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

The Mastery Course:

Holding Myself Out Into The Nothing

East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf, London, England

November 15, 2019

This essay, The Mastery Course: Holding Myself Out Into The Nothing, is the first in the trilogy The Mastery Course:
  1. The Mastery Course: Holding Myself Out Into The Nothing
  2. The Mastery Course II: We've Got It All On Tape
  3. The Mastery Course III: You Have To Discover It For Yourself
in that order.

The trilogy The Mastery Course is the sequel to
  1. Further Down The Road
  2. Gratitude III
in that order.

It is also the prequel to I Think, Therefore I Am?

Foreword To The Mastery Course Trilogy:

The three essays comprising this trilogy are not about  the Mastery Course per se. Neither do they intend to recreate the rich body of distinctions and the breakthrough in transformation the Mastery Course unerringly, powerfully, rigorously, inexorably  delivers. To get those, register yourself in the next Mastery Course. There's no investment more worthwhile. Really.

Rather, this trilogy comes from my experience with Werner and Dr Joseph DiMaggio and over five hundred other participants, staff, and people who assist, in the three-day Mastery Course in London in November of 2019.

Prior to (behind, before) the being (who you and I really are) is the nothing. That's Laurence recreating Werner recreating Martin Heidegger. And Werner's is an entrancing, mesmerizing, brilliant Heideggerian discourse. Delivering it in a voice that springs from a fountainhead of sheer intention, he strides from point to point in the spacious course venue, directing himself both to the group at large, as well as to individuals one at a time. It's an essential truth that whatever Werner speaks, he demonstrates. In this course Werner is therefore demonstrating being a master. Watching him, and allowing the full impact of what he's unleashing through his speaking to impact me unimpeded, unscreened, unfiltered, makes me gasp, moves me to tears, takes my breath away. Man! He just sets my heart on fire. The power!

Heidegger's "the nothing" prior to the being, is exactly that: nothing. Hey, I know  that nothing! It's not new to me. So I make  it new for me (if I don't, smart aleck  "Mr Know-it-all" me will get in my own way of what there is to get). What is  new for me is his (Heidegger's) assertion that without experiencing the nothing, I can't fully appreciate the being - that is to say without being willing to experience the nothing prior to the being, I can't fully appreciate who I really am (which in and of itself has a heady, counterintuitive, slightly jarring Zen-koan-esque quality, yes?).

At this point in the discourse, Werner and Heidegger are in lockstep, arm in arm, eye to eye (figuratively speaking). It's coming from this space that, with another of many pointedly brilliant items of coaching, Werner exhorts us to "hold ourselves out into the nothing". Wait! I have to listen carefully to make sure I get it. He doesn't say the more colloquial "hang out  with the nothing" (Werner may be many things, but one thing's for sure he's never, is colloquial). Rather, what he says is the experimental / experiential  "hold our-selves out  into the nothing".

So I take it on, and it becomes my walking Zen (that's like Zazen  ie sitting meditation, except I'm bolt upright on my feet and in motion). I walk along a brisk, cobbled bank of the river Thames, holding myself out into the nothing, not looking  at but rather seeing  what happens, seeing what occurs, seeing what shows up. Listen: this is a powerful practice. For me, the megalopolis of London (not to mention all other cities and all other locations and all other points on the planet) will never be the same again. London (that is to say my experience of London showing up as my experience of London)  is irreversibly, irrevocably transformed.

There's no mystery to this. Transformation is neither esoteric nor mystical, even though it may not be easy. It's quite pragmatic in fact: it's we  ie it's you and I who allow ourselves to slide deeper and deeper into regarding the world in which we live, as blatantly, stoopidly  obvious. That's a deadly transformation killer. When the world in which we live is obvious, there's no "WOW!"  factor anymore. Reality, which starts off as knowable, is eventually made obvious. This obviousness comes at a terrible cost, a cost not to reality itself but to you and I ie to we who live in the world. I'm stunned, listening Werner, as I, aghast, let it sink in. I also get it's become obvious to us that who we wound up being, is who we really are. That's an error which lived again and again, gives new meaning to the term "zombie apocalypse".
Werner's invitation for holding myself out into the nothing, allows the "WOW!" factor to re-emerge and to inspire me again to stop living life as obvious. When I stop living life as obvious, secondarily I get to see life with new eyes; primarily I get to see who I really am (if you like, I get to see who I might be really, like a possibility). It's a timely, critical distinction because of this: the way a master of life interacts with life  is the natural outcome  of the way a master sees  and makes sense of life.

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