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 Is, And The Story

Geyserville, Sonoma County, California, USA

April 27, 2019

"There are only two things in the world: nothing, and semantics."  ... 
This essay, What Is, And The Story, is the companion piece to Letting Be.

It is also the sequel to Zen: No Zen.

I am indebted to Cathy Elliott who inspired this conversation.

Try this on for size: there's what is ... and then there's the story. Period. And that's all  there is. Be careful: I don't say that like it's "The Truth"  (and it may be). Rather it's a place to stand and look. That's a pivotal, essential  distinction of transformation. This distinction, when fully gotten, also translates to a pivotal, essential experience  of transformation. The space of who we really are in which we stand, includes all there is - like a possibility. Whatever occurs in the space of who we really are (ie all there is) is what's so  ... and then there's whatever we make up  about what's so ie then there's our story about what is. Hence: "What is, and the story".

Simple. Elegant. Succinct. Terse.

Here's an almost classic defintion of being un-transformed (or better, an almost a classic definition of being pre-transformed): it's being hesitant to differentiate between what is, and the story about what is. To the untransformed mind, the story (which is to say our  story) doesn't occur for us as something made up. Rather it occurs for us as "The Truth". In other words, to the untransformed mind, our story about what is, is what is. See, the untransformed mind doesn't distinguish  that.

In terms of the way we ordinarily live our lives (or better, in terms of the way we pre-extra-ordinarily live our lives) defined by blame, shame, (mis)interpretation, and guilt, living this distinction / experience is akin to migrating from the minor leagues to the majors. It's not a matter of becoming a "better" person to live it ie to take it on and to be responsible for it. The altruistic approach doesn't work here - more than that, it's not required. What's required for me is to bring about (or at least to recognize) a contextual shift  in the way the world occurs for me, in order to live it ie in order to take it on and to be responsible for my experience of it.

Although a certain stretch  may be required to totally get this distinction, this isn't an intellectual  endeavor. It's waaay  simpler than that. In fact if you're trying to understand it, figure it out etc ie if you still have one or more of the noble "Yeah but  ..."s, "How 'bout  ...?"s, and "What if  ...?"s going on, just stop: they'll only get in your way. Rather try it on as a place to stand. I mean that literally, physically. That's how you get this: as a place to stand. Stand (and for this exercise, wherever you stand is OK - this is "stand" not "stand for"), then look - just ... look.

Distinguish there's that which is front of you (what is), and then there's whatever you've made up about it (the story). And for the most part, you don't have to try very hard to hear the story: it's probably deafening  around about now. Listen: that voice in your head? It's the world's greatest storyteller, putting even Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm to shame (at least when we're reading Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, we know  it's a fairy tale ...). Standing in the space of who I am, in front of me is what is ... and then there's the story. It's an exquisite place to stand. And the profundity of it is it's all there is!

Transformation however, isn't a static state. Rather it's the beginning  of something. Where this gets interesting for me is realizing I'm the author of whatever story there is on top of what is, the owning of which empowers and reminds me that if I'm going to create stories at all (and I do seem to be a story-creating-machine), then it behooves me to create empowering  and inspiring  stories which are actually worth living, for the future. That's what it is to live a created, transformed life. And living a transformed life starts with being willing to differentiate between what is, and the story.

[... being tightened up ...]

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