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 You Want

Vineyard 29, 2929 Highway 29, St Helena, California, USA

June 21, 2018

"The pathway to having isn't wanting. If you want something, you need to have a different relationship with it other than wanting it, in order to have it."  ... 
"To get what you want, want what you got." ... Joni Mitchell

Werner's quote which sources this essay is classic Werner ie it's vintage Erhard - that is to say it's an invitation to engage in an inquiry, rather than merely a trite imparting of pat answers. The inquiry is "What is the relationship I need to have with something in order to have it other than  wanting it?". For starters, notice he's clearly relegating wanting's  power to get you what you want. Wanting, as the relationship with what you want in order to have it, is the pathway of a child. This, on the other hand, is an adult conversation ie it's a graduate  conversation. Wait! You mean there's a different pathway to having something other than merely wanting  it? Yes of course there is. If you tell the truth about it, you knew that. Repeated experience (in what doesn't  work) has already made that perfectly clear to you, yes?

As with any invitation, you're free to decline this one, or to accept it - after all, that's the nature of an open, authentic invitation (notice that if you're not free to either  accept an invitation or  to decline it, then it's not an invitation: it's a manipulation). And notice this  invitation isn't just any ordinary invitation. It's a Werner invitation - and a Werner invitation lands in a by now familiar way: if you try it on for size and let it speak to you unimpeded, you'll notice how naturally attractive it is - and that's regardless of whether you decline it or whether you accept it. Look: who doesn't  want to discover a relationship with what you want other than wanting it, if it's the pathway to having it? You already got wanting isn't very effective in getting you what you want. This then will be an entirely new opening ie it'll be a new possibility.

It's worthwhile noticing the title of this essay isn't "How  to get  ... what you want". Don't look to this conversation to spoonfeed you. Rather, its purpose is to start an inquiry in which you can immerse yourself, and in being immersed in it, you'll discover a new pathway to having what you want. The point of this is not to lay out a sequence of "how to" instructions. That would be the domain of self-help, and there's no new pathway to ie no different relationship with what you want, in self-help. This, on the other hand, is Werner's realm of Self-empowerment. This is where a new pathway to ie a different relationship with what you want, can show up. And in this inquiry, I want to stay out of your way as far as possible so I don't distract from what you discover, or interfere with your new relationship with what you want.

There is one perspective however, that I do want to put squarely on the table because I consider it's a useful perspective for shaping this conversation. It's this (in the form of a question): what, of what you want, do you want in order to fill a hole in your life in an area where something in your past is incomplete? Again (without providing instructions): what, of what you want, is calling you, but only in order to complete something which is incomplete? That's one kind of want ... or  ... is what you want, grounded in being complete? That's a totally different class of want, a totally distinct milieu  for want. And that  I assert, is a perspective worth holding out in front of you during an inquiry into how to have what you want - regardless of what it is you want exactly, and regardless of how you intend going about having it.

Why is it a perspective worth noting? Why is it useful to get clear about it even before immersing yourself in inquiring into a different relationship with something other than wanting it in order to have it? Because it points us towards that which isn't worth having  as distinct from that which is worth having. And if you're going to invest the time and energy in inquiring into having what you want, that's a good perspective to be clear about at the get-go. What comes with having what you want which is grounded in being incomplete, is probably going to be temporary at best ie it's probably not going to last. On the other hand, what comes with having what you want which is grounded in being complete, comes with the possibility of having ongoing relevance, and delivering a continuous impact, and making a truly lasting difference. Looking at having what you want, calls for investing time and energy in Werner's inquiry. You may find it's the latter which is worthier of your investment.

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© Laurence Platt - 2018 Permission