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


Sitting II

Somewhere At 37,000 Feet Over The United States Of America

June 6, 2016

"All of my love, all of my love, oh all of my love to you." ... Led Zeppelin, All My Love 
This essay, Sitting II, is the sequel to Sitting.

It is also the prequel to a group of four written in Washington DC, June 2016:
  1. City Girl
  2. Two Busies
  3. Washington DC Words
  4. Completion: An Inquiry Into The Point Of It All
in that order.



If you fly a lot ie if you're a frequent flyer, you know what it's like to have time on your hands. And if you're a frequent economy class flyer, you know you can't move around much. There's very limited work room in which to get something productive done. So after you've gotten yourself settled in, you look out the window. It's amazing to look down on our planet from high above. Personally I'm not big on heights. Cliff and rock climbing aren't on my list of favorite things to do. I wasn't crazy about walking up the staircases of the Eiffel Tower either - although I did. Flying on the other hand is something I always look forward to. And when I fly I love looking out the window.

But even looking out the window can become passé  after a while if you fly a lot. So eventually you start rummaging through the seat pocket in front of you, flipping through the pages of the magazine(s) they have in there, the inflight entertainment guide, and even the emergency procedures card and menus. And if you really  fly a lot, you may try solving some of the puzzles in the magazines, or watch a movie (even if you've seen it before) on the seat back screen in front of you.

Now if you really, really  fly a lot and  you tell the truth about it, sooner or later you're likely to ask yourself the question "What's the big deal about just sitting  here?" ie what is it about us human beings that we can't just be in our own space and sit  and do nothing  without needing some busy work  to occupy us - which is to say without needing some busy work to help us avoid whatever comes up when we're just being in our own space sitting and doing nothing?

If you can see the opportunity in it (and while it may not be immediately obvious what the opportunity is, it's huge), what these times are really great for is just sitting and looking. Did you say "... just sitting  ... and looking  ..." Laurence? At what?  What possible opportunity could there be in just sitting and looking? Good question. It's an opportunity which is accessed by (which is to say it's revealed by) the questions you ask as you sit and look at what's there, and whatever's going on which you're compelled to try to get away from and / or to avoid ie whatever's going on that's most likely a symptom of something incomplete. Look: if you're going to be sitting here anyway, this is a priceless opportunity to take note of what you've got going on which otherwise is glossed over, overlooked, ignored, and forgotten.

Rather than trying to avoid them, for me these are really valuable occasions, priceless opportunities to take a look at and see and be with how I am prior  to it all. Let's face it: unless you live in a monastery, you don't often take the time to just sit and look, do you? You've got more important things to do, right? That said, the thing about us human beings is it's intrinsic ie it's built in to our nature to be in action. Werner says "Just like the front and the back of the hand, being and action are distinct yet inseparable.". So even if you just sat and looked, it's unlikely you'll sit and look at what's going on in the space for ever  leaving no time to do all those other important things you have to do. Probably more sooner than later, you'll stand up and do something else, yes? Notice whatever's goes on in your space, goes on whether you're sitting and looking, or whether you're in action. The opportunity just sitting and looking affords is critical: it's the opportunity to live a life in which what's going on is examined. That's priceless, especially when there's very limited work room in which to get something else productive done. It's a life worth living.

Socrates says "The unexamined life is not  worth living.". What I see as I examine this space in which I live my life, sitting in this seat with very little room in which to get something else productive done, are the people I love with whom I have the privilege and the pleasure of interacting, and how my staying incomplete (about anything)  directly impacts what's available to them  in life. I'm crystal clear (and have been for quite a while now, about four decades) about how my staying incomplete about anything, directly impacts what's available to me  in life. That's a given ie it's axiomatic  (if you will). This, on the other hand, is arguably the first time I've gotten really clear about how my staying incomplete about anything, directly impacts what's available to others  in life.

What shows up for me in the aftermath of this realization is the great love I have for the people in my life, for my family, for my friends, for all of humanity really - and to make this distinction even more rigorous, for human being  (yes I did say human "being"  purposefully rather than human "beings"). It's to you I give all my love ... all of my love, all of my love, oh all of my love to you.

That's what's revealed in this erstwhile unexamined space ie that's what's revealed in this now examined  space by sitting and looking. When I get it, things go beautifully quiet, impeccably serene.

I'm looking out the window again, looking down on our planet from high above. Soon afterwards I stand up and walk about the cabin.


Background soundtrack: Led Zeppelin: All My Love - wait for 5.45M download


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