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


God In Your Universe

Inglenook, Rutherford, California, USA

October 27, 2013



"God's greatest work wasn't creating the universe. It was disappearing into it afterwards."
 ... 
"You're god in your universe. You caused it. You pretended not to cause it so that you could play in it, and you can remember you caused it any time you want to."
 ... 
This essay, God In Your Universe, is the eleventh in a group of fourteen reflections of God:


The power of transformation comes from making distinctions. Distinguishing A  from B  is powerful. Drawing similarities  between A and B doesn't require the same commitment.

Drawing similarities between things and other things, consciously or unconsciously (mostly unconsciously), knowingly or unknowingly (mostly unknowingly), is one of our most natural tendencies. It's one of our most taken for granted  natural tendencies. It's one of our most unexamined  natural tendencies. We do it constantly, automatically, without rigor. We do it without thinking. That's because doing so is built into the machinery. My mind is a machine hell-bent on survival whose logic system is "everything is the same as everything else ... except not always"  as Werner Erhard points out.

So in this conversation, I'll be wary of falling into the trap of making knowing God  similar to getting enlightened. That's a surefire way of evoking enough overlap, enough conceptual boilerplate, enough free association, enough already always listening  to completely obfuscate the question "Who is god in your universe?".

But I'll do so anyway (carefully) as it'll allow me to draw on something Werner said in a conversation about getting enlightened, which is this:

"People are willing to give up anything to get enlightened. You and I both know people who've given up wealth, given up jobs, families, their health, give up talking, give up sex, give up you name it, they will give it up. There's only one thing people will not give up to get enlightened. They will do everything they know to hold on to this thing that they will not give up no matter what. The one thing people will not give up to get enlightened is the idea that they're not enlightened."

"The one thing people will not give up to get enlightened is the idea that they're not enlightened."  Wow! Talk about provocative!  If you look up the definition of provocative in the the dictionary, you may see that quote there. So  ... (and here's where I run the risk of losing power by making something similar to something else): knowing God, is similar to getting enlightened, and the one thing people will not give up to know God is the idea that they don't know God.

Say you do give up the idea that you don't know God ie say you're willing to try on for size  giving up the idea that you don't know God. What appears in the clearing  once filled by the given up idea, isn't new beliefs, isn't new concepts, and nor is it more persuasive arguments voting in favor of God (all of which, by the way, will most likely get in the way of any direct experience of God). Rather, what appears is the possibility  of knowing God (perhaps for the first time really), a beginner's mind  inquiry into who God really is in your universe, and how she got here to begin with. There's all that ... and then there's also the perplexing enigma that (at first glance, at any rate) she now seems to have totally disappeared.

One possible direction such an inquiry could take is this:

How in the world did she ever disappear, and is now nowhere to be found? Well ... maybe she didn't disappear. Maybe it's just that we're looking for her (like that hapless cowboy Johnny Lee) in all the wrong places. We look, for example, for God in front of us. But what if God is actually behind  us? What if God is where we're looking from?  What if God's been here all along, and we haven't seen her because we've been looking for  her rather than looking from  her? The question isn't "What if God was one of us?" (with apologies to Joan Osbourne). The question is "What if God was us?".

Another possible direction such an inquiry could take actually isn't looking at who God is in your universe at all. It's prior  to that. It's looking at who you really are as the context  in which God can show up in the first place. Consider God disappeared simply because we haven't been willing to be responsible for being the context in which God can show up. What if God disappeared simply because we've been unaware of the possibility  of being responsible for being the context in which God can show up? If you and I were willing to be responsible for being the context in which God can show up, it would alter our experience of God and of Life as we know it, yes?

So ... who is  god in your universe? I suggest you don't use the question to lay claim to knowing all the facts, nor to simply invoke echoes of tired old beliefs. The question doesn't call for restating rote concepts, and it's not intended to start a persuasive (and maybe a passionate) argument in favor of a particular point of view of God that's already been touted endlessly before, with questionable effect and minimal impact. Rather, use it as a fresh start to an inquiry into what's possible for God.

Oh, and there's one other thing: don't start this inquiry until you've given up the idea that you don't know God.



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