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


What Would I Ask You If I Could Ask You Anything?

Somewhere At 34,000 Feet Over The United States Of America

September 18, 2011



This essay, What Would I Ask You If I Could Ask You Anything?, is the first in the sixth trilogy Questions For A Friend:
  1. What Would I Ask You If I Could Ask You Anything?
  2. Wonderings About Nothing In Particular
  3. Tipping Point
in that order.
The first trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Prelude
  2. Ask Me Anything
  3. Coming Around Again
in that order.
The second trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Familiar Unfamiliar Territory
  2. Interview
  3. Straight Talk
in that order.
The third trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Dancing With My Mouth
  2. Cave Paintings
  3. Velvet Tsunami
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Creating Creating
  2. Tell Me Something About Nothing
  3. Lucid Disclosures
in that order.
The fifth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Closer And Closer
  2. Tête À Tête
  3. Dancing With Life
in that order.
The seventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Beyond Breathing Underwater
  2. Bold Faced Truth
  3. What You Create For Yourself About Me
in that order.
The eighth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Once In A Lifetime
  2. Fireside Chat
  3. Whole And Complete
in that order.
The ninth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Questions For A Friend
  2. Nothing Else I'd Rather Be Doing
  3. Free To Be And Free To Act
in that order.
The tenth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Attracted To Dance
  2. I Told A Friend I Love You
  3. Terse Transformed Communication
in that order.
The eleventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. A Context Worth Playing In
  2. Tie The Brush To My Hand
  3. Unimaginably Terse
in that order.



What I notice when I share what transpires whenever I have the good fortune and the privilege of spending time being with you mano a mano, one on one, tête à tête  such as in these ongoing Questions For A Friend internet series of essays and others, is it's actually disempowering (which is to say it's worse than merely less  powerful) if it sounds as if it's something special about me, or if it sounds as if it's about something remarkable because it happened to me personally. It's actually counterproductive if it doesn't stretch beyond merely that.

That said, my intention here, sharing my experience of being with you mano a mano, one on one, tête à tête  as a vehicle, is it will generate an experience for everyone individually of what it would be for them to spend time being with you mano a mano, one on one, tête à tête. If it doesn't succeed this way, then it's not worth sharing it at all. There's really no other value in it. The fact that it's my personal experience of you which is the vehicle for this, while pivotal, is really inconsequential.



Job #1: Create The Context



My time with you isn't like any other time(s) in Life. When I'm with you, time has a distinctly extraordinary quality to it. It's an experience of timelessness. I have the experience of having all the time in the world  around you. I also have the experience, at the same time, of time being scarce around you. Time with you is both timeless and scarce. So it's precious. Every nanosecond  counts.

That's actually a perfect model for living Life: living Life as if time is scarce even though it's timeless, so it's precious and every nanosecond counts. It's perfectly appropriate time shows up this way around you. It's perfectly appropriate for me to be with you as if time's precious and every nanosecond counts. It's the same perfect model for both applications: the perfect model for being with you, the perfect model for living Life.

It's no surprise to me sooner or later everyone discovers this around you. I know who you really are. I've watched who you really are from up close. I've watched people being around who you really are from up close. I know what's possible around you. I do. Really.

I'm currently preparing for our next interaction. Having said all of the above, shouldn't this preparation be easy?  Shouldn't it be obvious  what to prepare? what to bring? what so speak? what to ask? But even more to the point, should I be "preparing" for being with a friend at all?  If I'm "prepared", where's the spontaneity  in it? Won't coming in with a fixed agenda, a fixed preparation dictate a formal and stiff tone to this interaction?

The ground of being around you is joyous, playful, and moving. Out of this ground of being of joy and play, some of the most brilliant, most inspiring, most moving research on the planet into who we really are as human beings, into what's possible for being  for human beings, is under way. Being prepared is simply being smart. It's simply being very  smart. It ensures I make the most of and get the most out of our time together. And what's just as important to me, if not more, is it ensures you  make the most of and get the most out of our time together.

And yet  ... (don't I go through this same god‑damned  space each and every time?) ... I can't come up with anything  to prepare, to bring, to speak, or to ask. I look ... and all I see is pea soup. The time is drawing near. The precious  time is drawing near. I swear if my life depended on it  right now, I couldn't come up with anything which would be appropriate to the privilege.

So, in the absence of anything else, I stay true to the privilege. In the absence of anything else, I savor the anticipation. That's all I can do as I wait for something to give, as I wait for something to break open. And I wait. And I ... wait. And I ... wait. Nothing gives. Nothing breaks open.

Finally, when it all seems totally hopeless, when it seems inevitable I'm about to squander this opportunity by being inadequately prepared, it occurs to me nothing  is giving, nothing is breaking open because I'm not creating the context  into which it can give, because I'm not creating the context into which it can break open. That's when I start asking myself the question "What's the appropriate context in which to prepare what to bring to you, what to speak with you, what to ask you?".

When I reach this point, this point of realizing nothing is giving, nothing is breaking open because I'm not creating the context into which it can give, because I'm not creating the context into which it can break open, when I reach this point of taking on  creating the context by asking myself the question "What's the appropriate context in which to prepare what to bring to you, what to speak with you, what to ask you?", I breathe a sigh of relief. The universe  breathes a sigh of relief.



Ready. Set. Go!



That's when I see it. That's when it really does  give. That's when it really does  break open. That's when I see what I've not been seeing. That's when, in a burst of clarity, I finally see through the pea soup. What I see is a question. And the question is "What would I ask you if I could ask you anything?". It's straight. It's direct. There's no BS  in it. It's perfect.

<aside>

"What would I ask you if I could ask you anything? What would I ask you if I could ask you anything?  What would I ask you if I could ask you ANYTHING?"  asks Laurence, wondering about nothing in particular.

<un-aside>

This is it! This  is the context and I got it!  This is the opportunity. This is the privilege. Now the preparation can really begin. Now I'm ready to begin preparing for you in earnest.



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