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


I Listen You

Maplewood, New Jersey, USA

September 8, 2008



This essay, I Listen You, is the companion piece to I Am Love With You.

It is also the fourth in a group of seven on Listening: I am indebted to Elaine Durbach who inspired this conversation.




Ordinarily when you and I are together in the world, you're over there and I'm over here.

Except when I listen you. When I listen you, you're over there and I'm over there.

Wait! Say whut?  Isn't that a typo?  No, isn't that two  typos? Shouldn't that be "when I listen to you, you're over there and I'm over here" rather than "when I listen you, you're over there and I'm over there"?

The grammatically syntactically correct  way to refer to listening, the way my school marms  taught me, is to say something like "I listen to  you", "you listen to  me".

The trouble with saying it this way is when I listen to you, you're over there and I'm over here, and that's not listening. It may be hearing  (when I hear you, you're over there and I'm over here) but it's not listening  (when I listen  you, you're over there and I'm over there).

Oftentimes English grammar and syntax isn't up to the task of communicating experience. There's nothing bad or wrong about that. It's just not up to the task of communicating experience, and it's not up to the task of communicating the experience of listening. Language, however, evolves over time. With the advent of internet search engines, for example, the verb "google" is now included in the Oxford English Dictionary. In all likelihood, with the advent of transformation, the Oxford English Dictionary will include both distinctions "listening to you" (a synonym for hearing  you) and "listening you" (recreating your experience).

You're speaking. I get out of your way. I open to allow you to fill me up. You fill every single cubic micrometer of my awareness so there's only you  present for me. I'm no longer here in my experience. For me all there is is you. My entire being expands to include you. Then I become  you as edges blur and melt. There's only you. There's no more me looking at you speaking in front of me. There's only you speaking. My listening is empty awareness, a context  for who you're being, which you've occupied and taken over entirely. In my purest listening you, I've become you. There's no more you and I. In I, there's only you. There's only you.

As I listen you this way, something else unspoken shows up along with what you're speaking. What shows up is what's behind  what you're speaking. I hear what you're speaking, your concerns, only secondarily. Primarily I listen what's behind what you're speaking, the background  of your concerns. I hear you speaking your concerns. But I'm listening the background  of your concerns, the background you're not  speaking.

When it's appropriate, when it's my turn to speak, I recreate ie I give you back the background of your concerns, the background I've listened, the background you've not spoken. I don't give my opinion about your concerns. If I did, I'd keep you trapped in your concerns. In any case I'm not here  so there's no opinion giver. I recreate what shows up listening the background of your concerns as what runs  you. What runs you is the background of your concerns. It's not your concerns which run you. It's the background  of your concerns which runs you. You're not run by your concern about the ailing economy. You're run by the background of your concern about the ailing economy, which is: in the ailing economy, you won't make enough money to impress your parents parents and earn their love and respect.

Something magical happens. As I listen the background of your concerns, the background you're not speaking but which I listen anyway, there's only love. Total love. In the space of total love, the background of your concerns starts to break up and disappear. Nothing was fixed. Nothing was changed. Nothing was explained. Nothing was understood (even if it were, "understanding is the booby prize"  says Werner). Yet in the space of listening, the background of your concerns starts to break up and disappear. As the background of your concerns starts to break up and disappear, your concerns start to break up and disappear.

If I hear  you (you over there and me over here), you'd have your concerns heard, you'd have your strategy for survival in place and entrenched, you'd have empathy  as a balm, or agreement  buttressing you being right, and you'd continue doing whatever it was you were doing. Your work would be cut out for you. It would be business as usual. If I listen  you (you over there and me over there), you'd have a breakthrough  in the background of your concerns. The background of your concerns would be listened, gotten, recreated  and would start to break up and disappear. Your concerns would start to break up and disappear - in all likelihood in spite of  your concerns.

When I hear  you, you're left with your concerns, and me. When I listen  you, you're left with a breakthrough in your relationship with your concerns, and you.



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