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

The Space In Which God Shows Up

Monticello Road, Napa Valley, California, USA

February 5, 2016

"For me this is a practical matter. Instead of having the answer about God like some guy or some thing or some explanation or some anything, I have a space of possibility like an openness, like a place for God to show up in my life."
...   speaking with Reverend Terry Cole-Whittaker about God 
"God's greatest work wasn't creating the universe: it was disappearing into it afterwards."
This essay, The Space In Which God Shows Up, is the companion piece to
  1. Observations From Within The Question
  2. Thrice-Born People
  3. Within The Experiential Space We Are
in that order.

It is also the fourteenth in a group of twenty reflections of God: I am indebted to Father Patrick Gerard "Gerry" O'Rourke and to Ann Overton and to the Mastery Foundation who inspired this conversation.

Sometimes it's the most obvious truths which are the most profound, the most sublime. Because they're so obvious, being rocked by them is likely to carry a certain label, a certain judgement of naïveté ie of childlike-ness. Yet it's the nakedness of a child's way of seeing things which allows truth to become accessible. It's a lot  easier to see what the emperor is when he's not wearing any clothes. And it's certainly a lot easier for us to see what the emperor is when we're not bowing to peer pressure pretending  he's wearing clothes.

One of these most obvious, profound, sublime truths occurred to me when I was barely a teenager, yet the languaging  of it ie the articulation of it, only emerged much later after I met Werner. What I got was I can't experience anything outside my experience, and everything there is for me, shows up in my experience - that is to say I have no access to anything outside my experience. There! I told you its naïveté goeswith  (as Alan Watts may have said) its obviousness, it's profundity, and it's sublimity.

Expanding on having no access to anything outside my experience: I'm not experiencing the moon in this moment. I may be experiencing the moon later in another this moment. But now, all I have access to is this  experience which doesn't include the moon. To be clear, I'm not implying there's no moon outside  my experience. I'm not saying if I don't experience the moon, it isn't still there. Not experiencing the moon in this moment, doesn't prove the moon doesn't exist. Rather, I'm saying I can't experience anything outside my experience in this moment. In this moment, it's all  my experience for me.

Now here's the rub: in the next this moment, it's also all my experience for me. But this moment and the next this moment ie the succession of all these this moments, is all there is. So I can't ever  experience anything outside my experience, and everything there is for me shows up in my experience.

There it is: naïve, yes - yet obvious, profound, and sublime also.

My experience then, is the space in which all  of it shows up for me: daily life, love, pain, the whole damn thing, the moon, the stars, the universe, God, all of it. Yes I did say my experience is the space in which God shows up. Your experience is also, by the same token, the space in which God shows up. Where else  could God show up for you, if not in your experience? Outside  your experience? No, not there. You don't have access to that, remember?

It's in noticing that your experience is the space in which God shows up, which is to say it's in noticing that who you are  is the space in which God shows up, indeed it's in noticing that who you are is the space in which all of it  shows up, that the possibility of being empowered emerges. The possibility of empowering the space in which God shows up, isn't limited to (even though it's especially pertinent to and relevant to) men and women of the clergy, as well as religiously observant and devoted laymen and laywomen not of the clergy.
Werner's work doesn't focus on God directly. Its focus is on empowering people. The former is a matter of serving God. The latter is a matter of being human. Since all members of the clergy I've ever met or known are in the latter category, it's a given that those already established members of the clergy who participate in Werner's work are empowered in their commitment to serve God.


In any conversation about Werner's work and its component ideas and experiences (ie particularly  about it's component experiences), it's almost inevitable (at least some of the time) that the conversation will devolve into a philosophical argument or debate in which the most powerful possibilities which come from Werner's work will be diminished by comparing them to something which sounds similar.

Philosophical argument and debate aren't the best Petri dishes  in which Werner's work, transformation, possibility, and personal experience can be crafted and brought forth. While there's certainly nothing wrong with noticing similarities between the abstracts of Werner's work and classic philosophy, any belaboring of similarities (and differences, for that matter) will just get in the way of bringing forth authentic, genuine, real, thrilling  transformation.

In this regard it should be noted that what this essay brings forth in distinguishing the space in which God shows up, is not solipsism. If you're going to be sharing this aspect of Werner's work, you should at least be prepared for it to be heard  as solipsism, and for you to be heard as a solipsist.

It isn't. And you aren't. Yet solipsism is worth knowing something about so you can be diligent in your response to arguments or debates that "the space in which God shows up" sounds like solipsism. The reality is Werner's work recontextualizes  (I love that word) solipsism.

From the Cambridge International Dictionary:



the belief that only your own experiences and existence can be known


For a fuller discussion of what solipsism is (and of what it isn't), and of what the various degrees of solipsistic philosophy encompass, Wikipedia has good coverage - at least as a starting point. For Wikipedia's coverage, click here.

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