Two Kinds of People
There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who create problems, and those who solve problems.
The worst pairing, is when a problem-creator, gets together with a solutions-creator -- in the classic dysfunctional relationship of codependency. The more problems one can create, the more the enabler solves for them -- always resulting in a zero-sum game, canceling out the efforts of one another. Eventually the problem-solver realizes that the more energy they put in -- is the game of the energy-draining problem creator -- for never in their universe, must everything work well. If it does, it is their calling, to create a problem -- as the only thing they know how to do, to gain the attention of others.
For in their faulty upbringing, the only time they ever received any attention from their parents or teachers, is when they were bad -- and all their efforts to be good. were ignored, dismissed, or ridiculed. From a lifetime of such humiilations and shame, they learned only fear, and the power of making others fear them -- even if it was to upset the apple cart others had so thoughtfully and carefully loaded.
These are the psychological heirs of the Vandals -- wreaking havoc as their greatest joy -- because they could not conceive and build their own orderly, well-functioning society. But they knew they could have a power and control over others, if they merely learned to destroy. A variation on the theme, is an offer to help build -- while undermining everything others built -- in desiring its failure. And thus the good society of people, have no suspicion that one is working against them -- which is an even worse crime than those openly opposed and defiant. Because then one knows -- and allows for that caution.
Eventually and in all likelihood, they are simply identified and banished -- where they can no longer do much harm. In the extreme, it is physical isolation and detention while in other cases, it is just the advisement and warning to assume and presume nothing about that person -- and particularly anymore, what they tell one to believe about themselves and their motives. Those are the villains of history and literature -- the cause of "tragedies."
It was never believed that "bad things just happened," since humanity came into its consciousness. And that consciousness is to believe that there is a cause of problems -- as well as its solutions, and avoidance from future recurrences -- rather than the trap of despair and hopelessness, that it doesn't matter what one does -- the cards are stacked against one, so all one can do, is rage against them. And of course, rage becomes an end in itself -- to sow as widely as possible -- as one's calling in this world.
Theirs can never be a better world -- just another precarious step away from doom and misfortune -- expecting one day to succumb irreparably. There is no "happily forever after," as am objective. Others can merely be pulled down with them -- as their idea of "leveling the playing field." Gain and advancement is not possible -- only the mind-numbing repetition of life as it always has been before -- and in fact, devolving from that. There can never be more, but only less. And so it becomes their self-fulfilling prophecy -- that life can only get worse, despite any progress in every field of human activity and study.
That is the dark side of life -- while on the other, there is relentless change, progress and evolution -- as the whole object of life at any time. One is never too old or too young to make that progress -- in everything one does. That is the only way life gets better -- to work at it, and not despair that nothing matters -- it is all futile and hopeless, and so they go about repeating what they've always done before, no matter how spectacular the failures. And of course, learning nothing from it. Never any breakthroughs -- to the other side.
The bright future is always on the other side -- the new world, and not the old world people cling to as the only world that can ever be. It's not like nobody has ever gone there before. There have always been the few and exceptional -- who know they have to find out as the whole meaning and purpose of their lives. The worst that can happen, is never to find out.
A person has to do what they have to do. It's easy to second-guess what another should have done -- or should do. That's not the rightful province of any person -- to tell others what to do and how to live their lives. Their primary and greatest responsibility is to live their own lives -- as best they can, and in doing so, set an example for the others -- as to what is possible. That's the only way any problem has ever been solved.
There are countless people whose lives are a mess -- giving advice and telling everyone else how they ought to live their lives, rather than actualizing their own to the highest possibilities. Countless people want increasing and infinitely more -- without ever making the most out of what they already have -- which is usually their greatest problem, so no matter how much they have, and want others to give them, they always need more.
But assuredly, that won't solve their problems -- because any more, will just be wasted, like everything else they've wasted. And that first, is what are they making with their lives -- their body and their health? Are they in their best condition they can make themselves -- or are they expecting the doctors to make them as well as they can be? -- or for that matter, any other person? That is what is most overlooked in the discussion of contemporary problems.
Are you making the most of what you already have? -- and then it is meaningful to discuss, whether more is deserved, merited, and will do any good -- or merely be more resources laid to waste, as one has already proven they have done. "More" is always the easy answer, but very seldom the real solution -- to most problems. In most cases, the solution is "different" -- and not more of the same thing, that is already the problem.
