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


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 asleep 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 inauthentic behavior puts icing on mud pies in the first place. When I tell the truth about where I've been being inauthentic, there's a component of sheer relief  once the game is over, when I no longer have to keep it up. Keeping up inauthenticity, 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 so good.

Much better than icing mud pies.



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