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

Morning News

Sonoma, California, USA

August 21, 2012

This essay, Morning News, is the companion piece to Blue Screen And The Prism: A Composition In Two Movements.

For the most part, a sunrise has a certain inevitability  about it, an inexorability, a gravity which trains me. My listening (if you will) for the sunrise is awe ... along with the recognition "This is the way it is, this is what's to align with, this is what I intend  to align my life with.". The morning news engenders something completely different in me. My listening for the morning news is compassion ... along with the thought "It doesn't have to be this way.". While the sunrise (in this sense) is my trainer, it's the morning news which showcases what's wanted and needed  - in other words, the morning news showcases what opportunities there are to make a difference.

It's the sunrise I want to be woken up by.

I no longer own an alarm clock. I mean that literally. It's also a metaphor. The last time I owned an alarm clock, it wasn't the clockwork  kind you wind up, although I did own one of those once. It wasn't the kind which rings when a tiny hammer repeatedly and rapidly strikes tiny bells on its top. Rather it was battery powered. It made an electronic sound. When its battery eventually went flat, I never replaced it. Later I gave that alarm clock to Good Will.

If I need an alarm ie a reminder (an alert  actually), I can set one on my cell phone. Since this is the digital age (no longer the clockwork age), I can set five  different alerts on my cell phone ... and I carry two cell phones. The metaphor of no longer owning an alarm clock isn't I don't set alerts. I do. Setting alerts goeswith  (as Alan Watts may have said) being count-on-able. It's I no longer set my life to that alarm clock. It's I've set my life to Life itself  and to the natural day. Giving away that alarm clock, is a metaphor for this.

My home faces east. Simply opening my blinds before retiring ensures I'll wake when the sun rises and floods the Cowboy Cottage with light. Actually the process really begins much earlier than that: at the break of dawn. Waking with the rays of the sun and watching the sunrise gives a qualitatively different start to the day than my erstwhile waking with the cacophony of a wind up alarm clock and watching the morning news on rabbit's ears  television.

Later in the day, to be sure, I'll find out what's happening in the world. I stay informed via the internet and / or via NPR  ie National Public Radio and / or via USA Today. But there's something profound, something more useful  about marshaling my first thoughts of the day started by the dawn and occurring against a backdrop of the sunrise, than started by a jangling alarm clock and occurring against a backdrop of the morning news on TV.

I don't eschew the morning news until later in the day because it's mostly bad  news. Negative or positive, bad or good, it's all just  ... the  ... morning  ... news  ..., right? It's a commodity. If you removed the date from newspapers and published last month's newspapers today, would it really make any difference? Would anyone even notice?  Mind you, given our appetite for bad news, any news outlet touting to publish only good  news would probably find itself out of business and bankrupt in very short order.

Now, here's the thing: this so-called bad  news, this so called appetite  for bad news isn't someone else's. It's not theirs. It's mine. It's all of ours. The concerns of the world as shown on the morning news aren't someone else's concerns. They're my  concerns. They're our  concerns. They show the vast abyss between the way the world is, and the way it could be. In this way, it's the morning news, it's the commodity  which is the morning news, which inspires me to make a difference.

But it's the sunrise I choose to be woken up by. It's the sunrise I choose to train me in the way it is, to train me in what's to align with, to train me in my intention to align with it. For this I don't need an alarm clock.

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