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
Nothing Feels So Good
Rombauer Vineyards, St Helena, California, USA
April 24, 2007
It's so basic it's imminently easy to miss altogether.
It's so simple it seems complicated.
It feels good just to be.
How do we regard life when it doesn't feel good? What do you do to make
yourself feel good? Does feeling good "just happen" by itself,
unpredictably, some days more than others? Does not
feeling good just happen by itself, unpredictably, some days more than
others? You like feeling good when you're feeling good. You don't like
not feeling good when you're not feeling good. It's clear which you
prefer. When you flip-flop from one to the other, it's
just a change in the weather, a shift in the wind. There's no real
control or mastery over which way you will go.
Ordinarily we regard feeling good as something to reach
for, as something to aspire to. For the most part, feeling good seems
to require doing something, getting something. It seems to require
gaining, adding, attaining, achieving, or reaching for something.
Ordinarily (if we tell the truth about it) we prefer doing the things
which make us feel good. Ordinarily we regard that preference as a
choice. But it's really automatic. Once we've done the things
which make us feel good, we've got feeling good over and on top
of a base of not feeling good.
This is what Werner Erhard calls "icing on a mud pie".
Although it's a quintessentially human activity, it's perennially
defeatist icing a mud pie. Why? It implies we regard our base as
not feeling good. Suppose it's true our base is not
feeling good. We prefer feeling good over not feeling good. So we'll
always have to come up with new and newer ways to add
something to not feeling good to change it into
feeling good. If it's true our base is not feeling good, we'll never
succeed in permanently changing it into feeling good. That's why it's
defeatist icing mud pies.
In the normal course of events it's questionable whether simply
being could feel good. With nothing added. With nothing taken
away. With no doing required. In the normal course of
events it's questionable whether there's really nothing to be done to
feel good. It's questionable whether our base could really
be just plain feeling good.
Consider: the icing's on the mud pie but the mud pie's on nothing.
Nothing feels as good as nothing. Nothing feels so good.
If you think I'm speaking about being numb, you're missing my point.
If you think I'm speaking about being
or about being unconscious, you're missing my point.
Icing mud pies requires energy. Icing mud pies requires work.
It's work remembering which mud pies are iced. It's work maintaining
icing. When I inquire into it, I notice only my
behavior puts icing on mud pies in the first place. When I tell the
truth about where I've been being
there's a component of sheer relief once the game is over,
when I no longer have to keep it up. Keeping up
keeping up pretense is hard work. Once it's clear,
there's a new freedom to be. That's real freedom. I
can just be. With nothing added. With nothing taken away. That's
the nothing I'm speaking about.
When I let nothing be, it feels good.
There's nothing to do
to make nothing feel good. That's its nature. That's just
the way it is. That's what it feels like. Nothing feels so good.
Nothing feels sogood.