Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Fundament of Ecstasy: notes on enlightenment ascension, part IV


 Parakeet at Akbar's Tomb

Agra, India

Against desire

If we understand this question of an inherent and necessary inner tension—one which swims against the stream of available, yet passive, bliss—we begin to see where and why the classic struggle against desires, common to Christianity, Buddhism, and the Gurdjieff work, is an operable premise. Bliss, desire, represent a downward movement. This is, practically speaking, still a movement towards God; yet it's a movement that surrenders the very agency God needs to be active in order to engage in the creative movement of self-remembering, which alone can serve the utmost purpose of creation. Non-desire, in this model, is a movement towards greater intelligence. 

—New Delhi, December 2016

Some further notes, on levels

Of course, the connection between “higher” and “lower” inevitably rubs us up against the idea, in Gurdjieff’s teaching, of levels. This idea is common to most metaphysical systems; yet in Gurdjieff’s system, all the levels penetrate one another: they aren’t physically separated, but integrated, at various rates of vibration. 

The “higher” and “lower” aspects of levels in Gurdjieff’s metaphysics, therefore, are not about height but about speed: they’re dimensions not of space, but time: rate of vibration is determined by fluctuations in state over a given period of time.


This interesting thought, perhaps obvious once one has it, is perhaps also not so obvious until that point. 

If we recall the essay “Glimpses of Truth” found in Views from the Real World, the protagonist ultimately discovers that in Gurdjieff’s world, “time does not exist.” Viewed in light of Gurdjieff’s system of cosmological vibrations, the statement amounts to a form of contradiction; the only way to measure rates of vibration, after all, is over time. 

I’ve pointed out in other essays that from Gurdjieff’s point of view, the universe was created and consciousness arose strictly to counteract the effects of time, that is, slow it down; and one could take a wild stab into the darkness here by inferring that insofar as consciousness acquires a higher rate of vibration, so it “extracts” higher rates of vibration from the material world, concentrating them and concurrently slowing the passage of time down in the material universe.

This is admittedly out-of-the-box thinking and would need a great deal more examination before I could offer anything more meaningful on the subject. What I’m interested in here is that levels are not necessarily arranged vertically, but actually exist in three dimensions — just as the circulation of energies (vibrations) depicted in the enneagram is not two, but rather three, dimensional. All the indicators point here once again to the idea that the universe can’t be considered, in any strict sense, as arranged vertically — this is a convenience adopted because it is so difficult for us to think dimensionally on this matter. 

In this hypothetical three-dimensional model, love/bliss still forms a foundational ground from which everything arises; and there is a dimensional development of intelligence in all directions that co-evolves out of this ground, achieving greater and greater levels of emergence whereby more intelligence, more knowing of the Divine by itself, more Divine self-remembering, takes place. 

Yet in this evolving and emergent, self intelligent universe, the consequence of evolution and self-knowledge is an increase in the level of suffering. That suffering consists in turn of both acceptance and remorse. The evolution of an individual soul out of the ground of bliss and into the mysteries of acceptance and remorse of conscience represents a departure from God (the ground floor of love/bliss) in order to acquire understanding and knowledge and then return to him. Although conventional yogic intellectual models this are either vertical (stacked chakra diagrams) or circular (enneagrams) the actual relationships are far more dimensional and inter-penetrated, a secret that the embedded circular forms preserve through their roundness, which imply wholeness, and thus dimensionality.

The idea that the universe, this dimensional field of emergent self-knowledge, evolves through suffering represents perhaps a radical departure, especially from the tenets of Buddhism, which contends that escape from suffering is the whole point of existence and spiritual evolution. It’s quite notable, in this regard, that Gurdjieff turns Buddhism on its head in Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson by contending that Buddha was the first saintly individual to introduce the idea of intentional suffering to mankind; in light of the above, that makes perfect sense.

