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

With Nothing Going On

Garden State Parkway, New Jersey, USA

May 23, 2011

"Here we are with nothing going on."
This essay, With Nothing Going On, is the companion piece to With Nothing Going On III.

It is also the twenty second in an open group Encounters With A Friend:
  1. Showing Up
  2. Poet Laureate
  3. A Man In The Crowd
  4. Real Men Cry
  5. A Different Set Of Rules
  6. Nametag: A True Story
  7. Half-Life
  8. Waiting On You
  9. Erotica On Schedule
  10. A House On Franklin Street
  11. NeXT
  12. Reflection On A Window
  13. Here And There
  14. How To Enroll The World
  15. Demonstration
  16. Two Of Me II: Confirmation Not Correction
  17. Holiday Spectacular
  18. Hello! How Are Things Going For You?
  19. Regular Guy
  20. A Scholar And A Gentleman
  21. Images Of You
  22. With Nothing Going On
  23. Where No One Has Gone Before
  24. Attachment: Causeway Between Islands
  25. If You're Not Then Don't
  26. Images Of You II
  27. Living Where Life Is
  28. Create Me The Way I Am
  29. How Do You Spell The Sound A Ratchet Makes?
  30. You Don't Ask "Why Me?"  When It's Raining II
  31. The Stink Of Zen
  32. Sitting Quietly In A Room Alone
  33. Footsteps On Metal Stairs
so far, in that order.

It is also the sequel to With Nothing Going On II although it was written before it.

Photography by Lyn Malone - New window opens if not already open
Werner Erhard
He doesn't look like  a "wise man". He has none of the trappings of a guru. There are no saffron robes, no beads, no flowers, no incense. He wears brown Ferragamos  not sandals. He says "Hello!" or "Hi!" when he introduces himself, not "Namaste!". He doesn't hold his palms together when he greets people. Instead he gives a firm handshake (which I'd call businesslike  except it doesn't look that significant) to those he's not met before, and a hug to some of those he has. He's wonderful  with people. His love is palpable.

As I watch him making his way through the crowd, it occurs to me there's something about him. Although his name is mentioned in the same breath as some of the great spiritual teachers of the era (Alan Watts, Baba Ram Dass, Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller, Krishna Rai aka Swami Muktananda Paramahamsa et al), I can tell he isn't a guy who's walking the spiritual path.

Here's what I mean by that:

He may indeed have walked the spiritual path in the past. But the spiritual path is called the spiritual path  because you walk along it (metaphorically speaking) starting at its beginning and on hopefully to its end. And right now I can tell he isn't a guy who's walking the spiritual path, at least he's not a guy who's walking the spiritual path any more  because clearly he's reached its end. Really  he has. I can tell. I don't know how  I can tell. But I can tell. I just know. I get it directly from him by osmosis. Having reached the end of the spiritual path, he's now completely here  and he's now completely now  which means his life has really begun completely. And it's showing: on his face, in his body, in the way he's carrying himself.

The room is full. It's standing room only. I find an open place in front of the first row of seats where I sit down on the floor. He's sitting on a canvas director's chair on the podium in front of me. I have to look upwards to see him which isn't comfortable so I uncross my legs and extend them out in front of me and lay back on my elbows. Taking their cue from me, people on either side of me do the same. He looks down at us. We're laid back  - literally. He smiles. I smile back. Then he looks out at the crowd in the auditorium and says loudly and happily "Here we are with nothing going on.".

When he says it I connect with him immediately. If I wasn't laying back I'd be driven bolt upright. Although I haven't yet heard the soon to be ubiquitous transformative expression "sharing your experience", this is exactly what he's doing: sharing his experience. He isn't merely talking about  spiritual things as the others do. He's sharing his experience. And the experience he's sharing is Life itself. It startles me. It grips  me. Whatever it is he's got, I want it.

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