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




Covenant

Pismo Beach, California, USA

January 4, 2009
Reposted April 29, 2021



This essay, Covenant, is the sixth in a group of eighteen reflections of God: I am indebted to my daughter Alexandra Lindsey Platt who inspired this conversation.



In certain pious circles it's the most volatile, most reactionary topic you can raise in a conversation. In others, it's a fundamental societal taboo, a conversation we avoid in order to be religiously or socially correct.

I'd like to have this conversation* now.

The conversation I'm alluding to is whether or not you and I human beings are at one  with all of Life, or whether we exist within the framework of Life yet are separate from it ie or whether we act out our lives on the stage  of Life yet are apart from it.

There are two possible launch pads for this conversation.

1)  We can come at it from our belief systems, concepts, and opinions ie we can come at it from our already-figured-it-out-ness, or
2)  We can come at it freshly from our experience  ie we can come at it naked ie from here  and from now  with nothing cerebral added.

If we come at it from our belief systems, concepts, and opinions ie from our already-figured-it-out-ness, we may argue that human beings are separate from all of Life. It's too much of a volatile, reactionary topic that speaks in terms of human beings being at one with all of Life. In certain religious circles it's taboo. Given the belief systems and cherished concepts through which it's filtered, it's heard by certain ears with a head shaking tsk-tsk-ing, with eye rolling incredulity. It's heard as the ramblings of a misguided mind, as blasphemy, even as heresy  by certain ears. The line between who we are, and all and everything, is clearly drawn, and many would have it that we're on this  side of that line.

So in order to talk in terms of our allegiance  to God and God's allegiance to us  when we're unable to entertain the possibility of being truly at one with all of Life, when we're imprisoned, barricaded  by our cherished concepts, forbidden to entertain the possibility of being truly at one with it all, when we've so effectively conjured up the belief we're separate, we've created the notion of a covenant  with God: our promise to God and God's promise to us, our mutual pledge of allegiance  to be true to each other. And that's the best we believe it's going to get between us human beings and all of Life: we'll be true to each other yet separate.

We've built these promises, we've built this mutual pledge of allegiance on top of our belief systems and cherished concepts, on top of our sheer disbelief  that we could really be at one with all of Life. Biblically and conceptually, we've enshrined these promises, this mutual pledge of allegiance, in symbols, icons, traditional representations, and constraints on our view of what's possible.

From the Cambridge International Dictionary:

<quote>
Definition
covenant


noun
a formal agreement between two or more people, a promise
<unquote>

Also from the Cambridge International Dictionary:

<quote>
the Ark of the Covenant
(in the Bible) a wooden box which contained the writings of Jewish law, and which represented to the people of Israel the presence of God leading them
<unquote>

As I walk along this beach with you, looking into your laughing eyes, privileged by the presence  of you, joyed to have this time with you, I notice as an experience, you and I each and together, are at one with all of it. It's one seamless continuum:  ... you ... I ... all of it  ...  As an experience, you and I created all this. We're God in our universe. We're one with all of it experientially. We caused it. And now we get to play in it exactly the way it is and exactly the way it isn't.

<aside>

There's no voting  on this. There's no voting on the way it is. There's no voting on the way it isn't. Why? Because you and I already voted.

<un-aside>

This isn't getable by belief systems, concepts, or opinions. It's not getable coming from already-figured-it-out-ness. From belief systems, concepts, and opinions ie from already-figured-it-out-ness, it's the ramblings of a misguided mind, it's blasphemy, heresy. Look: it's only getable as an experience. Then it's powerful. The moment I try to explain  it, both my experience and my explanation lose power immediately. There aren't enough words in the dictionary nor time left in eternity for it to be explained  in a way that makes it getable  like an experience.

So what's the covenant like as an experience  if not like a belief?

The covenant is apparent to me in the blindingly simple  fact that I'm alive now, that I'm experiencing now, that I'm alive experiencing here now. "Experience", as Werner points out, is the "evidence that I am here", that I'm included in all and everything. The covenant is further evidenced by the fact that you're  alive now, that you're experiencing now, that you're alive experiencing here now. The covenant between you and I, and between you and I and all of Life, is simply what's so.

I have to look very carefully, rigorously  for the covenant or I'll miss it entirely. It's very, very slippery. One of the things which makes it elusive, which makes it hard to locate, which makes it even harder to get, is it can't be located when belief systems, concepts, opinions, and already-figured-it-out-ness define the view. The covenant between who I am and all and everything, can only be found in my experience  (that is to say, it can't be argued:  it can only be experienced).

What also makes it elusive, hard to distinguish, and even harder to get, is where  the covenant shows up. The covenant shows up exactly  at the intersection of two dictatorial domains. The covenant shows up exactly where dogshit reality  intersects with the miraculous. Mostly, we're looking at life as one OR  the other. Mostly, we're looking at life as dogshit reality  ... OR  ... we're looking at life as miraculous, and it's our fervent belief that God is only found in the latter. It takes a certain open-ness  to be willing to entertain the possibility that dogshit reality is miraculous!  The covenant is here, to be experienced inside this open-ness.

My covenant isn't added  to my experience. My covenant isn't appended to a mutual pledge of allegiance to shore up  what's missing for my belief systems, or to explain what's misunderstood about my concepts, or to fill in what's lacking from my opinions, or to fill in what's missing from my having already figured it out, or to justify what's buried under the mountainous slag heaps of my interpretations, or simply to assuage not knowing, when not knowing is unbearable. My covenant lives in my experience of you and I  experiencing, alive, speaking and listening, in communication, here, now.

The mere fact that what's so is, is all the evidence I need.


*   The ideas presented in this essay, Covenant, point to an experience. They're not "The Truth". They're not religion. They're not disrespectful of any religious conviction. If they work for you, keep them: they're yours. If they don't work for you, thank you for reading this far.
Werner Erhard points out the trap inherent in any experience, religious or otherwise: the trap in any experience, is believing it (aka "The truth believed is a lie.").

You don't believe in a screwdriver. If a job requires it, you pick one up and you use it. And if it breaks you get another one.


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