This is a five part series on how we currently relate to the model through which a lot of our disease is treated is one that largely operates with external factors, and holds disease as separate from the person in which it arises. This post is part 1 of 5.
Our model for addressing problems in life is one of diagnosis and treatment. We determine the problem that ails us, and then treat it. The treatment itself is largely interventional — it’s something applied to intervene in whatever has gone wrong and solve it.
This describes our broad approach to life in general, as well as a big component of our therapeutic models.
If the problem is that your boss is a jerk, you seek a solution that intervenes on that problem. Ideal solutions would be ones that get your boss fired (devious!), or have you seek out a new job.
If the problem is that something is showing up in your relationship that irks you, you leave the person you’re with and seek out someone new, or if you can tolerate it, you resign yourself to that irksome thing and get on with your life.
When something isn’t going the way we think it should, we have a problem. And what you do with a problem is you create a solution that addresses the problem and makes it go away (either by eliminating it, or making it tolerable).
The trouble with the interventional model is that it relates to the problems showing up in our lives as being something separate from ourselves. If a problem is separate from yourself, then the solution you will seek will also be something separate from yourself.
For example, let’s say you come to me, because you’re suffering from terrible leg pain. The leg pain is debilitating so you seek something from me that can help with your healing. I prescribe you something, and it starts to make things better.
Then I watch you leave and blunder directly into a hole. You come back to me, complaining that my solution didn’t work — your leg pain has returned, so I must not have prescribed you the right thing, or it wasn’t strong enough.
Obviously it doesn’t matter how much pain killer I prescribe or surgery I conduct on you — if the root cause is that you consistently blunder into holes, no amount of solutions from me will resolve the leg pain you are feeling. It will ultimately come back.
This example makes the connection obvious, but if you are unable to see the cause and effect between how you’re showing up in your life, and the way your leg feels, you will be forever left seeking external solutions to what is a symptom of the deeper problem.
Our model for society surrounds us with this approach, and consequently, it’s very difficult for us to break free of its invisible hold.
Some of the factors that contribute to our stuckness:
- We don’t like the feeling of being stuck, and/or relate to it as wrong. If we’re stuck, there is a problem, and if there is a problem, it must be fixed.
- Because of the first bullet, we have little patience to dig deeper. We need a solution, and we need it yesterday. Any moment spent without a solution is a moment where we are falling behind, wasting the precious nature of life, not demonstrating our value to the world, etc.
We are allergic to our own discomfort, and consequently, many of our solutions have arisen to save us from needing to.
- Don’t have enough clients? No problem, I’ve got the five-part solution for you over here.
- Worried about missing out on your chance to invest? Don’t worry, here’s a new cryptocurrency starting up.
- Struggling with anxiety? No problem, here’s a new pill that will make it go away.
- Got back pain? That’s your doctor’s fault, have another OxyContin!
Because we’re so fast to alleviate the symptoms we feel, we have almost no capacity to sit with them and burrow any deeper than the surface. Our solutions can only penetrate as deep as we’re willing to sit before treating the problem.
The speed with which we treat our problems is a limit on the depth at which we can resolve the issue.
(As an interesting aside, consider the level of depth and patience we have for our leaders to resolve problems).
Over the coming posts, we’ll look at why this is our predominant model, an alternative approach to seeing what ails us, and how to shift.
You can read the next entry in this series here.