It occurred to me at a very young age that there are no problems in
life. It took me the next forty years to train myself to recreate that
context effectively, along with a means to deliver it so that it comes
alive for people.
There are no problems in life. I mean that quite literally.
There are no problems in life is not to say that there are
no problems for human beings. Whether there are or whether there aren't
problems for human beings (and given our propensity to say we have
problems, it would seem as if there is some agreement that there are),
and whether they disappear or whether they persist is the focus of this
In order to take a cold, dispassionate look at the source of problems
for human beings, it is first necessary to have as a context that there
are no problems in life. In
we ask "If a tree falls in the forest, and there's no one there to hear
it, does it make a sound?". If an event occurs, no matter what size,
large or small, and no matter what its scope, it is simply
There is no problem until someone
construes, says, or declares that there is a problem.
aside, naturally occurring disasters (volcanoes, tsunamis, even meteor
strikes which precipitate extinction events) are
For the most part, even though our survival mechanisms may get the
better of us from time to time to the degree that we
benign events and hospitable environments as "good" and we
hostile events and inhospitable environments as "bad", we can get that
naturally occurring disasters are simply
about living in the world. All expectations aside, life and the
universe never promised to be benign or hospitable to us. In fact, for
the most part, life and the universe are very often extremely hostile
and inhospitable to us. And while we may not be willing to confront
that (or worse, gripped by survival we may not be able to), that is
Where we fail our natural respect for
is in our everyday ordinary conversations when transformation and
possibility aren't present, so we confuse "accepting
with resignation, we confuse "being with life the way it is" with
apathy, we confuse "allowing things to be as they are" with
indifference, even with callousness.
However the first thing you learn in a transformed life is that you
can't bring new possibilities into being, by changing things. You have
to create new possibilities ie you have to invent them from
in order to bring about something new ie in order to not simply
acquiesce, pedestrian like, to the probable almost certain future, it
is essential to first develop the permission to get things exactly the
way they are and exactly the way they aren't right now, and to
first develop the permission to be with things exactly the way they are
and exactly the way they aren't right now, and to not be
interested in changing anything at all!
Here we are talking about huge potentially catastrophic problems like
global warming, world hunger, and war, and in the same breath we are
also talking about private more personal problems on a much smaller
scale like experiencing rejection when the pretty red-haired girl I
want to date isn't interested in me.
has proposed that any situation regardless of its scope is a problem
only inasmuch as we say it shouldn't be that way. If we regard any
situation regardless of its scope as
then it is not a problem. For example:
Problem: I like the pretty red-haired girl but she's not interested in
No problem: I like the pretty red-haired girl and she's not interested
But makes it shouldn't be. And makes it
Mastering this distinction gives peace and freedom.
You may say "That's just semantics, Laurence!". Actually it's
all semantics. Who we really are as human beings, is
constituted in language.
I speak therefore I am
(as René Descartes may have said). I'm referring to "but" and
"and" as distinctions of experience, even before I use them as
conjunctions within a class of the grammatical terms which comprise our
speech and our thoughts.
Being that this essay shows up as the written word and not as the
spoken word, you're called on to really get that, or as
Robert Heinlein, the author of "Stranger In A Strange Land", would say.
You're called on to grok it. You can't get what I just
said by mere understanding and still get the peace and freedom that
getting it experientially unleashes, nor can you get the mastery that
it makes available until you grok it experientially.
The common confusion that arises here is we say that if for example
global warming, world hunger, and war are regarded as no
problem, then we won't pay attention to them. That's a naïve
grounded in cynicism and resignation. Acting out of
coming from a space of no problem generating a future of one's own
design, is a stand of power. Acting out of changing what shouldn't be,
coming from a space of problem, at best maybe changing the probable
almost certain future but only ever so slightly, is a perpetually
fretful place to stand which ensures life will continue to drag on at
this same petty pace (as
may have said).
By the way, could it be that the only difference between
problems that disappear and problems that persist, is we keep on
chattering about the ones that persist?