It’s absolutely necessary, here, to make one last reference to Victor Frankl’s ideas in Man’s Search for Meaning:

"Thus it can be seen that mental health is based on a certain degree of tension, the tension between what one has already achieved and what one still ought to accomplish, or the gap between what one is and what one should become. Such a tension is inherent in the human being and therefore is indispensable to mental well-being. We should not, then, be hesitant about challenging man with a potential meaning for him to fulfill. It is only thus that we evoke his will to meaning from its state of latency.
 I consider it a dangerous misconception of mental hygiene to assume that what man needs in the first place is equilibrium or, as it is called in biology, "homeostasis," i.e., a tensionless state. What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him."

Frankl explores the question of suffering from an intensely personal, yet ultimately magnificent universal, point of view. No discussion on the subject and its relationship to man’s inner development would be complete without a mention of his book.

 And, last but not least, a recent article on the subject from the scientific community:



Hosanna.








Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Footnote:

Most readers are well familiar with Gurdjieff's formulation of human beings as "three brained beings."

 My new book, Being and Impressions, consists of brief and practical discussions on the subject, along with observations about impressions and how we take them in. 

The book was written to address some questions that have been directed at me over the last few months on the subject, which helped me to understand that many folks still struggling with these concepts—even after many years of effort to understand them. 

Most moving was a friend of mine—a true genius of talent with extraordinary outer accomplishments to his credit—who still after most of a lifetime, feels he cannot understand why impressions don't fall more deeply into him. 

His comment touched me in ways that theoretical discussions of these matters never do. I felt it was necessary to undertake an effort to grapple with these questions more directly, in a contemporary language, rather than the material we are all familiar with and have been reading for many years.

The aim in this book is to simplify and clarify some of these matters. It remains to be seen whether I have succeeded. Readers will have to judge.


Interested readers can purchase the book by clicking on the link in the above text.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Spiritual DNA


Despite protestations to the contrary, it's possible to arrive at various whole understandings of Truth and Being. 

This truth I speak about is a different kind of truth than the truth which is transmitted through the intellect — that is, learned truth that can be repeated and written down in books. There’s a higher form of truth intuited by combining the work of the intellect, the body, and feeling; this is the kind of truth Gurdjieff called objective truth, that is, truth that transcends the individual, subjective, or personalized point of view.

I'm going to use an analogy to explain how truth can (and does) already exist in its entirety in a human being, and how it emerges from that kernel into the ordinary world. 

I recently told my wife that I intended to write a book, gave her the proposed title. 
She asked me how a subject that appeared to be quite brief could possibly be a whole book. 

I explained to her that a title is the seed of this book. 

A seed contains all of the DNA instruction for the entire tree unit; thus, if one is able to read the DNA in any seed, one can in a certain sense know everything, even though the tree isn’t yet grown. One knows the type of tree one will get; the type of tree it will be, the form it will take; and one can know where it will grow, the kind of work it will be able to undertake, the conditions it can survive and thrive in, etc.

The human soul — the true human Being — is a microcosmos, and we have the DNA of the entire cosmos written in our being. In this way we are seeds; and we are no different than any other seed in the sense that if the seed grows, it will be exactly like the mustard seed, which is tiny, but becomes greater than all the other plants in the kingdom if it finds the right conditions to grow in. 
When Jesus Christ spoke of the kingdom of heaven being like a mustard seed, it was precisely this idea of the kingdom of heaven unfolding as a microcosmos within man that he was referring to.
This means that everything that is is already embedded in the spiritual DNA of a human being, because we are a microcosmic representative God himself. As such, no matter what the enterprise in the human being is, if the seed is correctly planted and allowed to grow, organically, everything that is necessary to bring all of its tasks to fulfillment is able to take place. 

