What it’s like to feel stuck in life. How to get unstuck

Going through the
motions… and not moving.Staying in place, no matter what the effort.

What is it like to feel stuck? When you’re stuck in a rut, it saps your ability to get unstuck. An image comes to mind: Remember the old cartoons where there’s a character thinking really hard about something? The character is walking around in a circle, on and on, until the ground under his feet is eroded. The groove keeps getting deeper and deeper.

When you feel stuck, you keep treading the same circular path, asking yourself the same questions over and over again. In so doing, you create a groove. And you find it increasingly harder to get out of that groove.

So how can you get unstuck? There is no sense digging deeper into the groove where you’re stuck. You need to take a different approach, to change the way you see things… You need to get outside the groove, so that you can get a new perspective. This is very much like the way one finds an answer to a Zen koan.

In Zen, a koan is a statement that cannot be understood by reason alone. For instance: What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Understanding a koan doesn’t mean that you come up with a lot of words about it. You have to go beyond logical thinking. You let your whole mind-body-spirit resonate with the koan.

This gives you insights, which may or may not be easy to articulate into words. But whatever words you come up with, they will be rich in meaning for you. Because these words have a direct connection to what is truly meaningful to you: the experience itself.