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

Walk A Way With Me

Chicago, Illinois, USA

May 31, 2008

This essay, Walk A Way With Me, is the three hundredth in this Conversations For Transformation internet series. That doesn't mean anything. It's just what's so.
It is also the third in the fourth trilogy Visits With A Friend:
  1. Personal Piece
  2. Magnum Opus
  3. Walk A Way With Me
in that order.
The first trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Second First Impression
  2. Do Artists Retire?
  3. Presence Of Love
in that order.
The second trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Black Brick
  2. Wet Water
  3. On Saying Nothing
in that order.
The third trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Master Of Life
  2. Face To Face
  3. Love And Kindness
in that order.
The fifth trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Natural Expression
  2. Essential Question
  3. There Is No "The Answers"
in that order.
The sixth trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Sophisticated Palate
  2. Open To Everyone
  3. Portal
in that order.
The seventh trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Meetings With A Remarkable Man
  2. Being Directed By The Unanswered Question
  3. Out Here
in that order.
The eighth trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Read To Us
  2. Seven Fingers
  3. Smart People
in that order.
The ninth trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Intimacy In A Crowded Place
  2. What Goes On Internally
  3. Riding The Horse Revisited
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Visits With A Friend is the sequel to Everyone Loves You.

Given any wish, given an opportunity to grant it coming true, given an appropriate break between pressing time commitments and deadlines to allow it to happen, I'd request simply for you to walk a way with me.

I like walking by your side on a way called Life. I like knowing a way goes on forever. I like knowing a way doesn't end. I like knowing anywhere along a way is already the final destination, anywhere along a way is already here. I'm the kind of guy who, when people ask "Where are you going on vacation?", answers "I'm not going anywhere. I'm already here.". So if I ask you to walk a way with me, if I could have that wish, I wouldn't ask you because we need to get somewhere. I'd ask you because we're already here together, and I like walking by your side.

It could be the ability to read minds is nothing less (and nothing more) than thinking the same thought at the same time as another. If indeed we do share one common space and one common mind, then it's possible we could think the same thought at the same time ie (spoken with rigor) it's possible the same thought could think us  at the same time.

So when you suggest walking, I say OK, it sounds like a good idea, I was going to walk a way anyway.

We're in an elevator. Just the two of us. If you're awake to someone's presence in an elevator, if you're awake to who they really are  in an elevator, if you're really aware of who's in the elevator with you, the ride can take a blessed eternity. Futilely I pray for it to never end.

The elevator stops. A woman gets in. She asks "Can I ride with you?". You say "Sure ..." and then, after a pause, "... it's your elevator.". You say it in such a way, so tenderly, so generously, she lights up. Like all of us entering elevators, she's probably preparing to watch the ceiling or the walls or the descending floor indicator lights for the duration of the ride - anything  to avoid human contact in a confined space. But instead, she's welcomed with ... "it's your elevator.". I look at the glow on her face, and I have the thought "Does she know it's you?  Does she recognize you? Is she lit up because she realizes it's you she's in an elevator with?". Or does she simply light up because no one's given her an elevator before?

I've always wanted to ask you who sources you. You're source  for so many people. So who sources you? I'm not implying anyone or anything has  to source you. It's not a closed question asked within a predictable set of concepts. I'm simply interested in your response. I punt  by sharing what I say when people ask me who sources you. When people ask me who sources you, I give a two part answer. The first part is I say you source yourself. The second part I say is this: "... at least, that's how I hold it: that he sources himself.". You smile at my diplomacy. It's very subtle. The second part of my answer allows me to remain source in my own universe. I don't push any further, and inevitably the conversation moves on to something else, the question isn't answered, and that's OK with me. Nothing missing. It remains an open question.

As I walk a way with you, I see us in a population area of millions of people. We're surrounded by people who don't recognize you and who don't recognize me. There's this delicious sense of total privacy within the throng, a sense of total seclusion within the madding crowd  (as Thomas Hardy may have said). I ask you if your state of being source for yourSelf  (my interpretation) could or should be ascribed to luck, or perhaps could be ascribed to grace. You're silent for a moment, pensive, then you say "No, it's probably just that I've had the opportunity to study more personal development than most people.".

That's interesting to me. I'm perfectly willing, happy, and OK to ascribe a modicum of grace to the happenstances which combine in sequence and randomly to produce transformation. I don't mind that. It's perfectly feasible to me. But as I take in the generosity of your answer, I realize even with my best intentions, my notion of grace has more than merely a trace of specialness  and significance  to it. On the other hand, your offered explanation, that you've had "the opportunity to study more personal development than most people" leaves it in the realm of ... well ... most people!  That's perfect, I think. That's exactly  where transformation belongs: not in special places saved up for significant occasions, but rather right here  and right now  in the realm of most people. That's perfect.

Then a telling thing happens. We come across a chalk diagram on the sidewalk. I notice it with my peripheral vision, yet I keep walking. But you stop, turn around, and you even tilt your head to one side to read what it says. It's very Zen. It's the essential dogshit reality* moment. No, there isn't dogshit on the sidewalk. Yet it's a dogshit reality  moment nonetheless. I don't say anything to you about my observation. It makes me aware how I compromise paying attention  in my life.

I have an urge to take your arm as we walk a way, to walk arm in arm with you, but I don't. I notice I don't. There's no judgement in not taking your arm as a perfect expression and gesture of relationship. I simply don't do it. But in my heart I do.

Then we've reached the end of walking a way. Or at least we've reached the end of walking this  way this  time. A way never ends. We're always reaching the end, then there's more. We're always starting, even though we've started before. We're always starting. We're always starting over. No matter how long we walk a way, we never reach the end. Paradoxically, anywhere we are on a way, we're already here.

My time to leave has come. Goodbyes. Thank Yous. I watch you stride back into the elevator, the same elevator you gave to her. I watch you until I can't see you anymore, given the angle between the elevator door and where I stand. Then you're gone, and I'm alone on a way again.

I'm ... by ... my ... Self.

Only this time, you're really  with me. You're with me on this walk, on this walk a way with me.

*   Dogshit Reality: classically characterized by the robed, beaded, self-realized master, the saint  walking with his clamoring, adoring disciples, ministering to them, accidentally stepping in dogshit.

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