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

Naked Before You

Soda Canyon, Napa Valley, California, USA

August 31, 2010

I am indebted to Jon Toellner who inspired this conversation.

People will do almost anything to get transformation. Almost anything.

Sit in a cave and meditate endlessly. Renounce the world. Renounce worldly possessions. Give up husbands. Give up wives. Give up families  and take vows of celibacy. Deaden the experience of Life as it is  with alcohol. Alter the experience of Life as it is with drugs and mood changing chemicals. Chant. Pray. Undergo therapy. Theorize. Intellectualize. Then - when all else fails - try to understand.

We look for transformation everywhere except  right here and right now. We're thrown to not  get Life exactly  the way it is and exactly  the way it isn't. We want so much for Life to be not  like it is. And we want it to mean something, that it's like it is. Man!  Do we want it to mean something ...  We're intent on finding an explanation  - as if explaining  Life will make a difference. We're convinced there's a reason  for all this. Most of all we want a way out  of the predicament  we perceive ourselves to be in. We rationalize this isn't "IT"  by looking forward to the life hereafter. We're convinced the life hereafter will be better  than this one. We're certain  the life hereafter is when we'll get transformation.

Having convinced ourselves this isn't  "IT", we seldom say (we don't bother to say, really) exactly what's so about this  life without the obligatory complaint and disgruntlement. It's more than that, actually. It's we regard complaint and disgruntlement as  what's so. They're not. They're what gets in the way  of what's so. We're trapped in a glorious irony. We complain and we're disgruntled because we don't get transformation. Yet it's complaint and disgruntlement which get in the way of saying exactly what's so. And saying exactly what's so with nothing in the way is a powerful access to transformation.

See the trap we're in?

When you say exactly what's so right here and right now, you say your experience - straight, pure, and simple without complaint, without disgruntlement. Interestingly enough, saying your experience right here and right now - straight, pure, and simple without complaint, without disgruntlement is almost always repressed. It's almost always hidden. It's almost always avoided because it's too naked. And we hate standing naked. I mean this quite literally. We go to great lengths  to protect and prevent our naked bodies from being seen. We've become so god-damned  good at covering our asses. We've become so good at coming up with all sorts of justifications for not baring our nakedness, for not being our experience. We yearn for transformation. We'll do almost anything to get it. And yet we unwittingly keep transformation at bay simply because we've become so god-damned  good at covering our asses.

Handling whatever's there  for you to handle (embarrassment, wanting to hide, wanting to cover up  etc) when you stand naked in front of people is more on the money of what it takes to transform your life than anything else.

No need to sit in a cave and meditate. No need to renounce the world and worldly possessions. No need to terminate relationships and go it alone. No need to be celibate. Neither alcohol nor drugs nor mood changing chemicals are required. Chant, pray, and be in therapy if you like. Take time to theorize, to intellectualize, and to try to understand. If all that fails to generate transformation, there's always the next life to look forward to. Yet irrespective of the degree of anticipation, there's no guarantee you'll get transformation in the next life either.

But if you just take on getting in touch  with and being  with and saying your experience  of what comes up when you stand naked in front of people, whatever that  is, wherever it comes from, it's a very powerful access to transforming this  life right here and right now.

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