Werner Erhard Wisdom

In the early seventies I took a workshop given by, the then human potential guru,  Werner Erhard.  He was the founder of the est organization.  If I didn’t know what it meant to be in basic training before, I found out over those two physically and psychologically grueling weekends.  After which, we were supposed to “get it”.  Woe be to you if you didn’t “get it”, especially after having to endure all the hardships like not being allowed to leave the hotel ballroom more than once in 3 hours for a bathroom break.  We were kindly afforded vomit bags, as on a rough flight, and you could forget about leaving the room even if we got sick.  We (all 500 of us), were particularly sensitive to our neighbor’s puking in their bag! We couldn’t even offer them anything, because if we gave them water, then they couldn’t leave the room for the bathroom break.  What a conundrum.  Many people succumbed to horrendous headaches and pain as we were forced to be broken down (our pitiful egos that is), in order to be built up again.  What a metamorphosis for some.  What a mess for others.  We endured the suffering because we felt our lives would change if we “got it”.

What did we get?  Well, I can’t answer unilaterally, but for me, Werner’s vision became clear.  We can live our lives acting out of circumstances, or acting out of vision.  We can forge a new vision for ourselves, a new conversation to take us beyond the limited thought forms that had defined us and limited us for most of our lives.  So what if we fall down?  Do you care if your friends or peers judge you for that?  That’s where the little ego takes control if that’s the case.  This is a “falling down” world. Who gets up, and how they do it determines what happens next.

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