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




Just Another Piece In The World:

Access To Mastery

Browns Valley, California, USA

July 22, 2019



"Mastery is not about being in an aesthetic place of love and kindness. That's just the beginning of mastery. Mastery is about having the world showing up as it is. And 'I' is just another piece in the world."
... 
"Who you mean when you say 'I' is not you. It's just something that shows up for you."
... 
"Ego is the functioning of one's point of view in the attempt to cause that point of view to survive. The verb 'to ego'  means 'to perpetuate one's own point of view'."
... 
"All through' the day: 'I', 'me', 'mine', 'I', 'me', 'mine', 'I', 'me', 'mine'. All through' the night: 'I', 'me', 'mine', 'I', 'me', 'mine', 'I', 'me', 'mine'. Now they're frightened of leaving it, ev'ryone's weaving it, coming on strong all the time."
... George Harrison
This essay, Just Another Piece In The World: Access To Mastery, is the fourth in a quadrilogy on I - The I Essays: It is also the sequel to You Don't Ask "Why Me?"  When It's Raining II.

It was written at the same time as Three Words: "In My Opinion".




The latter half of the first of Werner's three quotes (above) which inspire / give this conversation, is extraordinary. Extraordinary in its simplicity. Extraordinary in its power. Extraordinary in its ... well ... mastery  of the subject matter:


<quote>

MASTERY IS ABOUT HAVING THE WORLD SHOWING UP AS IT IS. AND "I" IS JUST ANOTHER PIECE IN THE WORLD.

<unquote>


It's an unmistakable, riveting quote. It's vintage Erhard. If you consider other descriptions of mastery from any schools, traditions, systems, methods, paths, isms  etc, they all easily and naturally overlap with Werner's - indeed, at their very heart ie in their very essence, they're all in lock-step  with Werner's (how could they not  be? - mastery is mastery after all, yes?). Look: if it's not merely an intellectual definition of mastery you're considering (ie the way you conceive of it) and you'd rather have an experiential  definition (ie the way you live  it), you'd be hard put to come up with a more fitting definition of mastery than Werner's. So let's examine it closer.

That "... 'I' is just another piece in the world"  gets directly to the appropriate placement / positioning  of "I" in a transformed life. Notice there's no difficulty with this view, no struggle with it - and no denying  it either. Simpler than the difficulty, struggle, and denial of positioning "I" in an untransformed life, a masterful relationship with "I" is a matter of perspective / containment / context  (if you will) - which is to say it's really a matter of the way I have "I" occur for me ie it's a matter of the way I have "I" show up  for me, or (if you prefer) it's simply a matter of the way I create the space  for "I" to show up for me (be careful: in these, I is not "I"  ...).

<aside>

Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Wait: that sounds like a Zen koan, doesn't it?

WHO AM I, THAT I IS NOT "I" ...

Ah, Grasshopper.

<un-aside>

And it's more than merely a matter of creating the space for "I"  to show up. Within the space (if you will) of mastery, all of what we commonly consider to be the other components of ourselves as human beings (yet which aren't who we really are) also show up as pieces: thoughts, memories, emotions, feelings, physical (bodily) sensations, even ego (savor Werner's at first unusual and then in-hindsight brilliant  third quote above in which he speaks "ego" as a verb  rather than as a noun).

Seen from the perspective of mastery ie seen from the possibility of being a master, it's all  another piece in the world. All of it. The question then is "How is mastery attained?"  - which, in the context of Werner's work, may not really be an effective question to ask. In this context it may not even be a powerful  question to ask. In Werner's work, attaining mastery (which is to say being masterful)  may just be the natural outcome of an ontological shift  ie of ongoingly experiencing the same old same old, but in a new light. How then do I make any component of my life as a human being (thoughts, memories, emotions, feelings, physical (bodily) sensations, and particularly ego) show up in a new light ie as just another piece in the world? Because if that's "the way of the master"  if you will, then consider implementing it.

Please get this: it's not a matter of making  anything into just another piece in the world (it actually has nothing to do with doing  anything at all). Consider an access to mastery is through the inquiry "Where do I have to be / how do I have to be / who  do I have to be for 'I' to easily and naturally occur / show up as just another piece in the world?". In other words, mastery / transformation is a way of coming at life, rather than of shifting the pieces around and / or trying to manipulate them.

Thus mastery may be "attained" (that's colloquial usage, and it's not the best way to speak it: in this context it's only good enough for jazz  - a more powerful expression is "... mastery may be 'accessed'  ...") through nothing more (and nothing less) than an ontological shift, even more than merely through learning and implementing powerful skills with which to manage all the components of my life successfully. Mastery is a context to come from, not a survival management strategy.



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