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

Getting Better

Napa Valley, California, USA

September 21, 2005

This essay, Getting Better, was conceived at the same time as Ego.

It is the companion piece to If I'm Perfect Just The Way I Am Then Why Don't I Feel Great?.

I don't remember exactly when I started getting better. It may have been in my late teens. It may have been earlier than that. I can't really say for sure. What I do remember is always knowing I was getting better. Every day and every year that went by I knew I was getting better than I was before.

It seemed to me my life was on a path leading to a better place than I was at the time, and I took it for granted that eventually - someday - I would have gotten better. It seemed natural life would lead me to a better place. That's how it was with regard to my life. I knew (rather, I inferred) that "this isn't it" ... but I was sure I was getting better.

I also knew (rather, I surmised) it would take time to get better, but since I didn't know what it would actually take to get better, it wasn't clear to me how I knew it would take time to get better. But I accepted that anyway.

There were weeks and months when nothing seemed to be happening. The ocean was dead calm. I was in the doldrums. I wanted to get better and when nothing seemed to be happening I became impatient.

* * *

Some time around now (it may actually have been closer to the last weekend of August 1978, but some time around NOW) I became whole and complete, or rather I got that I always was  whole and complete, and with that I got that my rabid fervor for getting better actually interfered with, hid, and invalidated experiencing and living my already wholeness and completeness.

From that moment on I had no further use for getting better so, like giving up cigarettes, I dropped it.

* * *

It could be said getting better isn't really getting better. You are already whole and complete. Look ... and you will see you are. Don't lie about it. You are already as whole and as complete as you always have been and as you are ever going to be. Our insistence on getting better is just one of the foibles of being human. When I first realized that, I asserted that our preoccupation with getting better is simple ignorance of who we really are. Later I refined that assertion adding that as paradoxical as it may seem, we don't instinctively know where to go  to experience who we really are. That's because our loudest base instincts aren't geared to experiencing at all. Our loudest base instincts are geared to surviving.

Actually, saying "where to go  to experience who we really are" is misleading. Spoken with rigor, that should be "where to come from" to experience who we really are.

* * *

At first it seems obvious that getting better is better. What's not so clear at first is there's nothing better to be than who we are, already whole and complete. Since we are already  who we are (think about it: could we ever not  be who we are?), there is nothing better than the space in which we already live, in which we already breathe, in which we already interact, communicate, and be.

The Bodhi Tree
The Bodhi Tree
The automaticity of our preoccupation with getting better really takes us away from being who we already are, and keeps grinding in the status quo that this isn't it, rendering any chance of transformation and wholeness and completeness just a concept, and a remote concept at that. Being alive is enough. What's fascinating for me about being alive is things show up. You look, and there's ... a TREE! How can you possibly take that for granted?! How is a tree and how are you that a tree can show up in your awareness?

That's what's fascinating for me about life. Just that makes being alive all encompassing and always sufficient. You always have access to that. You are that now and you always were already that, even before you started getting better.

This is completion.

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