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


Nothing Out There, Nothing In Here

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

November 24, 2009



This essay, Nothing Out There, Nothing In Here, is the prequel to This Is What It Means To Be!, the third essay in an open group Conversations With A Friend.

It is also the tenth in a group of fifteen on Nothing: It is also the first in an open group Conversations With A Friend Prequels: It was written at the same time as This Is What It Means To Be!.




How do I prepare for a conversation about nothing with you?

No, we're not talking about a new Seinfeld  script - Seinfeld, as in the "show about nothing". That's nothing  as in nothing in particular. I'm talking about nothing  as in profound. You're not that thing you call "I". You're the clearing in which that thing you call "I"  shows up. That's  profound. That's profound nothing. And how do I prepare for a conversation about that  nothing with you?

I don't pick up any books. I don't go to the library to research. That's not because I know nothing isn't in books or in the library. It's because I just don't know how  to prepare for a conversation about nothing with you. So I don't do anything to prepare.

And that's when I get it! That's when I get not doing anything is the way to prepare for a conversation about nothing. But that's not not doing anything  as in being idle. That's not doing anything  while being the clearing I really am, the clearing in which that thing I call "I"  shows up.

Although I don't yet realize it, given the way this preparation is going, it will play out through two distinct phases.

The first is to be with the nothing. In a burst of clarity (not mental, not cognitive: rather, visual), I see the being I am. It's nothing! No, really  nothing. I don't mean nothing as in nothing in particular. It's a shimmering, beautiful nothing emptiness, pure creativity. The respect for its creativity gives way to the awe of its power. I acquiesce to its power. I don't know how it does what it does ... but it does what it does!  I don't know how it's alive ... but it is. All my life I've lived lying and pretending that I know  it, that I understand  it. But I don't. And I never have. I've just lied a lot and pretended a lot I know it and understand it. And now, given our impending conversation about nothing, I raise myself up to it, open  myself up to it, and step forward into it.

Granted, it's challenging stepping into nothing. This isn't for the faint hearted. But if it's worth anything, bear in mind the only thing you can lose when you step into nothing is what's not you anyway.

The second is the realization that language is the access to nothing. It's also the vehicle for sharing its beauty and its magnificence. When I realize this, I realize you can't say nothing in a conversation about nothing. That's odd - again, in a profound  sort of way: you can't say nothing in a conversation about nothing  ... all Zen koans aside ... so I start looking at what I'll say. I start looking at what I'll ask, looking at what I'll share. I write them all down. I write down items of news (to bring you up to date), and expressions of Zen whimsy, for what would an opportunity like this be without at least one  pithy expression of Zen whimsy, yes?

I check my list, order it, then reorder it, then re-reorder it again. Then I abandon any sense of order and start over. In a conversation about nothing, it doesn't matter what comes last or what comes first, as long as everyone is left with more power when it's complete then when it started.

Then the list is done. Nothing else comes. So I straighten my stack of clean, white A4  paper with my list on the top, lay my sharpened HB  pencil by it's side, and I wait.

The silence is thick. I don't want it to end.



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