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


Muir Beach, California, USA

Labor Day, September 7, 2009

This essay, Inside, is the companion piece to It is also the prequel to More Than Being With The World.

I am indebted to Barbara "Bobbie" Ractliffe Fairhead Coetzee who inspired this conversation.

This essay, Inside, showed up spontaneously one day - as the great majority of them do - during a conversation with a friend. The words which provoked the inquiry outlined in this essay were innocent enough, innocuous enough. We were talking about my recent travels with my daughter Alexandra in Europe during the summer of August of 2009, a well thought through venture, months in the planning, which succeeded (although not surprisingly) beyond our wildest dreams. My friend said these results are sure to leave a glow (quote unquote) "inside"  me. It was a generous, heartfelt, moving acknowledgement.

In addition to being generous, heartfelt, and moving, it also kindled the inquiry "Where exactly  is 'inside'  me?".

The more I look, the more I realize while "inside" me is a popular figure of speech in everyday use, when I come from experience, I can't find any such location for "inside" me. Coming from who I really am, coming from Self, no matter how hard I look, I can't find "inside" me anywhere. I suppose the only situation in which it could be correct to say something is "inside" me would be if I am my body.

I'm not my body. While I have  a body (actually, to say "while I own  a body" is more accurate) for which I'm responsible, who I am is the space in which the events of my life occur. I'm not my body. Even my body shows up  in the space in which the events of my life occur.

"Since I'm not my body, does the phrase 'inside' me, have any authentic world to word  fit?" I wondered as the inquiry intensified.

One of the proven ways in which transformation is communicated powerfully enough to be gotten  is through a series of well thought through processes, exercises, and interactions within a group. A series of experiences  are set up, the combined insights of which kindle the breakthrough  which allows transformation to show up. You could call this access to transformation access via experience. What I have in mind in these Conversations For Transformation is to set up, rather, an access to transformation via conversation. This access via conversation  isn't all that separate from the access via experience  except given the tools and the media available to me communicating transformation this way via the internet, the access via conversation  is more appropriate. This essay, Inside, is really an access to transformation via conversation  from within the question "Is there really such a location as 'inside' me, or not?".

If you pose the question "Where are you physically located in relation to your body?", you're likely to hear something like "Why, I'm inside  my body, of course!". That's would be typical. And even though it could be regarded as a conceptually fuzzy  response, it's genuine. But more than that, there's also most likely an implied "Duh!"  afterwards, as in "Why, I'm inside my body, of course - Duh!". That's the implied "Stupid! What do you  think?".

You can tell by the expressions we commonly use to describe them, that we locate feelings and emotions inside ourselves, along with what we call our conscience  which we also locate inside ourselves. Is the language of those expressions used with real rigor?  Or are they simply day to day idioms?  Is who or what  we really are inside?  Is that really  the experience? Or is inside  simply a concept we use non-rigorously  to give shape to an experience we have of our being?

Inside  ... as in "I feel good inside.". As in "Outwardly she fakes calmness but inside  she's wound up like a cuckoo clock.". As in "I ate an apple in the supermarket and walked out without paying as a lark, but inside  I knew better.". As in the yogi's ie as in the meditator's  "Go within" (which by the way is just another form of "Go inside.").

If it's language used with rigor, I assert (based on the fact I can't find it anywhere), there's really no such place, there's really no such location  as "inside". It's arguably a non-assertive, non-powerful distinction that doesn't bring forth anything valuable. And unless it's a hamburger patty who stands up, takes the microphone, and shares "Inside  I'm hamburger meat", who you are isn't hamburger. Only hamburger meat is hamburger inside.

In other words, who you are isn't hamburger, and who you are isn't inside. There's nothing inside  except hamburger.

If you take a close, quiet look you'll see what we call "inside" and what we call (as the contradistinction) "outside" is really one seamless whole. Let's call this cohesive field "insideoutside". Different disciplines give it various names, but to call it "insideoutside" is good enough for jazz. Then since "insideoutside" is obviously all there is, let's dispense with it altogether as a distinction.

There's only experience, and as its communicator, there's only language ie conversation.

You could say who we really are is prior to all that. You could say who we really are is prior to insideoutside. You could say who we really are is prior to experience, prior to the conversation.

Another way of saying this is who we really are is the context for experience, for the conversation.

We experience everything. As the context for experiencing everything (and to be totally rigorous with this, let's rather say "as the experience  of the context for experiencing everything"), how can we possibly be inside?

Listen: there's  ... no  ... such  ... place  ... as "inside" when rigorously languaging who we really are.

Now, having said all that, our authentic locatability ie where who we really are  is located, isn't subject to debates or to arguments, and it's certainly not subject to my opinions in essays like this one. That's the thing: to be able to look for yourself, calmly and intently, and see who you really are, and see where  you really are - without concepts, without beliefs, without any interpretive  filters or epistemological lenses.

What's that like for you? I'll venture this bet: if you look intently, and long enough, you'll notice the distinction "inside", when it comes to describing your location, isn't generated with rigor. It's conceptual and vacuous. It doesn't bring forth, that is to say it doesn't language  who we really  are.

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