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 Invisible Being

Boon Fly Café, Los Carneros Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

January 26, 2009

This essay, Being Invisible Being, is the companion piece to Mirror Work.

It was written at the same time as

Ikea Vurm Towel Rack by Ryan McFarland
Looking In The Mirror
The first time it happened it scared the living daylights  out of me. It scared the bejeesus  out of me.

I was brushing my teeth looking in the mirror. I leaned down to spit and rinse my brush. When I looked up again there was no reflection of me in the mirror - instead there was just the wall and a towel hanging on a rack behind me. I was invisible.

It lasted for less than half a second. It seemed like an eternity. As soon as I panicked my reflection came back.

There's nothing significant about what happened. There's nothing significant about experiencing being invisible. It doesn't mean anything. It's just what happened. It's an experience. The first time was scary.

We have all kinds  of experiences in Life. Life is a rich smorgasbord  of experiences we're given to have - many of them we'll even enjoy. It's the table of the feast laden until it's literally groaning  under the weight of the bounty. Then we ruin  it all by making it mean something. Instead of just having experiences, instead of simply experiencing the experiences, we disrespect Life and all its bounty by making it mean something.

A friend told me he was in trouble. He said he was "going out of his head".

"That's sounds interesting" I said. "What's it like?".
Werner Erhard is a master of being with whatever's going on. People ask how and where Werner Erhard got what he's got.

It's likely he didn't get it anywhere. It's likely there's nothing to get. It could be said all Werner Erhard does is look into the space, then simply says whatever it is he sees there.

It's at about this point during the conversation in my job as a cowboy  I pick up my lasso  and gallop off on my trusty steed  to rope in the calves who bolt when talk turns to "look into the space then simply say whatever's there". Don't run! There's no shortage of compassion here. There's no lack of caring here. Neither is there apathy. Having things be exactly the way they are  and exactly the way they aren't  is a candidate for a veritable textbook definition of love.

As much as they love us, our parents didn't teach us this. School, colleges, and universities didn't teach us this. Society won't teach us this. It's unlikely when you were going through something you didn't like, you were coached to "experience  the experience". In all likelihood, when you were going through something you didn't like, you were coached to fix it, to cure it, even to ignore  it. So we grew up having learned (Man!  How we've learned ...) to fix, to cure, and even to ignore experience. Now that we're big people, it's almost unfathomable to realize we've had it ass backwards  all along for so long. The way to deal with experience isn't to fix it, isn't to cure it. Neither is it to ignore it. The way to deal with experience is to experience it.

When I looked in the mirror the next time and noticed I was invisible, this time it was actually a remarkable  experience, an extraordinary experience, one which for the life of me  I couldn't just be  with without turning it into something else, without trying to analyze  it, without trying to make it mean something. And of course, as soon as I did that, human being  that I am, the experience went away. There was no panic this time, only a kind of awe, a kind of amazement, a kind of delicious shock  that's always there in the face of the extraordinary.

That's why when my friend called me and said he was "going out of his head", what I wanted him to do, without getting overly intellectual about it, without getting too analytical about it, without adding significance  to it and making it mean  something, was just be with  it and experience it - whatever it was.

So I said "That's sounds interesting. What's it like?". The cowboy has arrived with a rope. All the bolted calf can do now is be with whatever he's being with. That's the whole idea. Making it available for people is your true gift which, aside from getting it from you, they're simply not going to get anywhere else.

By the end of the conversation he was profoundly moved by his experience. The same symptoms which freaked him out  at first were now profoundly moving to him, simply in his act of being with  what was going on. As the experiencer  of his own experience, he'd started to see the possibility  of it, once he was no longer at odds  with it by adding significance and meaning to it.

Another friend called me late one night. He'd built a prosperous international business but he'd stopped being responsible for its financial integrity. When the crash came, it came very quickly. It collapsed like a house of cards. It was all gone. He'd lost it all. He was bankrupt, and there was a very real chance he'd lose his home as well. He was sobbing. He said "I feel like I'm going to die.".

"Now that's a really  interesting one" I said. "What's that  one like?".

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