In this sense, a human being who has whole Being — that is, a person who is impartial, who has all of their brains or centers awakened and participating — has the ability to achieve almost anything. Gurdjieff alluded to this many times when he said it was impossible to imagine what human beings were capable of, that their powers were beyond human comprehension if rightly developed:

“Man’s possibilities are very great. You cannot conceive even a shadow of what man is capable of attaining. But nothing can be attained in sleep. In the consciousness of a sleeping man his illusions, his ‘dreams’ are mixed with reality. He lives in a subjective world and he can never escape from it. And this is the reason why he can never make use of all the powers he possesses and why he always lives in only a small part of himself.”

In Search of the Miraculous, P.D. Ouspensky, page 33

This passage doesn't allude to “magical” powers—powers over the physical realm or the ability to lift heavy objects or leap over tall buildings in a single bound—but, rather, inner possibilities; that is, the possibility of understanding cosmic truth from a perspective that’s unimaginable from where we stand now. It is this potential he was referring to. We have the seeds of exactly such understanding in us; and they are nearly infinite, since any one seed of understanding, if rightly planted, can grow into a whole tree, and contains all the information for that whole tree in this tiny seed we are referring to. 

It's this idea of spiritual DNA—a conceptual DNA of understanding—that applies in every case; and that is exactly the seed of this spiritual DNA that I was referring to when I explained to my wife that I already knew there was a whole book on the subject in question. I can't tell you what all the words in the book are; but the data for all of them is already encoded in me, and if I take out any such seed, plant it, and water it, each seed will grow into its own pre-ordained, complete understanding. 
Furthermore they all, by virtue of the way their DNA operates, knit themselves more and more into a single organism that works together.

But let’s not limit this understanding to a single title or single book. Within us is the spiritual DNA of all creation. Depending on how that DNA unfolds, it manifests differently; but all of what is inwardly formed already encodes everything that is.

Hosanna.









Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Fundament of Ecstasy: notes on enlightenment ascension, part III



Agra, India


"Humanity is the Earth's nerve ends, through which planetary vibrations are received for transmission.”
—Notes from a meeting with Gurdjieff, June 30 or July 17, 1922

As God commences to know Himself through the conscious action of His creation, a paradoxical increase of ignorance takes place: that is to say, self-knowing, even at God’s level, becomes an action exponentially imbued with self-unknowing. Any process of becoming known correspondingly illuminates more and more of what is not known.

God would not need nerve-endings to sense if He was consciously all-knowing; Gurdjieff and Ibn al Arabi are in equal agreement on the premise that man acts on God’s behalf, as his Vicegerent (Arabi’s word) in this universal act of self-remembering.

In self-remembering, a palpable nerve-ending action on behalf of God, an inevitable anguish arises through the discovery of unknowing and an unfolding understanding that divides self from not-self. God perpetually discovers this universe —one of His own making—that nonetheless lies in fragments from the point of its origins onwards; and that is an eternal and irremediable state. (cf. my paper on The Cosmology of Beelzebub.) 

“No energy is ever lost in the cosmic scheme. Man has real individuality inherent in him, but can only reach it after long process and gradual growth through great effort.”
—Notes from a meeting with Gurdjieff, June 30 or July 17, 1922

There is a terrible and misleading flaw in the premise that bliss is the goal of “enlightenment ”— a fully conscious state. Both Gurdjieff and Swedenborg made it clear enough that in their heavens, no one finds themselves at rest on clouds, idly strumming harps; heaven is a place of continuous inner and outer effort, of work. Let's remember here the original premise that the primordial unknowing of Bliss is forever a passive state, the place where evil angels operate. (See the opening quote).

Of course bliss is supremely alluring; we all secretly think we want a life of perfect repose and unassailable happiness. Yet such a life does nothing for us in the way of inner development; thus, I submit, a movement into bliss is not an ascent towards God and His heavenly kingdom but rather a descent towards the devil. The state of bliss is an unformed one; ecstatic, but useless. It lacks the intelligence which God seeks to nurture through creation.

This metaphysical proposition is too easily misunderstood, I fear; and may engender a rank Puritanism if interpreted literally. The point is that reaching towards God takes a certain kind of courage; one does not reach heaven, as Dante reminds us, before one traverses hell and purgatory.  

