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


Internal States II

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

May 19, 2016



"A person's 'Way Of Being' is what is going on with them internally. It is made up of some combination of that person's mental state (their attitude or state of mind), emotional state (their feelings or emotions), bodily state (their body sensations), [and] thoughts and thought processes (and that includes memories [and decisions] that might be present). In other words, a person's 'Way Of Being' is what is going on with them internally in a given moment or in a given situation."
 ... 
This essay, Internal States II, is the second in the trilogy Internal States:
  1. Internal States
  2. Internal States II
  3. Internal States III: Way Of Being
in that order.

I am indebted to all the graduates of the Leadership Course everywhere who inspired this conversation.




Simply put, our Way Of Being is a function of our internal states. All too often, who we are for ourselves is  our internal states. We mostly say "I am  confused", "I am sad" (or happy), "I am tired", "I think", "I remember", and "I decided" ("I made up my mind"). We mostly don't  say "there is  confusion", "there is sadness" (or happiness), "there is tiredness", "there are thoughts", "there are memories", or "there are decisions".

<aside>

In a different context, rather than saying "I am confused", "I am sad" (or happy), "I am tired", "I think", "I remember", and "I decided" ("I made up my mind"), we say "I have  confusion", "I have sadness" (or happiness), "I have tiredness", "I have thoughts", "I have memories", and "I have decisions".

This "I have  ..." isn't strictly accurate. What's closer to the truth is "confusion has me", "sadness has me" (or happiness), "tiredness has me", "thoughts have me", "memories have me", and "decisions have me".

But that's a subject for another conversation on another occasion. In this  conversation, saying "there are thoughts" and not "thoughts have me" (rather than "I have thoughts") etc, is appropriate.

<un-aside>
Werner suggests our Way Of Being comprises some combination of these four internal states: For the most part, and particularly prior to the onset of transformation, our internal states dominate our lives. Indeed, for the most part, and particularly prior to the onset of transformation, our internal states are who we are  for ourselves. When who we are for ourselves is no longer our internal states ie when who we are for ourselves isn't given by  our internal states ie when our internal states simply aren't present  for us (in other words when we cease being preoccupied with our internal states), something else  becomes possible. That something else is the miracle of being.

Everyone knows (somewhere on the spectrum between subliminal intuition and overt certainty) that when our mental state doesn't dominate ie when our attitudes aren't distracting, something else becomes possible - like a freedom to be. Whatever attitudes are prevalent, whatever state of mind is ongoing, as soon as they're no longer imposing, something else wonderful becomes possible. Similarly with our emotional state: as long as our feelings and emotions aren't front and center stage demanding the limelight, we're free to be and to create - with choice over the volume at which our emotions play. Our body state (ie one or more body sensations) registers almost all the time. Yet as long as it's not calling urgently for attention, we're free to be and to create. Furthermore when we're not thrown to living from unexamined memories or being run by unexamined age-old decisions, we can be open to the possibility of being free and creating something new.

It's inherent in our nature to be attracted to becoming freer and to being free, and to investigate ways of becoming free. So it's a smart conclusion to draw (and we've been drawing it not just for decades but for centuries)  that if our internal states weren't dominant or if they could somehow be held in check (we talk about "quieting  the mind", "taming  the mind" etc, and we've invented disciplines which have been in place for thousands  of years which seek to do just that), we'd have an easier time of being free to be and free to create. The question has become: how can our internal states best be rendered subordinate ie how are they best held in check, leaving us free to be and free to create? I propose whatever we've done to render our internal states subordinate ie whatever we've done to hold them in check has actually reinforced their dominance  ie has added significance to them ie has made them more present, impairing our possibility of being free to be and free to create.

The practice of simply distinguishing internal states, is an access to being free to be and free to create. When who I am for myself isn't given by my internal states, the miracle of being becomes possible. Trying to render your internal states subordinate ie trying to keep your internal states in check, is as unclear on the concept  as trying to render your hands subordinate, or trying to keep your feet in check. Simply distinguishing internal states as internal states  restores power to who you are. In the matter of distinguishing internal states as internal states, who I am is the distinguisher. So in the moment of making the distinction, who I am for myself is not my internal states. In this moment, for the most part my internal states aren't present for me. What's present instead is who I am, the distinguisher, the miracle of being.

I'm not my attitude: there is  an attitude. I'm not my state of mind: there is  a state of mind. I'm not my feelings: there are  feelings. I'm not my emotions: there are  emotions. I'm not my body sensations: there are  body sensations. I'm not my thoughts or my memories or my decisions: there are  thoughts and memories and decisions. In other words, I'm not my internal states: there are  internal states.

Watch: "I'm not my internal states: there are  internal states" is an essential  distinction. When I distinguish my internal states as internal states and not as who I am, what's then available is the miracle of being out-here  with my internal states not present for me, the possibility of being free to be and free to create something new.


Postscript:
The presentation, delivery, and style of Internal States II are all my own work.
The ideas recreated in Internal States II were first originated, distinguished, and articulated by  .


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