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


Dancing With Life II

Coombsville Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

August 6, 2020

This essay, Dancing With Life II, is the sixteenth in the open second group of Experiences Of A Friend (click here for the complete first group of thirty five Experiences Of A Friend):
  1. Friend, Partner, And Ally
  2. Go To The Beach
  3. Proof Of Life
  4. Going Out Like A Supernova
  5. Relationships: They Start, They End
  6. Evidence Of Source
  7. On Knowing When To Be Ordinary
  8. Letting Be
  9. Transforming The Untransformable
  10. There's Always The Next Piece
  11. Plastic Chandelier II
  12. Yes You Really Are That Big
  13. A Way With Words
  14. The Quietest Mind
  15. Approaching Integrity
  16. Dancing With Life II
  17. Staying In Integrity
  18. Ordinary People Star, Extraordinary People Recreate Themselves
  19. Committed Existence
  20. When You're Being Like Werner, You're Not Being Like Werner
  21. "There's Life Happening Where You Are"
  22. At The Level Of Self-Expression
  23. Intergalactic Dude
  24. Wonderful With People
in that order.

It is also the sequel to Dancing With Life.

Photograph courtesy
Caligraphy courtesy Anhuin Medical University

Collage by Laurence Platt
Dancing With Life II
He is, hands down, one of the greatest dancers (if not the  greatest) I've ever had the pleasure of watching - and even knowing, for that matter. The dancing I'm referring to is more than just with people. For him, his dancing is with Life itself. His entire life is a dance. He lives  as if he's in a dance. I watch him closely whenever I have the good fortune to be around him, learning from him, wanting whatever it is that he has, gleaning everything I can get from him. I want to learn his dance steps. I want whatever it is he has that makes him such a great dancer.

It just so happens that, in the same way, he's also a great martial artist  - that is: even more than with people, he's a martial artist with Life itself. I'm not a practicing martial artist, although I did have more than just a passing fling with karate  once. And like dancing, the principles of the martial arts can be applied both to interactions with people, as well with Life itself. There are two tenets from the martial arts I got from him. And although I haven't practiced karate or any other martial art with anyone recently, they're just as valuable when applied to interacting with Life itself. They are (I'm paraphrasing) "Don't be where the blow is struck" which he says emphasizing the "be", and "The moment you rise to meet the attack, the battle is lost", both of which left indelible imprints on me.

As for any tenets about dancing with Life itself, I've listened him speaking many more of them than he's spoken about the martial arts. And although he was speaking them in very specific contexts, what I've learned from him generally in this regard, is a result of me re-creating what I've seen he does as he's dancing with Life itself.

So what makes him such a great dancer (or at least one  of the things that makes him such a great dancer) I've postulated is he's fully present ("ever-present" may be a more accurate way of saying that) and it's as rare as it's inspiring to experience a man who's "all there". Chief of the ways we maintain presence, is by listening. And he listens to get the communication  - which is unusual in a world in which we listen for the next chance / turn we'll have to say something. The former facilitates the presence of another;  the latter facilitates little more than noise. I love dancing with someone who listens me. I become a wallflower with someone who makes noise.

There's something else which makes him such a great dancer: while he's fully engaged in the circumstances, he relates to them as if they'll turn out the way they turn out anyway, regardless of what he does. We're all engaged in circumstances - there's no avoiding them. But it's unlikely you'll be able to dance with the circumstances, any  circumstances, until you've gotten how to be in a relationship with them in a way that's OK with them turning out the way they turn out, regardless of the way you'd like  them to turn out. Look: if they happen to turn out the way you'd like them to turn out or the way you want them to turn out, it's just a co-incidence. And that's how great dancers relate to the dance they're in ie it's the way great dancers dance with Life itself: they're in step with / dance with the way Life itself occurs.

There's one more thing: a great dancer responds to the way the dance he's in occurs for him, without criticism, without blame, without judgement. For a great dancer, the dance is all there is. He won't consider it personal. A great dancer won't ask "Why me?"  when it's raining. Rather he seizes the opportunity to dance with the rain.

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