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


Being In The Face Of

Skyline Wilderness Park, Napa Valley, California, USA

October 29, 2021

"You don't get to vote on the way it is. You already did." ... 
"The greatest conflicts are not between two people but between one person and themself." ... Garth Brooks
This essay, Being In The Face Of, is the companion piece to

As I look ie as I take a long, cold, hard, flat-footed unflinching  look at what's happened in my life ie in my life-in-the-world, and then I contradistinguish that by looking at what I expected  would have happened in my life-in-the-world, I'm drawn to an unexpected yet incontrovertible conclusion: what happened happened anyway, regardless of my expections of what would happen, or not. And when I get that, I get my real  life is comprised of what happened, not of what I expected to happen. It's a realization that's truly transformational, directing my focus onto the life that is, not onto the one that isn't (and before I got that, I lived as if there wasn't any difference between the two).

To be sure, I've wanted on occasion (on many of them, actually) for something to have happened differently than what actually happened. More than that, I've hoped  that things would have happened differently than the way they happened. And sometimes I've even taken the position ie I've even voted  that things should have happened differently than the way they happened (so  much "woulda  ... coulda  ... shoulda  ...", yes?).

Setting that sound and fury  aside, the plain truth is that what happened, is what happened - and more than that, what happened happened anyway, regardless of my expectations, hopes, and / or votes. That's not "bad"  (nor "good" either). It's not fate. It's not predetermination. It's not karma. It's just that what happens, happens anyway. And if what happened, is what I wanted  to happen, that's just co-incidence. It's incontrovertible (especially the latter) one thousand percent of the time.

It takes a certain brash, open acceptance and verve to get that what happens, happens anyway. And you can only get that, outside of collapsing this distinction with our favorite go-to  notions of fate, destiny, what we want, what we deserve, and the like. This is not that! Collapsing this distinction foments it into an intellectual point of view to be debated, a vote, a defensive / defendable position. When I un-collapse it (even smarter, when I don't collapse it at all in the first place) I allow myself to get it by osmosis via direct experience  (Werner observes "You don't get to vote on the way it is. You already did.").

What's not always as easily getable is how little say  we actually have over what happens - indeed the truth is I seem to have almost no say  over what happens ... and yet I live  as if I have say over what happens. Really. Upping the ante, I'll extend that to include all of us - as in "We  seem to have almost no say over what happens, yet we live as if we do.". I'll leave that for you to inquire into for yourself to see what you discover in it (it has no  value until you discover it for yourself).

So: do I have any  say over what happens? Any at all? Do I? I mean really?  Yes, there is a say I have over what happens: it's a say in who I'm being in the face of  what happens. Gee! I hope you get that: even if I have no say over what happens, I do have say over who I'm being in the face of what happens. Look: even if that's only true some of the time and only under certain circumstances, it underscores the distinction I'm making: although we may not have say over what happens, we always  have say over who we're being in the face of what happens. That's a distinction which plumbs the depths of real power. It's a distinction on which transformation pivots, a distinction with awesome leverage, a distinction whose implications for living life transformed under any and all circumstances, are gigantic.

In the face of what happens, I can be victimy, resentful, or resistant ... or  ... I can be accepting, inclusive, and source  - as my stand, my word in the matter, my say.

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