Friday, January 26, 2007

working towards inner unity

In the meditation I practice, I make a specific daily effort to knit the inner parts of my being together.

I begin with the understanding that I am partial- that is, my inner parts or centers do not work in concert. One does the work of another. So I make an effort to sense them consciously and to bring them into relationship with one another first thing in the morning.

Often there is no result- that is, specific aims I have set for myself at this stage of my work don't materialize. I walk away from the sitting with the impression that it was kind of "dry,"
unsatisfying.

This belies the truth of the situation. It's very common for the energy I am seeking to cultivate to show up unexpectedly, later in the day. That's because the action of knitting the inner centers together is a generative one. First thing in the morning, they need to be re-introduced to one another, reminded of one another's existence, and the lawful relationships of energy exchange that exist between them need to be reinforced by a gentle, attentive form of reminding. It's later in the day that the benefits of this morning meeting show themselves- when I most need them, in daily life.

A careful long term study of Gurdjieff's enneagram can lead to a much better understanding of what these lawful relationships are. It's not within the scope of this blog to explain that in detail. However it is worthwhile to note that if I cultivate a right relationship between the inner parts, they remember that they are part of a system and they begin to become more interested in working together.

At that point, having found a (heretofore forgotten) common ground, they do a certain kind of work without the need for my conscious supervision and that work produces much more of what is needed to sustain an effort through the rest of the day.

This doesn't happen without my active participation in the initiation of the process. That's what the morning meditation is all about. My individual centers, you see, are entirely used to working on their own and each one of them rather likes being in charge. All of them have to give something up in order to work together. At first it's very hard to help them see that the sacrifice confers a greater value that what is being given up.

Gurdjieff pointed out that there are many potential states of consciousness:

“Your principal mistake consists in thinking that you always have consciousness, and in general, either that consciousness is always present or that it is never present. In reality consciousness is a property which is continually changing." (In Search Of The Miraculous, P. 117)


A study of the diagram of the human chemical factory (same book, p.190) depicts the wide range of higher substances which can act in man. The action of each one can result in a different level of consciousness. Let's just say the subject is even more complex than the diagram, and it's easy to achieve something very remarkable indeed, and yet not realize it's just a small part of the whole. This is the reason the world breeds a wide variety of Yogis with varying talents, displaying extraordinary strengths combined with puzzling- and even unfortunate- foibles.

Putting it a good deal more simply than the diagram, the different states we experience are a consequence of how partial we are. The more unity we can help foster within the inner system, the greater the possibilities. That effort to establish more inner unity is a critical part of the process of awakening. The whole organism has to awaken.

I see that when my centers operate more collectively, I become a very different kind of person. Compassion and inner peace are no longer psychological states: they are substances.

In order to experience this, I have to become a bit more of an inner mechanic and a bit less of a psychologist. If the machine doesn't work right, its by products- my conscious manifestations- are faulty.

That's the way I usually am. Getting up early and meditating helps change that over time.


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