I have failed, am I failure? (part II): Werner is right, I don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground, do you?


This post is a follow up to the last post I wrote:  I have failed, am I a failure?   The source of this post is a friend that reached out to me after my last post.  Before I speak/share that with you allow me to prepare the ground by sharing some of Werner Erhard’s sayings on our relationship to Reality.

What does Werner say about our relationship to Reality?

“You don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground. Anybody who knew their ass from a hole in the ground could stand up and tell me how they know when something’s real.”

“There is no necessary relationship between the way you feel, the way you think, the way you are, the way you’ve figured it out and the way it really is.”

“This lady lives her life as if when she feels a bear there’s really a bear…… I want you to get that this is the way you live your life: as if reality is what is real to you?”

Werner is right: I don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground

In my reality (as opposed to Reality) it does occur to me that I have failed in so many ways. And I shared that with you in this post:  I have failed, am I failure? 

The question is what is the relationship between my reality (how things show up for me, my thoughts, my feelings, my beliefs) and Reality (what is really so)?  If you read my post you will notice that it occurs to me that I have failed at being the kind of friend that I imagined I would be and was up for being.   I’ll let you judge – one of my friends read my post and sent this email:

I read your post and wanted to say that I think you are a wonderful friend. There are very few people who have been there consistently for me over the last 20yrs in the way that you have been – especially given my overall crapiness in keeping in touch and given that I know it is not something I have returned.  I read a poem a few years ago and at the time I read it I thought of the way in which you have been there for me so I’m sending it to you. I know you don’t do the whole feelings are important thing but please take it in the spirit in which it’s intended.

If there was ever one

Whom when you were sleeping

Would wipe your tears

When in dreams you were weeping;

Who would offer you time

When others demand;

Whose love lay more infinite

Than grains of sand.

 

If there was ever one

To whom you could cry;

Who would gather each tear

And blow it dry;

Who would offer help

On the mountains of time;

Who would stop to let each sunset

Soothe the jaded mind.

 

If there was ever one

To whom when you run

Will push back the clouds

So you are bathed in sun;

Who would open arms

If you would fall;

Who would show you everything

If you lost it all.

 

If there was ever one

Who when you achieve

Was there before the dream

And even then believed;

Who would clear the air

When it’s full of loss;

Who would count love

Before the cost.

 

If there was ever one

Who when you are cold

Will summon warm air

For your hands to hold;

Who would make peace

In pouring pain,

Make laughter fall

In falling rain.

 

If there was ever one

Who can offer you this and more;

Who in keyless rooms

Can open doors;

Who in open doors

Can see open fields

And in open fields

See harvests yield.

 

Then see only my face

In the reflection of these tides

Through the clear water

Beyond the river side.

All I can send is love

In all that this is

A poem and a necklace

Of invisible kisses.”

This email, this reaching out by my friend gets me present to the this fact: at least in the domain of friendships and as regards this friend in particular I do not know my ass from the hole in the ground.  No I have assumed.  The Reality is that my thoughts/feelings about myself as a friend do not tie up with what is really so.  Which makes me wonder, am I making the same ‘error’ (mistaking my reality for Reality) in other domains of life?

Is Werner right about you?  That you too do not know your ass from a hole in the ground?

Are you as convinced, today, as I was yesterday that your thoughts/feelings are an accurate representation of Reality?  If so it is highly likely, I say certain, that Werner is right about you as well: you do not know your ass from a hole in the ground!  Just in case you haven’t figured it out let me state it bluntly: you don’t have to be stuck with your reality you can let it go. If your are up for that, if you want to have your life work then I invite you to read the following post: Want to set yourself free and live powerfully? Let go of your beliefs….

On how I avoided the warm embrace of conflict


This morning I wanted to study and I chose the kitchen as it was the most suitable place.  I would have preferred to do it in the lounge and yet that was taken by daughter who was watching television and my wife who was doing some ironing.

Just to mentally move from my favourite place, the lounge, to the kitchen I had to give something up.  Specifically, I had to give up the idea that as I pay the bills then I should get to call the shots.  That I am entitled to have the lounge irrespective of the wishes of ‘others’.

About twenty minutes into my studying my youngest son came into the kitchen – he had slept in – and joined me at the breakfast bar.  I did not mind this as there is more than enough space.  Then he did, what he always does: he started singing.  I noticed that his singing distracted me and I did not like it.  Yet, I did nothing.  My son continued singing and I started to get emotional.   The thought that entered my head was along the lines of how inconsiderate my son is: does he not get that I am studying?

I tried to put the distractions aside and focus on my studying hoping that my son would soon finish his breakfast and leave.  Well, this son is never in a hurry to get anywhere.  So the point arrived when I had reached my breaking point.  Thankfully I was still in a rational and relatively calm place and saw that I had options.  I could scold my son for being insensitive and disrespectful.  I could just get angry and tell him to leave the kitchen.  I could continue to sit it out in the kitchen.  Or I could simply leave the kitchen – without resentment – and find another room to study in. I chose the last option.

What I took away from this encounter was the following:

  • I had to give up the thinking that said I should get my way because I am the one that pays the mortgage;
  • I had to give the thought that said I am entitled to special treatment in the kitchen because I got here first;
  • I had to give up the thought that I was owed special treatment – silence – by my son;
  • The thought that my son is simply having breakfast where we normally have breakfast came in handy;
  • The thought that my son is simply doing what he loves to do and is often not aware that he is doing – singing;
  • I was attuned to my emotional state and how it was becoming hotter  and took action before it went past the point of no return;
  • I chose to live and let live – to relinquish my ‘claim to the kitchen’ – as that struck me as the most workable solution that would not put a dent in the relationship between myself and my son.

Put differently, the situation itself was not the issue at any time.  The cause of conflict was primarily my thinking about how things should be and how I should be treated by reasonable family members.  When I gave up that thinking and embraced better thinking I solved the issue with no conflict, no damage to anyone or any relationship!