There are many problems in life, kind of like endless itches and glitches that need scratched and resolved. If we're poor, we have to struggle to support ourselves because there is . . . never enough money. If we're rich, then we have the typical problems of rich people - trying not only to tenaciously hold onto our wealth, but increase it as much as possible because there is . . . never enough money.

If we are married, we have married people's problems - control and disagreements. If we are single, we have single people's problems - loneliness and insecurity. And if we are divorced, well . . then we have both!

And then there is always the problem of illness, or even imagined illness. Or the inevitable future illness down the road which all leads to more problems such as unaffordable health care, living wills, cremation arrangements, and funeral plots!

Of course we must also mention the problems of career choice. How many people like their jobs? Less than half, I'm afraid. Boredom, discontentment, commuting, low wages, poor benefits, contentious work relationships - all take their toll. But switching careers or jobs is no easy task these days because of all the other problems that job switching involves, such as the loss of health care, loss of seniority, retraining, relocating, interviewing, etc.

We must also consider problems with relatives. Although relatives seemingly create a warm and fuzzy mini-society for us, the reality is that they can be nothing but headaches! Parents tell us what to do and we can‘t wait to move away and do as we please. Then our parents get old and we have to take care of them. Raising our children costs about $300,000 per copy, and as soon as they morph into teenagers, they call us stupid and get in all kinds of trouble. And even our in-laws need loans, and maybe even a place to stay between jobs (with us!) It seems that the more relatives we have, the more itches and glitches we develop.

And who hasn't faced the insidious problem of old age? Even young people fear it, working out and exercising in hopes of staving it off. Wrinkle creams, hair coloring, face lifts, other body part lifts - all in hopes of staying eternally young and good-looking - so that we can attract even more relatives!

How about good old psychological problems? Nothing like a dose of depression, some anxiety disorder, a little fear, or maybe a round of authentic schizophrenia!

I could list so many other problems in life, but you get the idea; they are not only too numerous to mention, but they plague us endlessly. Anyone who claims that they have no problems is either a saint, a liar, or afloat in la-la land without a rudder.

But we still haven't gotten to the main itch in life, the root glitch that causes all the others. What could it be? What is it in life that won't let us alone, won't leave us in peace, and instead saddles us with ever-present discontent?

The answer to this one lies deep in our psyche. So deep that it all but remains hidden, even to the deeply religious and spiritual. Notwithstanding our religions and our spiritual practices, this obnoxious "thing" is always there, causing us to judge others, compare ourselves to others, and in general cause all of the above problems in our lives.

Without this "thing," around our necks, life would be a breeze. Life would be full of happiness and contentment, bliss and joy, regardless of what circumstances face us.

So it would seem to me that if a person wishes to end all their problems in life, they would actively pursue this "thing" so that they would become free from the little itches and even the big glitches of life. All other remedies for our many problems would be as if we are taking a mild pain killer with the root disease untouched, only to flair up again and again to cause us pain.

So what is this "thing?"

That is for you to discover for yourself. For if you are merely told about it, you will never truly discover it. It is the desire to begin walking a path of self-discovery that changes your circumstances. Not filling your head with secondhand information. So take a good look inside, because the discovery of this "thing" is what will finally make the difference.

Author's Bio: 

Anagarika eddie is a meditation teacher at the Dhammabucha Rocksprings Meditation Retreat Sanctuary and author of “A Year to Enlightenment.” His 30 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Thervada Buddhist monk.

He lived at Wat Pah Nanachat under Ajahn Chah, at Wat Pah Baan Taad under Ajahn Maha Boowa, and at Wat Pah Daan Wi Weg under Ajahn Tui. He had been a postulant at Shasta Abbey, a Zen Buddhist monastery in northern California under Roshi Kennett; and a Theravada Buddhist anagarika at both Amaravati Monastery in the UK and Bodhinyanarama Monastery in New Zealand, both under Ajahn Sumedho. The author has meditated with the Korean Master Sueng Sahn Sunim; with Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia; and with the Tibetan Master Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. He has also practiced at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Zen Center in San Francisco.