Rembrandt Self-portrait 1639Sometimeswhen I find myself in a  difficult situation, I try to look at that situation as a test of my being. In other words I change the way I think about the difficulty. Instead of thinking that it is something I cannot handle or that it is something I don’t want, I try to see it as a test of what I am capable of not identifying with. I ask myself: ‘Am I dispassionate enough to transform this?’

Think about it this way: what  if someone were to magically appear in the place where you work and say to you, ‘In the next two hours everything that happens to you will be a test to see whether you are capable of remaining calm, detached, and present.’ If this were to actually happen to you, I think there would be very little that could make you angry or frustrated or depressed. You could rise to the occasion and pass the test. The problem is that we do not ordinarily think this way. Normally we are not motivated, and so we do not challenge ourselves. But what if we did? What if we assumed that our entire life was a test of our being, that the main point of our lives was to teach us to be more present and transform more and more difficult situations? Wouldn’t that change the whole picture?