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

Immersion In The Conversation:

On Being In A Seminar

Landmark Breakthroughs: Living Outside The Box Seminar, Doubletree Hotel, Rohnert Park, California, USA

August 31, 2015

This essay, Immersion In The Conversation: On Being In A Seminar, is the companion piece to
  1. Wet Water
  2. A Possibility Given Approach
  3. Ordinary People
in that order.

It is also the eighteenth in an open group inspired by Landmark Programs: It was conceived at the same time as I am indebted to Bob Fisher who inspired this conversation.

Immersing myself in any conversation (a conversation for transformation to be sure, but immersing myself in any  conversation actually) is like immersing myself in the water in a swimming pool. The water in a swimming pool has characteristics and properties (temperature, clarity, pH  balance, depth etc). A conversation also has characteristics and properties (openings, insights, knowledge, experience etc). For the most part, immersing myself in the water in a swimming pool ensures I'm subject to its characteristics and properties. Like that, immersing myself in any conversation ensures I'm subject to its characteristics and properties as well.

For example, immersing myself in a small talk  watercooler conversation is white bread:  something to chew on but nothing of any substance. Immersing myself in the morning news conversation is interesting, foreboding, entertaining, yet essentially the same old same old. Immersing myself in the political  conversation can be unbelievably frustrating, hopeless, scary, and at times stoopid  - that is, if you're of the opinion it's stoopid (listen: when it comes to politics, who hasn't held the opinion that something or other in the political conversation was stoopid, on at least one occasion?). Scientific conversations: if we can put a probe on Mars then surely we can feed the hungry and house the homeless on Earth, yes? Family conversations: how quickly they devolve into chit-chat  if the powerful opportunity family is, isn't present for everyone - which is to say if the powerful opportunity family is, isn't presenced by  everyone. Global warming and climate change conversations: see both "ostriches' heads in the sand"  conversations as well as "inventing a future worth living into"  conversations.

When I'm in each and any of the above conversations, there are openings I gain access to, there are insights I have, there's new knowing to be gotten. Overall, there's the whole unique and distinct experience  I'm left with as a result of immersing myself in each particular conversation. Continuing with the water in a swimming pool analogy, the result of immersing myself in any particular conversation, equates to experiencing the wetness of the water  of that particular conversation (each conversation imparts and leaves me with its own particular experience of wetness).

And then  ... there's a conversation for transformation  aka being in a seminar. It's simply another, distinct  conversation. None of the conversations alluded to above, are any worse (and they certainly aren't any better)  than a conversation for transformation ie than being in a seminar. What's true is they're different than a conversation for transformation - in exactly the same way as each are different than one another. And any  conversation I'm immersed in, leaves me in some way altered by it, in some way affected by it, in some way impacted by it, in some way more experienced by it, in some way opened by it, and (I really want you to get this) in some way used by  it. We're used by the conversations we immerse ourselves in. There are results of being used by the conversations we immerse ourselves in. That conversation produces that  result. This conversation produces this  result. That's observable by us human beings as we speak and listen.

What makes this "being in a seminar" conversation distinct? What are the results of being used by a conversation for transformation?

When I'm in a seminar I'm surrounded by real people being real. I listen people speaking what's possible rather than justifying staying stuck. I listen people speaking responsibility rather than blame and excuse. I listen people speaking victory over the past, having discovered the access to relinquishing their own victim-ness (if you will). There are no blowhards  in here. Instead this is a level of authenticity which has to be heard to be fully appreciated. When I'm in a seminar I'm surrounded by people who are more interested in breaking new ground in their lives, than stubbornly holding on to existing circumstances, situations, and barriers ie in being right  about them. I hear expressions of courage and bravery as people speak openly and fearlessly about their real life situations without the slightest attempt to look good (obsessing with looking good, by the way, a rampant practice, perniciously gets in the way of being authentic). Being in a seminar is an opportunity to grapple with personal issues, age old inquiries into what it is exactly to be human, issues concerning the well-being of each of us individually and of all of us collectively. And arguably most notably, these issues are never addressed from the position of an unquestioned steward's hectoring doctrine  but rather from your  ongoing discovery in real time made newly and originally.

There's a certain admiration I have for people who are willing to participate in this conversation, for people who ongoingly invent and reinvent their lives as they're living them, rather than sticking closely to the tired old script of an entrenched belief system. Contrasted with being in, say, the morning news conversation, this is truly inspiring. You could say Life itself  is working itself out in these conversations. That's what it is to be used by this conversation: it's to be used by Life itself working itself out. It's a conversation worthy of being in. It's unique. There's none other quite like it. Anywhere. And when you're in it, you won't need anyone to tell you it's unique. Just by being in it, you know. You ... just ... know. It has that kind of recognizable timbre  to it.

"Of all of the available seminars, which one should I participate in?" you ask. Which one? I say it doesn't matter. No, really: it doesn't matter which seminar you're in. Just pick one and be in it. Be in it like you're immersing yourself in the water in a swimming pool. Just be in it: you'll get its wetness. You can't not  get its wetness if you're in it. You can't not get any  conversation's wetness if you're in it. Getting the wetness of the conversation for transformation, is like getting the wetness of any other conversation: immerse yourself in it, and you'll get it. What's different is its  wetness is transformation. And its particular way of using us and the breakthroughs, experiences, insights, and ideas we get being used by it, make it a totally, completely, and utterly marvelous, compelling conversation to be in.

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