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


It's OK The Way It Is

Napa Valley, California, USA

September 2, 2004



"It's OK the way it is."  ... 
This essay, It's OK The Way It Is, is the companion piece to

"It`s OK the way it is." ... Werner Erhard
Werner Erhard
"It's OK the way it is" he said to me, and in my listening I heard "the way it is" gently emphasized.

I looked. I got it. I smiled. "Beautiful point" I said to him after a moment.

But it was even more than that. That way of seeing is the  platform for a transformed life. It's the solid foundation on which to build a future. It's the once considered impossibly located balm for all things unbearable.

Standing in the opening of the sheer simplicity of it, I notice where my life is given to resisting things, changing things, fixing things, avoiding things, explaining things, justifying things. Where is my life given to it's OK the way it is? Given the obvious, that the way it is is the way it is, shouldn't all my life always be given to it all the time?

I express myself into the world as a manifestation of who I consider myself to be. I also express myself into the world avoiding experiencing who I don't consider myself to be. It seems natural, justified, and reasonable to avoid being dominated, for example, either by another person or by people, or even by life itself. Or to avoid being wrong, either in the eyes of another or others, or even in my own eyes. Or (the most pernicious) to avoid looking bad, either in the eyes of another or others, or even in my own eyes.

And it's not even that I act that way without considering the costs to my aliveness acting that way extracts, because I do. It's worse than that: I consider acting that way to be prudent, smart, intelligent, and the good old American "right thing to do".

When he said that (or at least after the full impact of what he said sunk in), I got that avoiding experiencing who I don't consider myself to be is out of an assessment of something or other or, as we sometimes say, "living in my head". It's not that you should or shouldn't live in your head that's the issue. That would be just another assessment. It's that living that way doesn't take into account that it's OK the way it is, whatever  it is.

A good friend of mine shared with me she'd recently started to lay awake at night unable to sleep. She'd sought counseling. She'd resorted to drug therapy. She'd even conjured up a plausible explanation for being unable to sleep: something she thought she'd completed in her past (her parents' divorce) had resurfaced and was coming back to haunt her.

I asked her if she'd be willing to try something with me. I said to her: "When you're lying there awake, be awake. Instead of lying there awake wanting to be asleep, when you're lying there awake, be awake.".

It wasn't too long before she realized her problem wasn't being unable to sleep. Her problem was being one way (awake) but wanting to be another way (asleep). And that is  a problem. Being X but wanting to be Y is a problem. Being X and wanting to be X isn't a problem.

From then on, when she was awake she was no longer being awake wanting to be asleep. From then on, when she was awake she'd be awake. Her problem disappeared.

Almost always, the voice over is an assessment of the way it ought to be. Characteristically, the way it ought to be is never the same as the way it is. Managing situations based on assessment is called "getting your fingers caught in the machinery". That doesn't imply you can't or shouldn't assess situations or change things. What it does imply is until you can get it the way it is without getting your fingers caught in the machinery, that's all you can do: assess situations and change things. There's no possibility of inventing any unpredictable, discontiguous future. There's no possibility of inventing anything truly new.

We live that "there's nothing new under the sun". Yet if you stop and observe, you'll notice the way it is always changes, always evolves. The way it is is that something new is always showing up. Always. That's its true nature. It's always new and it's always renewing itself by itself when you keep your fingers out of the machinery.

Here is where it is. Now is when it is. You are what it is.

It's OK the way it is. Really it is.

Celebrate!"



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