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


Breakfast With The Master II:

Future Health

San Francisco, California, USA

March 14, 2014



"Health is a function of participation."  ... 
This essay, Breakfast With The Master II: Future Health, is the first in the second trilogy Breakfast With The Master:
  1. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Health
  2. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Finances
  3. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Open
in that order.
The first trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Conversation With A Laser
  2. Shut Up And Do What You're Doing
  3. Secret Agent
in that order.
The third trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Raw Power
  2. It Works Better As A Possibility
  3. Magic At Heart
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master IV: Parental Care
  2. Breakfast With The Master IV: Taking The Guilt Out Of It
  3. Breakfast With The Master IV: Language As Music
in that order.
The fifth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master V: Not Yet Titled (working title)
  2. Breakfast With The Master V II: Not Yet Titled (working title)
  3. Breakfast With The Master V III: Not Yet Titled (working title)
in that order.
I am indebted to my son Joshua Nelson Platt who contributed material for this conversation.



I don't think he knows I'm watching him intently. And if he does, he doesn't let on.

We're both perusing our menus. At some point I look up over the top of mine and am instantly riveted upon seeing him sitting on the opposite side of the table, reading his menu. It's an oddly fascinating sight: at first glance it's just a man sitting and reading. To be sure, I've seen many people reading - who hasn't? Yet there's something I don't know what, something je ne sais quoi  about the way he's sitting and reading that has me not only fascinated but moved as well.

He doesn't look young. But he doesn't look old either. There are people who look old. They look old regardless of whether they're old or young. There are people who look young. They look young regardless of whether they're old or young. As I look at his face, I can't slot his looks into any particular category or age, old or young. He looks neither old nor young. He just looks ... well ... alive. I don't mean hyperactive speaking a mile a minute speedy animated alive. I just mean alive. He looks alive.

He lifts his head up from reading his menu and sees me watching him. I say "You look good" ... but even as I say it I realize it's not what I mean. "No, you look good, that's for sure, but what I mean is you look alive and healthy"  I correct myself. That's  what it is. That's the quality I'm seeing. It's his health. He's healthy. It's a quality not a determined by his age. Neither is it what I naïvely thought of first as looking good. It's he's healthy. It's he's vibrantly, radiantly  healthy.

Quite appropriately the conversation turns to health next. It naturally segues  into diet, exercise, and a generally healthy regimen. I share I run five miles on an elliptical one morning which takes me about forty five minutes, and swim the next morning also for forty five minutes, alternating each day. "That's impressive" he says. Then I admit to him I don't stick to that "impressive" regimen every single day - but mostly I do. He smiles at me for telling one  on myself.

He says he also has an exercise regimen he sticks to. He's noticed when he slows down or misses a session, things go downhill fast. We've both noticed it: when we exercise, things get better slowly, but when we stop exercising, things go downhill fast  - physically, that is. There's something else we've both noticed: it's when an exercise regimen becomes transformed.

And what exactly is a transformed exercise regimen? A transformed exercise regimen is an exercise regimen which is no longer a chore, no longer a burden but rather a welcome responsibility. It's no longer something ya gotta  do (which you might avoid or recoil from or even skip entirely whenever you can sufficiently justify doing so). Rather it's something you take on for yourself like a covenant between you and your body, like a responsibility you take on to keep your body running at maximum efficiency so it can optimally serve you. It's basic, routine physical maintenance  like servicing your car regularly and changing its oil - and we all know how driving down the freeway goes if we neglect or avoid doing that, yes?

I don't aspire to having big muscles. I eschew big biceps just for the sake of big biceps. I simply want a body which supports my intention in life for as long as it can. That's the truth. And as I'm telling him that truth (ie my truth) I get clear if I don't make it happen, no one else will. No one else will take care of my future health for me but me. If I ignore it it's at my own peril, and then things go downhill fast. Wow! So simple, so very very simple ...   It's one of those "Duh!"  moment realizations which is at once both supremely stoopid  as well as sagely profound and enlightening.

Common sense diet and exercise are actually only parts of it, but critical parts nonetheless. There's really no way of avoiding them as responsible components of health. And that's what I see in his face, that ageless quality I describe as aliveness and health. But there's something else also: it's his aura. At first I only see his aura as a function of how open  he is with me, with people, with Life itself - in other words, at first I only see his aura as a function of his participation. Then  it clicks: his very health  is a function of his participation.

There are the obvious, essential components of dogshit reality  health like sensible diet and exercise, the components which are so obvious, so essential, and so sensible that we don't have to be told when we're avoiding them ie when we're simply not taking responsibility for them. And then there's the possibility of true, thrilling, vibrant, radiant health you may never find in the gym, neither is it to be found in the swimming pool, and there are no shelves assigned to it in the health food store or in the organic market. What it is is health as a function of participation. That's when I get it: my future health is a function of my future participation. And when I get that, which is to say when I own  that, a certain panic, an angst  for the future, suddenly goes completely quiet.

I've finally figured it out. This  is what he radiates. This is what his aura emits. It's health as a function of sensible diet and exercise, and it's also health as a function of full on  participation. It's both. But the latter way out-dazzles  the former.

I fold my menu and set it down, as does he. The waitress is coming. It's time to order our breakfast.



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