In the same way, bliss rises towards anguish in the process of creation; and although it is an exquisite anguish, a sacred, perfect and utterly Godly anguish, it represents the right and proper state of the universe and God’s and man’s place in it, even if it contradicts the expected order. 

I can and do, for that matter, attest to the fact that this is exactly how religious ecstasy is experienced: it begins with bliss, which is perfect, absolute, physical and unknowing; and it rises into a union with anguish, which is also perfect and absolute, but emotional, and knowing

Bliss, the root condition of sacred Being, is unintelligent; anguish, the counterpart of bliss, is an extraordinarily intelligent state that arises in the process of becoming known. 

These two forces, which are not good or evil either one, are objective and reciprocal; neither one can exist without the other. They discover their reconciliation as a single unified force in Consciousness. 

No matter the perceived divisions, that is the underlying truth; yet outside of the transcendent—which (as Al Arabi pointed out) lies lawfully forever beyond the grasp of all sentient Being—we are left in residence here where the struggle to understand takes place. 

—New Delhi, December 2016

A few more notes on this subject will follow on Feb. 21.

Hosanna.








Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Footnote:

Most readers are well familiar with Gurdjieff's formulation of human beings as "three brained beings."

 My new book, Being and Impressions, consists of brief and practical discussions on the subject, along with observations about impressions and how we take them in. 

The book was written to address some questions that have been directed at me over the last few months on the subject, which helped me to understand that many folks still struggling with these concepts—even after many years of effort to understand them. 

Most moving was a friend of mine—a true genius of talent with extraordinary outer accomplishments to his credit—who still after most of a lifetime, feels he cannot understand why impressions don't fall more deeply into him. 

His comment touched me in ways that theoretical discussions of these matters never do. I felt it was necessary to undertake an effort to grapple with these questions more directly, in a contemporary language, rather than the material we are all familiar with and have been reading for many years.

The aim in this book is to simplify and clarify some of these matters. It remains to be seen whether I have succeeded. Readers will have to judge.


Interested readers can purchase the book by clicking on the link in the above text.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Fundament of Ecstasy: notes on enlightenment ascension, part II

Agra, India

 “Increase of knowledge implies an increase of ignorance.”
—Notes from a meeting with Gurdjieff, June 30 or July 17, 1922

The fundament of the universe is Love, bliss; it is an undifferentiated substance, like aether, from which all “stuff” is made. That is to say, all of creation emerges uninhibited from this foundational act of Love; Love exists before matter and consists of a one-ness that does not discriminate. 

If we take this as the ground floor of reality as it arises we are not, I think, too far off. Words always fail; but it is something like this.

Having multiple direct experiences with religious ecstasy, I'll attest directly to the ground-floor nature of that Love/bliss; and it’s in pondering those very exact, precisely remembered experiences that I can now understand that the nature of the universe is, at the bottom, ecstatic. 

That ecstasy is at the same time both supremely intelligent and completely unintelligent; it fully embodies this contradiction, which effectively erases words and definitions while still preserving meaning.  

Yet it begins before God’s conscious investigation of His creation is ever undertaken. God wants to know His universe (see Gurdjieff’s early talk on the meaning of life); the act of self-remembering on the microscopic scale is nothing more than a mirroring of the exact same process on a cosmological scale. The universe—and everything in it, sentient or otherwise— emerges from primordial bliss into a self-knowing which embodies Gurdjieff’s increase of knowledge. That is the “active nature” of the universe; and it embodies, as well, our own active nature. The passivity of bliss, which demands nothing of the receiver, is the domain of ignorance; thus, the realm of angelic devils. One can see that they nonetheless occupy a critical place in the construction of this topsy-turvey universe; they lie at the foundation of all creation and are actually essential to its being. Furthermore, despite their passive and ignorant (unknowing) nature, they are still essentially loving, steeped, in fact, in the original substance of Divine Love. The metaphysical complexities this presents are touched upon in Sri Anirvan's Buddhi and Buddhiyoga (in Inner Yoga); all of that which seems evil ultimately engenders good and serves the good; and is even a necessary component of the good. 

