Archive for the ‘Transformation’ Tag

Werner Erhard’s life is best understood through his ideas and their application to people’s lives

Werner Erhard is the originator of unique models of transformational learning that has helped shaped human consciousness in the last quarter of the 20th century. One of the great thinkers of the modern era, he has impacted, for decades, the areas of individual and organizational effectiveness throughout the world.  The website “Werner Erhard Information” has gathered extensive links to where Werner Erhard’s work has impacted people’s lives.  Ranging from scholarly publications at Harvard University to his contributions in the field of coaching and humanitarian projects created, his work continues to affect the trajectory of human history.

Transformation

“We can 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.

“We could say that what happens is a shift in what orients your life.  Ordinarily, what orients our lives is the attempt to reach satisfaction. It might be at a very low level an attempt to get food or water.  At a little bit higher level it might be an attempt to be safe.  But, at any rate, we could say that what orients our lives is the attempt to get satisfied, to be satisfied.  What happens in the est training is that that gets turned 180 degrees around and your life is no longer about attempting to gain satisfaction.  It’s no longer about attempting to prove that you’re all right.  It’s no longer an attempt to prove that you’re satisfied.  What happens in the training is that there’s a 180-degree shift to the experience of being satisfied, and now life, instead of being an expression of the struggle to get satisfied, is an expression of satisfaction experienced.  You now begin to have what you do orienting around the expression of satisfaction instead of the attempt to get satisfied.  And we could say that’s what transformation was.” Werner Erhard 1982 

The est Training

“The way est happened was very simple.  I had this transformational experience.  I had a transformation.  Whoever I had been up until that point, I no longer was.  And it was on my way to work, and I happened to be – not anything significant about being on the Golden Gate Bridge – but I happened to be there, and that’s when I had the realization that what my life was about was really meaningless.  It was empty.  And this realization that the things that I thought were so significant, like looking good and winning – just the normal things that I guess most people think are important – that they really had no importance, that it was all empty and meaningless.  When I broke through the sadness, broke through the sense of despair at having wasted my life, I all of a sudden realized, “My God, I’m free.”  What – free – what does that mean to be free?   Free to choose, free to create a life that was worth living.  So I took a day with my staff – shared with them the best I could something that would allow them to create for themselves the kind of transformational experience that I had had.  And we all decided, okay, we’ll do this.  Instead of selling books, we’ll do this.” –Werner Erhard, 2005, from Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard

A Way to Transformation

The subject of this article is transformation – a deep, profound and committed choice about the way we live our lives.  Transformation is the possibility for a breakthrough in our living, a clearing for aliveness to show up in our everyday activities, self-expression and commitments.

Talking about transformation is no more than a representation, an image of the real thing.  It’s like eating the menu instead of the steak – neither nurturing nor profound.  It is in being transformed – in being authentically true to oneself – that one lives passionately free, unencumbered, fearless, committed.  It is in living life in a transformed way that the steak and its sizzle show up.

We invite you to be here for the actual benefits of transformation, for the meal – not the menu… Read More

Transformation

“We can 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.

“We could say that what happens is a shift in what orients your life. Ordinarily, what orients our lives is the attempt to reach satisfaction. It might be at a very low level an attempt to get food or water. At a little bit higher level it might be an attempt to be safe. But, at any rate, we could say that what orients our lives is the attempt to get satisfied, to be satisfied. What happens in the est training is that that gets turned 180 degrees around and your life is no longer about attempting to gain satisfaction. It’s no longer about attempting to prove that you’re all right. It’s no longer an attempt to prove that you’re satisfied. What happens in the training is that there’s a 180-degree shift to the experience of being satisfied, and now life, instead of being an expression of the struggle to get satisfied, is an expression of satisfaction experienced. You now begin to have what you do orienting around the expression of satisfaction instead of the attempt to get satisfied. And we could say that’s what transformation was.” -Werner Erhard, 1982

The est training - werner erhard

A World that Works

“We can choose to be audacious enough to take responsibility for the entire human family.  We can choose to make our love for the world what our lives are really about. Each of us has the opportunity, the privilege, to make a difference in creating a world that works for all of us.  It will require courage, audacity and heart.  It is much more radical than a revolution – it is the beginning of a transformation in the quality of life on our planet.  What we create together is a relationship in which our work can show up as making a difference in people’s lives. I welcome the unprecedented opportunity for us to work globally on that which concerns us all as human beings.

If not you, who?
If not now, when?
If not here, where?”

Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard in the USSR

In 1979 the est Foundation launched the US/USSR Project, designed as an educational exchange to explore the principles of communication, management, and creative thinking with the people of what was then the Soviet Union. Werner Erhard was invited to conduct the first of many courses and lectures in Moscow, under the auspices of the Znaniye (All Union Knowledge) Society—the prime vehicle for education in the (former) Soviet Union.

Werner Erhard Delivers transformational training in the Soviet Union

Werner Erhard delivers Transformational Training in the Soviet Union

“Standing on the Shoulders of Greatness”

In her blog, Life By Design, Alison Elliot talks about doing the est Training in 1973:  “I was entering my mid 20′s and took a 70’s style leap of faith.  Actually I did the equivalent of, what in my mother’s day would have been as crazy as, joining the circus – I took the est Training. For those readers who don’t follow, let me explain.  estor Erhard Seminars Trainings – also translated as “to be”  (now Landmark Education) was started by Werner Erhard in 1971. The est Training offered ground-breaking, paradigm-shifting opportunity for human potential development… History will likely remember Werner as an important 20th century self realization  artisan who’s work shifted the paradigm for personal and global transformation. – Today we are standing on the shoulders of all this greatness. “Werner Erhard in 2009

Transformation

Time Magazine, March 7, 2011, said of Erhard:

“The American obsession with Transformation isn’t new. It’s about as old as the nation. But it was Werner Erhard who created the first modern transformation empire when he founded est seminars in 1971. It’s a tribute to the power of his central concept  that more than 20 years after he sold his ideas to a group of employees who went on to create Landmark Education, Landmark is still the natural first stop in any transformation tour. [Excerpted from “Change We Can (Almost) Believe In” by Nathan Thornburgh.]

Read the full article in Time Magazine

Werner Erhard on Transformation and Productivity: An Interview (1985)

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Werner Erhard done by Norman Bodek and published in ReVision: The Journal of Consciousness and Change,  Vol 7, No. 2, Winter 1984/Spring 1985.  The entire interview can be found in the archive section at the Werner Erhard website.

Norman Bodek: This domain you’re talking about is a function of Being?

Werner Erhard: This phenomenon I’m trying to get at is in the domain of Being. Creating distinctions—not naming or explaining distinctions but creating distinctions—is a phenomenon in the domain of Being.

Let me give you one more example. Let’s say you study all the books there are about balance. Then you go out and sit on a bicycle, but you fall off. You know everything there is to know about balance, but you fall off the bicycle because the ability to balance on a bike is not really predicated on what we think of as information or knowledge. That is to say ability, skill, and prowess are not epistemological phenomena—not phenomena of knowledge or information.

Now, we observe that if you take someone out on a bike, and he sits on it and falls off enough times, then at some point he’ll sit on it and balance. So, we then say to ourselves, “Ah, the answer is not knowledge, but experience!” I say that too is a misinterpretation. I say that if you use that interpretation in working with people, you’re going to be very frustrated. I think that what happens when someone learns balance is that he sits on a bike, falls off, sits on it, falls off, until at some point, out of all that experience, he brings forth the distinction of “balance.” And in that distinction, or in that “domain of possibility,” he can now discern balance from not-balance. He’ll still fall off some more, but he’s now over the hump. The possibility of balance is present because he’s had that break­through. He now has a domain of distinction called balance, in which the experience “balance” can show up.

There is a transcending of the ordinary rules here. The ordinary rules are: you learn a little bit, then you learn a little bit more, then more, and finally you know enough to do it. I’m saying that there is a whole body of problems or concerns for which that theory does not work. For that body of problems, the solution is an all-of-a-sudden phenomenon—an “ah-haa” experience. We don’t understand it very well because we try to get at it with disciplines which cannot contain it. Our work proposes a discipline directed at those phenomena, and we think we now know something about the content of that discipline. We now know that the “ah-haa” is a product of bringing forth a domain of distinction, literally creating it. It’s as if you know you don’t have to go through that process one step at a time—you’ve got it all at the moment of bringing forth the distinction. It now lives for you as a possibility. It’s true that you’ll have to go through the practice and add the steps in, but you’re adding the steps into the possibility, not trying to build towards the possibility.

This technology of breakthrough is distinction-creating, or paradigm-creating, or context-creating. The traditional disciplines can say something about it, but they have no power to bring it about. Bringing it about requires a whole different discipline. It is talked about in religion, psychology, and philosophy. But it’s talked about rather than brought forth. You can read books from now until doomsday on creativity and only associate with creative people, and you’re still not likely to be much more creative than when you started. It requires a whole new discipline to be creative. And that’s the discipline we’re talking about.