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

Axis Of Ecstasy

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

December 12, 2013

This essay, Axis Of Ecstasy, was conceived at the same time as Orchid Leaves.

There's an extraordinary context, a space in which the events of our lives and Life itself show up, which is always available to each and every one of us, a context we can choose to own at any time and be aligned with like a possibility. There are a few things this context may sound  like ... yet isn't the same as. For example, it's not what we sometimes call our center. We've all heard it said "She's a very centered  person.". If you assume this context is your center, it will distract you from getting what it really is - there's no rigor in looking at it that way. Neither is it your fulcrum  or your pivot  with which to leverage your life effectively. Nor is it your soul, and it's not your being  either - although "being" is getting warmer ie it's closer to the ballpark. It's none of the above, and yet being aligned with it  centers us, being aligned with it leverages great power, being aligned with it sheds light on who we really are.

It's not this context which I call the axis of ecstasy. It's being aligned with  this context which I call the axis of ecstasy.

While "center", "leverage", and "soul" etc all have some validity in distinguishing this axis of ecstasy, there's a problem common to all of them, which is this: they each imply there's something  within us of substance which is the being we are, something which, if we stripped away everything else, would be there to assign cause to - like the seed in a grape, like the heart in an artichoke, like the corn in an ear, like the acorn in an oak.
Werner Erhard asserts we're convinced if we peel back the layers of our lives like an onion, if we peel back one layer, then we peel back another layer, and then we keep on peeling back layers and layers all the way down to the last  layer, we're convinced we'll get to a core, we're sure there's a kernel  in there, and we're totally convinced that core, that kernel is what gives meaning  to our lives. We're totally convinced that core, that kernel is in fact the substance  of our lives.

But there isn't any core. There isn't a kernel. When you peel back the last layer of the onion, if you tell the truth about it there's nothing there. Nothing at all. Nothing. And that's who we really are: we're quite fundamentally nothing - which is to say we're the context for anything's possible. Now, if you can stop making that mean  something, it's an opportunity for enormous  freedom and power. It's coming from this context, it's taking on being aligned with it which sets life's compass' true north  (if you will) to the axis of ecstasy.

It would be adequate, I suppose, to call it the axis of workability  as well - for obvious reasons. The thing is the workability in life generated by being aligned with it, is so profound, is so delightful  rendering erstwhile arduous attempts at living into effortless joyful experiences, that "axis of ecstasy"  is really totally apt. And it's not that some people have more of it than others - because we each have it (which is to say, we each have access  to it) equally. It's not that some people are "better" at being aligned with it than others because that's not it either. Nor is it that some people are somehow more endowed with the ability to stay aligned with it longer than others, because what it takes to be aligned with it isn't any particular endowment. Rather, what it takes to be aligned with it, is being committed  to being aligned with it.

And if you say "I can only stand to be aligned with it for only so long before I can't maintain alignment with it any more", you're not unique in that way either: it's like this for everyone. The truth is you're only aligned with it for as long as you're aligned with it. As soon as you notice you're no longer aligned with it, you can choose to re-commit to aligning your life with it again. What distinguishes you as a giant among people isn't that you never find yourself out of alignment with it. What distinguishes you as a giant among people is how quickly you re-commit to aligning your life with it again, once you notice your alignment with it is off. So it's not a matter of the duration  you're aligned with it: it's a matter of your quickness  in re-aligning with it again.

This axis of ecstasy has no favorites. It treats every single human being evenhandedly. Like true north to a compass, it's there for you to align your life with, or not. Should you choose not to align your life with it: no harm no foul, you'll get along just fine. Should you choose, however, to align your life with it (which should really say "Should you choose, however, to align your life with it again and again and again  ..."), it's what makes life extraordinary, it's what makes life miraculous, it's what makes life worth living, and it's what separates the girls from the women and the boys from the men.

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