For that reason, one should not be fixated on one answer to everything -- but should entertain more different solutions -- than just the one panacea -- which they feel is the answer to everything, while never asking the right questions. That is always the root of every problem -- that makes it irresolvable, and just gets hopelessly worse, no matter how much more resources, time and effort they give to doing it that way.
That is invariably the difference between success and failure -- and never simply, more and less. That's what the countless failures need to know -- that the successful, are doing something different, and not simply more of what is failing them. Only in that realization, is there the possibility and hope for a breakthrough -- to the other side, and freedom from the torment of constant failure, misery and disappointment.
It is not somebody else's fault; it is one's own lack of understanding -- everything. Therefore, one must begin everything at the very beginning -- questioning all one knows, because it is one's assumptions and presumptions that are faulty, and not the conclusions assuming they are based on the proper understanding. Assuming one knows absolutely nothing, is actually the quantum leap in understanding -- and not a waste of time the hasty, misguided and hopelessly lost assume it will be.
To begin every day with a fresh mind, is the great awakening of all wisdom -- and not coincidentally, the great teaching of every spiritual tradition. "One must die to the old, to be born into the new." To be refreshed and renewed in this way, is never to grow old. It sounds like a tautology, or simple truth -- that is the most profound understanding in any life. That is the root and basis of ever-renewing life -- and not simply old ideas, thoughts and words repeated yet again, as though nobody ever said them before. In fact, everybody has repeated it before -- and that obviously hasn't worked, and so why not begin anew? -- as though one knew absolutely nothing -- and learns to find out.
So it is irrelevant and counterproductive to boast about what one already knows. The real value, is the capacity to learn what one doesn't already know -- for that is the treasure, and not all the fool's gold, one simply wants more.
A Better Place
Most people don't choose the place they live in but accept the place they find themselves in as the best of all possible worlds. So they indulge themselves while on vacation -- as the place they would choose to be -- and not where they spend most of their life. It just never occurs to them that they could. Only a rare few find themselves where they really want to be -- as though such a thing were possible.
Yet that choice, has the greatest effect on all their other decisions and choices in life. Many are simply not in the best environment for themselves. It may be too hot, or too cold, too far from the ocean or mountains for them to feel at home -- in their best environment. They may be remote and isolated -- and mystified why they feel that way.
And beyond that, is what they make of that environment -- to make it better, optimal as far as possible for themselves -- before eventually realizing they must move on to even better. The quest always involves a journey. It is never about just staying in one place all one's life -- thinking one day life will be different. That is the reality of poverty -- that things never change from day to day, and year to year. There are no passages in time and rites. Everything stays the same. There is no hope for different -- and better.
That may be the differentiating mark of those who stagnate, and those who grow -- not just by one parameter, but every facet of their lives so as to be immeasurable and unrecognizable from where they began. Then change is very significant and meaningful -- and not just small modifications that don't amount to anything. Real change changes everything -- and not just one thing.
So, many are unprepared for real change -- as much as they talk and hope about it -- but having no understanding of what it really is. Real change even takes on a life of its own -- and for that reason, is eschewed by those who want to control it -- or feel they must be in control. Instead, they will seek to suppress it. And so the power of good things, is never allowed to happen -- to blossom in its own good time. There is a season for everything -- but not before its time.
Lots of people want to be told what the truth is -- but very few are willing to find that out for themselves, and that is the real power and joy of it, and its value. It is the finding out that separates the truth seekers from those who only pretend to know -- because somebody else told them so but they will never know how to find out the truth of any matter for themselves. And that's what matters -- and not the countless many who say, "Tell us what is the truth, and we will repeat it -- as though we understand and thought of it ourselves." "Tell us what is correct, and we will follow and chant it," and think themselves enlightened and wise beyond all the others.
They think they know all the answers -- but have not even begun to ask the right questions. So how could they know anything worthwhile? Because to ask the right (meaningful) question, is the beginning of understanding -- that no amount of simply knowing all the right answers can ever hope to achieve. To such people, it doesn't matter what the question is -- they know their answer, regardless.
By asking the right questions, it is possible to discover the answer to any question, but if one only learns the right answers, they may never realize they know nothing worth knowing.
Freedom is the Celebration
Many are independent -- but very few are free. Actually, most people in "retirement," are independent, but very few think they are free -- or act like it. Freedom is the realization that everything is a choice -- born of decision and no longer the compulsion to do anything as they've always done it before, or even think that it could be any different.
