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


Transforming The Untransformable

Alston Park, Napa Valley, California, USA

April 21, 2019

"You and I possess within ourselves, at every moment of our lives, under all circumstances, the power to transform the quality of our lives." ... 
This essay, Transforming The Untransformable, is the companion piece to Cause In The Matter.

It is also the ninth in the open second group of Experiences Of A Friend (click here for the complete first group of thirty five Experiences Of A Friend):
  1. Friend, Partner, And Ally
  2. Go To The Beach
  3. Proof Of Life
  4. Going Out Like A Supernova
  5. Relationships: They Start, They End
  6. Evidence of Source
  7. On Knowing When To Be Ordinary
  8. Letting Be
  9. Transforming The Untransformable
  10. There's Always The Next Piece
  11. Plastic Chandelier II
  12. Yes You Really Are That Big
  13. A Way With Words
  14. The Quietest Mind
  15. Approaching Integrity
  16. Dancing With Life II
  17. Staying In Integrity
  18. Ordinary People Star, Extraordinary People Recreate Themselves
  19. Committed Existence
  20. When You're Being Like Werner, You're Not Being Like Werner
  21. "There's Life Happening Where You Are"
  22. At The Level Of Self-Expression
  23. Intergalactic Dude
  24. Wonderful With People
in that order.

It is also the ninth in an open group sourced by Werner Erhard's seminal quote above, on the Power To Transform:
  1. Whack!
  2. Under All Circumstances
  3. Source Of Aliveness
  4. Damned Choice
  5. For People Who Don't Love Themselves
  6. Still Standing: Musings On The Permanent Impermanence Of Transformation
  7. Living Without Distortion
  8. No, It's What You Say  About It
  9. Transforming The Untransformable
  10. The Odds Are Even For Everyone
in that order.

It is also the fourteenth in an open group on Transformation:
  1. Transformation
  2. Nelson Mandela And Transformation
  3. The Way Of Transformation
  4. Transformation: The Life And Legacy Of Werner Erhard
  5. Moment Of Truth
  6. Transformation II
  7. No Line
  8. Transformation Is Timeless
  9. Transforming Life Itself: A Completely Started Inquiry
  10. Transformation Is Accountability Plus Committed Speaking
  11. Not One Size Fits All
  12. Transforming Disciplines
  13. What It Also Comes Down To
  14. Transforming The Untransformable
  15. Who You Might Be Really
so far, in that order.

Transformation isn't only available to people in special fortunate and / or privileged circumstances at certain optimal times, and / or after years (if not decades)  of spiritual practices and / or disciplined experiences. Rather it's available to anyone and everyone at every moment under all circumstances. Indeed, you already got it.

It's not a stretch to concur it's available to anyone and everyone. Human beings after all aren't all that much different - at least fundamentally  we aren't all that much different. It's the "under all circumstances" assertion that maybe not everyone will sign on to. There are circumstances and occasions when transformation may seem easier to access (in ordinary uncomplicated day-to-day life for example) than others (in episodes of pain, anguish, cruelty, unfairness, or simply in disagreement with and disbelief of the way things are unfolding in the world ie in the moral and political landscapes). In such circumstances our best  option seems to be maintaining a stiff upper lip, grinning and bearing it ie suffering through it. Such circumstances especially the extreme ones, could be colloquially deemed to be "untransformable".

Or ... are  ... they? It's an axiom, a tenet ie a property  of direct experience that if you get  something (anything)  exactly the way it is and exactly the way it isn't, you can let it be, or you can at least include it unchanged exactly the way it is (and exactly the way it isn't) without struggling with it. Notice there's an "if"  in there. Don't futz with trying to reason it. Rather, try it on for size. Take it for a test drive on the track (so to speak). Here's what you're likely to find:

When you allow things to be the way they are (exactly  the way they are) and the way they aren't (exactly  the way they aren't) you can transform anything, even the untransformable. And that's only one  way to transform the untransformable. Here are three ways to transform the untransformable, each of which works well individually, or in concert with one or two of the others:

 1)  allow things to be the way they are and the way they aren't ie accept the fact that it happened; 
 2)  take responsibility for your experience of it ie take responsibility for being the space in which it happened;
 3)  take responsibility for being there.

Listen: this is a graduate conversation. You won't get its simplicity, power, and elegance intellectually or by understanding it (nor, for that matter, by trying to). Indeed an intellectual approach may even get in its way. You can however get it by trying it on for size and directly experiencing it. Actually it's quite likely that's the only  way to get something like this (and even as I say that, I acknowledge the risk of walking on thin ice with the mere suggestion that anything  could be the "only" way ...).

Cue The Epitome Of Untransformable

I was with Werner when a woman who survived being interned in a Nazi extermination camp, shared her experience with him. Most of her family in the camp with her weren't so fortunate. Tortured pain was quite understandably etched deep into her haggard face. It was clear it had been etched that way for many, many years.

I'm a surfer. I know what I like to surf. I like to surf easy, warm five to six foot playful left point breaks on which I can noseride and let the feathering curl part my hair. But when I watch twenty foot Banzai Pipeline  tubes thunder in to O'ahu Hawai'i's north shore, or when I'm mesmerized as icy thirty foot monsters pound Mavericks  off California's Half Moon Bay, a man's got to know his limitations (as Clint Eastwood may have said).

When I heard about her and first witnessed her agony so close to the surface, I had a sense I could make a difference with her. But then I realized it would mean taking the conversation for transformation all the way to transforming her experience of being in a Nazi extermination camp and being cause in the matter  of her experience there, and taking responsibility for it. And frankly, I balked. I know my limitations. But then again, I'm not Werner. Werner took the conversation for transforming her life all the way to transforming her experience of being there and being cause in the matter of her experience there, and taking responsibility for it.


Look, I really want you to get this: it's a wide-spread yet terribly naïve mis-characterization of Werner's work to equate being cause in the matter of your experience, with being to blame  for it.

Blame's got nothing to do with being cause in the matter.

Being cause in the matter of your experience, is a muscle  not a value judgement.


And she did transform it. And when she did ie when she got she's cause in the matter of her experience, her whole countenance altered. Years  fell from her face. The tortured look just vanished as if into thin air. Actually that says it way  too mildly: forty years  of tortured look just vanished into thin air. You could see she finally had closure and peace. She was radiant.

I had just witnessed an impossible miracle, the memory of which still rocks me to this day. Something had just taken place that simply could not have taken place. Something had just happened that simply wasn't possible. She had transformed something that was untransformable.

The Bottom Line

Here's Werner's comment to the group after he hugged her and she thanked him, and the shocked, thunderous applause had abated. I've transcribed it here verbatim, quote unquote. It's the bottom line. There's nothing else. This is it.


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