Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.
Few sentences in A Course in Miracles as neatly sum up the problem the course is given to solve as these from the first paragraph of Lesson 79:
The problem of separation, which is really the only problem, has already been solved. Yet the solution is not recognized because the problem is not recognized (W-pI.79.1:4-5).
If you do not recognize the problem, then you cannot solve it. Even if it is already solved, you won’t know this. We have to see clearly what the problem is: there is no substitute in healing for this simple fact.
How does this show up in our lives? It shows up largely in the belief that we have many problems, each requiring their own individual solution. And so we hunker down with each apparent problem, diligently “solving” it, only to have a whole other batch of problems arise to take its place.
We consent to this hopeless situation because its underlying function is to keep us unhappy. Tending to many problems means we never look at the one problem – separation – which is the only problem we actually have.
The temptation to regard problems as many is the temptation to keep the problem of separation unsolved. The world seems to present you with a vast number of problems, each requiring a different answer. This perception places you in a position in which your problem solving must be inadequate and failure is inevitable (W-pI.79.4:1-3).
Thus, we never experience the peace and happiness that go with being entirely problem-free (W-pI.79.3:5).
The endless tangle and complexity of the world’s problems are a distraction. They can’t be solved. They are designed to keep our attention on the world and away from the mind where the power to create and heal is actually exercised. It doesn’t matter whether they are ignored or embraced, denied or studied, fixed or left undone.
So long as they keep our attention away from separation, they have served the ego’s purpose.
If you could recognize that your only problem is separation, no matter what form it takes, you could accept the answer because you would see its relevance. Perceiving the underlying constancy in all the problems that seem to confront you, you would understand that you have the means to solve them all. And you would use the means because you recognize the problem (W-pI.79.6:2-4).
A Course in Miracles teaches us that all the world’s problems – the big ones, the little ones, the easy ones and the impossible ones – are all the same. And their sameness is what allows our mind to shift from the specificity of form to the generalizability of love. We can’t find salvation in the world; we have to look where salvation is. And when we do, we will recognize both it because we recognize its function.
The key to success with this lesson is humility. We have to be radically open-minded. It’s easy to say that our only problem is separation. We want to go past the level of words. We want to go past the level of form altogether, and reach the abstraction of what we are in truth.
We want to see separation as we believe it exists – where it exists, how it exists, in all its rotten glory – and, on the basis of that clear seeing, understand the solution as well and allow them to merge.
All that is necessary is to entertain some doubt about the reality of your version of what your problems are. You are trying to recognize that you have been given the answer by recognizing the problem, so that the problem and the answer can be brought together and you can be at peace (W-pI.79.8:3-4).
This is equivalent to bringing light to darkness. Light is the answer to the problem of darkness. Correction can only be accomplished where correction is possible – and this can only be at the level of the error. “Change does not mean anything at the symptom level, where it cannot work” (T-2.VI.3:7).
Problems appear to be many; they appear to be complex; they appear to be real. Our work now is to question these appearances, and open our minds to the possibility that we have but one problem: separation, and seeing it as and where it is will allow the solution to present itself as well.