Monday, December 31, 2012

Portrait of a person; free from Erroneous Zones

The person who is devoid of all erroneous zones behavior may seem to be fictional character, but being free from self-destructive behavior is not a mythological concept; rather it's a real possibility. Being fully functional is within your grasp and complete present moment mental health can be a choice. This chapter is devoted to a description of how people who are free from all erroneous zones thinking and behavior function. You will see the development of an individual who is unlike the majority of people, and distinguishable by an uncanny ability to be creatively alive at every moment.

People free from erroneous zones are different from run-of-the -mill individuals. While they look very much like everyone else, they possess distinct qualities, non of which are racial, socioeconomic, or sexual. They do not fit any of the roles, job descriptions, geographic patterns, educational levels or financial statistics. There is a different quality about them, but the difference is not discernible in the traditional external factors by which we generally classify people. They may be rich or poor, male or female, black or white, living anywhere, and doing just about anything. They are a varied group and yet they share a single trait, freedom from erroneous zones. How can you tell when you run into someone like this? Watch them! Listen to them! This is what you'll discover.

First and most obviously, you see people who like virtually everything about life - people who are comfortable doing just about anything, and who waste no time in complaining, or wishing that things were otherwise. They are enthusiastic about life, and they want all that they can get out of it. They like picnic, movies, books, sports, concerts, cities, farms, animals, mountains and just about everything.

They like life. When you are around people like this you'll note an absence of grumbling, moaning, or even passive sighing. If it rains, they like it. If it's hot, they dig it, rather than complain about it. If there is a traffic jam, or at party, or all alone, they simply deal with what is there. There is no pretending to enjoy, but w sensible acceptance of what is, and an outlandish ability to delight in that reality. Ask them what they don't like and they are hard-pressed to come up with an honest answer. They don't have sense enough to come in out of the rain, because they see rain as beautiful, thrilling and something to experience. They like it. Slush doesn't send them into a fury; they observe it, splash around in it, and accept it as part of what it means to be alive. Do they like cats? Yes. Bears? Yes. Worms? Yes. While such annoyances as disease, droughts, mosquitoes, floods and the like are not warmly embraced by such people, they never spend any of their present moments complaining about them, or wishing that they weren't so. If situations need to be eradicated, they will work at eradicating them - and enjoy the work. Try as you might, you'll have a tough time coming up with something they'll dislike doing. Truly they are likers of life, and they wallow in all of it, getting out it all that is possible for them.

Healthy fulfilled people are free from guilt and all the attendant anxiety that goes with using any present moments in being immobilized over past events. Certainly they can admit to making mistakes, and they can vow to avoid repeating certain behavior that is counterproductive in any way, but they do not waste their time wishing that they hadn't done something, or being upset because they dislike something that they did at an earlier moment in life. Complete freedom fro guilt is one hallmark of healthy individuals. No lamenting the past and no efforts to make others choose guilt by asking such inane questions as, "Why didn't you do it differently?" or " Aren't you ashamed of yourself?" They seem to recognize that life lived through is just that, and no amount of feeling bad will alter the past. They are free from guilt themselves without any effort; because it is natural, they never help others to choose guilt. They see that feeling bad in the present moment only reinforces a poor self-image, and that learning from the past is far superior to remonstrating about the past. You'll never see them manipulating others others by telling them how bad they've been, nor will you be able to manipulate them with the same tactics. They won't get angry at you, they will go away, or change the subject. The strategies that work so beautifully on most people fail with these healthy individuals. Rather than make themselves and others miserable with guilt, they unceremoniously pass when it comes along. 

Similarly, people free of erroneous zones are nonworriers. Circumstances that drive many people to frenzy barely affect these individuals. They are neither planners nor putters-away for the future. They refuse to worry and they keep themselves free from the anxiety that accompanies worry. They don't know how to worry. It is not a part of their makeup. They are not necessarily calm at all moments, but they are unwilling to spend present moments agonizing about things in the future over which they have no control. They are very present-moment oriented, and they have an internal signal that seems to remind them that all worrying must take place in the present moment, and that is a foolish way to go about living one's current life.

These people live now, rather than in the past or the future. They are not threatened by the unknown, and they seek out experiences that are new and unfamiliar to them. They love ambiguity. They savour the now at all times, aware that this is all they have. They don't plan for a future event and let long periods of inactivity elapse as they await that event. The moments between events are just as livable as those taken up by the events themselves, and they have an uncanny ability to get every pleasure out of their daily lives. They are not postponers, saving for a rainy day, and while our culture disapproves their behavior, they are unthreatened by self-approach. They gather in their happiness now, and when a future now arrives, they gather in that one as well. These individuals are always enjoying simply because they see the folly of waiting to enjoy. It is a natural way of living, very much like that of a child or an animal. They are busy grabbing present-moment fulfillment, while most people spend their lives waiting for.payoffs, and never being able to seize them.

