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 Had It All Along

Hall Rutherford, Auberge Road, Rutherford, California, USA

November 18, 2013

This essay, You Had It All Along, is the companion piece to It is also the twelfth in a group of nineteen reflections of God: I am indebted to Thomas Stearns "TS" Eliot who inspired this conversation.

It was the start of a long, long journey. It wasn't the kind of journey which covers miles and miles and miles. Rather it was the kind of journey which takes years and years and years. He started out on this journey not because there was some country he wanted to go to, some country different than the country he was in at the time. Rather it was because there was some way  he wanted to be, some way different than the way he was being at the time.

To go on a journey which covers miles and miles and miles, you say the name of the place to which you want to go, then you start walking or you buy a ticket. The trouble with this journey, however, wasn't that it was one which takes years and years and years rather than one which covers miles and miles and miles. The trouble for him was he couldn't say  the way he wanted to be. It was, in fact, much easier for him to say the way he didn't  want to be. His journey, then, took shape around the way he didn't want to be, rather than around the way he wanted to be. And such journeys are always fraught with peril.

On the first stage of his journey he sought to understand  the ways he was being which he didn't want to be. The method of understanding was his first logical choice. For a while, at least, it provided some relief. Things which can be explained  and understood were somehow more palatable to him than things he couldn't understand, he discovered. But soon however, he realized any understanding he gained was also dictated to and driven from and mediated by that same way of being he didn't want to be in the first place. It was a trap, a trap which he couldn't escape from or resolve. So he abandoned that approach entirely and continued on his journey.

To say he turned to spirituality next, isn't exactly true. "Turned to spirituality" implies some kind of intentionality, some kind of deliberation. But that's not what happened. What happened was spirituality simply appeared next on his journey ie it showed up  right on his path (so to speak), so he embraced it. He reasoned what was missing from his life might be an experience of spirit, an experience which, once realized, would cleanse his current way of being and somehow elevate him into a higher state which would be more pleasing for him to be. After a few more years his awareness of spirituality was more developed. He could now carry on witty and intelligent discourses about spirit. But he eventually stopped doing that when he discovered talking about spirit didn't bring about a permanent shift in his way of being. To the contrary, when he wasn't talking about spirit or practicing the discipline of spirit, he realized he was still exactly the same way he didn't want to be to start with. Nothing had changed.

So he turned to religion. Religion, it seemed, was the only direction in which he hadn't yet turned on his journey. The ceremony, the piety, and the righteousness resonated with something deep within him - though he wasn't exactly sure what. He even took to having conversations with God (or at least with whomever and whatever he believed God to be) about topics he couldn't fathom by reflecting on them himself, or by talking them over with his friends and family.

Then one day he outright asked God to make him be the way he wanted to be, and God told him "But you already are  the way you want to be, my Son - that's why I made you the way I made you" which wasn't a satisfactory answer to him, and it certainly wasn't the answer he wanted to hear. "How can this be the way I want to be, how can this be the way you made me, if I don't want to be this way?" he pondered out loud, railing against God. But God had already moved on, being very busy that day answering the next caller's prayers.

Finally, many, many years after his journey started, partially by happenstance and partially by sheer good fortune, he met Werner Erhard. And very soon he found in his life what he had been looking for, all these years. Overjoyed, he went to Werner to thank him for what he had given him, the getting of which had completed his journey, the getting of which had completed his search for a way of being he preferred, the getting of which had transformed his life.

And Werner said to him "Don't thank me. That's too small. I didn't give you anything. You had it all along.".

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