And that is the beauty of freedom -- to be what one imagines they could be -- not only in their minds but in the actuality -- which is reality. That's how it comes about -- but not if one insists that only what one has always done before, is reality, and everything else merely wishful-thinking. Each are equally plausible; it depends upon the commitment and investment in each reality.
If it works, then one should continue doing so -- but if it is not working, one must do something different -- and not just the same thing, hoping for a different result. That won't change anything -- and what is needed is change. Change makes all things possible -- because it produces a different result, even if at first, it is not exactly the desired result. One knows then, whether one is closer or farther, to reaching their desired outcome -- rather than just the predictable same ol' thing.
And thus one learns one thing -- and then another -- but it is a different thing, and not merely confirming the futility and despair in thought and action. Then one is a slave to tradition and convention -- and not free to find out what lies beyond. It is the finding out -- for oneself that distinguishes the authentic from the pretension. The pretentious have no idea what is real; they only pretend to know -- thinking that it is the same, but fails them in critical moments, when they absolutely have to know the difference.
That is the freedom to find out the truth of the matter -- and not just repeat the truth somebody told them -- as though they thought of it themselves. But such people have no idea how to think for themselves -- because they only know what they've been taught is the truth -- as though it is the same thing, which it seldom is. To believe they are, is the reason for futility and despair -- without the hope of ever finding out.
That is why freedom is always a celebration -- of one's ability to find out the limits of their being and doing -- and not as the fearful think, that it is a freedom from those challenges. The greatest gain, is the loss of that fear. Then one becomes fearless -- and therefore free, but not before.
Lifting Your Own Weight
All my life, I've pondered the question, "What is the most essential movement (exercise) to do?" Obviously, that would probably be a movement one takes entirely for granted -- but shouldn't. That is the key to their entire well-being, and differentiates those thriving, from those retreating and withdrawing from life.
The question can also be rephrased, "What is the most efficient way to lift one's own bodyweight?" -- which many offhand will dismiss as impossible, only for world-class athletes, rather than something everyone needs to do daily -- as many times as possible, and doing so, will ensure their good health. It defines their good health -- and capabilities, all things being equal. That is the simple act of raising one's (own) bodyweight from a chair or bed, and also lowering one's bodyweight with grace, ease and safety.
This is particularly important, the older and weaker one gets -- to do this very well, and those who lose this ability and faculty, lose their mobility and basic competency that makes all other movements possible and practical. Those who lose this facility, are called "incapacitated," or "disabled," even if the capabilities exist, but are never exercised anymore -- at some point in life.
One simply decides at that point, that one can no longer do it -- for one reason or another. Often, it is for a concern of safety -- that one is too weak to stand up any longer, or one has feet, knee, hip or back pain that makes any movement (change) painful and difficult -- which obviously won't get any better if it is never articulated and exercised anymore.
Yet if there is only one thing a person does, that is the movement that will make the greatest difference in one's health and well-being, and so if a person does nothing else, that would be the movement to master -- and the key to their health, well-being and fundamental strength. Not coincidentally, the best form for lifting one's bodyweight off of a chair, is the identical movement employed in Olympic weightlifting-- to lift the heaviest weights humanly possible. That is the movement of greatest economy and efficiency -- and as such, is the fundamental movement that should be mastered by everyone -- whether it is their intention to do a little or a lot.
Learning the proper mechanics and dynamics, also solves most of the back pains and problems of alignment resulting in the abuse and misuse that results in destructive wear and injury. By using the major (largest) muscles of the legs and back, ensures the proper priority of strength and development, and all else can then be done from this position of underlying, fundamental, "core" strength -- much more so than merely developing six-pack (ornamental) abs.
That (latter) is not an essential development in any practical or useful movement or activity. The only function is for "show," or display. Otherwise, it has no useful function -- and may even be counterproductive in producing a development without a usefulness -- as the actual ability to get in and out of a chair or bed easily, competently and gracefully, conveys. Before one is completely bedridden, they may spend many years being helped into a chair in which they never leave all day. That is the condition known as infirmity -- or the weakness and inability to do normal things without assistance.
But way before we get to that point, what can one do about it? That answer is simple and obvious: that is the strength and ability we must cultivate as a priority -- and doing so, will prevent most of the problems of increasing immobility -- from the comfort, familiarity and safety of one's favorite chair.
