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


Shut Up And Do What You're Doing

San Francisco, California, USA

November 16, 2012



"If God told you exactly what it was you were to do, you would be happy doing it no matter what it was. What you're doing is what God wants you to do. Be happy."
 ...  , 1973 - congratulating graduates of the est Training 
"Stop doing that. Just do the exercise."
 ...  , 2012 - leading The Leadership Course, to a participant rambling on about "I don't get this thing about being a clearing. I don't understand it. When I think about it ... blah blah blah ...?" 
This essay, Shut Up And Do What You're Doing, is the companion piece to The Trouble With Getting Better.

It is also the second in the first trilogy Breakfast With The Master:
  1. Conversation With A Laser
  2. Shut Up And Do What You're Doing
  3. Secret Agent
in that order.
The second trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Health
  2. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Finances
  3. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Open
in that order.
The third trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Raw Power
  2. It Works Better As A Possibility
  3. Magic At Heart
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master IV: Parental Care
  2. Breakfast With The Master IV: Taking The Guilt Out Of It
  3. Breakfast With The Master IV: Language As Music
in that order.
The fifth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Whatever Works
  2. Yesterday's Transformation
  3. Billions And Billions Of Stars
in that order.
This essay, Shut Up And Do What You're Doing, is also the fifth in an open group of Experiences Of A Friend:
  1. Stepping Back
  2. At Home As Self
  3. Empty Windows
  4. Futile Like A Freedom
  5. Shut Up And Do What You're Doing
  6. Werner As Intention
  7. Who He Is For Himself
  8. Source Quote
  9. Puzzle Solved, Mind Unraveled
  10. Eye To Eye
  11. Mystical Connection II
  12. Relentless
  13. Being Around Werner
  14. Being Always In Action: A Possibility
  15. Shaken Up And Teary
  16. On Being Sad
  17. The Complete Presentation
  18. Force Of Nature
  19. Everyone's In Love With Everyone
  20. I'm Old School
  21. Werner At The Speed Of Choice
  22. I Get Who You Are From What They Do
  23. The Significance - Not What Happened
  24. You Know I Love You - And I Know You Love Me
  25. Speaking To People's Relationship With Werner
  26. A Master At Being (And Having People Be)
  27. Werner As Source
  28. A Man Who's All There
  29. My Heart And You
  30. Mind Control
  31. Again And Again And Again And Again And Again And Again
  32. Unwavering
so far, in that order.

It is also the fourth in an open group on Zen: It is also the prequel to Shut Up And Do What You're Doing II.

I am indebted to Jae Ellis and to Joseph Kempin who contributed material for this conversation.




Shut up and do what you're doing.

That's it.

That's this entire essay  right there.

The end.

No kidding! There's no more. Anything else is just commentary. All done. 'bye!

* * *

OK, here's the commentary:



Commentary

Werner Erhard's Zen of "do what you're doing" is so sweet, it's so perfect, it's so profound, and it's also so simple (notice I didn't say it's so easy). Let's distinguish the "do what you're doing" part of this essay for a moment - then later we'll get to the "shut up and ..." part.

If it could be said a Zen master does anything different than you and I, then it's a Zen master does what she's doing when she's doing it.

<aside>

It actually works better to say "If it could be said a Zen master does anything more consistently  than you and I, ..." than to say "If it could be said a Zen master does anything different  than you and I, ...".

However, to say "If it could be said a Zen master does anything different than you and I, ..." is good enough for jazz.

<un-aside>

When I examine the implication of a Zen master doing what she's doing when she's doing it, the unavoidable irony in it for me is I've never done anything I didn't  do, yes? All I've ever done is what I've done. All I do is what I do. I only do what I do. I never do what I don't do. Man! That's so shockingly simple  its profundity is easy to overlook. All I'll ever  do is what I'll do. So for me to take on, like a Zen master, doing what I'm doing when I'm doing it, is a no brainer since it's all I ever do anyway. More than that, for me to take on being satisfied  doing what I'm doing when I'm doing it (since it's all I ever do anyway) is also a no brainer, yes?

<aside>

If this were real for everyone, the world would be enlightened by now. Plainly it isn't. Zen is simple. But it ain't easy.

<un-aside>

If I tell the truth about whether or not I'm satisfied doing what I'm doing when I'm doing it (on those occasions when that's indeed what I'm doing) the truth is I'm totally  satisfied doing what I'm doing when I'm doing it. Isn't this a good enough draw  to attract me to do what I'm doing when I'm doing it all the time?  Yet I don't  do it all the time. Zen is simple. But it ain't easy. It ain't easy doing it all the time.

... or so it may seem  ...

Here's the thing: I say what makes it not easy doing it all the time (and it's the only  thing which makes it not easy doing it all the time), is my linguistic act  of saying "It ain't easy.".

Let me say more about what I mean by this:

You can't point to "ain't easy". You can't do brain surgery and remove "ain't easy". Listen: there's no such thing  as "ain't easy". "It ain't easy" is a linguistic act with which I interfere with the things I do - or at least with which I interfere with some  of the things I do. But in point of fact, I only do what I do, and I never do what I don't do - so the linguistic act "It ain't easy" is simply an add-on. It's an add-on closely related to other classic add-ons like "I should be doing something else other than this" and the grand-daddy of all add-ons "This isn't  it!", all of which serve nothing but to interfere with me doing what I'm doing when I'm doing it.

I'm struck by the unavoidable realization that when I stop adding on, when I stop using these particular linguistic acts to interfere with what I do, then all I'm doing is what I'm doing when I'm doing it  which, by definition, is living in the space of wholeness, completion, fullness, perfection, and satisfaction.

Having distinguished this, we've now gotten to the "shut up and ..." part.

Without add-ons like "It ain't easy", "I should be doing something else other than this", and "This isn't it!", I'm satisfied. Period. Notice this isn't doing  satisfied. This is being  satisfied. This is satisfaction as the thing in itself.

I assert the way of this satisfaction is simple: no add-ons ie no linguistic acts which interfere with me doing what I'm doing when I'm doing it. And the trap  inherent in quelling add-ons is if an aspiring Zen master ie a Zen master candidate  gives reasons  for no add-ons, if he explains why  no add-ons, if he encourages  no add-ons, if he's nice  about no add-ons, then all of these are more add-ons!  They're the tail wagging the dog. It needs to be much more decisive than this. It needs to be much more powerful than this. To be truly effective it needs to come down like a Zen master's samurai sword - Whack!  - on the linguistic acts so instantly  they can no longer interfere with me doing what I'm doing when I'm doing it. It needs to be like "SHUT UP!  Shut up and ... do what you're doing.". Nothing nice about it.

Like that.

As any self-respecting monk in the monastery knows, it's pure naïvete, pure folly to expect the Zen master to always be nice.



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