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
THE EST STANDARD TRAINING
"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
THIS IS IT- AN INTERVIEW WITH WERNER ERHARD
"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
New Sun Magazine, by Eliezer Sobel, December 1978
WERNER ERHARD ON 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 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
This documentary was created by the independent filmmaker and two-time Emmy Award Winning Producer for PBS, Robyn Symon. It chronicles the history of Werner Erhard, his life, the world of the est Training and his work and ideas, all put into perspective through the dozens of stories told by numerous professional and academic experts. Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard is available on DVD by clicking here.
THE EST TRAINING IN FICTION
Heat & Light: After 40 years est continues to have an enduring impact. Celebrated author, Jennifer Haigh in her novel “Heat & Light” captured the transformation of one person's experince with est in only a couple of pages that are both playful and profound. The passage in the book sums it up by saying “There is nothing else to call it— he realizes this later— but love. Werner Erhard has already changed his life."
The Americans: “The Americans,” a critically acclaimed TV show, prominently features the est Training in a truthful depiction of the fictional lead character and Russian spy attending est programs which allowed him to examine his past and question his purpose. The way that the show brilliantly highlights the benefits of the est Training to forward and deepen the storylines definitely shows that the writers and/or people on the production team must be est Graduates!
STUDIES AND ARTICLES
The est Standard Training, by Werner Erhard and Victor Gioscia
What is est? An est publication
Lance Reddick talks about working his way up to 'White House Down': While the est training is no longer offered, it continues to have an impact on the lives of those who took the training, as is shown in this article about the actor Lance Reddick, "Reddick thinks his period with est (Erhard Seminars Training) - especially a workshop on communication - lent him the ability to ace those early auditions. "I led seminars for about two years when I was in college. My participation had a profound effect on my acting later, and my ability as a seminar leader allowed me to fill in the gaps in my training that I didn't have in auditioning," he explains.
"Because I was used to figuring out how to read a room and being myself in front of people - even though I hadn't really studied auditioning - I was able to audition well and that made a big difference ... When I did est and that was over - I didn't want to think it - but I was thinking, 'What the heck was that? I want my money back.' All these people were, like, 'Wow.' I didn't get it. But there was something there that I was curious about, so I kept participating," he says, sipping a glass of water.
"I was different when I came out of the workshop. I'm shy, an introvert. I was so withdrawn, so self-conscious, but when I came out I was 'Whoa!' Suddenly all this stuff I'd been suppressing since I was 7, I let go of." from The Washington Post
Connect with others who have done the est training on facebook.
Over 40 years later est continues to have an impact. “The Americans,” a critically acclaimed TV show, prominently features the est Training in a truthful depiction of the fictional lead character and Russian spy attending est programs which allowed him to examine his past and question his purpose. The way that the show brilliantly highlights the benefits of the est Training to forward and deepen the storylines definitely shows that the writers and/or people on the production team must be est Graduates!
“Participants might have been surprised how both physically and emotionally challenging and how philosophical the training was…In many ways the training was the most important cultural event after the human potential movement itself seemed exhausted…” -Jonathan Moreno, Ph.D., David and Lyn Silfen University Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy and of History and Sociology of Science, Professor of Philosophy (by courtesy), University of Pennsylvania, in his book Impromptu Man.
Professor Moreno and Werner Erhard discuss The est Training. Watch their conversation at the BioEthics Film Festival at the University of Pennsylvania in 2016.
Video Courtesy of Symon Productions
ULCA Dept.of Sociology
"...the graduates of est were much more concerned with the welfare of other human beings..."