These healthy people are strikingly independent. They are out of the nest, and while they may have a strong love for the devotion to family, they see independence as superior to dependence in all relationships. They treasure their own freedom from expectations. Their relationships are built upon mutual respect for the right of an individual to make decisions for himself. Their love involves no imposition of values on the loved one. They put a high premium on privacy, which may leave others feeling snubbed or rejected. They like to be alone at times, and they will go to great lengths to ensure that their privacy is protected. You will not find these people involved in numerous love relationships. They are selective about their love, but they're also deeply and sensitively loving. It is difficult for dependent or unhealthy people to love them, because they are adamant about their freedom. If someone needs them, they reject such a need as hurtful to the other person as well as to themselves. They want those they love to be independent, to make their own choices, and to live their lives for themselves. While they enjoy others and want to be with them, they want even more for others to make it without crutches or leaning. Thus, the moment you start leaning on these people, you'll find them disappearing, first emotionally, and then physically as well. They refuse to be dependent, or dependend upon, in a mature relationship. With children, they provide a model of a caring person, but they encourage self - reliance almost from the beginning with a great amount of love offered at every turn.

You will find an uncommon absence of approval-seeking in these happy, fulfilled individuals. They are able to function without approval and applause from others. They do not seek out honors as most people do. They are unusually free from the opinion of others, almost uncaring about whether someone else likes what they've said or done. They do not attempt to shock others, or to gain their approval. These are people who are so internally directed that they are literally unconcerned about others' evaluations of their behavior. They are not oblivious to applause and approval; they just don't seem to need it. They can be almost blunt in their honesty since they do not couch their messages in carefully worded phrases designed to please. If you want to know what they think, that is exactly what you'll hear. Conversely, when you say something about them they will not be destroyed or immobilized. They will take the data you provide, filter it through their own values and use it for growth. They do not need to be loved by everyone, nor do they harbor the inordinate wish to be approved by all for everything that they do. They recognize that will always incur some disapproval. They are unusual in that they are able to function as they, rather than some external other, dictates.

As you watch these characters you will note a lack of enculturation. They are not rebels, but they do make their own choices even if those choices conflict with what everybody else does. They can ignore petty rules if they make no sense, and quietly shrug at the little conventions that are such an important part of so many lives. They're not cocktail partiers, nor do they engage in small talk because it's the polite thing to do. They are their own people and while they see society as an important part of their lives, they refuse to be ruled by it or to become a slave to it. They don't rebelliously attack but they do know internally when to ignore and function in a clear-headed and sensible way.

