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


There's Nothing To Get, Revisited

Coombsville Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

January 29, 2015

"This is it. There are no hidden meanings. All that mystical stuff is just what's so. A master is someone who found out."  ... 
"There's nothing to get. And making 'There's nothing to get' into something to get, is just more arrogance." ... Laurence Platt
This essay, There's Nothing To Get, Revisited, is the companion piece to It is also, with On Having No Past and Beginner's Mind: On Having No Memory, the prequel to A Belief System Blind To Itself.

I am indebted to Hari Shankar who inspired this conversation.




There's nothing to get!

It's an "A-Ha!"  realization. Actually, since there's more than one realization which elicits your "A-Ha!", "There's nothing to get" is arguably the  "A-Ha!" realization.

For a moment you actually do get it. For one glorious moment out of time, you do  get there's nothing to get (this is it). It's amazing. It's awesome. It's wonderful. It renders you breathless. And then  ... perhaps because you're so enamored with it, and more likely without even knowing you're doing it, you turn it into something. You turn it into something to get. Uh oh! You may not realize it at the time, but that's when you turn "There's nothing to get" into what there is to get. You tell yourself "I get it: that's  what there is to get: there's nothing to get.". And long before the full impact of "There's nothing to get" can completely sink in, you've made it into something to get. Too bad: the moment you make it into something to get, is the moment you no longer got it.

In a very real sense, it's almost a pity "There's nothing to get" is so fascinating. It's precisely because it's so fascinating that it grabs us. And as we're seduced by the intellectual wonder of it, we inexorably lose the dogshit reality  experience of it (I don't know why it works this way - this is just the way it seems to work). What happens is the "nothing" in "There's nothing to get" becomes interpreted in various ways. "Nothing" becomes "no ... thing". "What there is to get, is 'no ... thing';  once you can get 'no ... thing', then you've got it!"  they sometimes tell me.

There's merit in developing the muscle to differentiate between "nothing" and "no ... thing". Yet I've got one overriding concern about making "There's nothing to get" into "There's no ... thing to get" which is this: it tries to make "There's nothing to get" into something which has meaning and significance (and we're crazy  about making things meaningful and significant) ie it tries to make "There's nothing to get" into what there is to get.

But ... there's nothing to get. There isn't. Nothing. Really.

"There's nothing to get" doesn't equate to, mean, or substitute for, and neither is it interchangeable with "There's no ... thing to get." It's more than that actually. It's when you equate, substitute, or interchange "There's no ... thing to get" with "There's nothing to get", you obfuscate "There's nothing to get" entirely.

Try this on for size: what "There's nothing to get" confronts is our incessant figuring it out. We figure life out (or, at least, we try  to) because we absolutely know once we've figured it all out, life will be better. However life is already whole and complete and perfect, and it already works. There's nothing to figure out. Notice it's only of secondary interest to look at the way we constantly try to figure life out. What's of primary interest is a lot harder to see: it's that we absolutely know  ie it's that we're absolutely certain there's something to figure out  in the first place.

Listen: there's nothing to get. There's nothing to figure out. This is it. Transformation has a lot less to do with figuring it all out, than with confronting that what we already absolutely know  to be true, may not be written in stone after all. There's nothing to get. This is it. You're already whole and complete - exactly the way you are, and exactly the way you aren't. Making "There's nothing to get" into something to get ie making "There's nothing to get" into "There's no ... thing to get" or making it into anything else for that matter, is just more arrogance.

How  we got to be this way, is one of the wonderful mysteries of being human. We go to ashrams to discover deeper meaning, hoping to uncover some clue, some key. Yet we can't enjoy ashrams authentically because we're so involved trying to discover deeper meaning, some clue, some key ... and "There's nothing to get - this is it". We go to monasteries and convents to retreat and to get in touch with God. Yet we can't enjoy monasteries and convents authentically because we're so involved retreating and trying to get in touch with God ... and "There's nothing to get - this is it". We go to church to hear "The Truth". Yet we can't enjoy church authentically because we're so involved trying to hear "The Truth" ... and "There's nothing to get - this is it".

The possibility  of an ashram isn't fulfilled when we discover deeper meaning or when we uncover some clue, some key. The possibility of an ashram is fulfilled when we realize "There's nothing to get - this is it". The possibilities of monasteries and convents aren't fulfilled when we've retreated and gotten in touch with God. The possibilities of monasteries and convents are fulfilled when we realize "There's nothing to get - this is it". The possibility of the church isn't fulfilled when we've heard "The Truth". The possibility of the church is fulfilled when we realize "There's nothing to get - this is it".

For some people (actually for many people, I suppose), the sound of "There's nothing to get - this is it" (unexamined) evokes existential angst  and ennui. For me, it's an opportunity for enormous  freedom, an opportunity unlike any other: an opportunity to live a life I love, an opportunity to live a life worth living, an opportunity to live a life that makes a difference.



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