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


Short List

Sherwin Family Vineyards, Spring Mountain, California, USA

September 2, 2016



This essay, Short List, is the companion piece to "Which One Is Maharishi?".

I am indebted to Gopal Rao, a Landmark Forum Leader and the Operations Manager for Landmark in India, who makes the transformation of a billion  people his personal business, a big  player, who inspired this conversation.




It could be said (no, it has  been said) that if religion worked (which is to say if the original intention of religion were realized), then this work of transformation would be redundant, if not unnecessary. Alongside religions are the teachings of countless great masters, both women and men, who have walked our planet, many of whom have made contributions to the seminal inquiry into what it is to be human, or if you extend the inquiry to include being, into the possibility of being  for human being. Given their compassion, it is also in their nature to seek to alleviate the suffering which seems to be an inevitable part of life's experience (or, if you will, an inevitable part of life's predicament). And notice when I say that, I'm emphasizing the phrase "seems  to be ..." (if I use more definitive verbiage, it cements suffering in place).

Ultimately what causes the most confusion around the freedom inherent in all religions and other teachings, western and eastern, isn't the material itself. Rather it's us, and it's twofold: one, we neglect to differentiate between what's true, and what we believe  to be true; and two, we're convinced  it's not all OK the way it is, when in fact it's OK exactly  the way it is (and exactly the way it isn't) and  it may not always look like it. In other words, there's a certain rigor  we lack, a certain relying on belief and ritual instead of direct experience. It results in us in being convinced life is meant to be lived in the dark, then wondering why we keep bumping into things.

Before I made these distinctions ie before I tried them on as possibilities for my life, I looked into ways of outsmarting life's predicament for myself. One such way (or path  if you will) of those I experimented with, led me to MMY  ie Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I traveled with him. I studied with him. I meditated with him. I prepared his meals, assisting his personal chef Hari Har Khan, and served him. That gave me access to many private audiences with him. I've initiated hundreds of people into TM  ie Transcendental Meditation, the system he created. I meditate these days - not earnestly, and not on schedule, sometimes daily. I include meditation in my hygiene and health regimen, along with brushing my teeth, and exercise. I've let all of the other significance around it go from my life. And I don't require the cosmic context.

In the end, I realize what's probably true is even our most beloved and revered religious and spiritual masters (yes, there is a difference) can only hint at what Werner articulates as his natural Self-expression, giving us access to our natural Self-expression. I'd like that to sound as ordinary and as bland as possible. Adding significance to it eclipses the blandness of it, detracting from its potency. In my era of experimenting in ie during my intersections  with religions and other teachings, western and eastern, I was clear it required a lot of practice to get "IT". Me being clear about it, didn't mean it was the truth. It just meant I was clear about it in my own way. I was clear I'd get it someday  ie soon. I was also clear I didn't have it today  ie yet. That's how, given the way I was being, I got in the way of all those intersections.

I would have loved to register MMY in the Landmark Forum or in any other iteration of Werner's work, not because it's better than TM (you can't compare those two: comparing those two isn't even like comparing apples and oranges - it's like comparing apples and zebras)  but simply because he was a great guy, and it would have been great to share such a great thing with such a great guy. He was one of a kind. After he was born, God broke the mold. Imagine you could foresee an impending apocalypse, and in preparation for the end of the world, you had to quickly choose only one human being from any chapter in history, with whom you would live out the rest of your life on a desert island. If you knew him, MMY would be one of those people on your short list of such candidates. He was an extraordinary trailblazer.

Now that real, live, thrilling transformation is an ever-present possibility for our planet, I am grateful to and respectful of him and all other trailblazers on my short list.



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© Laurence Platt - 2016 Permission