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 Only Thing You Have To Do Is Die

Cayetano Creek, Coombsville Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

January 6, 2014



This essay, The Only Thing You Have To Do Is Die, is the companion piece to The Only Thing You Have To Do Is Be.

It was written at the same time as I am indebted to Steve Zaffron who inspired this conversation.




Foreword:

Photography by Laurence Platt

Goosecross Vineyard, Yountville, California, USA

4:15:25pm Monday November 2, 2015 The title of this essay, The Only Thing You Have To Do Is Die, and the title of its companion piece, The Only Thing You Have To Do Is Be, appear contradictory.

In both I explore the same idea from different perspectives - like taking two photographs of the same vineyard: one from the west side, one from the east side.

In this essay, I look from being, at what there is to do. In The Only Thing You Have To Do Is Be, I look from a totally open clearing, at what there is to do.
Photography by Laurence Platt

Goosecross Vineyard, Yountville, California, USA

4:15:21pm Monday November 2, 2015



This conversation is about being at choice like a possibility, about coming from choosing what we do, rather than a conversation about doing what we have  to do. And no, this isn't a vote  that one is somehow better  than the other, that choosing what we do is somehow better than doing what we have to do. The thing is without making this distinction, without the possibility of being at choice, we simply put up  with spending a lot  of time doing not what we choose to do but rather doing what we have to do. There's nothing wrong with that. It goes with the territory of being human. And it's when we're stuck doing what we have to do rather than when we're doing what we choose to do, that the conversation for transformation is the hardest to listen, yes?

Try speaking the possibility of living life as our own choosing, to a single parent having to take care of young hungry children. Try speaking the possibility of living life as our own choosing, to an unemployed person having to make ends meet. The drive to survive  (which is to say the undistinguished  drive to survive) can render the conversation for transformation almost unlistenable. Survival, especially survival undistinguished, can shout down  the conversation for transformation. Yet paradoxically, it's with undistinguished survival that the conversation for transformation can make the biggest difference.

<aside>

Listen: it's a good rule of thumb  that the instant you notice the conversation for transformation is unwanted (which is to say the instant you notice you  having the conversation for transformation, is unwanted), cease having it immediately. Given how we human beings are, especially in a non-rigorous environment, there are times when the conversation for transformation is less listenable than others. On such occasions, it works better to address what's wanted and needed (listenable) than pressing for the conversation for transformation (unlistenable - at least temporarily). This is the Zen way.

<un-aside>

Now, let's say this is one of those times when transformation isn't shouted down by survival. Let's say this is one of those times when the conversation for transformation is listenable. I invite you to look from ie to try on  the point of view of "You can choose to do anything, and the only thing you have  to do is die", yes? Other than choose not  to die (not an option), life is a completely blank canvas of our own choosing. Look and see if it's true for you, or not.

Secondarily we could list exactly what we would do if we could do anything we choose to do and not what we have to do ... and  ... if we could choose anything we have to do, given the only thing we have to do is die. Yet that's not the way I'd like to steer this conversation. The way I'd like to steer this conversation certainly includes this listing. But primarily I'd like to steer it like this: if the only thing we have to do is die, then when we do whatever we choose to do before then, we can do it coming from being fulfilled, satisfied, whole, and complete. Is this possible? Yes it's possible: that's transformation.

So the only thing you have to do is die, and you can do anything you choose to do (which includes doing nothing), and you can choose to do anything you have to do, coming from being fulfilled, satisfied, whole, and complete. That said, what will you do now? What will your life be about now?

It changes the entire game plan, doesn't it?



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