What the est Training was and was not

wernererhard0339“The fact is, no one needs the training. It is not medicine. If you are ill, you need medical attention. If you are mentally ill, you need therapy. The training is not medicine or therapy. If you are hungry, you need food. You need air. Actually you need someone to love and someone to love you. You need to feel some self-respect and the esteem of others. Without these, we do not function very well as human beings.

The training is none of these. It does not solve problems. It is true that some problems dissolve in the training, but not because it is the purpose of the training for people to work on their problems in the training. The training is not about people’s problems per se. What the training is about is related to those rare moments in life, which while rare, seem to come into everyone’s life at some time or another. They are moments in which one is absolutely complete, whole, fulfilled – that is to say, satisfied. (I limit the word gratification to mean the filling of a need or desire, or the achievement of a goal. I use the word satisfaction to mean the experience of being complete.)

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.

We do not need to experience completion. People function successfully without such moments. Like the training, such moments are not something we `should’ have. Like the training, such moments do not make us any better. We are not smarter or sexier or more successful or richer or any more clever. These moments, these experiences of being complete, are sufficient unto themselves. Like the training, such moments are not even ‘good’ for you – like vitamins or exercise or things of that sort.

In the training, one finds there is something beyond that – the opportunity to discover that space within yourself where such moments originate, actually where you and life originate. In the training, one experiences a transformation -a shift from being a character in the story of life to being the space in which the story occurs – the playwright creating the play, as it were, consciously, freely, and completely.”

The est Standard Training,  Werner Erhard and Victor Gioscia, San Francisco, Calif.

Published in Biosciences Communication 3:104-122, 1977

2 comments so far

  1. Michael on

    I am one more of those fortunate enough to have experienced EST and so
    much more in my ordinary life to appreciate. Yes I have not changed , and yes I have the same old hang ups problems etc and from EST days until now I continue using all the tools offered in order to continue my day to day life with hang ups and allowing for my personal epiphanies. All sounds a bit complicated and there are other reviewers who have described their outlooks far more coherently than I do here. That said, for some folk, the WW BARTLEY book may lead them on a fascinating path, albeit there are from my perspective many repetitional descriptions of how to arrive at a new personal perspective for YOU whoever you are and to put those experiences in to some sort of personal perspective for YOU that individual persson. THere are here many excellent reviewers. The one that shines brightly for me is the person who refers to the bigoted racist who insulted a black man. And in the final sentence refers to the bigot suddenly realizing his (or her) own lack of enlightenment and turns to the black gentleman throwing his arms around him in sudden acceptance as just another member of the human race ! A good example of one human being allowing him or her self to shed old outdated prejudices and allow ones self just to BE alive without holding negative destruction any more, now or ever again for the rest of their life. And now that changed outlook will also impact on day to day life, not only with regard to RACE, RELIGION OR BELIEF, also
    will impact on many previously held negatives, now allowing that person to
    leap ahead in many aspects of future day to day living of life. Anyone who has read this far, I wish you as much self awareness in your future day to day lives as I feel I am still doing myself. There is no goal here, as this carries on from day to day. We are never done learning until our final curtain call. Good luck to all. Michael.

  2. […] than anything else, what lingers for me from the Forum is something that Werner Erhard wrote about Erhard Seminars Training (est), a primary source of the Forum. Noting that est was not about solving problems and that no one […]

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