Self-Help Advice est by Werner Erhand Part 2

About the self-help plan est devised by Werner Erhard., history and advice from his program.

HELP YOURSELF TO THE BEST SELF-HELP

Overview: According to Erhard: "est is a 60-hour experience which opens an additional dimension of living to your awareness." And: "It blows the mind." The est experience takes place over two weekends in a group of about 250 people led by an est trainer, at a cost of $250 per person (a total of over $60,000 a group). It leads the trainee to "getting it," finding out what life is, and "really letting it work." Rules prohibit smoking, eating, reading, note taking, and gum chewing during sessions. Bathroom breaks occur every four hours (it used to be every seven hours, but too many people peed in their pants). The atmosphere ranges from intimidation ("You're all assholes," the expressionless trainer often says) to guided fantasy (e.g., climbing a 60-ft. daisy). Trainees must raise their hands if they want to talk, and are applauded when they do so. The experience culminates in a lecture on the anatomy of the mind: It is "a linear arrangement of multisensory total records of successive moments of now," and trainees are "machines."

est comes from a multitude of sources: Mind Dynamics, Scientology, Hinduism, Zen Buddhism, Gestalt psychology, yoga, and hypnosis.

Help-Yourself Advice: According to est, one must pay one's $250 and undergo group training to know what it's all about, because the experience cannot be understood otherwise. Some ideas gleaned from est:

1. Begin to break free from identification with mind and body; see that "you are not the Play."

2. Choose your experience. "Say yes to life. Choose what you get . . . when you get it. Accept what is."

3. Realize that you are the source of all your experiences and totally responsible for them. "Who did it?" You did. "Every time you turn off your experience and don't take responsibility for it, you sacrifice your aliveness. You get a repeat performance."

4. Before you sleep, set a mental alarm clock. Prepare to wake up feeling alive and alert.

5. Go with your ego. (You can't get rid of it.)

6. Remember, "You are perfect the way you are."

7. "Resistance leads to persistence." Let things be. Observe something that bothers you (e.g., a physical pain). Make no effort to change it; stay in touch with it; get "into" it.

8. Remember, "In life, understanding is the booby prize."

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