Solving the insoluble

“The greatest and most important problems of life are all in a certain sense insoluble… They can never be solved, but only outgrown. This ‘outgrowing’, as I formerly called it, on further experience was seen to consist in a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest arose on the person’s horizon, and through this widening of view, the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms, but faded out when confronted with a new and stronger life-tendency.” – Carl Jung

I stumbled upon this quote the other day, and it really resonated. The way I interpret it: we don’t solve our “issues” – they dissolve on their own. They kind of slowly (or sometimes not so slowly) fade into the background of our lives and minds and eventually perhaps become completely invisible. Something else takes their place. It happens when, as Jung says, a new and stronger life-tendency is there. This life tendency for me means a sense of wholeness. It means leaning into self-compassion. It means aligning with what truly matters in my life – my values – and letting them guide my actions. 

The point is that if we are always busy trying to escape what we don’t want to feel or busy trying to solve our issues with our problem-solving mind, we lose sight of the things that actually are in our control. Like how we respond to what is happening, how we meet it, and how we move forward. And we have less energy to put into what matters to us – into what really matters to us. 

If we stop seeing our thoughts or feelings as enemies – if we kindly let them be – we have more freedom to go where our heart leads us. What if we see the the issue, our pain or discomfort, as a road sign pointing us to where we care the most? Eventually, we might notice that what we were so busy struggling with is no longer there. Or perhaps it still shows up from time to time, but it no longer rattles us in the same way. It loses its power.

Maybe there is nothing to heal, only things to fall in love with. And in there somewhere, all that is no longer needed, melts away.