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 III

Napa, California, USA

October 30, 2020

"Here we are with nothing going on."  ... 
This essay, With Nothing Going On II, is the companion piece to
  1. With Nothing Going On
  2. With Nothing Going On II
in that order.

All too often the idea of having (quote unquote) nothing going on  is collapsed with the notion of being idle, or even with that of "having nothing to do". And "having nothing to do" is all too often assigned as the cause of being bored and / or dissatisfied, leading to the erroneous assumption that life's base state must be boring and dissatisfying unless  we have "something to do". If having "nothing to do" is inherently boring, it would suggest that living life with nothing going on, is not sufficient.

I've been enthralled with this inquiry on many occasions since Werner distinguished it. What does being here "with nothing going on" imply? Whenever I look at it, it leads me to ask three questions (at least): One, is the base state of being alive really  insufficient? Two, if it is insufficient, is the way for us to experience sufficiency only by doing something to cover over / distract from it? Three, is there something else  Werner is pointing at by distinguishing being here "with nothing going on"?

For starters, consider the base state of life is neither sufficient nor  insufficient. Both "sufficient" and "insufficient" would require our opinion / judgement / preference / voting in the matter. No, what if life is just the way it is  (and just the way it isn't)? And what if we were to align ourselves with that  (whatever way it is)? And with that said, do we have the ability to be satisfied regardless  of life's base state? And with that  question raised, do we have the ability to be satisfied regardless of what we're doing? In other words, is being satisfied a result of whatever it is we're doing? Or is it a function of declaring we're satisfied? In this inquiry then, I wonder if the access to being satisfied with whatever  we do (or don't do) is declaring we're satisfied with the base state of life itself - in other words, surrendering  to it. Hmmm ...

Look: the latter is arguably the single opportunity / the one possibility that makes a transformed life a life like no other, a life worth living. It speaks to the possibility of bringing satisfaction to bear on whatever  we do. And it includes the possibility of bringing satisfaction to bear even when we're doing nothing  ie even when there's nothing going on. It belies the (colloquial) characterization that doing nothing is inherently dissatisfying, and as well as that having nothing to do is inherently boring.

Now let's look closer at what "doing nothing" and having "nothing to do" imply falsely ie where their implications are fallacious. Consider "I'm doing nothing"  / "I've got nothing to do"  are almost always lies. I say "almost  always" since unless you're deceased, you're always  doing something, even if it's just standing and waiting.

There's another riveting distinction I get from Werner which reveals a new possibility for doing nothing. Follow this if you would with me, please. When I'm doing what I'm doing, I'm doing something. That much is obvious, yes? But when I'm doing what I'm doing while I'm doing it, I'm actually doing nothing. That's very Zen and so it'll work best if you just grok  it (it'll drive you crazy if you try to figure it out) and let it lead you to this powerful distinction from Werner which appears above in the source quote for this conversation: it's being here "with nothing going on". One take on it, could be that it's a space of peace of mind, of emptiness, and bringing that peace of mind* to bear on whatever we're doing. That would be "with nothing going on" like an experience of peace, of fullness, an experience of this  being enough.

But I have a new take on Werner's "with nothing going on". And it's profound. It's only when we're identified with mind that there's all sorts of stuff going on with us, most of which (if we tell the truth about it unflinchingly)  is on automatic. Yet when we're totally who we are ie when we're being Self  (capital "S"), we've got nothing going on in the domain of being. It's a distinction of experience. In the world on the other hand there's always something going on. The proof is everything's moving.

* It may be worth noting that unlike many paths of mysticism, spirituality, yoga, and religion etc which place a premium on it, peace of mind isn't a goal of (and may not even be the evidence of) transformation.

Even when it is present in a life lived transformed (and it may well show up there from time to time), peace of mind is not a prerequisite for it.

The mind does what it does. You let it be, and it lets you be.

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