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“The truth is not found in a different set of circumstances. The truth is always and only found in the circumstances you’ve got.”

-Werner Erhard

“Since now is the only time you have in reality and now will never seem to be the right time to act, one may as well act now. Even though “it isn’t the right time,” given that the “right time” will never come, acting now is, at the least, powerful (even if you don’t get to be right). Most people wait for the decisive moment, whereas people of power are decisive in the moment.”

-Werner Erhard

“Fundamentally, the est training is an occasion in which participants have an experience, uniquely their own, in a situation which enables and encourages them to do that fully and responsibly. I am suggesting that the best way to learn about est is to look into yourself, because whatever est is about is in your self. There are some who think that I have discovered something that other people ought to know. That is not so. What I have discovered is that people know things that they do not know that they know, the knowing of which can nurture them and satisfy them and allow them to experience an expanded sense of aliveness in their lives. The training is an occasion for them to have that experience – to get in touch with what they actually already know but are not really aware of.

“The training is about the experience of love, the ability to love and the ability to experience being loved, not the concept or story of it – and it is about the experience of happiness, and the ability to be happy and share happiness, not the concept, story or symbols of it. In short, the training is about who we are, not what we do, or what we have, or what we do not do or do not have. It is about the self as the self, not merely the story or symbols of self.” – From The est Standard Training, by Werner Erhard and Victor Gioscia, 1977

werner erhard - the est training

“In this conversation we discover another possibility: living in a way, now, moment to moment, that makes a difference to life. We discover that as human beings we can live in a possibility instead of in what we have inherited, that instead of just being a human being because we were born that way, we can declare the possibility of being for human beings. This is the work of transformation: bringing forth a breakthrough in the possibility of being human.”

Werner Erhard

wernererhardinbali

“Happiness is almost not worth talking about because the instant you turn happiness into a goal it isn’t attainable any more. In other words, happiness isn’t something you can work towards. It isn’t something you can put someplace and overcome barriers to get to and so it makes a kind of difficult subject to talk about.

The thing which I think needs to be talked about is at the other end of the spectrum, the barriers to realizing happiness. The barriers to realizing happiness are a lot of very unhappy things. And they are the things which almost nobody talks about because very few of us are willing to confront those things.

Happiness is not a disease. It does not creep up on you slowly. It is something that happens in an instant. And the truth of the matter is that you can alter your state to a state of happiness, by simply choosing to be willing to have it be the way it is. In other words, if you walked in here tonight troubled, or if you’ve been sitting there troubled, or if you’re troubled in any way, in the next instant you can be totally untroubled, and it comes from a simple willingness. I’d really like you to get this. It comes from the very simple willingness. It is the willingness to look at what is as what is. It’s the willingness for it to be the way it is. Now, it may take you some days, or years to move through all of the circumstances of life and move from a resistance to them, an unwillingness for them to be the way they are, to a willingness for them to be the way they are. You can do all that. You can spend your years moving through all of it happily. You don’t need to do it unhappily. Happiness isn’t at the end of the rainbow. Happiness is at the beginning of the rainbow. Following the rainbow is happiness, not getting to the end of it.”

Werner Erhard on Happiness

“To take a stand that you are cause in the matter contrasts with it being your fault, or that you failed, or that you are to blame, or even that you did it.

That you are the cause of everything in your life is a place to stand from which to view and deal with life – a place that exists solely as a matter of your choice. The stand that one is cause in the matter is a declaration, not an assertion of fact. It simply says, “you can count on me (and I can count on you) to look at and deal with life from the perspective of my being cause in the matter.”

When you have taken the stand (declared) that you are cause in the matter of your life it means that you give up the right to assign cause to the circumstances, or to others. That is, you give up the right to be a victim. You also give up the right to assign cause to the waxing and waning of your state of mind – all of which, while undoubtedly soothing, leave you helpless (at the effect of).

At the same time, taking this stand does not prevent you from holding others responsible.”

