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


Don't Do That!

Mumm Cuvée, Rutherford, California, USA

May 12, 2010



This essay, Don't Do That!, is the companion piece to Don't Try So Hard!.

I am indebted to JeanneLauree Olsen who inspired this conversation, and to JeanneLauree Olsen and to Victoria Hamilton-Rivers who contributed material.




Life works.

The way Life looks and feels right here right now  exactly this way with nothing added and with nothing changed and with nothing taken away is precisely what Life looks like when it's working perfectly.

If you can stand in the possibility of "your opinion  that things aren't working" is synonymous with "things aren't working" and be responsible  for taking on this particular empowering point of view, then there's a valuable, rich opportunity to experience Life working perfectly, simply by not buying into the commentary and the chatter.

<start joke part one>
A guy goes to the doctor. He says "Doctor, I've got this terrible pain in my side. It goes away but it keeps coming back. Just when I think it's finally gone, it comes back worse then before. I can't sleep. I can't concentrate. It's horrible. Can you cure the pain, Doctor?".

The doctor asks "When do you get the pain?". The guy says "Every time I put my left hand over my head and grab my right ear while I'm hopping on my left leg with my knees crossed and my body leaning backwards and I grab my left foot with my right hand.".

The doctor says "Yes, I think I can cure the pain: DON'T DO THAT!".


<end joke part one>

While I first heard this spoken as a joke, it's actually very profound. This is the cure, if you will, for a raft  of ills. When the chattering of the mind, convoluted and tied up as it is in it's own impossible pretzel logic, is complaining, when it's feeling sorry for itself, when it's blaming, when it's shaming, when it's ranting "This isn't it"  (or, even worse, when it's ranting "This isn't it" YET ... but I'll soon be there!"), then rather than indulge its self serving endless racket, simply don't buy into it. Simply turn on your heel and walk away from it. Pretty quickly it'll get tired of yammering if it doesn't get any attention. When it tries to run the show, when the tail tries to wag the dog, don't buy into the chatter. Or, as the good doctor says, "DON'T DO THAT!". And if it comes back yammering again with all its theories, excuses, pretenses, justifications of and excuses for Life not working, tell it firmly "DON'T DO THAT!".

Now, although I'm touting the value of following the doctor's orders, you shouldn't ever listen an assertion like this as if it's "the truth"  because that'll take something very profound, something very valuable, and in short order, render it next to useless. Neither should you listen it as if it's the only  way or even as if it's the best  way to relate to the voice in your head because actually it's neither. Rather, you should try it on for size. And if it fits ie if it works for you, then keep it - it's yours free. Remember what the wise man said about a hammer: "You don't agree with or disagree with a hammer. You use it. If it works you keep it. If it breaks you get another one.".

<start joke part two>
The guy (who is now pain free) opens the doctor's bill. It's for one thousand dollars. He calls the doctor and asks "Doctor, why did you charge me so much? All you did was say 'DON'T DO THAT!'".

"Ah yes" says the doctor "I only charged you one dollar for saying 'DON'T DO THAT!'. But I charged you nine hundred and ninety nine dollars for knowing that's what you needed to hear.".


<end joke part two>

Man!  That doctor! He's right on the money - again. Saying  something like "DON'T DO THAT!"  really isn't worth a whole hill of beans. But recognizing the distinction between the voice in your head and who you really are with enough intentionality to empower yourself to speak it whenever and wherever you recognize it needs to be heard, which is whenever and wherever the chattering and yammering overshadow who we really are and in so doing defy Life is already  working ... now that's worth something.



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