They know how to laugh, and how to create laughter. They find humor in virtually all situations, and they can laugh at the most absurd as well as the most solemn of occasions. They love to help others to laugh, and they are facile at creating humor. These are not serious, ponderous folks who plow through life with a stony grimness. Instead, they are doers, who are often scorned for being frivolous at the wrong time. They do not have good timing for they know that there is really no such thing as the right thing in the right place. They love the incongruous, yet they are inhostile in their humor; never, but never using ridicule to create laughter. They don't laugh at people, they laugh with them. They do laugh at life, and they see the whole thing as fun, even though they are deliberate in their own pursuits. When they step back and look at life, they know that they aren't going anyplace in particular, and they are able to enjoy and create an atmosphere in which others can choose joy for themselves. They are fun to have around. 
These are people who accept themselves without complaint. They know that they are human beings, and that being so involves certain human attributes. They know that they look a certain way, and they accept it. If they're tall, that's okay, but so is being short. Bald is fine, and so is lots of hair. They can live with sweat! They are not phony about their physical humanity. They've accepted themselves, and therefore they are the most natural of people. No hiding behind artificialities, no apologizing for what they are. They don't know how to be offended by anything that is human. They like themselves and accept what they are. Similarly, they accept all of nature for what it is, rather than wishing it were otherwise. They never complain about things that won't change, such as heat waves, rainstorms, or cold water. They accept themselves and the world as it is. No pretenses, no groaning, simply acceptance. Follow them around for years, and you'll never hear self-depreciation or wishing. You'll see doers doing. You'll see them observing the world the way it is, like a child who accepts the natural world and enjoys it for all it's worth. 
They appreciate the natural world. They love being outdoors in nature, and tripping around in all that is unspoiled and original. They especially love things like mountains, sunsets, rivers, flowers, trees, animals and virtually all flora and fauna. They are naturalists as people, unceremonious and unpretentious, and they love the naturalness of the universe. They are not busy seeking out taverns, nightclubs, parties, conventions, smoke filled rooms, and the like, although they are certainly capable of enjoying such activities to the fullest. They are at peace with nature, God's world, if you will, though they are capable of functioning in a man made world. They are also capable of functioning in a man made world. They are also capable of appreciating what has become stale for others. They never tire of a sunset or a trip in the woods. A bird in flight is a magnificent sight over and over again. A caterpillar never grows tiresome, nor does a cat giving birth to kittens. Over and over again they spontaneously appreciate. Some may find this artificial, but these people don't notice what others think. They are too busy in awe of the vastness of possibilities for present moment fulfillment. 
They have insight into the behavior of others, and what may seem complex and indecipherable to others, they see as clear and understandable. The problems that immobilize so many others are often viewed as only minor annoyances by these people. This lack of emotional involvement in problems makes them able to surmount barriers that remain insurmountable to others. They have insight into themselves too, and they recognize immediately what others are attempting to do to them. They can shrug and ignore while others are angered and immobilized. They are never perplexed or stumped and what may seem to be confusing or insoluble to most others is often viewed by them as a simple condition with a ready resolution. They are not focused on problems in their emotional world. For these people a problem is really only an obstacle to be overcome rather than a reflection of what they are or aren't as a person. Their self-worth is located within, and therefore any external concerns can be viewed objectively, rather than as in any way a threat to their value. This is a most difficult trait to understand, since most people are easily threatened by external events, ideas, or people. But healthy, independent people do not know how to be threatened, and this very characteristics may make them threatening to others. 
They never engage in useless fighting. They are not bandwagoners, jumping on various causes as a way of bringing importance to themselves. If fighting will help bring about change, then they will fight but never will they find it necessary to fight uselessly. They are not martyrs. They are doers. They are also helpers. They are almost always engaged in work that will make other people's lives more pleasant or tolerable. They are warriors on the forefront of social change, and yet they don't take their struggles to bed with them every night as a breeding ground for ulcers, heart disease and other physical disorders. They are incapable of stereotyping. They often don't even notice the physical differences in people, including racial, ethnic, size and sexual. They are not surface people, judging others by their looks. While they may appear to be hedonistic and selfish, they spend vast amounts of time in the service of others. Why? Because they like it that way.
These are not sickly people. They don't believe in being immobilized by colds and headaches. They believe in their ability to rid themselves of such maladies, and they never go around telling others how bad they feel, how tired they are, or what diseases are currently infecting their bodies. They treat their bodies well. They like themselves, and consequently they eat well, exercise regularly (as a way of living) and refuse to experience most of the infirmities that render many people helpless for various periods of time. They like to live well, and they do.
Another hallmark of these fully functional individuals is honesty. They are not evasive with their responses, nor do they pretend or lie about anything. They see lying as a distortion of their own reality, and they will not participate in self delusional behavior. While they are private people they will also avoid having to distort to protect others. They know that they are in charge of their own world, and that others are as well. Thus, they will behave in ways that will often be perceived as cruel but in fact they are simply allowing others to make their own decisions. They deal effectively with what is, rather than what they would like to be. 
These people don't blame. They are internal in their personality orientation, and they refuse to ascribe responsibility to others for what they are. Similarily, they will not spend a great deal of time talking about others and focusing on what someone else has done or failed to do. They do not talk about people; they talk with them. They do not blame others, they help others and themselves to assign responsibility where it belongs. They are not gossips or spreaders of evil information. They are so busy being effective in their own lives that they have no time for the petty connivances that occupy many people's lives. Doers do. Critics blame and complain.
