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

Extraordinarily Ordinary

Phoenix, Arizona, USA

April 25, 2010

This essay, Extraordinarily Ordinary, is the companion piece to
  1. Regular Guy
  2. Joe The Buddha
in that order.

Photograph courtesy
Werner Erhard and Gonneke Spits
Given my background, given my personal story, given what I imagined my life would look like once I'd fixed  all the things about it I'd determined needed fixing, especially given my expectations of what my life would look like when (which is to say if)  I got better, that very first onset of the epiphanous "Eureka!", "A‑Ha!", "I got it!" moment of transformation came with something else which to me was completely and totally unexpected.

To be clear, transformation ie the first onset of transformation is obviously and always unexpected. Transformation is a space / event (ie a space slash event  as Werner Erhard may have said), an occurrence, a showing up  which happens out of time and out of the norm.

Consider this for a moment: if transformation was expected and was the norm, everyone would be transformated by now. So, almost by definition, the first onset of transformation is never really expected, and it's always outside the norm.

Even though that's true, it's not what I'm referring to here by saying my initial experience of transformation came with something else which to me was completely and totally unexpected. What for me was unexpected about transformation is how ordinary  it really is, how everyman  it turns out to be.

It's a paradox. The words "unexpected" and "ordinary" aren't often used in the same sentence. Yet here it is: what's most unexpected about transformation for me is how ordinary it is. That's it. That's what's unexpected. Given its poignancy, given its ecstasy, given its profundity, given its sublimeness, given its awesomeness, given its remarkableness, given its Zen, ... given it's all of the above, it turns out transformation is really god-damned ordinary  after all.

In my past, in my particular hejira, there were various ventures along so-called paths, each of which have, by the way, their own particular grandiose, significant  term used to designate the expected result of being on that path: salvation, self realization, enlightenment, satori  etc, "significant" implying each term is steeped richly and impenetrably  in belief, interpretation, meaning, and righteousness.

It took me a while, but I finally figured this out: what doesn't work with any path is participating with it because you're intent on finding the answers  ie on finding a way to survive.

Wait! Say whut?  Aren't those exactly the reasons why  you participate with a path? Because you're intent on finding the answers? Because you're intent on finding a way to survive?

Well ... maybe that's why you  do. But I assert participating with a path for any of those reasons is exactly what gets in the way  of being transformed.

If you participate with a path expecting the goal, the result, the payoff  (so to speak) will facilitate triumphing over survival, the irony of it ie the easily missed  irony of it is this: triumphing over survival is more survival. Transformation, it turns out, isn't triumphing over survival. Transformation is being complete. Transformation doesn't come from the mindset of surviving. Transformation is the experience of being complete.

Gee! I hope you get this ...

So a valid question is: is there a path of transformation?  Perhaps counterintuitively, transformation isn't a path. Although it may seem as if the goal of all paths is transformation, it turns out transformation is more slippery than that.

This is what I've discovered with transformation: I'm complete. I'm already  complete. I'm complete even though it doesn't always look like it. I've always been complete even though it didn't always look like it. I'll always be  complete even though it may not always look like it. I'm fine exactly the way I am and exactly the way I'm not; it's OK the way it is and I've stopped lying about it.

Until the moment of transformation, I'd supposed my life was moving toward  salvation, toward self realization, toward enlightenment, toward satori, toward Self. With transformation I saw (and it was not  what I was expecting) until then my life had really been moving away  from Self, away from the Self I'd determined needed fixing, away from the Self I thought (and hoped)  would one day get better, would one day be saved. I saw what I'd always imagined to be the results of the paths I'd participated with - religion, counseling and therapy, meditation and yoga - had, by touting their own agenda and goals, skewed me away  from who I really am, away from the Self I really am.

One of the decisive revelations of transformation is you're already who you are, you've always been who you are, and you'll never be anything else in fact - ever - other than who you are. You're already whole and complete and perfect, you've always been whole and complete and perfect, and you always will be whole and complete and perfect. So there's nothing to do  to be transformed. And if, it could be argued, there really is  something to do to be transformed. after all, then it would be to stop  fixing, to stop making better. I saw all there is to do is to be my own ordinary Self - which in any case I already am. Profound. Simple. Stoopid  simple. Unexpected. Unexpectedly ordinary. Extraordinarily ordinary  in fact.

With hindsight (and hindsight is always 20/20 vision), what's more ordinary than this? What's more ordinary than being the human being you already are? One of the problems we make for ourselves is we pretend there's something we need to do in order to be self-realized, to be enlightened, to be saved. Another problem we make for ourselves is even more pernicious: we have it that transformation isn't the way we are right now. We have it that if we ever experience transformation, it will somehow look  and feel  different than the way we look and feel right now.

Transformation isn't different. It's everyman. It's ordinary. It's so god-damned  ordinary. Making it different just adds belief, interpretation, meaning, righteousness, arrogance, and significance.

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