This touches on transcendental, nondualistic understandings about the nature of reality which are correct from a technical and philosophical point of view, but which prove useless to us, since they cannot be reconciled on our own level.

—New Delhi, December 2016

This essay continues on Feb. 18.

Hosanna.








Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Footnote:

Most readers are well familiar with Gurdjieff's formulation of human beings as "three brained beings."

 My new book, Being and Impressions, consists of brief and practical discussions on the subject, along with observations about impressions and how we take them in. 

The book was written to address some questions that have been directed at me over the last few months on the subject, which helped me to understand that many folks still struggling with these concepts—even after many years of effort to understand them. 

Most moving was a friend of mine—a true genius of talent with extraordinary outer accomplishments to his credit—who still after most of a lifetime, feels he cannot understand why impressions don't fall more deeply into him. 

His comment touched me in ways that theoretical discussions of these matters never do. I felt it was necessary to undertake an effort to grapple with these questions more directly, in a contemporary language, rather than the material we are all familiar with and have been reading for many years.

The aim in this book is to simplify and clarify some of these matters. It remains to be seen whether I have succeeded. Readers will have to judge.


Interested readers can purchase the book by clicking on the link in the above text.

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Hair in one Nostril

Sayil, Ruta Puuc
Campeche, Mexico

Number three in a series of essays I wrote while flying down to the Yucatán for our February vacation.


Part of us believes we know what is valuable in an inner sense.

We understand a little bit and we've had a taste of this and that, and hence we think we value our inner work, but we don't at all. 

If we had any real taste of God our effort would never cease; every moment of our life would inexorably turn our inner work towards Him. It's like a magnet put near iron filings. The moment a magnet is really there all the particles naturally align according to the inner law of the magnet, and the particles do exactly what the magnet indicates. They are fully obedient. Until there is a magnet there is just a big pile of particles of iron. They are unintelligent, clueless. They are in relationship, in contact, but lack meaning. 

I look inside myself. 

Are my parts obedient in this way? Of course they aren't. I usually have no magnet, I just think I have one; and that imagination is a very dangerous thing. Already one knows it's false and yet I'm repeatedly pulled back to it. It is a fake magnet. I need to see this fake magnet and get rid of it because it's pulling everything in me all over the place— like a small toy with wheels being pulled over rough ground on a string.

Part of us is convinced we understand something real, and perhaps a little bit we do. But that part is dominated by fantasies which co-opt its weight and value. Seeing our insufficiency and our iniquity over and over again will help to remind us that we don't understand. 

Self-remembering is remembering that we don't understand. We think self remembering is about remembering who we are, but right now, and always, it is first and always about remembering who we are not

If we understand this one thing organically we'll eventually become very different inside.

We don't know what we are working for. The problem here is that we think we do. All the things we think we know about Being are at least partially incorrect and even many of the tastes of it that we've had are now deceiving factors, because the moment we had them, our mind latched on to them and told us stories about what they were. We even talk about this openly without understanding what it's done to us. 

We have no sense of irony when we do this. We should be ashamed and quiet instead of talking like this. It's an egoistic kind of bragging which has disguised itself.  A great deal of what we say is like this. Look at it. 

It's as though we saw one ten-thousandth of an elephant—a hair in one nostril, perhaps—and think we know the whole animal, even what its poop smells like. But we have no idea of what we are up to and it's best we get that clarified in ourselves right now. 

If we understood anything real about what is possible for us in an inner sense, the magnitude of it, we would sacrifice anything—even be willing to risk death— in order to get to it. But we're silly and comfortable, which is a terrible combination. 

