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


Unfamiliar Position Of Power

Napa, California, USA

January 22, 2016



"It's not so much that we won't keep our fingers out of the machinery. It's that we're totally convinced the machinery needs fixing." ... Laurence Platt

This essay, Unfamiliar Position Of Power, was written at the same time as

WE mess so much with the stuff  of our lives, trying to tweak it and bang it all into shape so that it works - or at least so that it works in a way we assume will be better than the way it currently works. Somehow (and it doesn't matter how or why, but somehow  ...) we've come to believe that tweaking it and banging it all into shape will fix whatever the problem is. It takes an enlightened act to let it all alone ie to let it be exactly the way it is and exactly the way it isn't. Perhaps it's us futilely trying to tweak it and bang it all into shape which is at the heart of the problem - there's actually nothing wrong with any of it the way it is (or with the way it isn't).

Why the idea of there being nothing wrong with it all the way it is (or with the way it isn't) is sometimes challenging for us to get, is we start from the premise of taking it circumstantially  when in fact it only has real power when we start from the premise of taking it experientially. When we start from the premise of taking it circumstantially, all that's available to us is to try to fix or adjust the circumstances, to move them around, to avoid them, to try them on in new combinations, or to prioritize them in a different order. And yet that just proves it's always "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose", Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr's famous French epigram which is usually translated as "the more things change, the more they stay the same", yes? However when we start from the premise of taking it experientially rather than circumstantially, what that provides a clearing for are new possibilities to bring to the same existing circumstances. That's direct access. That's real power.

Transformation comes not with re-arranging the circumstances (no matter what they are), neither with trying to tweak them nor with banging them into shape, but rather with holding them ie with experiencing them in a new context. Transformation doesn't look like  anything in particular. We say with transformation, nothing changes. The circumstances all stay the same. Yet there's a new way of being, a new leverage  (if you will) on living which isn't so much an improvement  or even a better  way to live (and if you consider it to be either of those, you'll ruin it faster than a furnace ruins a snowflake), but rather it just plain works  - simply because it comes from being aligned with the way life is, rather than trying to manipulate it into being the way we'd like it to be or into the way we want it to be.

Standing in transformation (which is to say coming from  transformation) is a (no, arguably the)  powerful, authentic place to stand with integrity. Yet because the circumstances don't look any different, it's chickenshit  easy to debase transformation - which is to say to not take responsibility for generating it (listen: the first deadly sin  with transformation is proclaiming that it, once experienced, has "faded away"  ... when in fact if it's true it's "faded away", it's because it's we who ceased generating it  in the first place). Going to exactly where we are with exactly what's going on, no matter what it looks like, no matter how much we may wish it to be different or want to change it, may just be the best place to go for transformation - I don't know where it's likely to go better (as Robert Lee Frost may have said).

Standing with exactly what is (whatever it is) and with exactly what isn't, gives access to the sweet  spot, our power center, our position  of power, our being in the zone. For most of us, given that we're hell-bent  on changing what is (and what isn't), that may be an unfamiliar  position of power. Yet the unfamiliarity doesn't lessen its power. Being with whatever's going on exactly the way it is and exactly the way it isn't, allows for the possibility of being powerful. The most powerful position in which to stand, it turns out, may just be standing wherever you are  right now - no changing, no fixing, no tweaking, and no banging into shape required.

For most of us this may indeed be an unfamiliar position. Nonetheless this unfamiliar position I assert is the most powerful position there is in which you'll ever stand.



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