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 Be

Applebee's, Napa, California, USA

November 2, 2015



"The way it is, is enough. Who you are is enough. The only thing you have to do is be."  ... 
This essay, The Only Thing You Have To Do Is Be, is the companion piece to The Only Thing You Have To Do Is Die.



Foreword:

Photography by Laurence Platt

Goosecross Vineyard, Yountville, California, USA

4:15:21pm Monday November 2, 2015 The title of this essay, The Only Thing You Have To Do Is Be, and the title of its companion piece, The Only Thing You Have To Do Is Die, appear contradictory.

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

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

Goosecross Vineyard, Yountville, California, USA

4:15:25pm Monday November 2, 2015



Whenever the conversation I'm in dictates I re-create Werner's pivotal idea "The only thing you have to do is be", the responses I get cover a wide swath of canvas. One of my favorite responses is "Oh no it's not!". What enamors me about it, is it's so essentially ... well ... human. It's usually uttered quickly as a knee-jerk automatic reaction with the kind of disbelief, disdain, and skepticism reserved for erstwhile un-listenable ideas like "It's possible to harness electricity" or "It's possible to leave Earth and travel to the moon" (you can just hear the rapid retorts back then: "Oh no it's not!", "Oh no it's not!").

Yet it's true. If you stop for a moment and sit with "The only thing you have to do is be" in your lap like a hot brick, you'll see the only thing you do  have to do is be (it's very Zen, and it'll drive you crazy if you try to figure it out, so don't). When I say "The only thing you have to do is be", I don't mean you won't  do anything else. I mean the only thing you have  to do is be. You'll do or not do  anything and everything else ie you'll choose or not choose  to do anything and everything else. But the only thing you have  to do is be. There's no way out.

Now, the fact that there's no way out is either the unspeakable horror of being trapped as if in a cage for life ... OR  ... it's the possibility of an enormous, unbridled freedom. And the visa granting access to this enormous, unbridled freedom (which is to say the key to this kingdom) is to choose it the way it is. That's it.

Three experience-altering themes will emerge if you engage yourself in this conversation. The first is: the way it is, is enough. The second is: who you are is also enough (and in this conversation, who you are is the one who's choosing the way it is as enough). The third is: the only thing you have to do is be. Be careful: these are experiential  themes - that is, they're useless  as intellectual arguments and / or as debates. You won't win points and admiration by beating people over the head with them like two by fours. Yet when they're experienced directly, they're enormously powerful.

That's why I'm so enamored with and compassionate for the very human response "Oh no it's not!" which as the denial of being enough, quickly and inevitably becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. There's another possible interpretation of "Oh no it's not!" which is this: it's an erroneous yet deeply held and unexamined belief which keeps not being enough in place (and then justifies  keeping not being enough in place). Listen: if it's true that it's enough, then it's only the knee-jerk denial of "the way it is, is enough; who you are is enough; the only thing you have to do is be" which renders untenable the experience of being enough.

<aside>

It's often said "Be careful of what you want:  you may just get it.".

On the other hand, the belief ie the denial which renders untenable the experience of being enough, is an example of "Be careful of what you say:  you may just get it" or (spoken with rigor) "Be careful of what you say: you may just not  get it.".

<un-aside>

What's required to get the experience of being enough, is suspension of this belief  - or at least temporary suspension of this belief. "The only thing you have to do is be" isn't a call for walking away from all responsibilities. It's exactly the opposite. It's an opportunity to re-examine  all responsibilities, to re-evaluate them, and then to re-choose them, or not. It's one thing being responsible when grounded in being. Being responsible when grounded in being, is being at cause  ie being the creator in the matter of one's own life. It's another matter entirely attempting to be responsible when grounded in anything else. Responsibilities grounded in anything other than being, will inevitably, invariably, and inexorably  play out as burden, shame, guilt, and / or blame - all of which render untenable the experience of being enough.

The three experience-altering themes in this conversation each allow the possibility of being to be present as wholeness, fullness, and completion - in a word, as being enough. "The way it is, is enough" ... for being whole and full and complete. "Who you are is enough" ... for being whole and full and complete. And ("Oh no it's not!" aside) to experience being whole and full and complete, "the only thing you have to do is be.".

Given the struggle and the frustration and the manipulating and the futility and the wasted time and effort invested in searching for the elusive experience of being whole and full and complete, this idea definitely isn't business as usual. You're already  whole and full and complete. To get it, the only thing you have to do is be.



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