Blind To The Problem

If you’re blind to a problem, does the problem still exist? Unlike the tree falling in the forest without anyone to hear it, I don’t remember debating this particular issue in Philosophy 101. But this is a key question to consider if you’ve got drama with your weight.

From a “diet and exercise” perspective, you’ve got to take a cold hard look at yourself and address your weight problem head on. That way you can “solve” it (generally with some type of diet and/or exercise program). From a psychological perspective, you’ve got to look at the underlying issues that are “really” causing your weight problem. With this approach, the assumption is that if you can heal the underlying issues, you don’t create the problem in the first place. From a metaphysical perspective, it’s best to ignore your weight problem altogether – for focusing on it will only create a bigger problem.

However, in my experience, the “problem” isn’t really the problem at all – it’s how we relate to the problem that’s an issue.

To illustrate this concept, I’ll address a completely different topic – racism. Yes, it’s a very sensitive subject, but I believe these two stories can effectively communicate my point.

The great pianist, George Shearing, was blind from birth, and he regularly traveled with his band back to the hotel after their shows. As legend goes, one evening after dropping off the band, and on the way to Shearing’s hotel, the cab driver asked him why he played with “colored” musicians. To which Shearing replied, “Colored? My Goodness!! What color are they?”

Clearly racism existed, but it did not exist between Shearing and his band. Shearing could not relate someone’s musical ability to the color of his skin. Perhaps he could be color-blind because he was also physically blind – that we’ll never know. But the point is that because Shearing was blind to the “problem” of race, he did not relate to it as a problem. And therefore, in the relationship between Shearing and his band, that particular problem did not exist.

At the other end of the spectrum, we find comedian Dave Chappelle’s skit about the leader of a white supremacy group – who just happens to be blind…and African American. In this situation, Dave’s character is also physically blind to the problem of racism. But he is relating to the problem in such a way that he actually exacerbates and perpetuates it.

So yes, problems exist in the world. Racism still exists and your weight still might not be where you’d like. But when you can change your focus from “the problem” to your relationship to the problem, you open a door of opportunity for tremendous healing. When you change the way you relate to things, you also change who you are as a person. And when you change who you are as a person, you have the opportunity to become someone for whom certain problems simply do not exist.