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


You Can Never Get Enough Of Nothing

Silverado Vineyards, Silverado Trail, Napa Valley, California, USA

August 20, 2013

"The pathway to having isn't wanting. If you want something, you need to have a different relationship with it other than wanting it, in order to have it."  ... 
"Too much is never enough." ... David Bowie
"I turned around and looked at what was behind my thoughts, and there it was: nothing  ... and it knocked me on my ass." ... Laurence Platt
This essay, You Can Never Get Enough Of Nothing, is the fourteenth in a group of sixteen on Nothing:

I assert you can never get enough of nothing.

That's not intended as some kind of clever Zen koan. In fact hearing it as a Zen koan cheapens it. It's more than that actually. It's hearing it as a Zen koan is a distraction which cheapens Zen and which also cheapens Zen koans. When I say "You can never get enough of nothing" I'm speaking a tangible, real experience. The tangible, real experience I'm speaking is the experience of nothing. What's the experience of nothing? The experience of nothing is the experience of being full, being whole, being complete, and being satisfied.

In its totally authentic, Self-generated  form (as opposed to an experience that just happens  to us haphazardly, randomly in passing ... or  ... as opposed to an experience we have of nothing in another)  it's an experience I can take a stand for.

<aside>

"... an experience I can take a stand on"  is arguably a better way to articulate this than "... an experience I can take a stand for.".

In fact taking a stand on  an experience is a prerequisite  to taking a stand for  an experience.

<un-aside>

I'd like to explore the experience of nothing that just happens to us haphazardly, randomly in passing. I'd also like to explore the experience we have of nothing in another. It's these two experiences of nothing of which I assert you can never get enough.

Every once in a while, an un-generated experience of nothing comes (in this case, it also works to say "Every once in a while, an un-generated experience of nothing happens."). These un-generated experiences of nothing originate in the Self. These un-generated experiences of nothing originating in / coming from  the Self are haphazard, random, unexpected. Characteristically they come as a surprise  like a sudden inexplicable change in the weather. The sun breaks through the clouds (so to speak), and there it is: nothing ... and suddenly I'm full and whole and complete and satisfied and delighted.

There's only one thing missing, and what it is, isn't immediately apparent. And it doesn't become apparent until I fearlessly and unflinchingly tell the truth about what's missing. When I fearlessly and unflinchingly tell the truth about it, I notice what's missing is any handle  I have on the experience. I actually have no  handle on the experience (at least I have no handle on the experience yet). It simply comes on  me ("comes over  me" is arguably the usual way to articulate this) like a bird alighting randomly on a wire. And when it goes away again / flies away again (as it surely does) then as soon as I notice it's gone, I notice I have no say in the matter of getting it back again / no power  in the matter of getting it back again. One thing's for sure: once it happened for the first time, I could never get enough of it and I wanted it back.

Then there's the other experience we have of nothing like being full and being whole and being complete and being satisfied. It's when we experience it in another. When we experience nothing in another, it's not immediately clear at first exactly what it is we're experiencing ie it's not readily distinguishable. How it occurs is like "There's something about  that gal / something about that guy ... but what is it?"  You can't quite put your finger on it. Yet whatever it is, you're attracted to it. Whatever it is, you want it / her / him.

What it is, is simply the recognized experience of nothing in another. And if we tell the truth about it, we can never get enough of it either. In another person ie especially  when we experience it in another person, that person is irresistibly attractive, magnetic. And we'll give up anything  to have it in another - which is to say we'll give up anything (and we'll also do  anything) in order to have the person in whom we experience that quality  ... anything, that is, as long as we have no handle on it, as long as we have no leverage  to generate it for ourselves.

There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with being willing to give up anything and being willing to do anything in order to have the person in whom we experience that quality. We're thrown  that way. We're simply skewed  that way. The moth is attracted to the flame. And why  is the moth attracted to the flame? The moth is attracted to the flame because it's a moth. That's why.

<aside>

But listen: the moth is attracted to the flame only for as long as it's not a flame itself, yes?

<un-aside>

So the experience of nothing of which we can never get enough, either comes on us randomly, or we experience it in another. And when it does come on us randomly or when we experience it in another, you know you want it, you know you can never get enough of it ... and the truth is yes you won't ever get enough of it as long as  you have no handle on it, as long as you have no leverage to generate it for yourself, as long as you have no direct personal access to it. Clear?

Now: enter Werner's work, front and center stage.

This, right here, right now, is an opportunity, an offer, and an invitation to get a handle on the experience of nothing, to discover the leverage to generate it for yourself, to have direct access to it. Be careful: given the way we hear things, that may sound like what's on offer are techniques  ie a way of practicing being full, practicing being whole, practicing being complete, and practicing being satisfied. And what goeswith  the way we hear "practice" (as Alan Watts may have said) is the more we practice, the better we get - like practicing the guitar and practicing the piano.

But this isn't that. What's on offer isn't a set of techniques and practices which when applied will steadily make you better  at being full, better at being whole, better at being complete, and better at being satisfied. No, what's on offer is being full, being whole, being complete, and being satisfied. Period. That's it. That's all. Nothing less. And notice this is exactly that: an offer. You can decline an offer just as you can accept one. And we've all already experienced not accepting. We all already know what that's like, yes?

There's nothing mysterious about the methodology of this extraordinary offer. The methodology is language. As long as you can language, it's an offer in which you qualify to participate, an offer which promises extraordinary results.

<aside>

Notice I said "As long as you can language, it's an offer in which you qualify to participate ..." not "As long as you can speak, it's an offer in which you qualify to participate ...". Language includes speaking and signing  for people whose speaking out loud is precluded. It also includes listening through a translator  when Werner's work is delivered in a foreign language.

The reason for it working even if speaking is precluded, even if it's delivered in a foreign language, is this: Werner's work occurs in being  not in understanding. Furthermore, given Werner's work occurs in being and not in understanding, it's not a requirement that you speak the language  in which it's delivered, for it to work. Yes, to be sure, most people do. But some don't - and the exception proves the rule. Listen to this:

I was with Werner when he led a seminar for a group of four hundred people. It was both rigorous and arduous. All the conversations were in English. With interest I kept my eye on one of the participants, a black robed Japanese Zen Buddhist monk. It was clear to me he couldn't speak English. So he couldn't understand the seminar or the processes or the sharing. Nonetheless he committed himself to being in this intensive program. In the midst of it, I wondered from time to time how he or anyone else who doesn't speak English could get anything from it.

Finally when the seminar reached its inexorable conclusion, I watched him walk over to Werner who was surrounded by newly elated graduates. When the opportunity presented itself and Werner recognized him, he put his hands together, bowed to Werner, and said in a very thick gutteral Japanese accent "I ... gaht  ... it!". Werner's recognition of him and his recognition of Werner left no doubt he did. Totally.

What he got is who we really are. In generating, sharing, and receiving transformation, being unable to speak a  particular language is trivial. And profound. It's universally recognized. In the space of transformation there's no language barrier.

<un-aside>

The experience of nothing, can't be done to  you. It can't be given  to you either. It can, however, be offered to you. The first step towards taking it, getting a handle on it, discovering leverage to generate it for yourself, gaining direct access to it, is accepting this invitation to participate in the conversation which is Werner's work.

Face it: you can never get enough of nothing. So here's an opportunity, an offer, an invitation to generate it for yourself - in all conditions, in all situations, at every moment of your life, under all circumstances.



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