Werner Erhard

“In manifesting your aliveness, you will want to follow a principle which was beautifully stated by Albert Schweitzer when he said, ‘I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: The only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.’ Notice that Dr. Schweitzer says ‘sought and found how to serve.’  He did not say ‘try to serve,’ or ‘try something and drop it,’ or ‘do the best you can.’

Happiness comes from having served successfully.

One continues to expand in one’s ability to serve by meeting the challenge of actually delivering the results.

Decide on a project for which you are willing to take complete responsibility. Complete the project successfully. Relate this achievement to others as an inspiration for them. Your willingness to express yourself may be just the trigger needed by someone else to do something for themselves. From now on, don’t wait for something to happen to you. Actually take responsibility for making something happen. Keep at it until you make it a successful experience for everyone. You can make the difference.”

“The experience of being yourself is innately satisfying. If who you really are does not give you the experience of health, happiness, love and full self-expression – or ‘aliveness’ – then that is not who you really are. When you experience yourself as yourself, that experience is innately satisfying. The experience of the self as the self is the experience of satisfaction.

Satisfaction is not ‘out there’. It cannot be brought in. You will never get satisfied. It cannot be done. When you want more and different or better, that is gratification, and while that is gratifying, we always want even more or even better. Satisfaction is completion, being complete – what has been called ‘the peace that passeth all understanding’. It is a condition of well-being – a sense of wholeness and of being complete right now – a context of certainty that right now is completely all right as right now and that the next moment will similarly be, fully itself. Not a judgment of good or bad, right or wrong, just what is.”

-Werner Erhard

“Each of us has experienced moments in our lives when we are fully alive – when we know – without thinking – that life is exactly as it is in this moment. In such moments, we have no wish for it to be different, or better, or more. We have no disappointment, no comparison with ideals, no sense that it is not what we worked for. We feel no protective or defensive urge – and have no desire to hold on – to store up – or to save.  Such moments are perfect in themselves. We experience them as being complete.”

werner erhard, est, the est training

“Human beings did not have rights.  Human beings created, from nothing, the domain of human rights.  They called it up. They languaged it.  They communicated it.  Communication has that power.  It has the power not only to represent and not only to evoke, but literally to bring something into being.   And to know yourself, to know your self, as a context creator,  is to transform the quality of your life.”

-Werner Erhard

“The one thing I’m clear about is everyone is capable of being great. Not compared to someone else. I mean great for yourself. I’m committed to you realizing you’re great.”

-Werner Erhard

werner erhard

“what est is about is transformation. est is about the self being self. And one of the things you uncover or discover or recover when you discover that you are your self is that absolutely everybody is themself, and that you can’t get transformed because in order to get transformed you’d have to be not transformed and if you’re not transformed you can never be transformed because transformation doesn’t have a beginning, middle or end.”  Werner Erhard 1976

The only two things in our lives are aliveness and patterns that block our aliveness. As patterns are experienced out, our lives become clearer. Things begin to make more sense. What we do makes more sense.

It’s funny, but when the alive you emerges from behind the smokescreen of all those patterns and begins to participate in life directly, life really does have purpose. It all somehow makes sense, in a fantastic way.

When you get rid of the blocks, what you have is aliveness, and when the blocks are gone, purpose emerges. There is no use searching externally for purpose, or trying to “pull it in.”  It is already there. Just focus on clearing out what is between you and aliveness, so every time we create greater aliveness, the purpose is being served.

Aliveness and purpose are practically the same thing. The purpose is greater aliveness, so every time we create greater aliveness, the purpose is being served.

As more and more of us get to see that the purpose is greater aliveness, it happens that all of us start to do the same thing – we start serving the purpose. Life comes on to us in our own terms, and so does the opportunity to serve.

That everyone is serving the purpose in a different way does not mean that everyone is doing something different. That’s the illusion. We do the same thing in different ways. As each of us makes our part of the whole really work, the purpose is being served.

