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

Who Are You As Family?


Is Your Word Your Bond?

San Ramon, California, USA

May 3, 2002

This essay, Who Are You As Family? Or: Is Your Word Your Bond?, is the companion piece to Lucky Se Voet.

I am indebted to Anita Lynn Erhard who contributed material for this conversation.

I've been an est  graduate for nearly 25 years. Prior to that, I tried out or was involved in just about every personal and transformational discipline that ever was, even though that word "transformational" wasn't deployed much back then. All of them were useful. All of them were good. And, in retrospect, all of them (to one degree or another) were "ho hum  ..." (which means I was interested but not enrolled).

I visited with all the swamis and all the gurus and all the big name teachers of the day. I even went to a seminar someone called Werner Erhard was giving, and I thought he was pretty cool, remarkable in fact, amazing even, but "no cigar".

However, I was intrigued enough with Werner (whom I had categorized as an American Zen master) to accept a second invitation on a later occasion to another seminar he was giving at the Masonic Auditorium at 1111 California Street in San Francisco.

Same amazing man. Same crystal steel blue eyes. And (at first) same no cigar.

One of the truths about me is that while my life works, I have yet to enroll my paternal and maternal family completely into the possibility of transformation. We all get along OK, to be sure, even while there's always a healthy room for improvement. And, to be sure, I've enrolled a few of them. But the vast majority of them remain disinterested, a condition which I'd accepted as inevitable. I'd made my uneasy peace with it.

So at the end of the seminar, when Werner invited his family to come up onto the stage with him, I was expecting his wife and one or two children, maybe, to come up.

How wrong I was ...

Up came both his wife and his ex-wife (and clearly, both of them were very much at ease with each other), all of his seven children (the three with his wife and the four with his ex-wife), as well as his mother and his father and his sister, as well as both his brothers and both their wives, as well as various cousins and aunts and and uncles. And every one of that great extended family was a graduate of Werner's work.

My world stood still.

It's one thing to be transformed. It's yet another thing to create transformed conversations. But it's a whole new ballgame to enroll each and every single member of your entire family and each and every single member of your entire extended family into the possibility of transformation. That for me was a stunning proof ie evidence of something so basic that it hands down defies argument.

I did the classic double take  - literally, shocked into enlightenment.

In that moment, I knew whatever it was Werner was sharing, I wanted it.

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