Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

Accompanying Narrative

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

January 13, 2020

"I do live in a monastery. My monastery is the whole world." ...   answering the question "Have you ever lived in a monastery?" 
"Do, or do not: there is no try!" ... Yoda, Grand Master of the Jedi Order
This essay, Accompanying Narrative, is the sequel to A House On Franklin Street.

I am indebted to Palmer Kelly and to the
Franklin House staff and assistants who inspired this conversation.

Franklin House, which is to say my agreement assisting with Werner at Franklin House, his home on Franklin Street in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco (which is why, not surprisingly, he appropriately called it the "Franklin" House) revealed for me a lens through which I've been focusing ongoingly ever since. I say "revealed" because I've always had that lens (we're each born with one) yet until those halcyon Franklin House days, I was simply unaware I had it. It's a special kind of lens. It's the kind of lens which refracts what's worth doing in life (ie in Life itself) from what's not.

Photography by Laurence Platt

1945 Franklin Street
San Francisco  CA 94109-3414

2:10pm Wednesday April 16, 2008
Franklin House (repainted cream from military green)
No, it's more than that. It's much  more than that. It's only secondarily  the kind of lens which refracts what's worth doing in life (ie in Life itself) from what's not. Primarily it's the kind of lens which clearly refracts the accompanying narrative  ie the noise in my head  (if you will) that's going on while I'm doing (or not doing) whatever I do. And here's the thing: once I got clear that the accompanying narrative ie the noise in my head, is simply the sound of a machine on full automatic, then from then on, anything  there was to do, had the possibility of being worth doing. I loved that.

Whatever there is to do, we do it. Or we don't do it. That's never in question. Reflect on that for a moment. When all is said and done, they're the only two possible options (Zen is binary), yes? What's useful realizing is the distinction between doing whatever we do as a way of Zen, and doing it any other way, is a function of our view through the lens which refracts the accompanying narrative. Without that lens, this distinction remains latent, the accompanying narrative remains dominant, and there's no possibility of Zen, let alone doing whatever we do as a way of Zen.

There's something to be done. You know what it is. You already know procrastinating, seductive as it is, doesn't work. It's the accompanying narrative that's the domain of procrastination. Distinguish it, and procrastination loosens its grip. Do it. Just do it. It's that simple. It never gets any easier than this. If it's in front of you to do, do it. I make notes. When I get up in the morning, what there is to do is on my list. The accompanying narrative can't quarrel with that.

How this works for me now is a far cry from the dithering that went on (translation: "the dithering I indulged in") prior to having distinguished the mind and its accompanying narrative as the machine it really is. I actually got that distinction years before the Franklin House days when I first experienced Werner's work. But it wasn't until I assisted at Franklin House that I was able to conclusively put that distinction into practice. The way it ongoingly impacts how I act and do things, is dramatic. But listen: merely getting the distinction, is the minor leagues. Putting it into practice, is the majors.
Franklin House, Werner's monastery within a monastery  (the outer  monastery of which, if you will, is of course the whole wide world  itself) was a laboratory which demanded high intention, high quality complete  work to be delivered powerfully with alacrity, and all the while being steeped in the rich body of distinctions that is transformation. In other words, it demanded transformed action. And it demanded its denizens loosen their attachment to the accompanying narrative, not be distracted / blindsided by it, and instead simply do what there was to be done - impeccably, immaculately. The Franklin House experience and the lens it revealed ie the lens without which playing at this level is impossible, was simply invaluable, priceless. There was nothing like it anywhere back then. In all likelihood, there's still nothing like it anywhere even now.

The brilliance ie the genius of the experience Werner made available at Franklin House was that we, the alumni of his monastery within a monastery, got to take that lens home with us and keep it when we completed our assisting agreements there. That was entirely appropriate, given it was after all, always ours to begin with.

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