The purpose is life and that it be, completely.
The commitment is: aliveness

– Werner Erhard, 1978

“It was in the event, “A World that Works for Everyone” that I realized I hadn’t answered the questions Werner was asking.  He asked us to look at the questions:  “Does my life really matter?”  Then he went on to suggest that, in the way we ordinarily live, the only possible answer to that question is, “I doubt it.”  That’s exactly where I was.  But then he went on to say that acknowledging that answer made a new domain possible – a domain in which things show up, in which the future could be created.  He said the purpose of the evening was to open up the question, “Does my life make a difference?  Do I really matter?  Do I make a difference?  Does anything make a difference?”  and to ask those questions in a way that would make a difference. Since I had been asking these questions since my mother’s death (and probably before) the evening had a tremendous impact on me.  He said that to be able to make a difference we must create a new context.  In that context I make a difference because everybody makes a difference.  The rule of that context is that everybody makes a difference or nobody makes a difference.  It is a world of “you and me” rather than “you or me.”  If my basic principle is that who I am makes a difference, life becomes an adventure.  He went on to say, “I wish I could take you back to your childhood, back to when you had visions, dreams, when you were naive, and I wish I could then move you forward to see when it was that you decided you didn’t make any difference.  You watched that early enthusiasm become blunted,  you learned not to care so much.” Listening to him I found myself in tears.  Those words were for me.  It was as if he had known about my childhood.  This is what I mean when I tell people, “He gave me my life.”

from Reading Under the Covers:  An Autobiography,  by Elizabeth Goodell Russell

Your power is a function of velocity, that is to say, your power is a function of the rate at which you translate intention into reality.  Most of us disempower ourselves by finding a way to slow, impede, or make more complex than necessary the process of translating intention into reality. http://wernererhard.com/cuttingedge.html

Happiness is almost not worth talking about because the instant you turn happiness into a goal it isn’t attainable any more. In other words, happiness isn’t something you can work towards. It isn’t something you can put someplace and overcome barriers to get to… It is something that happens in an instant. And the truth of the matter is that you can alter your state to a state of happiness, by simply choosing to be willing to have it be the way it is. http://wernererhard.com/happiness.html

“One of the fundamental aspects of unworkability in the world is time. That’s the first lie. That’s the beginning of the end of the truth. Time. You need to master time to have any mastery in the world. People who are at the effect of time, people who can’t create time, people who can’t manage time, people who can’t move time around, people who can’t handle time, people who are overwhelmed by time, have no mastery and no basis for mastery. The basis for mastery in the world is being able to handle time. So what we have is an enormous opportunity to create a context in an environment of workability. And that environment is generated out of a mastery of time.”  Read More

– Werner Erhard

“Transformation is the context in which transformation can occur. The experience of that transformation is one of wholeness and completeness, of self as totally fulfilled and completely satisfied to be. Transformation is not a peak experience. Transformation is not the experience of self. Transformation is the self itself. If you listen carefully to what I just said, not with your understanding, but with your self, you will hear that what I just said is that transformation is completion. Transformation is being complete. What is the chair as chair? It’s complete. What is the room as room? It’s complete. What is the self as self? It’s complete. It is the complete self, simply being self.

The dictionary has a beautifully abstract definition of complete. It’s beautifully contextual. It says “complete implies the inclusion of all that is needed for the integrity, perfection or fulfillment” of something.

That captures my meaning exactly. When self is self, that is the experience of being complete. That is the experience of integrity, or being true to yourself.”

-Werner Erhard

“Transformation is not an event. It doesn’t have the properties of things or experiences. It has no position, no location in time, no beginning, no middle, and no end. It doesn’t look like anything or feel like anything. You could say it’s a shift in the basis of experience from self as point of view or from self as direct experience to self as self, or self as simply being.

True transformation is the recovery by the self of the generating principles with which self creates the self. Transformation is self as self – the space in which being occurs, or to put it another way it is the being of abstraction or the context which the being of abstraction is.”

werner erhard on transformation - 1976

From Epistemological And Contextual Contributions of est to General Systems Theory, presented by Werner Erhard to the symposium on Evolving Trends in General Systems Theory and the Future of the Family,   Opatija, Yugoslavia, 5 October 1976

“The only two things in our lives are aliveness and patterns that block our aliveness.”

-Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard, the est training