your skills to solve your challenges. You feel as if you are not competent to handle the issue. You blame yourself for the issue happening in the first place. This kind of thinking keeps you from focusing on how you can fix your issue.
Author: Scott Dowdy