Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Perspective, and what brings us together

The above diagram charts a set of relationships between Gurdjieff's Ray of Creation and the various subjects of centers, chakras, notes, and numbers. It serves to underscore relationships between man's organism, his cosmological identity, and the numerical relationships contained in the enneagram. I meant to post it yesterday but it seemed confusing to have both this and the enneagram in the same post.

The diagram may help you to understand why Gurdjieff said that man has a universe within himself. In fact, man has physical organs whose roles correspond to the roles played by celestial bodies. See my post the inner solar system for a bit more on this concept.

The chart helps map some relationships that will be of interest in further work. I call your attention in particular to the relationship between 2- sex and 8- third eye. The relationship between these two centers is well known to yoga schools (see Paramahansa Yoganada's comments on the subject) but only Gurdjieff's diagram explains why by connecting the two directly within the circulatory system of human energy.

...Stay tuned for tomorrow's posting of a very interesting diagram of the nature of relationship between dependent octaves.

In the future I will be hosting a web site that offers much more detailed information on these questions. Please be patient while it is under construction.

However, today I'd rather not get into further discussion about the theoretical implications of this chart. Instead I have an interest in discussing how we view ourselves.

This morning I went upstairs with a bowl of cereal at 6:30 a.m. and pestered my infinitely patient wife Neal into waking up to chat. Why she tolerates this kind of behavior from me is unclear, but it certainly leaves the needier parts of me grateful.

During our chat, I made the observation to her that our view of ourselves is much too narrow. Once having fielded that thought, it seemed worthy of further examination.

Spiritual work involves a broadening of view. We wish to see more of how we are and what is around us. But we find ourselves stuck in identifications- Buddhists call them attachments- that rule us.

Attachments implies that we manage to preserve a separation between ourselves and "temptation." It should be clear to all that, in truth, we don't. Gurdjieff understood that we become what we are attached to. In regard to the Buddha's concept, I'm not sure whether we want to call this revisionism, reinvention, or reinterpretation, but whatever it is, it is formidably more accurate.

I much prefer the term identifications because the word better describes the way that "it"- the attractions of the experience of the outside world- becomes "I." That is, "I" is totally composed of "it." "I" as we experience ourselves is hence a seething mass of desires, complusions and impulses that perpetually react to outer circumstances. Our force of Being- what little there is- is absorbed like a sponge. And in case you hadn't considered it before, that world out there is a pretty damn big sponge.

Scale once again comes into play as we see that we are handily outclassed by the forces around us. We can't help but be influenced. All we can do, as Gurdjieff said, is choose which forces to be influenced by.

And the narrower our perspective, the less choices we have.

In my own case, I am reminded of how I spent almost thirty years absorbed in what now seems a very narrow definition of myself, which dictated that I spend an inordinate amount of time making art. I did this at the expense of human relationships and I really believed I was doing something quite important. It took a terrible shock and the almost complete destruction of the subjective circumstances of my outer world in order for me to see how constricting this idea was.

Dropping an idea about myself, especially one that I have used for most of a lifetime as an interpretative tool (by that I mean a tool I use to give this set of experiences called "life" a context and a meaning) may seem very threatening, but in reality it is an incredibly powerful tool in the search for liberation. It turns out, you see, that almost all my ideas about myself are wrong, and yet they are so compelling I am utterly blinded by them. Every single one of them appears to be too important to sacrifice.

And each one of them serves as a device that divides me from myself.

This is perhaps the most difficult thing to understand, that we use the "conceptual discrimination of the mind" to cut ourselves into little pieces.

We can change our focus with some effort. What's needed, I think, is to begin to understand life from the point of view of what brings us together, not what divides us. Too much of life is spent focusing on divisions, and a house divided cannot stand, whether inner or outer.

This means re-casting the questions of our life so that we affirm our possibilities. Instead of engaging in an inner dialogue of critique- whether a critique of myself or of others- I can try to ask myself, in any moment, how can I support others? What positive contribution can I make?

Just as we need to make inner efforts to knit together the disparate notes of the inner octave, so we need to find a path towards wholeness in our outer life. This path is organic, because in essence it is discovered and birthed beginning through the inner effort.

Inner energy, if rightly ordered, has a natural wish to bring us under more positive influences.
If we work to open the inner flowers of each center, we cannot help but find ourself in a more positive state, because the energies that regulate and arise from this process cannot have any negativity in them.

It is not too bold to say that this is the path to what Christ called "The Peace of God which passeth all understanding."

You can find it. It's in there.

with love-


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