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


Breakfast With The Master X:

Living In A Story

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

April 27, 2022

This essay, Breakfast With The Master X: Living In A Story, is the companion piece to The Storyless You.
It is also the first in the tenth trilogy Breakfast With The Master:
  1. Breakfast With The Master X: Living In A Story
  2. Breakfast With The Master X II: Don't Believe In The Buddha
  3. Breakfast With The Master X III: Broadening Horizons
in that order.
The first trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Conversation With A Laser
  2. Shut Up And Do What You're Doing
  3. Secret Agent
in that order.
The second trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Health
  2. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Finances
  3. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Open
in that order.
The third trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Raw Power
  2. It Works Better As A Possibility
  3. Magic At Heart
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master IV: Parental Care
  2. Breakfast With The Master IV: Taking The Guilt Out Of It
  3. Breakfast With The Master IV: Language As Music
in that order.
The fifth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Whatever Works
  2. Yesterday's Transformation
  3. Billions And Billions Of Stars
in that order.
The sixth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master VI: Doo-Wop, Coffee, And Intention
  2. Breakfast With The Master VI II: Cherish These Days
  3. Breakfast With The Master VI III: Forwarding The Fulfillment
in that order.
The seventh trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. We're Here
  2. Being A Being Coach
  3. You Already Got It
in that order.
The eighth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master VIII: What People Crave
  2. Breakfast With The Master VIII II: Keep Talking
  3. Breakfast With The Master VIII III: Fearless In The Face Of Life
in that order.
The ninth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. A Fountainhead Of Clarity And Power
  2. Conversation With A Laser II
  3. Being A Being Coach II
in that order.
This essay, Breakfast With The Master X: Living In A Story, is the sequel to Billions And Billions Of Stars.

It's that time of year again, time for our annual breakfast meeting, the tenth annual breakfast meeting in the series I've designated as the Breakfast With The Master  series (actually rather than a series of "meetings", they're a series of workshops  given what happens in them). Out of an abundance of caution, we'll still meet virtually via Zoom  (while I look forward to resuming our face-to-face  meetings in real time in the real world without augmented or virtual reality soon, Zoom will do for now).

Restless from anticipation, I can't sleep (I try, but it's hopeless). Eventually I leap out of bed at 4:00am (our meeting is scheduled for 5:30am) and sign in to Zoom. To my surprise, Zoom registers a technical error, telling me no meetings are scheduled for today. We had confirmed our plan to meet virtually. We'd scheduled a Zoom meeting. Yet here it is: "No meetings are scheduled for today"! So I set up a new Zoom meeting, e-mail him an invitation link, then text him requesting he look out for it in his inbox. Almost immediately my phone rings. It's him! We converse tersely about the error yet without blamings, without "Why?"s, without "How?"s, just the acknowledgement it happened. He startles me, saying "Let's start now"  ("now" is about an hour earlier than our expected start-time, and I've just gotten out of bed).

He's the kind of guy you refer to in the expression "What do you give a guy who has everything?". And he  has everything. He's that guy. And I do know what I can give him: I can give him time! To the guy who has everything, I can give time. So even though it's way too early for me to get my morning prep done and get decent enough in time to start zooming now, even though I could use more time to prepare, I know it will serve him to start immediately. So I say "Sure, let's go to Zoom.".

And that's how I come to be sitting at my writing desk in front of his likeness in a maximized Zoom window, still in my dressing gown, unshowered, my sleep-tousled hair only hand-smoothed and my face only hand-wiped with water from the kitchen faucet, before dawn and an hour earlier than originally scheduled. Look: all of that may not sound particularly glamorous. And it isn't. Yet it's nonetheless very real. It's very down. And isn't that him: very real? very down? I haven't even brushed my teeth or rinsed my mouth yet (to which Zoom is fortunately impervious) which I'm holding as actually OK this once, given the unique circumstances of the occasion.

"So? What's going on?" he asks. It's almost jovial. Except it's not. Having a conversation with him (ie having any  conversation with him) is like having a conversation with a laser beam. It's focused. And once it's started, "there's no way out except through". It's intentional, like no other conversation with anyone else anywhere ever. "My life is over" I tell him. "Oh?" he says, as demure as if I'd just told him that I had porridge for breakfast. "My life is over. I've got nothing I have  to do anymore (emphasis on 'have'). I want to ask you about doing nothing. Not 'doing nothing' like the 'doing what you're doing while you're doing it' kind of doing nothing. Not that Zen  kind of doing nothing. I've been doing what I've had to do for so long, and now that I've got it done, and now that I'm free to do what I want  to do, I don't know what that is. I don't know what to do. My life is over, and having nothing to do is daunting" ... and all that, to a guy who invented inventing possibilities.

Even as I speak struggling to express myself, I sense an opening appearing just in the space of his laser-listening. I've been here before with him. All I have to do is speak authentically. Then issues disappear / vaporize in the space of who he's being (he's my being  coach after all, that's just for starters). I trust the process implicitly. I don't doubt or question it. Yes I used to. Once I questioned it. Way back when I was young, foolish, and a skeptical jerk. But I don't anymore. I grew up.

"Wait!" he interrupts my rambling (rambling is my penchant), "what ... do ... you ... mean ... 'My life is over'?". I take a deep breath and begin laying it all out for him.

For the past thirty three years or so, my life has been given by everything I've had  to do to raise three children and support them, house them, establish college funds for each of them, and more. For the twenty years prior to that, my life was given by everything I had to do to earn enough to live and travel. Prior to that, I lived with my parents who bankrolled me. Even so, there was still that element of my life being given by what I had  to do: attend school, study, graduate from college. All that's over now. I'm a college graduate. I'm well traveled (five green cards, dual citizenship), the house got re-modeled, the mortgage got paid off, my children live balanced lives and are off the payroll. What I had to do, is done. My life (as I know it) is over. And now there's nothing  to do - or at least nothing I have  to do. It's daunting.

He stays quiet the entire time I'm speaking, listening intently to every word, his eyes not leaving mine once, a beatific calm dancing on his face. Then he says "Your life's not over.". "Oh yes it is!" I protest, "or at least in a sense  it is?". But I'm grasping at straws. I can sense the gig is up. It always is with him. I just don't know how it will play out this time. "No, your life's not over" he says, "in fact, what you've described isn't your life at all. What you've described is living in a story.".

The confront of it renders me speechless instantly. I open my mouth to speak ... then shut it again. He's right ("But I already know  that" insists the little voice in my head - to no avail). Look: I may be stoopid  from time to time. But when I am, I don't stay stoopid for long. None of the ideas which he speaks, work through remembering and knowing them. They only work through re-creating and re-discovering them for my Self, especially when I'm being the smart aleck Mr know-it-all  who's heard them all before. When I finally calm down and re-create and re-discover what he's saying, for my Self newly, I see what daunts me isn't the prospect of my life being over and having nothing to do. I see that without realizing it, I had slowly slipped back into living my life as a concept, as a story. What daunts me is the prospect of living a life which is neither living  and nor is it even my life. That's it. This is what gets me: living in a story. I purse my lips, and exhale - long and slow.

He gets it. He smiles.

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