everything belongs pg 144

December 30, 2005 | 2 Comments

Everything BelongsThis entry is part of a series of significant thoughts from Everything Belongs, by Richard Rohr. See the entry entitled Everything Belongs Reflections for more info.

What must be sacrificed, and it will feel like a sacrifice, is the attachment and the strange satisfaction that problem-solving gives us. Don’t you feel good when you’ve solved problems at the end of the day? We say to ourselves, “I’m an effective, productive, efficient human being. I’ve earned my right to existence today because I’ve solved ten problems.” I do want us to solve problems; certainly there are plenty out there to solve. But not too quickly. We mustn’t lead with our judgments and fears. We shouldn’t lead with our need to fix and solve problems. This is the agenda-filled calculating mind that cannot see things through God’s eyes. We must not get rid of the anxiety until we have learned what it wants to teach us.

I’m so much of a problem solver/troubleshooter that I’m not sure I can justly comprehend what he is saying here.

  • Derrick

    Thanks for providing these thoughts on “Everything Belongs”. I came across this blog when doing a search for Rohr and “letting go”. With this particular entry, I think Rohr is saying that it feeds our ego when we feel we’ve fixed something, hence the depression some feel when they feel they’ve been unproductive when the day has passed them by. It’s an illusion sometimes when we think that we’ve done something “productive” or solved some sort of problem when really all we’ve done is stroked our own ego.

    Those who are “driven by results” might actually face a darker depression if the results turn out to actually have been harmful, or at least not as good as they thought. Then the ego they helped build through such “achievements” is bruised and turns against them. Rohr likes to use capitalism as an example and I’ll work with that–Look at the Enron guys. They thought they could sit pretty on the fortunes they had accumulated. They felt they had solved the problem to their financial woes. But it came to bite them back hard later on.

    Sometimes the best thing to do is to just sit still–with the brokenness, the anxiety, the hopelessness–rather than tinker with trying to find an answer, and thinking our existence can only be justified through making it “right”.

    That’s how I take it anyway. Alot of my thinking has been influenced by this whole “letting go” philosophy (See Hugh Prather’s Little Book of Letting Go), and though I haven’t read any of Rohr’s books, I sense a common theme.

  • Harold

    I am a problem solver. But I can see his point here especially when we are dealing with people. In many church related and business related situations we tend to “cut off the hand that offends” before we take the time to contemplate the big picture and the end result.