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

Letting Be

Napa, California, USA

March 18, 2019

"I used to search for happiness, and I used to follow pleasure. But I found a door behind my mind, and that's the greatest treasure." ... The Incredible String Band, October Song

This essay, Letting Be, is the companion piece to What Is, And The Story.

It is also the eighth in the open second group of Experiences Of A Friend (click here for the closed first group of thirty five Experiences Of A Friend):
  1. Friend, Partner, And Ally
  2. Go To The Beach
  3. Proof Of Life
  4. Going Out Like A Supernova
  5. Relationships: They Start, They End
  6. Evidence of Source
  7. On Knowing When To Be Ordinary
  8. Letting Be
in that order.

Ordinarily when you say someone is a master of letting be, it implies they're tolerating, permitting, allowing - in other words, "letting be" is something they're doing.

Photography by Kenneth Yamamoto
Werner Erhard
But in order to fully get  this extraordinary quality of his ie in order to fully appreciate the quality of his which I refer to as "letting be", you must distinguish between two contexts ie you must get yourself clear about two possible domains in which "letting be" can happen. Context is decisive. "Letting be" is powerful. And it's the context  in which "letting be" happens which has power to catapult it from a realm of mere tolerating / permitting / allowing, and into a realm of being totally extraordinary.

The first context is indeed a context of doing. If "letting be" happens in a context of doing, it would manifest as something he does  - letting be like tolerating / permitting / allowing. That's but one tiny aspect of where it's at with him. Listen: even if that were all  of it, it would be pretty darn great. How many times would you have avoided a world of hurt if instead of reacting like a tightly wound clock spring, you'd simply done something bigger - like letting be? That would've been pretty great, yes? Yes, except that's not the context for "letting be" to which I'm referring, the context which makes this quality of his so remarkable.

The second context is a context of being. If "letting be" happens in a context of being, it would manifest as something he is  ie as something he be's  (if you will). If he wasn't doing "letting be" and instead his being  was letting be (look: that's a very  subtle distinction, the distinction on which this conversation pivots), that  would be remarkable - totally extraordinary in fact.

Essentially, "letting be" in a context of being, is having everything show up exactly the way it shows up. So in this  context, characterizing it as tolerating / permitting / allowing actually trivializes it. In this context, there's no doing involved. This context actually precedes  any and all doing ie it's prior to all that. Furthermore in this context, whatever shows up, shows up in the context of who we really are. That's mastery. That's a master. "Letting be" in a context of being, allows anything (and by that, I do mean absolutely anything)  that shows up, to be, without diminishing, diminuting, or distracting from who we really are, nor from whatever shows up.

On the other hand, "letting be" in a context of doing, requires intervention  by who we really are. Be careful: one context is neither worse nor better than the other. In mastery, any and all arrows in the quiver are available and useful. Each of them can and will be used appropriately when required. What's important to get is that one "letting be" is an experience  and the other "letting be" is an action. Mastery is a function of experience, a function of being, a function of context. Masters of action (as you may have already noticed, even if you haven't put this language to it) aren't always also masters of being (consider the human experience calls us to be both).

It could maybe be said that with the onset of his experience of transformation on the Golden Gate Bridge, came the realization from which "letting be" as a being rather than as a doing, came forth. Furthermore it could maybe be said that everything else which followed which we now assume and take for granted in the world of transformation (which is to say which we now assume and take for granted in our world transformed), comes from his being letting be. Maybe.

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© Laurence Platt - 2019 Permission