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

To Include, Or Not To Include

Pine Ridge, Napa Valley, California, USA

February 25, 2017

"The cost to me of not doing so. I'm unwilling to pay the cost of carrying a resentment (or whatever) around, so I draw on the intelligence of forgiving."
 ...   answering Laurence Platt's question "On what do you draw to forgive people who are hardest to forgive?" in Questions For A Friend II 
"Resenting is like taking poison, hoping the other  guy will die."
 ... Nelson "Madiba" Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Tata Khulu Mandela

"To be, or not to be: that is the question."
 ... William Shakespeare embodying Prince Hamlet, Hamlet, Act III, Scene I, The Nunnery
This essay, To Include, Or Not To Include, is the companion piece to Not "This Too Shall Pass": "This Too Is It!".

I am indebted to Tera Freestone who inspired this conversation.

How do I include that which I simply can not include? For example, how do I tolerate that for which I have no tolerance? How do I give to that with which I'm not easily generous? How do I forgive people who are the hardest to forgive?

There's a trap in including anything ie there's a misconception about including something. It's a trap which, when in place, may actually render including things counter-productive at best, and misguided at worst. It's this: we're thrown to include whatever there is to include, even those things which are hardest to include, in order to  be tolerant and / or in order to be generous and / or even in order to be forgiving etc. Now there's really nothing wrong with any of those justifications / rationalizations for including something. The trouble however with including anything in order to be tolerant and / or in order to be generous and / or in order to be forgiving, actually in order to be anything, is it diminishes who we really are.

Say whut?  Wait just a moment Laurence! What does that even mean "Including anything 'in order to', diminishes who we really are"?

If I'm going to include something which until now, I've not been including (that is to say if I'm going to include something which until now, being stuck, I've been unable to include), what I've discovered is it just plain doesn't work if I do it "in order to". Indeed, including something "in order to" only gets in the way. Try this on for size: when you truly include something, there's no action to take. As stupid as it sounds, including something you've not been including, doesn't require any action on your part. Rather, including it is a recognition (or a re-recognition) of the fact that who you really are  is the context for all this. When I'm being who I really  am as the context for all this, everything is included, yes? There's nothing to do. Everything being included, is just the way it is (or, stated with more rigor, everything being included, is just the way I am). What this says is: when you're being who you really are, it's all included. It's just that way - which is to say we're  just that way.

Now this isn't something about which you should be looking to figure out if you disagree with me on, or if you agree with me on intellectually. And as we all know, we're all thrown to do that from time to time. Yet taking it on that way, distracts from what's available here. The intellectual approach to this, as easy as it is to slip into, is certain to obfuscate the value of what it's possible to realize here. But if you can simply get it (or grok  it - as Robert Heinlein may have said) and experience it directly for yourself, it will completely transform your life and everything in it with which you're dealing and which matters to you.

So: to include? or not to include? That is the question. It starts off looking like there's a choice in the matter ie it starts off looking like it's one ... or the other. Yet the longer I look at it, the more I realize it's really one of those no-brainer  choices. To be sure, I do have a choice in the matter: it's either / or. The trouble is this: choosing not to include, ensures an immediate diminution of myself and of the space that's available to me in my life.

One possible answer to the question with which this conversation began, "How do I include that which I simply can not include?", is the erstwhile unlikely "By being who I really am, wholly, fully, and completely, as the context for all this.". And it's only an unlikely answer to this particular question, as long as I don't know who I really am. When I know who I really am, on the other hand, then it's an obvious, a given.

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© Laurence Platt - 2017 Permission