The beginning position is exactly like that taken to lift the heaviest weights possible -- leaning forward with arms hanging to one's side until one is basically falling out of the chair onto one's legs, and then standing up and completing the movement with a shoulder shrug -- rather than stopping the movement at the lower back, allowing the upper back to remain rounded. The completion of the lift is achieved when the force generated by the legs is allowed to traverse through the spinal column -- rather than stopped at the lower back, absorbing that force -- causing many people to walk around painfully all day with rounded backs, rather than exhibit a healthy, pain-free arched back as their basic posture.
That is obviously the difference in the healthy posture and a poor one. That has been the observation, study and practice of yoga -- primarily to develop that flexibility in the spine that allows them to move into an arched position. The problem is that that is achieved by only using half of one's body -- either from the waist up, or the waist down -- and not wholly and integrally, from the feet on through the neck that restores the fundamental integrity of the body structure to always move completely in that manner.
That's why most "back" movements are ineffective -- for relieving pain and building strength -- because back strength cannot be developed only from the lower back up, or the lower back down -- which are all the exercises we traditionally think of as "back exercises." The back has to be exercised completely -- from the feet on through the neck -- to revitalize and restore that fundamental strength and functionality of the human design.
That is the quintessential weight-lifting movement of the human body -- just to lift its own bodyweight into the position it can do the most good and be the most effective. One doesn't have to buy and lift any additional weight -- besides one's own, in the most efficient, economical and effective manner that ensures their mobility and fundamental capacity to recruit the muscles of the entire body -- all at once, every time. That is the fundamental dance of movement -- to get up and down tirelessly, effortlessly, gracefully -- as long as one lives.
One doesn't have to run, swim or lift a marathon -- until one can't, and then never gets in and out of a chair or bed anymore. That is their mantra -- what they must become good at. Getting in and out of a chair as the most fundamental weight-lifting movement -- and doing so, will ensure one perfects that skill all one's life.
Tommy Kono, 2016.
From a seated position, feet flat on the floor, head up looking forward, arms hanging alongside the legs, shift the weight forward until it is in front of the toes, raising the hips and straightening the back with a full shoulder shrug -- in a smooth, continuous motion.
Slowly lower the hips until one is seated again. Repeat ten times.
Repeat throughout the day as often as one is mindful -- but at least ten times to begin each each day, and ten times before retiring at night. One has just lifted their entire bodyweight in the most useful manner possible.
All of Life is a Preparation for Whatever Happens
Everything in life doesn't happen by accident. They happen because we prepare for them to happen. In that way, the life we prepare for, is invariably the life we live. That is the meaning behind education, diet, exercise, and caring -- both for ourselves, as well as for others, which is the world we live in. That is why we must care for the world as much as we do ourselves -- because it is ourselves.
That is a fundamental understanding many people miss -- thinking what they do with and in their own lives, has nothing to do with anybody else's. They may even think that they are against everybody else -- and are always prepared to be so, as the whole object of their lives, which of course, makes it hard and difficult for themselves -- and everybody else.
That is how they see life and all that is happening in it -- as a struggle against everything and everybody else -- rather than the cooperative effort to make life the best for anyone, which is themselves and the world they live in. This way of thinking, is often regarded as the highest form of understanding achieved by only a few, after a lifetime of arduous study -- often in separation and seclusion from the world "outside," in a worldview that seeks to separate one thing from every other.
For such persons, life is predictably hard and difficult, full of self-denial as well as the denial of things as they are -- preferring their self-indulgence as how things ought to be. But no matter how grand their schemes for self-aggrandisement, it is only about themselves -- and not the world they share with anybody else. That is the anti-social and criminal mind, and to a lesser extent, the dysfunctional personalities we all hope not to become -- who invariably perish prematurely through some misunderstanding of how life could be otherwise -- with or without them.
Assuredly, life will go on -- whether one makes the best of it, or the worst of it. The wise choice is obvious and preferable -- but an aberrant few, will never figure that out until their dying day -- and all the days before then. Those are the few who disproportionately "make the news" -- because they are so spectacularly wrong.
There is that tendency in each one of us -- and not that there are the self-righteous "intelligent," and the rest deserving to be manipulated and exploited for their own self-interests. The problem is in this cultivation of this self -- in opposition to all others apart from the living without the cultivation of the self. That's where all their energy and thoughts are going -- and so there is none left for the being and doing that actually matters and makes a difference.
That is to be in the reality that matters -- where all things are possible and is constantly evolving towards the greater. That is the meaning of a better life -- that one becomes increasingly aware of -- and not that it doesn't exist, until one personally discovers it. It is out there already -- just for the taking. That is the world we live in. It already has been created -- it is just what we haven't discovered for ourselves yet -- in the great collective intelligence. Knowing and learning that -- is what real intelligence is -- and not what one thinks they alone possess, that all the others don't.
