Thursday, March 15, 2007

From airport lounges

In what is certainly a first for this blog, I am posting you from a business class airline lounge in Seoul, South Korea. This is a routine part of my existence, this traveling in a kind of sustained limbo for many hours where not much goes on except sitting, frequently accompanied by the loud whine of jet engines. It certainly gives one plenty of time to think.

So here we are, you and I-- or, at least, my words and you. We are participating in a kind of time travel here, where what I say reaches you long after I say it. But for all of us, it exists in the now, as we experience it. No matter what it is that we experience, it is always this way -- immediate. Even the constructions of past and future that exist in the parts of us that can contain such ideas actually exist only in the now. And now for me is a dictation headset, a laptop, and a business class lounge.

In front of me is a huge expanse of glass, supported by steel superstructures. Behind it, just above the top of the windows, a pale gray halo of sun behind clouds descends towards the horizon.

In just a few moments it will be directly, gloriously, in my eyes.

As is so often the case these days, this morning I was actively studying the connections between inner centers, or rather, the lack of connection. It is a mystery to me why the centers, which clearly have the facility to form strong and magnificent connections, are unable to do so under most ordinary circumstances.

To know one's self -- to self-remember -- is to study these parts carefully, for a long time.

Take the time today, if you can, to look very carefully and delicately within. Seek, see, feel. Try to touch those delicate places within yourself which carry the seeds of your own flowers. See if there is a response. Somewhere within each of us lies this new germ of the sacred.

I know this is true for everyone. If you are diligent, blossoms will bloom within you that will feed you in a way that no other part of life is able to. And--if more than one blossom should choose to reveal itself--the ecstasy and the sorrow of the heavens may come to you. Even if only for a moment.

Perhaps that is for the best. We cannot drink too deeply of ambrosia; these earthly vessels we call bodies are too frail to hold much fire.

Mr. Gurdjieff said that the purpose of man's existence is, among other things, to become conscious and responsible enough to take on and share a portion of the endless sorrow of His Endlessness: to share the sorrow of God.

Opening our inner flowers can lead us on the path towards this, which is the most beautiful duty we can ever take upon ourselves. It can carry us forward in relationship with our families, with our friends, with our business associates, our children, and ourselves. It can clear away the cobwebs of uncertainty and the dung of negativity that clutter our inner state. In this way we can actually acquire a bit of that highly prized, mysterious, and near-mythical substance called humility, oft referred to but rarely ever seen.

Perhaps this is not enough to satisfy a man in life. I do not know. We all seem at all times to crave something greater than what is actually possible. But for me, today, it is enough. At least when I touch something real in myself, and that sacred substance flows which allows me to participate, I know that I have at least in some sense performed the duty which I was actually sent here for. As opposed to the byzantine, constructed nonsense we call “daily life.”

I cannot save the world; I cannot save those around me; the likelihood is that I cannot even save myself, because I am too small and lack the power. If this is true, perhaps the best that I can achieve is to accept the few such services I am given the grace to perform. Graciously and humbly, without expectation of reward.

If all of this sounds a bit more emotional than what you are used to from me, I apologize. Perhaps the emotional part is a bit more active in me today.

However it may be, I attempt to come to you honestly, offering you what my experience is and what I know. I would be the first to confess to you that I do not know very much. People think I am a smart man, but the older I get, the more glaring my own deficiencies seem to be to me. Measured against the vast depths of the universe, what I know is absolutely nothing.

I do know this, however. Within all of us live these flowers. Seek them, water them, tend to them daily, and your life will change. This will not be easy, because every flower is a rose, and you'll have to tolerate the thorns in order to grow buds and open blossoms.

In the end, if you are a diligent gardener, something new will come to live in you-- and perhaps you will even find favor in the eyes of the Lord.

With love to all of you today,


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