We can learn from the beehive, where the queen bee represents the heart and the soul of Being. She is, in the context of the hive, perpetually fecund; laying her eggs, she is an endless source of creativity which leads to the birth of all of the participants in the life of the hive. In the same way, our inmost part, the soul, touches God, the endless source of creativity and life, and from that point forth springs all of the activity of life itself through the inward flow: the inflow. This is why Meister Eckhart consistently characterized the soul as female.
All of this takes place within a structure that is built to properly receive the influence of the queen. We can liken this in the same to the soul, which is prepared to receive the influence of the Blessed Virgin, who is the divine agency through which the inflow takes place into the life of mankind. The structure is exactly like the honeycomb of bees, in that each individual cell is perfectly formed, prepared to receive the correct kind of material for its place in the overall structure, and can nurture larvae, or store pollen or honey, flexibly and according to need. The whole hive is prepared, as a structure, for the incoming flow of honey and pollen, and the outgoing flow of living bees who are raised in order to collect. It is, in other words, a bridge in a functional circulatory mechanism.
We are very much like this inwardly, but we don't know it. And our inward structure is just as subject to invasion by pests, incorrect ordering, disease, and so on, as a beehive is. In fact, as with the bees, it is only a constant attention to the structure that keeps it healthy; a weak hive has a weak structure, the comb is invaded by pests, and it falls apart. In the same way, Gurdjieff said, one who is weak in life will be weak in regard to inner work. It is the attention, both inwardly and outwardly, to the maintenance of the structure and its intelligent exploitation, that determines what can be accomplished.
Willfulness in the sense of selfishness does not rely on the natural inner order. It is like an infection that comes into being from outside, from the influences of personality and the world, driven by desire and acquisitiveness, by greed and uncaring attitudes. It has no concept of inner order; it is just like a creature from outside the hive that discovers it is filled with honey and decides to raid it. For as long as there is honey, it is easy for such creatures to come in and take, if there is not enough order and the bees can't defend the hive; but in the same way that pests can overwhelm a beehive, personality and bad influences can overwhelm essence and destroy the inner structure.
The fact that there is a natural order ought to be encouraging to us. If we can come into contact with this in a more meaningful way, the inner structure can not only heal from the damage and the sin it has, it can grow; and we grow with it. But if there is no natural structure prepared to receive higher influences, they have nowhere to go, even if they arrive. And this means that it is quite important to attend to the inner order, to develop inner organizational skills, and apply them.
Those skills are not skills of logic alone; they involve a tactile involvement with one's inner life.