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

Step Outside Your Head:

A Call To Action

Buttercream Bakery & Diner, Napa, California, USA

March 8, 2018

"The physical universe is my guru." ...   answering the question "Many people have a guru. Who is your guru?" 
This essay, Step Outside Your Head: A Call To Action, is the eleventh in an undectet* written Out-Here:
  1. Out Here
  2. Out Here II: Out-Here
  3. Out-Here III
  4. Transforming Life Itself: A Completely Started Inquiry
  5. Being And Acting Out-Here: Presence Of Self Revisited
  6. Hiking In A Painting
  7. Out-Here IV: Clearing For Life
  8. Something Bigger Than Oneself II
  9. To A Fault
  10. Where The Action Is
  11. Step Outside Your Head: A Call To Action
in that order.

I am indebted to Douglas Harding, author of "On Having No Head" and "Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious", and to Gopal Rao who inspired this conversation.

Transformation calls for (you could say) a contextual shift. That's the shift away from having one's attention on what's "within", towards having one's attention on and living with what's out-here. This almost always  requires something of (you could say) a mid-course correction  in life. "Mid-course correction" is a navigational term. It refers to a necessary change made to the direction of a vehicle, ship, airplane, rocket, or spacecraft at some point between the beginning and the end of its journey.

In this regard, I'm discovering (ie I'm re-discovering, actually) that nearly all of what I would describe as my most profound, breakthrough, eye-popping  observations (and here, by "observations" I'm simply referring to conclusions drawn from direct experience ie conclusions based on  direct experience), are ever more and more divergent from ie are tangential to what were once unquestioned, unchallenged fundamental ie foundational  constructs for me.

As a decisive illustration, I'm discovering my experience to be tangential to that which is expressed even in some of my favorite poets' dicta ("dicta" is the plural of "dictum"), like Rainer Maria Rilke's seminal "The only journey is the one within"  for example, a widespread, centuries-enduring, internationally cherished concept which in my earlier exploratory times I was whole-heartedly subscribed to, totally aligned with, and completely immersed in. And bear in mind this exposition is not just Rainer's: his dictum has been echoed, repeated, and recreated by countless thousands if not by millions  of others of both western and eastern persuasions throughout the ages, including Ralph Waldo Emerson with his equally elegant "What lies behind us and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.".

Yet ... it's ... not so (the Emperor isn't wearing any clothes). All my erstwhile assumptions aside, Life actually doesn't show up within. Life and living show up out-here. Out-here are our world, the universe, and Life itself ie the platform on which we do all our living, and us. In contrast, there really isn't much going on within. Now I know this last assertion will tread on the toes of ie will irk many sacred cows. But I'm sorry: it's true. I'm not just idly tossing it out merely in order to be provocative.

So then, what's really  to be found within? Here's what's really to be found within: within are [feelings / emotions], [thoughts / memories], [state of mind / attitude], and body sensations ... and that's it. Within, you'll find machinery embedded in hamburger. That's all. There's nothing else. And that, to be honest, is merely my own personal expression of a distinction I did not originate. It's my own personal re-creation of it; the distinction itself, on the other hand, is Werner's. It's vintage Erhard.

Affording appropriate respect to the heart-felt way Rainer has articulated the "journey ... within"  (also affording appropriate respect to my own erstwhile extensive and fascinating journey within), it's just possible that the real  value of the journey within, actually only shows up when it's discovered (in one of those out-of-time, slack-jawed "Oh ... my God!  ..." double-take moments) that all there is  within, are [feelings / emotions], [thoughts / memories], [state of mind / attitude], and body sensations, and nothing else  ie when we finally, suddenly, shockingly, indisputably  get that the trail within has run dry ie that it's a dead end, a veritable cul de sac.

It's just possible that precisely at that very moment, Life itself can (arguably for the first time) be grokked  (as Robert Heinlein may have said) where it really  occurs - which is out-here. When Life itself is grokked out-here where it really occurs, it's just possible that only then can our lives really begin in earnest ie only then can real  living really begin. This is when who we really are  as the context for it all ie the source  of it all, begins occurring as a totally clear, authentic, vivid, living presence.

* What is an "undectet"?  An undectet is any group with eleven members. The word "undectet" looks  like it's the mis-spelled word "undetect"  - as when something isn't discerned, we say it's "undetect"-ed. But no, that's not it.

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