Get rid of one of them first— then the other. Once we're seriously uncomfortable, something real may happen in us.

I saw a man like this the other day who had the real gravity of his work active in him and everything in him was different. We need to work like this, because our time is short. 

Respect yourself and pay attention to yourself. Don't be frivolous. 

Hosanna.






Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Footnote:

Most readers are well familiar with Gurdjieff's formulation of human beings as "three brained beings."

 My new book, Being and Impressions, consists of brief and practical discussions on the subject, along with observations about impressions and how we take them in. 

The book was written to address some questions that have been directed at me over the last few months on the subject, which helped me to understand that many folks still struggling with these concepts—even after many years of effort to understand them. 

Most moving was a friend of mine—a true genius of talent with extraordinary outer accomplishments to his credit—who still after most of a lifetime, feels he cannot understand why impressions don't fall more deeply into him. 

His comment touched me in ways that theoretical discussions of these matters never do. I felt it was necessary to undertake an effort to grapple with these questions more directly, in a contemporary language, rather than the material we are all familiar with and have been reading for many years.

The aim in this book is to simplify and clarify some of these matters. It remains to be seen whether I have succeeded. Readers will have to judge.


Interested readers can purchase the book by clicking on the link in the above text.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Fundament of Ecstasy: notes on enlightenment ascension, part I

Agra, India

“We have good and evil angels. The former work through our voluntary active nature, and the latter through our passive nature.”
—Notes from a meeting with Gurdjieff, June 30 or July 17, 1922

There’s an implicit assumption… a default position, if you will… that the universe is built with bliss "at the top," and suffering at the bottom. This presumption rests on the simplistic! assumption that it's nicer on the top than the bottom; a vertical directionality dominates much allegedly sophisticated spiritual thinking. Despite the ultimate and inviolable metaphysical requirement of unity—an underlying (that is, outlying) cosmic condition of transcendental oneness—this dualistic up-and-down model roughly mirrors our sentient experience of material reality, which readily divides itself into polarized constituencies, no matter how great our psycho-spiritual and philosophical efforts to eradicate them may be. One feature both theistic and non-theistic (eg., Buddhist) systems share that underscores their common belief in an “above" and “below” is the use of winged angels in their iconography.

 Here, then, a simplified version of various classical cosmologies in both flavors: bliss, the ultimate state of divinity (or enlightenment, in non-theistic liberation practices) emanates “above” us, descending from on high; “down” here on earth, we experience suffering as this primordial bliss decays into innumerable dark shades of its former self. 

Spiritual evolution, in this common model, consists of rising “upwards” and going back towards the bliss. Said cosmologies thus presume verticality; yet in a universe where "up" and "down" are— at least physically—wholly arbitrary, we're left seeking a new understanding outside of verticality. One which rests, perhaps, on structure; or, better yet, Swedenborg's proximity through intention (spiritually speaking, he says, the soul is ever most proximate to that closest to our intentions.)

There's an alternate, as well, to the idea of suffering as the foundation and bliss as the object of an enlightenment ascension. 

Let's propose, instead, that the universe as we know it is built on a fundament, a foundation, of bliss and ecstasy; and the heavenly hierarchy of ascent—which still by the way, does lead back towards God— leads us into suffering, instead of away from it.

This upside-down cosmology may smack of some devilish or demonic premise; yet we need to examine this question if we take Gurdjieff at his word in matters regarding the eternal suffering of God.

—New Delhi, December 2016

More on this in the next post on Feb. 15.

Hosanna.






Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Footnote:

Most readers are well familiar with Gurdjieff's formulation of human beings as "three brained beings."

 My new book, Being and Impressions, consists of brief and practical discussions on the subject, along with observations about impressions and how we take them in. 

The book was written to address some questions that have been directed at me over the last few months on the subject, which helped me to understand that many folks still struggling with these concepts—even after many years of effort to understand them. 

