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
Mount Veeder, California, USA
January 22, 2005
I am indebted to Ralph Gilling and to James Tsutsui and to Stephen
Frattini who inspired this conversation.
We abstract enlightenment. We explain it. We describe it or at least we
attempt to. Yet whichever way we characterize enlightenment we mire it.
To a degree, we have charged enlightenment with so much meaning, with
so much vested interest, with so much significance, and with so much
belief, opinion, and
that by now it seems almost impossible to have a useful conversation
about enlightenment at all, a conversation in which the experience of
enlightenment is communicated rather than mere information and hearsay
In my own earlier questions and explorations into the true nature and
experience of enlightenment I eventually determined that when all is
said and done, when all so-called paths to enlightenment reach their
completion, enlightenment is really nothing more than giving up the
notion that you are unenlightened. Even though I find that distinction
no longer useful I still like it. It implies that our very ground of
being is enlightenment. It implies that there is absolutely nothing to
do to attain enlightenment, that there is no path to traverse to get to
enlightenment. In fact it implies that the only thing there is to do to
experience our already enlightenment is to stop pretending we are
unenlightened. If we tell the truth about it we can admit that yes we
do pretend we are unenlightened.
is one of our most cherished addictions.
Later as my own questions and explorations matured I came to prefer my
friend James Tsutsui's observation that enlightenment is really nothing
more than giving up the notion that you are enlightened. Actually I
really like James' observation. It stands in nothing as it
pokes fun with a wonderful
irreverence at our pomposity and at our ego based notions with regard
to our own enlightenment.
I assert that to get your hands and your feet on to the levers and the
dials and the pedals of the true nature and experience of
enlightenment, you have to first set aside the righteous debate about
what enlightenment is and about what enlightenment is not. Once you
have set the cleverness and the seduction of the conjecture about
enlightenment aside, then you would use something very simple and
measurable to determine if a person is enlightened or not.
Werner Erhard, with no vested interest in being right about what
enlightenment is and with no vested interest in being right about what
enlightenment isn't, asserts simply one of the signs of the enlightened
state is you lighten up!
Be careful. The subtlety of that almost overly obvious remark may elude
you at first. Werner uses lighten as an active verb, as something you
do rather than as something that happens to you.