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

Passing Through:

Anatomy Of A Contextual Shift

Dutch Henry Canyon, Calistoga, California, USA

November 23, 2012

This essay, Passing Through: Anatomy Of A Contextual Shift, is the fourth in a group of ten on Context: I am indebted to Victoria Hamilton-Rivers who inspired this conversation.

She says "Sitting here looking at the ocean with light sparkling on the water is all I need to remind me of what's infinite and possible for us human beings passing through.".

After a moment I say (I muse  actually) "Talking about us human beings passing through, like we're  passing through it  ... how about it's it's  passing through us?".

She says (after a pause) "That's a provocative one Laurence!".

How interesting, I think. It seems so obvious - and I wasn't trying to be provocative (as I sometimes am). But in retrospect I guess the idea is  provocative even though not a lot of thought goes into it. It  passing through us  rather than us  passing through it, occurs to me in the moment. Not like a carefully rationalized theory. Not like a well thought through scientific hypothesis. Neither is it coming from intellect. It's not a concept  either. It's more like a whim, more like a fleeting experience (a fleeting romantic  experience actually) which suddenly presences itself then almost immediately disappears as if to tease me to chase it, to come after it, to look for it, to seek it out. Kind of like it's playing some sort of divine game of cat and mouse  with me. Or hide and seek: now you see me, now you don't - come and get me!

Having zeroed in on it and committed it to paper for this essay (I've actually committed it to a memory chip on a server somewhere - but to say I've committed it to paper is good enough for jazz), having stopped for a moment and looked at it closely, it's actually quite awesome - it's stunning actually. Who I really am is context, space, possibility. All of Life and everything in it is content. This content includes all of us. So in inquiring into the matter of human beings passing through ie passing through Life, is the question "Who's  passing through what?"  (we're passing through it) or is it "What's  passing through whom?"  (it's passing through us)? It suddenly intrigues me, it grips  me that it's possible it really is it's  (content) passing through ie showing up for ie occurring for us  (context) rather than we're  passing through, passing through Life, passing through it.

Then, almost as soon as I get it, it disappears. When I realize it's gone, when I realize we're sitting on the beach just passing through  again, I look to see if I can create it again ie I look to see if I can create the shift from we're passing through it, to it's passing through us again. It's magic!  Through consideration (and through consideration alone)  I re-create the shift. It's back! It's  passing through us again.

And that's the way it stays - at least for a while until suddenly I notice I haven't made the shift stick permanently: it's gone. Now it's we're  passing through it again. The contextual shift has reversed itself. And it's nothing I did or didn't do. It just flip flopped  all by itself. But  ... as soon as I discover it's gone, I notice I can create it again.

Listen: that we're passing through, passing through Life, passing through it, albeit ordinary and business as usual, is totally marvelous. That it's passing through us, however, is extra-ordinary and miraculous. And we're both  - which is to say you and I possess the power to creatively shift the context at will from one to the other and back again at every moment under all circumstances.

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