Most moving was a friend of mine—a true genius of talent with extraordinary outer accomplishments to his credit—who still after most of a lifetime, feels he cannot understand why impressions don't fall more deeply into him. 

His comment touched me in ways that theoretical discussions of these matters never do. I felt it was necessary to undertake an effort to grapple with these questions more directly, in a contemporary language, rather than the material we are all familiar with and have been reading for many years.

The aim in this book is to simplify and clarify some of these matters. It remains to be seen whether I have succeeded. Readers will have to judge.


Interested readers can purchase the book by clicking on the link in the above text.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Life Serves Life


Sayil, Ruta Puuc
Campeche, Mexico

Number two in a series of essays I wrote while flying down to the Yucatán for our February vacation.

There's a native sacred law in all beings. 

That sacred law is formed according to the nature of each Being; for example, a dog doesn't have conscience. But a dog has other important and powerful things which we don't have. 

I can try to remember this and respect every dog. Even a twig has law in it, and quite frankly the twig is more obedient to its inner law than I am to my own. It can't make choices about such things. I can, and I constantly make poor ones. Human beings are all alike in this matter.

Native sacred law has its own natural ability to manifest— to express itself. This ability acts according to a set of laws which are sometimes called the law of three and the law of seven. But one shouldn't worry about this now, because if one does, one inevitably creates an attachment to thought about the laws instead of living within the laws. 

Such attachments become knots and wind up tighter and tighter over time; eventually, they're very hard to untie. I see I'm filled up with such knots. They have to be slowly teased apart; some even need to be cut.

This action of living within the natural expression of law is what is called obedience.  

Obedience forms a partnership with intelligence, which is an active force that has nothing whatsoever to do with external facts or the act of collecting and arranging them. It's only the inner fact of our living, of being here, that matters right now, and that's one single thing

It's like the difference between the fox and the hedgehog. One may be a fox, but one needs to become a hedgehog... think like this, think like a hedgehog. Understand one big thing and everything else will follow.

If I don't understand obedience, everything else is worthless. God has a loving nature which is directly accessible through obedience, and in fact if I'm obedient, God at once comes to help inwardly form my Being. But this obedience is an obedience to life, not of life. It isn't an outer obedience to outer things and no amount of effort to understand it that way can ever lead to the least understanding of what is real.

I ask myself how to obey God's native sacred law within my own Being, and be determined to understand how that feels organically. What sensations it produces, what feelings it evokes. 

I see that these things come into a person; I can't go out to them. 

In every way, obedience is a receiving of influences. I must stop trying to be the mailman and let the mail be delivered.

One sees here how many analogies there are to be had. That's because nothing is direct and everything literal has to be surrendered. Living within the laws isn't a theory that connects logical dots. It's a naturalist observing birds and trees; a hunter waiting for a rabbit, even, but not a scientist or a mathematician. 

Deductive skills follow mental paths and the laws are cosmological, not mental. I have to learn to live according to them, not analyze them. I should be clever, be diligent, be attentive to these activities, but not mistake them for life. 

Life strikes its own bells from within, and nothing that comes from outside can ring those tones.

One can become alive within the law. There are many words for this, such as freedom or enlightenment, but they're a waste of my time. Each one of them creates another fantasy in me which I become attached to, and then I dream about meeting Mr. Freedom and Mrs. Enlightenment, instead of engaging in this very practical, very smple act of Being. 

Perhaps we ought to stop making up such stories and repeating them to ourselves and each other. 

Just turn all our effort towards becoming alive within this native, sacred law— obedient—and keep the question of just what that means in front of us. 

Then life serves life, and not dreams about life. 

Hosanna.







Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Footnote:

Most readers are well familiar with Gurdjieff's formulation of human beings as "three brained beings."

 My new book, Being and Impressions, consists of brief and practical discussions on the subject, along with observations about impressions and how we take them in. 

The book was written to address some questions that have been directed at me over the last few months on the subject, which helped me to understand that many folks still struggling with these concepts—even after many years of effort to understand them. 

