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




Living Where Life Is

Cuvaison Estate, Silverado Trail, Napa Valley, California, USA

January 7, 2012



"The physical universe is my guru."  ...   answering the question "Many people have a guru. Who is your guru?" 
"We cannot put off living until we are ready. The most salient characteristic of Life is its coerciveness: it is always urgent, here and now  without any possible postponement. Life is fired at us point blank."
 ... Jose Ortega y Gasset read out loud by  
This essay, Living Where Life Is, is the companion piece to Out Here.

It is also the twenty seventh in an open group Encounters With A Friend:
  1. Showing Up
  2. Poet Laureate
  3. A Man In The Crowd
  4. Real Men Cry
  5. A Different Set Of Rules
  6. Nametag: A True Story
  7. Half Life
  8. Waiting On You
  9. Erotica On Schedule
  10. A House On Franklin Street
  11. NeXT
  12. Reflection On A Window
  13. Here And There
  14. How To Enroll The World
  15. Demonstration
  16. Two Of Me II: Confirmation Not Correction
  17. Holiday Spectacular
  18. Hello! How Are Things Going For You?
  19. Regular Guy
  20. A Scholar And A Gentleman
  21. Images Of You
  22. With Nothing Going On
  23. Where No One Has Gone Before
  24. Attachment: Causeway Between Islands
  25. If You're Not Then Don't
  26. Images Of You II
  27. Living Where Life Is
  28. Create Me The Way I Am
  29. How Do You Spell The Sound A Ratchet Makes?
  30. You Don't Ask "Why Me?"  When It's Raining II
  31. The Stink Of Zen
so far, in that order.

I am indebted to Gopal Rao and to the source of Direct Access who inspired this conversation.





Werner Erhard
Something massive, something radical, something wonderful  has shifted for me.

It started (as so many great things do) in a conversation with a good friend of mine. There's something about transformation which is both timeless and impersonal. It's always been here like a possibility, and it's always been a possibility for everyone. There's nothing special about me and my life lived with transformation any more than there's anything special about me and my life lived with breathing. We've all got it (said with rigor, we've all got it like a possibility). That's why my own transformation is inextricably and inseparably connected with everyone's transformation - and therefore also with everyone's un‑transformation, as the case may be.

The thing about transformation is this: it lives in language. So if I don't speak transformation, it disappears. There's no sense ruing this aspect of it. It's the way it is. You're transformed as long as you're in Conversations For Transformation. And when you're no longer in Conversations For Transformation then you're no longer transformed. That's it, folks. End of story.

No longer speaking transformation ie no longer being in Conversations For Transformation is one way to step away from  (if I may say it that way) being transformed - unintentionally or intentionally. Another way of stepping away from being transformed is by deploying a deadly method called jargonizing. You can't ever really speak about  transformation. You can only speak coming from  transformation. As soon as you speak about  transformation, you're more than merely at risk of jargonizing transformation: jargonizing transformation is the first step toward killing it off entirely.

This is the conversation I was having with my friend: the inevitability of killing off transformation by jargonizing it. I asked him what I can do to stay present to transformation in a way which forwards the transformed action  and lives  it so that it speaks louder  than (and therefore overrides)  my unintentional jargonizing it - a kind of safeguard, if you will.

He isolated two options, both of which are entirely noteworthy, the second of which I'd like to explore in more depth later in this conversation.


Relationship With Ego As An Access To Transformation



The first option he isolated is my relationship with my own ego. He said the relationship I have with my ego is an access to transformation - but not just any  relationship with my ego. He said the relationship I have with my ego in which I distinguish my ego as just my ego and not as who I really am  is an access to transformation. It's distinguishing my ego and taking responsibility for it and letting it be - not pandering to it, not suppressing it, not resisting it, neither for that matter mistaking  what it is - which is an access to transformation ie it's an access to living Life transformed.

That's extraordinary. It's so extraordinary it could be the subject of a book (which, by the way, isn't necessarily a good idea: transformation is listened  not read). But the second  thing he spoke in response to my inquiry really  got me sitting up taking notice. He spoke about "living where Life is"  as an access to living Life transformed.

I could tell immediately by the way my listening flew  after his words like a bird flies after the lead bird in a tight formation without any concern about where he's being led, that he was on to something, and I knew I wanted it  - whatever he was speaking about, whatever it was. So I asked him the obvious question: "Well ... where  do I live if I'm living where Life is?".

What follows is my interpretation of the totality of his response.



Life As It's Lived



This exposé  begins with a simple process.

