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

Regular Guy

Muir Beach, California, USA

Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2010

This essay, Regular Guy, is the companion piece to
  1. Extraordinarily Ordinary
  2. Joe The Buddha
  3. Intergalactic Dude
in that order.

It is the nineteenth in an open group Encounters With A Friend:
  1. Showing Up
  2. Poet Laureate
  3. A Man In The Crowd
  4. Real Men Cry
  5. A Different Set Of Rules
  6. Nametag: A True Story
  7. Half-Life
  8. Waiting On You
  9. Erotica On Schedule
  10. A House On Franklin Street
  11. NeXT
  12. Reflection On A Window
  13. Here And There
  14. How To Enroll The World
  15. Demonstration
  16. Two Of Me II: Confirmation Not Correction
  17. Holiday Spectacular
  18. Hello! How Are Things Going For You?
  19. Regular Guy
  20. A Scholar And A Gentleman
  21. Images Of You
  22. With Nothing Going On
  23. Where No One Has Gone Before
  24. Attachment: Causeway Between Islands
  25. If You're Not Then Don't
  26. Images Of You II
  27. Living Where Life Is
  28. Create Me The Way I Am
  29. How Do You Spell The Sound A Ratchet Makes?
  30. You Don't Ask "Why Me?"  When It's Raining II
  31. The Stink Of Zen
  32. Sitting Quietly In A Room Alone
  33. Footsteps On Metal Stairs
so far, in that order.

It is also the fourth in a group of nine written on Thanksgiving Day:
  1. The Friends Of The Landmark Forum In South Africa
  2. Simple Things
  3. Full On You
  4. Regular Guy
  5. No Line
  6. Orchid Leaves
  7. Service: The Same Game Played In A Whole New Way
  8. Coming From Love
  9. Velcro Faces
in that order.

"The Face Of Things To Come II" - Photograph courtesy Clare Erhard-Trick - High School Graduation
Werner Erhard
It takes guts to start a conversation which, while controversial and not necessarily what people want to hear (which is to say, not necessarily what people want to hear at first), addresses the very real and suddenly present possibility of Life working for everyone with no one and nothing left out. It takes something totally extraordinary to start a conversation which hasn't been had before - ever  - which expands exponentially around the planet transforming millions of peoples' lives. It takes something je ne sais quoi  to step out and (figuratively) be the first fish walking up on the land, bringing with you elephants and eagles like a possibility. It takes something completely amazing to start a conversation which transforms families, communities, projects, enterprises, and (in certain celebrated cases) countries. As for bringing enlightenment to India, that takes boldness, daring, and verve - not for amateurs; not for the minor leagues.

When simply getting by  is the absolute best many will ever hope to aspire to, it takes something quite out of the ordinary to develop a new way of interactively conversing  with people so anyone and everyone you're speaking and listening with gets direct access  to their own power. Not direct access to their own power over time. Not direct access to their own power with practice. No, direct access to their own power immediately.

And the thing is you can't just go to the local library and look this stuff up. You can't just take out the manual and read up on how to. You can't google  it on the internet. You have to make it up  yourself. You have to call it up  out of your own experience of who you really are. And that's only the start of it. Then you have to earn credibility with people who, by our very nature, are jaded and skeptical of any and all of this sort of thing, who are afraid of being conned. You have to enroll  people into the possibility of their own lives. Oh, and there's one more small thing: when you've done all that, you can't take any credit for any of it - you have to leave people with all the credit for empowering themselves.

It's a function of being around you that people get clear about their own greatness. This, by the way, is no longer a debate. This is no longer subject to a referendum. The polls are closed. The results are in. Thirty nine years later it's now fait accompli  it's a function of being around you that people get clear about their own greatness. All throughout my own adventures I've noticed around other great teachers, people get clear about that  teachers' greatness - as they should. Around you, secondarily people also get clear about your greatness. Yes, to be sure they do. But only secondarily. Primarily  around you people get clear about their own greatness  and power.

From a distance I can get how people make up  things about you, about how you conduct yourself, about what your ulterior motive  is (this area, for me, is the genre  of some of the wildest works of fiction ever dreamed up). What no one sees, what's hardest to see, and perhaps what no one wants  to see (because it makes them exactly like you) is the you who's just an ordinary, regular guy, just a dude, just an ordinary Joe  like everyone else. And it's just a plain ol' regular guy  who's (or what's)  at the source of transformation, who's at the heart of it all. Really!

In my book, that's not just a compliment. It's not simply an acknowledgement. It's more than that - it's much  more. It's if this is going to work, then it's an essential. When the guru  owns one hundred Rolls Royces, there's something which sets him apart from the average human being, yes? When the guru says he levitates, there's definitely something which sets him apart from the average human being, yes? ("If God had meant man to fly, he would have given him wings"  - you said that). When the guru owns all the worldly goods of his followers, there's definitely something which sets him apart from the average human being, yes? What makes you so accessible, what makes your work so available is your ordinariness, your regular-ness, your regular Joe‑ness - in a word, your un-guru-ness. So even if the first thing people say about you is you're great, the next and the most enduring thing they say about you is "You're just like me: I'm  great". Your greatness only temporarily gets in front of their greatness. This is how, around you, true empowerment begins.

To be sure, to be around you in your greatness (which is to say, to listen  you in your greatness) is one of Life's great privileges. But to get the full impact  of who you really are, it's the regular guy  moments which remove any remaining vestiges of doubt. To bring you a Seven Up  when all around you are drinking wine and hard liquor. To see you accidentally knock over a vase, then kneel down on the podium and carefully pick up the vase and its flowers and set them back in place - just so. To hear you vent frustration when you can't find a paper you're looking for. To see you beaming, your eyes brimming tears, giving your daughter away at her wedding. To hear you tell a joke. To delight in telling you  a good joke which I tell well  about the monk who's taken vows of silence in a monastery. To watch you in a jogging suit and sneakers working out in the gym. To see you with your mother, just a boy and his Mom, to see the love between you, tender and palpable. To see you sitting cross legged on a beach, bare foot in the sand. To be alone with you in the kitchen after 2:00am, midnight-snacking on celery and cream cheese. To know you as a regular guy. To know you, before any of and all of yet inclusive of your greatness, as a regular guy - just like me, just like every last single one of us.

No different. Just the same.

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