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


A Place To Come Back To

Inglenook, Rutherford, California, USA

November 13, 2015



"I am 'I am'."  ... 


There are places I've visited throughout the world which, in spite of the fact that there are still many other places I've not yet seen and would love to visit, are worth coming back to. I'll include one or two of the Fiji islands (Akuilau and Malolo Lailai for example) in the south Pacific Ocean among them. They're relatively easy to get to. If you've seen either of the movies The Blue Lagoon (Brooke Shields) and / or Castaway (Tom Hanks), they're Fiji so you know the decor. They're places which, given their stark, sheer, uncompromising naturalness, have the ability to call on and bring forth from us the very best of what it is to be a human being.

The Fiji islands are examples of physical  places to come back to which have the ability ie the physical  ability to remind us of who we really are. Then there are those spiritual  places which have the spiritual  ability to remind us of who we really are. One such place for me is the Oudekraal kramat  aka the Oudekraal mosque in South Africa which is reached by climbing a hidden path up the mountainside following a meandering drive heading south along the west coast of the Cape Peninsula as you leave Cape Town. With the sheer Twelve Apostles  range on your left, and the majestic breaking waves of the Atlantic Ocean crashing onto massive boulders on your right, even calling this vista magnificent  and the perfect background for spiritual communion, is to woefully understate it. It's definitely a place to come back to. It's a power place  for me - that is, it's a spiritual  power place for me.

While I'm considering which places to come back to, my attention is caught by the phrase "come back to"  - literally. It reminds me of something else, at first je ne sais quoi. Then I realize what it harkens to: it's the process of meditation and its deployment of a sacred sound or mantra  which you "come back to". You sit. You meditate. And when you notice your mind has hijacked the onset of the experience of bliss consciousness (as it invariably will: that's its job), you come back to the mantra. So there are physical places to come back to, and there are spiritual places to come back to, and there are even meditative  places ie retreats to come back to, all of which in one way or another put us squarely (back) in touch with who we really are.

Some time around now (it may have been closer to four decades ago, or maybe it was three years ago, or maybe it was two months ago, or maybe it was a week ago, or maybe it was just this morning, but nonetheless some time around now)  I experienced an awakening, the result of which was I cut out the middle man.

"Cut out the middle man"?  What does that mean Laurence? It means this: as seductive as places of awesome physical beauty are, I don't have to go there or come back to them in order to experience and / or to be who I really am; as alluring as places of pristine spiritual beauty are, I don't have to go there or come back to them in order to experience and / or to be who I really am; as attractive as places of immense meditative beauty are, I don't have to go there or come back to them in order to experience and / or to be who I really am. No, I am "I am". Now this  is a place to come back to.

"I am 'I am'"  is where it all starts - all  of it. And while I say it's "a place to come back to", the simple truth of the matter is I'm always here ie I'm always in this place. So coming back here isn't of the same order of things as coming back to an island or coming back to a mosque or coming back to a retreat to get (back) in touch with who I really am. Rather, coming back here is coming directly back to who I am, cutting out the middle man (no island, no mosque, no retreat). It's the profound yet simple matter of reinstating the awareness (which you can do anywhere) that you're here (and always have been here, and always will be here) where it all starts.

"I am 'I am'"  is the awakening. And you are  "I am" too (that's not a typo). This is a place to come back to. Actually no: it's the  place to come back to.



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