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




On Becoming Nobody

Alston Park, Napa Valley, California, USA

January 5, 2020



"The game is not about becoming somebody, it's about becoming nobody." ... Baba Ram Dass aka Dr Richard Alpert

This essay, On Becoming Nobody, is the twenty fourth in a group of twenty four on People: I am indebted to Baba Ram Dass who inspired this conversation.


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A Film by Robyn Symon:
The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard

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Lots and lots and lots of
regular guys


Truth has a way of overlapping all of our individual considerations of what we consider to be true or not. Differing truths (what's true for you that's not true for me) may just be a function of our egos' vested interests in the way each of us views things uniquely. Identical truths (what's true for you that's also true for me) may just be a function of the way things are. The real worth of a teacher is measured by whether or not the truth they reveal, is true for all of us. And the truth he, "the guru in jeans and a T-shirt" revealed (that's my personal designation of him) turns out to be true for all of us. He had no attachment to it being any other way, God love him.

Photograph courtesy Becoming Nobody

A film directed by Jamie Catto

© Love Serve Remember Foundation - 2019
Baba Ram Dass
, regular guy
That's the first qualification. The second qualification is being able to communicate the overlapping truth in a way that can be heard ie in a way that people would be willing to let it in, to try it on. Truth is truth, whether you're a great teacher or not. Neither you nor I nor anyone else can take credit for the overlapping truth. It's the second qualification which is harder, and for which he gets full credit: being a communicator of the truth in a listenable, likeable, folksy, attractive way. In this, he was one of humanity's self-made rock star  gurus. Yet a face to face encounter with him was an encounter with just a regular guy - almost forgettable at that level, charming in its utter simplicity, being so regular. It's that, which he was able to distinguish for people, for which he's remembered, and sorely missed.

I had two such personal, face to face encounters with him, and years of being inspired by his book "Remember, Be Here Now" which was to be found in every self-respecting hippie's backpack. It wasn't just that his book uncovered the truth (the truth doesn't require any uncovering). It's that he shared the truth in a way that was inspiring, listenable, getable, and even entertaining. That part of it got me. But it's when he broke with the recreational drug traditions of the day and of his past, that he made what is arguably his greatest contribution: showing enlightenment is available to all of us regular guys exactly the way we are - no additives or sacraments required.

Essential to his message was that you don't have to do anything to be enlightened. The signs, he showed, are everywhere: you already are. You don't have to become somebody  to have worth: you're already it. It's arguably just the propulsion of the survival driven, perpetually dissatisfied ego to (quote unquote) become somebody  ie to be a contender. The antitheses of becoming somebody would be, I suppose, becoming nobody. That's the anti-ego, if you will. That was his message: remember, be here now, you're alright the way you are, enjoy. We're all it. We're all pretty much regular guys after all. That's what I think he meant by "becoming nobody". It wasn't said disparagingly. Listen: his "becoming nobody" doesn't equate with a colloquial "being a loser". It's just the opposite actually, a spiritual powerhouse in fact.

Religion News Service reported Baba Ram Dass saying "I hang out with my guru in my heart. And I love everything in the universe. That's all I do all day.". That's all I do all day?  That is extraordinary. What gets me about it is we all have something we do "all day". For some, it's filling the void / compensating for being unfulfilled. For those more fortunate, it's doing what we're passionate about / are fulfilled doing. Whether his path is a path you and I choose, what Baba Ram Dass said he did all day, is actually extraordinary. In one fell swoop he laid bare being whole and complete and fulfilled exactly the way it is, as a possibility. And that's truly extraordinary.

Only someone who isn't clear about who they really are, would covet becoming "somebody". Baba Ram Dass extolled becoming nobody. Gee! I hope you get that ...



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