I want you to be walking in a forest of giant redwood trees - enormous, majestic, sky scraping  redwood trees. I want you to stop in front of one of them (pick one - any  one), and just look at it. Take it in. Take it all  in. Look at it from bottom to top to bottom.

Then ask yourself: "Where does the redwood occur  for me?".

Another way of asking the same question is: "Where does the redwood show up  for me?".

You could even ask: "When I see  the redwood, where  is my sense of seeing  the redwood?".

Yes, you heard right: "where"  is my sense of seeing ...

When you ask questions in the form of "When I see the redwood, where is my sense of seeing the redwood?", you may point to your head, indicating you say you're seeing  the redwood in your brain. You may even point to your eyes, indicating you're seeing the redwood in your eyes.

Both are fair (and common) answers. Both indicate you say you're seeing  things, a redwood tree for example, (pointing to your head) "in here".

Let's examine this.



1)  NOT "IN HERE".

Speaking neurologically, it may be true you see the redwood in here. I say it may  be true ... but I don't know: I've personally never seen the inside of my head or the inside of my eye. So I'll defer this assertion to the science of neurology.

However, speaking from Life as it's lived, it's critical you get you don't see the redwood in here. If you did, it would be less than one inch tall, it would be be upside down, and it would be mirror reversed. That's what we know about redwoods seen through the lenses of our eyes, firing neurons in the retina  which is the light-sensitive tissue lining the inner surface of the eye.

But you don't  see the redwood in here, and you don't see it less than one inch tall, and you don't see it upside down, and you don't see it mirror reversed. That may be a valid explanation speaking neurologically. But it's not what happens in Life as it's lived. In Life as it's lived, you see the redwood hundreds of feet tall, and upright, and not mirror reversed, yes?

Now, I ask you again: where  do you see the redwood in Life as it's lived?
2)  "OUT HERE"

In Life as it's lived, you see the redwood out here. In Life as it's lived, you see the redwood hundreds of feet tall, upright, and not mirror reversed out here.

You don't see the redwood in here. Where you see it, which is to say where your sense of seeing it is, is out here. That's where the redwood occurs for you: it occurs for you out here. That's where the redwood shows up for you: it shows up for you out here. Don't point to your head. That's not where you see the redwood in Life as it's lived. You don't see it in here.

Examine this assertion closely. You'll see in Life as it's lived, you see the redwood out here. You'll see in Life as it's lived, the redwood occurs for you out here. You'll see in Life as it's lived, the redwood shows up for you out here.

And what I want you to get about the value of the neurological explanation that you see the redwood in here, is simply this: you  ... don't  ... live  ... Life  ... neurologically!  ...

Gee! I hope you get that.
3)  NOT "OUT THERE"

By the way (and it's really  important you get this too): it's "out here"  ... not "out there". You don't see the redwood in Life as it's lived out there. If you say you see the redwood out there  as opposed to out here, "in here".

Try this on for size: "out there"  reinforces "in here". yes? (this is basic Zen).

So Life as it's lived shows up "out here". To misconstrue it as showing up "out there"  is to reinforce "in here"  ... and Life as it's lived doesn't show up "in here".
4)  WHERE LIFE IS

Although we're thrown  that it is, Life as it's lived isn't in here. You don't see the redwood in here  in Life as it's lived.

We're also thrown to make very loose  distinctions ie distinctions without rigor. Be careful as you consider Life as it's lived isn't in here, not to make the very loose, equally inaccurate distinction, that Life as it's lived is out there. It's not.

Life as it's lived ie the redwood as you see it, is out here. Life as it's lived doesn't require congruency  with our internal state. As hard as it may be to confront (mostly because of the incredible waste of invested time and energy it represents), "in here" has got nothing to do with Life as it's lived. Life as it's lived doesn't move  for our way of being  ie for our attitudes or for our emotions or for our bodily sensations or for our thoughts.

So speaking neurologically  (and only  speaking neurologically), you could say you see the redwood in here. But speaking from Life as it's lived, where you see the redwood is out here. Out here is where Life is.

Stop lying about it.


Mastery Simplified



What this entire inquiry comes down to for me now, as it did when my friend first distinguished it, is this question:

Which is obviously and inevitably more powerful:

 1) living my life in here - where Life as it's lived, doesn't shows up

... or  ...

 2) living my life out here - where Life as it's lived, shows up?

Living my life where Life shows up, which is to say living where Life is, is more than merely a powerful access to living Life transformed: it's the epitome  of living Life transformed.

Mastery is living where Life is. The path of the master starts with living my life where Life is: out here.



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