These individuals have little concern with order, organization, or systems in their lives. They have self-discipline but no need to have things and people fit into their own perceptions of how everything ought to be. They have no oughts for others. They see everyone as having choices, and those petty things that drive others insane are simply the results of someone else's decision. They do not see the world as having to be any special way. They have no preoccupation with cleanliness or orderliness. They exist in a functional way, and if everything isn't fitting in as they would prefer, they find that all right too. Organization then, for these people, is simply a useful means rather than an end in itself. Because of this lack of organizational neurosis, they are creative. They attack any concern in their own unique way, be it making a bowl of soup, writing a report, or mowing the grass. They apply their own imagination to the act, and the result is a creative approach to everything. They don't consult manuals or ask experts; they simply attack the problem as they see fit. This is creativity, and without exception, they have it.
These are people with exceptionally high energy levels. They seem to require less sleep, and yet they are excited about living. They do, and they are healthy. They can muster tremendous surges of energy for completing a task because they choose to be involved in it as a fulfilling present moment activity. Their energy is not super natural; it is simply the result of loving life and all the activitiees in it. They don't know how to be bored. All life events present opportunities for doing, thinking, feeling and living, and they know how to apply their energy in virtually all life circumstances. Were they to be imprisoned, they would use their minds in creative ways to avoid the paralysis of loss of interest. Boredom is not in their lives because they are channeling the same energy that others have in ways productive for themselves.
They are aggressively curious. They never know enough. They search for more and want to learn each and every present moment of their lives. They are not concerned with having to do it right or having done it wrong. If it doesn't work, or it doesn't accomplish the greatest amount of good, then it is discarded, rather than mulled over in regret. They are truth seekers in the learning sense, always excited about learning more and never believing they are a finished product. If they are around a barber, they want to learn about barbering. They never feel or act superior, showing off their merit badges for others to applaud. They learn from children and stock brokers and animals. They want to know more about what it means to be welder, a cook, a hooker, or a corporate vice-president. They are learners not teachers. They never know enough, and they don't know to act snobbish or supearior, since they 
never feel that way. Every person, every object, every event represents an opportunity for knowing more. And they are aggressive in their interests, not waiting for information to come along, but going after it. They're not afraid to talk to a waitressC, ask a dentist what it feels like to have your hands in someones mouth all day, or inquire of the poet what is meant by this or that line. 
They are not afraid to fail. In fact they often welcome it. They do not equate being successful as a human being. Since their selfworth comes from within, any external event can be viewed objectively as simply effective or ineffective. They know that failing is merely somebody else's editorial opinion and not to be feared since it cannot affect self worth. Thus, they will try anything, participate just because it's fun, and never fear having to explain themselves. Similarly, they never choose anger in any immobilizing way. Using the same logic (and not having to think it through each time since it has become a way of life) they don't say to themselves that other people should behave differently and that events should be otherwise. They accept others as they are, and they work at changing events that they dislike. Thus, anger is impossible because the expectancies are not there. These are people who are capable of eliminating emotions that are in any way self destructive and facilitating those which are self enhancing. 
These happy individuals display an admirable lack of defensiveness. They won't play games and try to impress others. They don't dress fir others' approval, nor do they go through the motions of explaining themselves. They have a simplicity and naturalness, and they won't get seduced into making issues of small or big things. They aren't arguers or hotheaded debaters; they simply state their views, listen to others and recognize the futility of trying to convince someone else to be as they are. They'll simply say,"That's all right; we're just different. We don't have to agree." They let it go at that without any need to win an argument or persuade the opponent of the wrongness of his position. They are unafraid of giving a bad impression but they don't strive to do so. 
Their values are not local. They do not identify with tge family, neighborhood, community, city, state, or country. They see themselves as belonging to the human race, and an unemployed Californian. They are not patriotic to a special boundary; rather they see themselves in importance. They do not demand justice at every turn. When someone else has more privileges, they see that as a benefit to that person, rather than as a reason for being unhappy. When playing an opponent they want him to do well, rather than wishing a poor performance in order to win by default. They want to be victorious and effective on their own, rather than gaining through the shortcomings of others. They do not insist that everyone be equally endowed, but look inward for their happiness. They are not critics, nor do they take pleasure in other people's misfortunes. They are too busy being, to notice what their neighbors are doing. Most significantly, these are individuals who love themselves. They are motivated by a desire to grow, and they always treat themselves well when given the option. They have no room for self pity, self rejection, or self hate. If you ask them, "Do you like yourself?" you'll get a resounding ,"Off course I do!" They are rare birds indeed. Each day is delight. They have it together and they live all of their present moments. They are not problem free, but free from emotional immobility as a result of the problems. The measure of their mental health is not in whether they slip but in what they do when they slip. Do they lie there and whine about having fallen! No, they get up, dust themselves off, and get on with the business of living. People who are free from erroneous zones don't chase after happiness; they live and happiness is their payoff.
This quote from a Reader's Digest piece on happiness is their payoff. 
Nothing on earth renders happiness less approachable than trying to find it. Historian Will Durant described how he looked for happiness in knowledge, and found only disillusionment. He then sought happiness in travel and found weariness; in wealth and found discord and worry. He looked for happiness in his writing and was only fatigued. One day he saw a woman waiting in a tiny car with a sleeping child in her arms. A man descended from a train and came over and gently kissed the woman and then the baby, very softly so not to waken him. The family drove off and left Durant with a stunning realization of the real nature of happiness. He relaxes and discovered that "every normal function of the life holds some delight." 
By using your present moments for maximising fulfillment, you'll be one of these people rather than an observer. It's such a delightful idea - freedom from erroneous zones. You can make that choice right now - if you choose to!

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