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

 Fourfold Path*

A Place To Stand: Dealing With Challenging, Disruptive And Uncertain Times, One Thousand Person Online Seminar, Landmark Worldwide

April 7, 2020

"It's much easier to ride the horse in the direction he's going." ... 
"He who walks in the eightfold noble path* with unswerving determination, is sure to reach Nirvana." ... Lord Siddhārtha Gautama Shakyamuni of India aka the Buddha

"Be the hero of your own story." ... Brazilian proverb
This essay, Fourfold Path, is the companion piece to Honoring Your Word.

It is also the twenty fourth in an open group inspired by Landmark Programs: It is also the prequel to What I Make What Happens Mean.

I am indebted to Sanford "Sandy" Robbins and to Dr Joseph DiMaggio and to Mick Leavitt who inspired this conversation.

I don't have to describe for you what it's like when someone really listens you. You already know. Oh, and that's not a typo: I don't mean "... when someone listens to  you". I do  mean "... when someone listens you" (no "to"). The difference between "to" and no "to" is this: when someone listens to  you, they're merely hearing you. When someone listens  you (no "to"), they're getting where you come from, they're being with you, they're re-creating who you really are and who you're being.

Neither do I have to tell you what it's like when someone listens you when they're standing right in front of you. It's powerful when you can see and be seen by whomever listens you. That's waaay  more powerful than when someone listens you by letter and / or by text and / or by e-mail. You can't hear them listening you by letter and / or by text and / or by e-mail, and neither can you see them listening you that way.

Now imagine being listened, not by just one person but by a thousand  people simultaneously. That would be an entirely new order of being re-created, yes? Oh, and those one thousand people? They're not just listening you standing right in front of you. They're listening you online from all ... around ... the world. I barely have the bandwidth (no pun intended) to get my head around what becomes possible for people when we listen each other (and are listened) this way.

Such is the one thousand person online worldwide seminar in which I currently participate. It's today's state-of-the-art iteration of the work of transformation. Since early in these halcyon days of transformed living on Earth, I've gone on record averring (ie holding it to be a fact)  that the work of transformation would always  (yes I did say "always") require a face-to-face encounter with a trainer ie with a leader in a one-on-one conversation up close and in the flesh. Being in this one thousand person online worldwide seminar, has proven to be a new, powerful approach which works brilliantly. Look: it's arguably still true that the initial  encounter with the work of transformation demands a face-to-face encounter with a trainer ie with a leader in a one-on-one conversation up close and in the flesh. But future explorations of the work thereafter? What I'm now experiencing is arguably laying waste to the idea that all subsequent graduate experiences must always match that initial model.

You won't get "Tell me what to do" from this. You won't get "Tell me how to cope" by being here. And you'll get neither "comfort" nor "reassurance" from this - at least not the way comfort and assurance are typically construed. If you're here to get suggestions for how to manage the doing-ness of your life in these unthinkable times, you'll be disappointed. If you want tips / techniques for handling your fears and concerns (or even your boredom), this is not the place for you to be. If you're anxious, insecure, or terrified for what's to come and you want answers, this seminar may not be the place for you. There are many other courses which provide all of the above, and more - just not this one. This one is a graduate  seminar. In this one you'll (re)distinguish your own power to address and manage the circumstances - indeed, any  circumstances. And be clear: the fact that today's circumstances happen to be these  particular circumstances, is purely incidental in this seminar. Really.

No, this  seminar is about being with what's happening, and coming from power ie being  powerful in the face of what's happening, not imposing wanting it to be some other way, and without any shred of a suggestion that it shouldn't  be this way. What's so, is always the way it is: it's never any other way. It's never the way you think it should be: it's always the way it is. It's never the way that's fair  for it to be: it's always the way it is. And it's certainly never the way you'd like  it to be: it's always the way it is. Powerfully dealing with / managing the way it is  (ie "what's so") is the foundation / distinction this seminar brilliantly teases out.

Inspired, I'm taking on powerfully managing what there is for me to manage in these unthinkable times. And as I get present to possibility, I notice what's getting distinguished ie I notice what's coming into focus for me bit by bit and then coalescing into a fourfold path, is this (and in this order):

1)  Right Body / Health:

Attending to my body / health in a lockdown (if it's at all possible) is the biggest "no-brainer" of them all. If the horse isn't well, there's no chance  I'll be riding him anywhere. In ordinary times, I'm prone to let exercise devolve into a luxury as I schedule all those other "important" matters ahead of it. But in these extraordinary times, especially now that I'm way less naturally mobile, exercise is a must, a priority, an essential. As for being healthy, since visits to the supermarket are few and far between these days, when I shop I shop pointedly on behalf of my entire body (peak nutrition) not merely on behalf of my taste buds (gourmet haute cuisine).

2)  Right Environment / Living Space:

Have you noticed in a lockdown how easy it is to leave beds unmade, unwashed dishes in the sink, etc etc? I certainly have. After all, there's no one here but us, so who else would know?  Look: made beds and washed dishes are the result of us putting who we really are  into the physical space. And doing that, easily imposes a workability into the midst of the chaos, a calming Zen into an otherwise unthinkable time. So make the beds! Wash the dishes! (even if no one knows you did).

3)  Right Communication:

As each new day begins, after I've managed all of the above (ie body / health, environment / living space), the very next item of business ie the next essential  priority, is completing (ie staying in complete) communication. I'll clear all unresponded phone messages, reply to all unreplied e-mails, texts and WhatsApps, and then check in on Instagram. And it's not the subjects  that make these communications the priority (as important as they are). It's that the very act of being in communication, brings power and freedom. If that's not obvious, you won't get it by understanding  it or by hearing an explanation of the how's  and the why's  of it, suffice to say that the simple act of being in communication, given its true nature, brings forth relatedness and power, humanity and love, miracles and magic.

4)  Right Creation:

When I've taken care of my body / health, and environment / living space, when all my communications are complete and up to date, what I'm present to is a big opening, an empty space (even in a lockdown) in which something new can happen, into which something unspoken can come forth, in which something not yet manifest can take form. This space is filled by being creative - indeed, it calls for  the act of being creative. This is the time for me to write these Conversations For Transformation, the time to just sit  in the space of being creative with nothing going on ... until something / a new idea calls me to write it down. This is the way new Conversations For Transformation are born, along with new ideas for the day, new ideas for living in a lockdown, new ideas for the rest of all of our futures.

That's my fourfold path. You don't need to walk in it to reach Nirvana: you're already here. But it may give you access to something of enduring value in a lockdown.

* The subject of this essay, Fourfold Path, harkens to Buddhism's noble eightfold  path of

right efffort
right understanding
right intention
right livelihood
right speech
right concentration
right action
right mindfulness

in all of which "right" means "appropriate" / "compassionate" / "correct" / "ethical" / "life sustaining" / "respectful" - in a word, "noble" - but not "righteous".

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