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



Landmark Wisdom Developmental Course On Contribution, Grand Ballroom, Sofitel San Francisco Bay, Redwood City, California, USA

September 21, 2013

"Sweet, sweet surrender: live, live without care - like a fish in the water, like a bird in the air." ... John Denver, Sweet Surrender 
"What contribution are you willing to acknowledge?" ... Landmark Wisdom Developmental Course On Contribution
This essay, Contribution: Surrender, is the companion piece to Orchid Leaves.

It is also the first in a trilogy on Contribution:
  1. Contribution: Surrender
  2. Contribution II: Happiness
  3. Contribution III: Performance
in that order.

It is also the twelfth in an open group inspired by Landmark Programs: It is also the prequel to Laurence Platt 71st Birthday: Surrender II.

I am indebted to JoAnne Bangs and to Brian Regnier and to Helen Gilhooly and to Father Patrick Gerard "Gerry" O'Rourke and to the participants in the Landmark Wisdom Developmental Course On Contribution who inspired this conversation.

Foreword To The Contribution Trilogy:

Unlike the other essays in this Conversations For Transformation internet series, I've left the three which comprise this Contribution trilogy deliberately rough cut, jaggedly hewn, unpolished. Although their inquiries are completely started, they're far from over. Actually they're entry points only - diving boards, if you will.

My intention to offer them here in their raw naked states like this, isn't to make finished reference materials available. Rather it's to invite you to join me in an ongoing inquiry into what contribution is ie into what contribution looks like  in the subject areas of each of the three essays: surrender, happiness, performance.

Notice "contribution" as I articulate it here, could have a triple implication. It could be the contribution I make to another. It could be the contribution another makes to me. It could be the contribution another makes to another.

What is surrender?

That's giving up, isn't it? Giving up ... as in losing, as in being beaten. Constructing a makeshift flag from a sleeve ripped off my bloodied white shirt mounted on the end of a stick, holding it up high above the rock I'm hiding behind, waving it wildly as I call out loudly "I surrender!  I give up. I'm coming out now. Please don't shoot me!".

Never mind how I got into that mess in the first place. Once I surrender, it's clear I've lost something. It's clear I've given up. Isn't that a sign of weakness? No, never mind a sign  of weakness: isn't that the absolute epitome of weakness? If I surrender, isn't it proof positive I can't hack it on my own? There's no context  for greatness here. None. There's no virtue in surrender. Whichever way I look at it, once I surrender it's the indication I failed. What possible redeeming feature can something which is tantamount to failure, have?

Then there's: criminals are required to surrender their passports. Drunk drivers are required to surrender their driver's licenses. OK, so this surrender is related to but isn't a direct indication of failure, or of losing per se. Rather, it's an indication of being punished  by society, of being held to account by law enforcement. It's a requirement to be in compliance with the consequences of a nefarious deed.

I just got something else: musicians surrender to the beat. Great. Very  great. There's a certain maintaining my own dignity in this  sense of surrender. It's more than that actually. It's this  surrender is proof positive of talent, of skill, of creativity. There's no losing  in this. There's no defeat  in this. How interesting! I've just gone from surrender is the hallmark of a loser  to surrender is the hallmark of a talented star!  Wow! Quite the turnaround.

Wait! There's more. What about surrender as surrender to Life?  Oh, I like  that. I like it a lot.


Hold on: instead of saying "surrender to Life", isn't that the same as saying "surrender to God"?  Hmmm ... in some sense, yes. And that's attractive too. But here's my concern with God (and in particular with surrender to God) in a conversation for transformation:

In spite of all our good intentions about God and about surrender to God, there's a veritable thicket, a dense, self-imposed briar patch of already always listening, rigid concepts, inflexible beliefs, and fixed interpretations effectively blocking our way, effectively preventing us from getting to know who she really is.

If religion was effective in the way it's intended, there'd be very little left for Werner's work to do.


Surrender to Life ... now, couldn't that also  mean giving up? No, not in the sense it just grabbed me. When I surrender to Life, isn't it a tacit acknowledgement Life works, and the smart students want to be in alignment with what works rather than being in a struggle against it in a futile attempt to win points for the ego - which is just sacrificing common sense  (in the true sense of the words) to the tyranny of the mind?

That's  inspiring. Surrender to Life as a possibility  allows Life to make a contribution to me. What a deal! I struggle less, and Life contributes to me? Where can I sign up?  Come to think of it, anyone I've ever watched who lives their life in surrender to Life always inspires me, always contributes to me. How? By reminding me it's possible to live my life in surrender to Life, to live accepting  Life, to live with the flow  (if you will) of Life. And isn't that what we all really want to do? We all really want to do that, so why do we resist it so much?  (Let's talk about that some other time, shall we?).

What is surrender? It's especially surrender to Life. When I do that, Life contributes to me. When others surrender to Life, they inspire me ie they remind  me to surrender to Life. Their reminder is a contribution to me, a massive  contribution to me. And when I live my life in surrender to Life, it reminds others to live in surrender to Life.

Living in surrender to Life, is so easy to forget - any reminder is a huge  contribution. Living in surrender to Life, demonstrates the possibility of living in surrender to Life. That's contribution.

Background soundtrack: John Denver: Sweet Surrender - wait for 2.62M download

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