Most moving was a friend of mine—a true genius of talent with extraordinary outer accomplishments to his credit—who still after most of a lifetime, feels he cannot understand why impressions don't fall more deeply into him. 

His comment touched me in ways that theoretical discussions of these matters never do. I felt it was necessary to undertake an effort to grapple with these questions more directly, in a contemporary language, rather than the material we are all familiar with and have been reading for many years.

The aim in this book is to simplify and clarify some of these matters. It remains to be seen whether I have succeeded. Readers will have to judge.


Interested readers can purchase the book by clicking on the link in the above text.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Metronome of Being

Sayil, Ruta Puuc
Campeche, Mexico

Number one in a series of essays I wrote while flying down to the Yucatán for our February vacation.

Our agitation and distraction comes from not being correctly connected to our sensation.

Human beings think—all the time, and about everything—but only with their minds. 

Even now the part that's taking this in does not have a proper connection to the body; and one assumes

One assumes one understands—one assumes one knows—one assumes things can be done about one's condition.

Perhaps eventually we understand, really understand, that that isn't so; but we continue to avoid relationship with our sensation, which is always calling to us, following us around like a dog that is absolutely loyal but cannot get the least scrap of attention from its distracted master.

The investment in sensation is the only way to create a counterweight to this distraction, this superficiality. It's the only way. 

So stop trying other things and concentrate on this in a better way. Don't think about it; live it. 

Every investment we make in our physical center of gravity will eventually pay itself back a thousandfold. We should stop asking for immediate results, and work for a long, long time on this without any lapse. We ought to make it our inner God.

Our sensation can become a positive weight that binds us to each cell in our body. If this description sounds unfamiliar, we don't understand the question properly… and we absolutely need to. Without developing this faculty, everything else is temporary—a waste of our valuable inner time and energy. We can't keep inner time without this metronome of Being, which regulates the intake of every impression we have.

No wonder we can't take in impressions properly. The music can't stay on time; each beat of life lacks the gravity that ought to align it. This is one of the principle tasks of moving center which it ought to perform at all times. Yet it's never active; it remains anonymous. 

Help it find its personhood.

One should not just stop thinking. One ought to stop worrying about how one feels about this, and that. One can feel anything one likes, but one ought to understand that it's temporary. Once sensation regulates how impressions are received, one discovers what real feeling consists of; but for now everything one feels is superficial: imaginary. 

Real feeling has no ego in it; it makes no demands for the self. It receives and suffers, but it doesn't judge. Only through the organic sensation of Being can one develop the capacity to receive real feelings, which don't arise in us, but come from a higher place and are merely expressed by the organism as a form of worship.

Sensation contains no formulations. Allow it to act naturally and without inhibition, according to its native sacred law. Our mind is always interfering with the native sacred law in our body, and we need to get out of its way; let inner native law regulate. 

Act naturally with a gentle discipline, but always temper that discipline with respect.


Hosanna.







Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Footnote:

Most readers are well familiar with Gurdjieff's formulation of human beings as "three brained beings."

 My new book, Being and Impressions, consists of brief and practical discussions on the subject, along with observations about impressions and how we take them in. 

The book was written to address some questions that have been directed at me over the last few months on the subject, which helped me to understand that many folks still struggling with these concepts—even after many years of effort to understand them. 

Most moving was a friend of mine—a true genius of talent with extraordinary outer accomplishments to his credit—who still after most of a lifetime, feels he cannot understand why impressions don't fall more deeply into him. 

His comment touched me in ways that theoretical discussions of these matters never do. I felt it was necessary to undertake an effort to grapple with these questions more directly, in a contemporary language, rather than the material we are all familiar with and have been reading for many years.

The aim in this book is to simplify and clarify some of these matters. It remains to be seen whether I have succeeded. Readers will have to judge.

Interested readers can purchase the book by clicking on the link in the above text.