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


Creating The Master

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

August 5, 2008



This essay, Creating The Master, is the fourth in a group of fourteen on Creating: I am indebted to Bill Kilburg who inspired this conversation.



Werner Erhard
Being of inquiring mind, I've sought out the great teachers. There's something wonderful, something sublime, something profound about being in the presence of a great sage, that is to say a man or a woman who, by agreement impacts the lives of many people, who brings forth being and possibility in a way that makes them palatable, practical, pragmatic, reachable, and tangible.

The masters, the gurus, the swamis, the rabbis, the priests, the imams, the chiefs, the teachers, the lamas, the monks, the nuns - in my life I've had the good fortune, indeed the privilege to be in the company of a few, sometimes by my own seeking out, sometimes by invitation. There's a quality which pervades a person like that. At first it's an intangible quality, in certain circles labeled with an eastern descriptor as darshan. There's nothing mysterious about darshan. It's not some kind of mystical aura emanating from the master which envelopes you, bathes you, and imbues you with supernatural qualities and abilities. Darshan is really just a certain quality of conversation  - I finally figured it out.

When a human being commits to make that quality available to all other human beings, you have the beginnings of the elements of mastery, that is to say embarking on the inquiry "What can I say and do to share this experience, to make it available as widely as possible for as many people as possible?"  is the start of what it takes to be a master.

Around these wise men and women, these great masters, these rishis, I've been clear (it's been very obvious, really) that I'm in the presence of great people. When I met Werner Erhard, being in the presence of greatness was obvious too, but it was all  that was obvious - at first. Subsequently, being around Werner, in addition to being clear I'm in the company of a great man, it also becomes patently obvious to me there isn't one great man present but two.

It's a function of being around Werner that people get clear about their own greatness. It could be said around other great teachers, people get clear about the teachers' greatness. Around Werner, secondarily people also get clear about Werner's greatness. But primarily, around Werner, people get clear about their own greatness. Around Werner, it becomes patently obvious to me there are two great people present: Werner and I.

That is to say, there are at least two  great people present. Spoken with rigor, it should be said around Werner there are many  great people present. That's because Werner's mastery his greatness is to bring forth the greatness of others, of everyone around him.

Werner's greatness is obvious. It's gut level to the point of being wrenching, touching, moving, inspiring, and very down. It's also clearly visible on his face. It's undeniable. If you've got a pulse in your arteries and an impulse in your nerves, you can't miss it. Qualities of greatness have emerged for me around great teachers - they were the teachers'  qualities of greatness. What hadn't emerged before is something which, while it was always there, was as yet latent, covert, until Werner, playfully and brilliantly, attracted it forth, teased it out, and it's this: around Werner, in addition to getting clear about his greatness, I also got clear about my own greatness AND  I got clear I'm the source of Werner's greatness. I got clear I'm the one  who creates the great master being great. Until then, I'd only been clear about the greatness of the master. Around Werner I got clear about his greatness, my  greatness, plus that I'm the source of my greatness and of his  greatness. I'd never gotten that before. It's an experience of great empowerment for both of us. Therefore, by inference, it's an experience of great empowerment for all of us. It completely altered my life.

Without ceding any of my own power, I empower Werner being great. In getting that, I empower everyone  being great. The great master isn't great just because he or she's a great master. That's only the first part of the equation - it's also just a bunch of words. The great masters are great because I create them being great, because I source them being great, because I empower them being great. This completes the equation. If the great masters are great and I'm not, that's incomplete and disempowering to all of us. If the great masters are great and I am too, that's complete and empowering for all of us.

It's important to say my use of the descriptors "master" and "great man" when speaking about Werner is done with appropriate affection and respect. I'd really be misleading if they bring forth any notions of subservience, and I'd be especially misleading if they bring forth any eastern connotations - Werner doesn't require that context. As for Werner himself, he says whenever he's festooned with the "master" and "great man" labels, he looks at himself in the mirror, pokes out his tongue as far as it'll go, puffs up his cheeks as full as they'll go, and blows himself a big, fat, slobbering razzie. "Master" and "great man" are easy places for an ego to get stuck.

If I'm in the company of a great teacher, I have the choice to be given by who they're being OR  I have a choice to be given by who I'm being, granting them who they're being. It's been said "When the pupil is ready, the master appears.". This isn't that. This isn't me getting ready  for the master. This isn't even me being the pupil  to the master. This is me creating  the master. When I create the master this way, something magical happens: there's no longer only one master over there  - there are two or more, and they're right here:  the master and I, You and I, everyone.



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