Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

Anatomy Of A Wasted Life

Los Gatos, California, USA

May 4, 2019

"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 of having wasted my life, I all of a sudden realized 'My God! I'm free!'."
"A foolish man may be known by six things: anger without cause, speech without profit, change without progress, inquiry without object, putting trust in a stranger, and mistaking foes for friends."
... Arab proverb

Transformation comes - and goes ... and comes again ... and goes again ... and comes again. I'm sorry, but that's the nature of the beast. Just when you think you've gotten it forever, it's gone. And as soon as you notice it's gone, there's an opportunity to create it again (at the heart of the matter, a transformed life is a created life). You're never off the hook when it comes to being the source of transformation in life. Look: who will create transformation in your life and in the world if not you? And if not you, then who? Allow even the briefest, tersest, closest  encounters with transformation to remind you that if you're not fully present to the miracle it is to be alive, and instead keep getting your fingers stuck in the machinery in your head, you're wasting your life. Literally.

An old friend of mine (we go back nearly forty years) hasn't participated in Werner's work. Of course I've shared it extensively with her, to be sure. She is enrolled. But she hasn't registered. That's OK with me. I share it with her ongoingly anyway (like the energizer bunny, I've been going and going  for forty years ...). She tells me God  delivers everything she wants when she asks for it. I don't challenge her assertion. It's actually none of my business to challenge it.

In one of our many conversations, she talked about believing in God and about praying to God, and assumed I do too, and that we should discuss them. Actually I do do both: the former with qualification, the latter infrequently. But I kept silent. My silence came from having discovered that without establishing a certain context for it first, I'm reluctant to just blithely and blindly sally forth into that particular conversation. Given what's possible with conversations for transformation ie given what's at stake, I didn't want to squander the opportunity her God conversation opened up. In this regard, I'm really a big fan of Werner's notorious albeit simply marvelous counterpoint to such assumptions, a counterpoint that draws a laser-thin line between our concepts of God and this context, and opens it up, laying it bare. It's


Marvelous. Absolutely bloody marvelous (that's a British expression). It's one of those Werner zingers that cuts through all the BS, and gets people to sit bolt upright and pay attention. But be careful: it's purpose isn't to denigrate people's belief in God or in whatever they conceptualize God to be. Rather it's to ratchet up their awareness of what God is and who we  are in the matter of what God (really) is and to tease it out onto front and center stage where it can be fully examined and appreciated, very often for the first time.

Not waiting for me to reply, she told me that when she prays, God gives her so much  (quote unquote). Her tone told me she was trying to convince me. That's OK. After all, hers is a widely shared sentiment. It's even arguably true. But it's an unexamined  true - and therein lies the root of the problem. And like any essential tenet of the martial arts, the moment you're distracted by the unexamined true, all is lost.

I decided to try a new tack. I said "Here's what I think: I think if I was God (yes, that's an OK platform on which to stand and look), and you asked me to help you, I'd say 'Go away!  I've got a full plate right now managing the entire cosmos. Besides which, I've already  given you strengths beyond measure, power beyond belief, and abilities that defy doubt to ensure you'll have a great life. Look: you're not even fully using the gifts I've already given you, yet you're asking me for more?!'. It's more than that actually. It's not discovering who you are as the powerful space in which God shows up, epitomizes a wasted life.".

Now to be clear, this essay ie my assertion isn't about God or about believing in God or about praying to God or about what God can and can't and will or won't do for us. Really it isn't. As evidence, notice I haven't even included it in the group of my Conversations For Transformation essays titled "Reflections Of God". As noble as the God conversation is, here its only relevance is that it's the conversation in which the distinction "a wasted life" appeared. And I'm saying a life lived without transformation ie a life lived not inhabiting the space of who we are in which all of it, including God and you and I all show up, is a wasted life.

I'm not angling for that to be getable intellectually. I do however intend for it to be getable experientially. Experientially, it's the space of transformation. And whatever I've said about the space of transformation whose absence epitomizes a wasted life, I don't say it like it's "The Truth"  (and it may be). Rather I say it as a suggestion. Try it on for size. If it fits: take it, it's yours. If it doesn't: walk on, it's not.

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