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

Direct Experience

Valley Of The Moon, Sonoma County, California, USA

Christmas Day, December 25, 2014

"Living is really pretty simple. Living happens right now; it doesn't happen back then, and it doesn't happen out there. Living is not the story of your life. Living is the process of experiencing right now."
This essay, Direct Experience, is the one thousandth in this Conversations For Transformation internet series. That doesn't mean anything. It's just what's so.

It is also the companion piece to
  1. The Shortest Distance Between Two People
  2. Wall Socket
  3. Reinventing The Game
in that order.

It is also the ninth in a group of eleven written on Christmas Day:
  1. High Class Zen
  2. Holiday Service
  3. Out Of My Head
  4. How To Enroll The World
  5. Holiday Service II
  6. A Game Worth Playing
  7. Peace On Earth And Good Will To All People: A Possibility
  8. Five Star Restaurant
  9. Direct Experience
  10. Thirteen Hawks A-Soaring
  11. Staying In Integrity
in that order.

It is also the prequel to Love Notes To Werner And You.

It is also the sequel to
  1. One Thousand Essays And A Million Views: A Future
  2. The Effortless Breakthrough
in that order.

I am indebted to my children Alexandra Lindsey Platt and Christian Laurence Platt and Joshua Nelson Platt who inspired this conversation.

The crass commercialization of the holiday season hides the message of Christmas day. And Christmas day itself hides the message that not just one  day a year but rather every  day, every hour, every minute, every second, every moment  is a celebration of birth and the time for rebirth, for renewal, for transformation. Maybe once a long, long time ago, that was  the original message of Christmas day. Who knows? Regardless, I suspect if that indeed was the original message of Christmas day, and if that original message had worked  ie was heard worldwide by all people with no one and nothing left out, then the work of transformation would be redundant.

Click to expand
Werner Erhard
The brilliance ie the genius  of Werner's work of transformation is there's no solving  anything ie there's no figuring anything out. If we tell the truth about it, at best figuring things out only and always slows things down, and at worst figuring things out only and always gets in the way, yes? Yet notice in brilliance, there's often paradox. And so there's paradox here too, and it's this: in not trying to solve anything, everything  is solved ie everything is re-solved. I mean who woulda thunk  that the key (to the kingdom, that is) would turn out to be that there's nothing to figure out?  When there's nothing to figure out, it all  shows up ie it's all known via direct experience.

That might just turn out to be the  critical difference between the work of transformation, and other disciplines, schools, churches  etc which, in seeking (with all good intentions) to empower and embolden lives, focus their attention on harnessing the mind, on solving the mind, even on expanding  the mind. Their goal, if you will, is to keep the mind in check, to control it, and (in some yogic  schools) to try to still the mind, to calm it. The goal of the work of transformation is none of that. It's completion. Nothing less. Nothing more.


Be careful: referring to the goal  of the work of transformation as completion is hazardous - to say the least. A goal implies a certain "over there", and a "soon". But in the world of transformation it's all, always, and forever already  complete - not "over there" and "soon" but over here, and now.

With all that said ie with all that now distinguished and clear, referring to the goal of the work of transformation as completion in this context is good enough for jazz.


One pragmatic access to completion (there are many, but to choose one) is to distinguish Self from mind, and then let mind be. When he pointed Werner to this fundamental distinction between Self and mind, it was but one of Alan Watts' (the erstwhile Episcopal priest turned Self-made west's foremost exponent of Zen) seminal contributions to the development of Werner's work. You let mind be and it lets you be. So how does this foster the experience of being complete? Because for the most part, Self is the domicile of the experience of completion, whereas mind is the domicile of incompletion.

Alan's seminal contribution to Werner lays bare our already  completion. When you let mind be ie when you keep your fingers out of the machinery, a miracle becomes possible: Life becomes available via direct experience  now and for the future, rather than as primarily received through a series of filters ie through a layer of veils  of interpretations (the interpretations never go away, by the way - they're always  there; they just don't hold the credence they once held), and rather than as a collection of solved and resolved episodes from the past. Instead of constantly solving and resolving in a neverending quest to be whole and complete, once Self is intentionally distinguished from mind, we experience Life directly as already whole and complete. Listen: you are already whole and complete. This is it. Please stop lying about it.


You can't experience being whole and complete through the interpretative veils of mind. You can however get  it - which is to say you can get it via direct experience.


Direct experience. It's the message of the holiday season. But if it's only  the message of the holiday season and in particular of Christmas day, then it's cheapened ie then it's disempowered ie then it's not worth very much. When it's the message that not just one season of the year and not just one day of the year but rather every day, every hour, every minute, every second, every moment is a celebration of birth and a time for rebirth, for renewal, for transformation, then it's worth something.

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