That is the flawed understanding of every person living below their potential and actualization -- finding out and knowing the way that works, usually while stubbornly clinging to the way that doesn't for them -- which is their reality -- but not necessarily the greater, and desired one. That is the conclusion they have to come to -- that it is not working, and not that that is the best that anyone can hope for.
Such a better life, requires decisions that result in different outcomes -- and not merely continuing to do the same things, even while calling it different names. That is not progress -- or can make a difference. The word is not the thing itself. One has to see that distinction. Wrong effort, is not the same as right effort -- and calling them the same, will not produce the desired outcome. In this case, it is that any effort is preferable to none -- when all one's efforts are creating and perpetuating the problem -- and are not the solution that one is "too busy" to discover -- first.
And not only is their solution not working for them, but they also feel greatly compelled to see it not work for many others as well -- as their great mission in life, because they just don't know any better, and refuse to learn anything different -- until eventually, they couldn't if they wanted to. But by then, it is usually too late to make a difference, and too late to care.
So while one can, the truly inquiring mind is interested in not what merely confirms their present understanding and limitations as all that can be known, but of determining what they don't know that they think they do. Therein lies the solution -- and the greater (better) life beyond.
No Amount of Doing it Wrong will Make it Right
Many people are taught to believe that there is only one way to do anything, so that when things go wrong, the only solution is to apply more force (effort) rather than improving their understanding -- of how things are going wrong, and how to make them right. They insist on staying true to their present understanding -- no matter how disastrous the results are, while merely increasing those same efforts that have not proven successful -- and rejecting anything different. That would threaten their world view -- as the only way it could ever be.
So rather than anything ever getting better, everything just gets worse for them -- in a one-way downward spiral that they are certain is the fate of every life, no matter what they do. Of course such despair invariably leads to depression and the sense of hopelessness that is the worst of all human ills -- whether one has actual physical ailments or not.
Conversely, those with an outlook that thinks to try everything humanly possible until something does work, invariably find a way -- that works. Way before that ultimate solution, they get better and closer to finding the solution and truth of their quandaries -- as rightfully, the proper purpose of all their activities. Just as often as not, the better way may be something far different from what they set out thinking -- as their solution to their problem, which might have even worked before but no longer does, and might now even be the source of that problem.
The obvious ones are the champion athletes who now only become injured trying to do those things they did easily and effortlessly before -- that now may even be a threat to their continued survival as they grow older and wiser. The truly wise, at that point, move on to where they can continue to experience success rather than tempting permanent debilitating injury and disability.
Usually, one sees the trend of decreasing reward at increasing risks, and changes course appropriately and moves onto new and different ways of being successful -- even if one was never before. But there is certainly no point, in continuing to do what one always did before -- resulting in failure and poor outcomes. No amount of complaining and lamenting is going to change that -- yet that is what many do, while actually doing nothing that would make a difference!
The road of history, is littered with many such lives -- as the only thing many thought they could do -- which should become increasingly apparent to many, was not all that could be done -- even and especially in one's daily lives, where it would make the most difference. People don't all do the same thing -- which accounts largely for their difference in outcomes and fortunes -- no matter how much mass media would like us to think otherwise. If they had their d'ruthers, everybody would think and do the same thing -- with the same results, but obviously, that's not what's happening, even if one wishes it were so.
The weakness is the lack of fullest understanding of what is going on -- even while there may be many variations of the explanation that no one has a monopoly of the truth on. That's true for exercise, medicine, investing, marketing, human knowledge and relations. They are an ever-evolving and improving understanding -- and not simply that the oldest is the best. Frequently, they are the least perfected -- even if advanced for their time.
Because of such advances in every field of human activity and knowledge, the state-of-the-art subsumes all -- rather than just being the politically-(socially-) correct half-truth people often argue about. The better issue, is which is the whole truth -- and not what partisan truth should win out over the other. That is the endless problem -- and not the solution of evolving a greater (whole) truth.
That greater whole is transformative -- changing everything, and not just one thing -- while everything stays the same. That is no change at all. It is simply the same old problem in a different light, using different words. But nothing has really changed -- not even the understanding of the problem.
And that greatest understanding, is coming to the realization that everything one knows, is the problem -- preventing them from trying anything truly different. They just call the same thing (lack of understanding) by a different name -- and think they have solved the problem, which of course, keeps on coming back.