Monday, August 13, 2007

Joy and depth of being


I woke up this morning disturbed and unsettled, after a premonitory dream that seems to have come from far, far away—beyond even death itself.

It made contacting the fundamental positive tone of the day more difficult than usual. In this work, in this life, there are days when the energies that need to be received, ingested, and transmitted are more demanding.

On such days, there is still an underlying inner joy that sustains, but it is tinged with colors that spring from the innermost depths of the soul, where the struggles between dissolution and creation are unresolved.

My intention today was to write about the essential joy of our work and our life, and instead I find myself—not unhappy, not negative—but suffused with energies that demand something from me other than the untrammeled joyfulness that so often springs from a better connection within the organism.

I must have intuited this day would be so, because in the little pink notebook where I occasionally jot down a few very brief notes regarding the day’s subject, I wrote, directly after the word “joy,” “depth of being.”

In other words, I mentioned not only the merchandise, but the price.

What do I mean by depth of being?

There can be no joy without depth of being, and depth of being demands something of us. If we wish to participate in bliss, we must be willing to engage in the transubstantiation of sorrow.

The ingestion of our life is a digestive process that encompasses three kinds of food. Their interactions are complex, and the organism as it stands is poorly equipped to deal with them properly. If we do begin to live with a more complete digestive process, it brings with it sensations, experiences, requirements we are not familiar with. All of this needs to be patiently suffered in the search for one’s self. As Gurdjieff said, more or less, “blessed is a man without a soul; blessed is the man whose soul is complete; but woe unto him whose soul is in birth.”

In the midst of this struggle to be born, which we call life, we are called on to live. This means swallowing the impressions of our life more deeply: allowing them to fall into places we are not familiar with, accepting the rootedness with which they arrive, with which they are received.

We discover nothing more and nothing less than raw life itself, crawling, falling, digging into us like a living animal that wants to become our own flesh.

Which is exactly what it is.

We are what we swallow. In awareness, we grow roots within the body that seek out nourishment from what we breathe, from what we see, from what we touch and sense and smell. Capillaries that carry the sensation of life into the very heart of the cells themselves.

Allegory? Romanticism?

No, fact. The process is necessary. We cannot become other than what we are unless our impressions go much deeper into us than they usually do. The receptacle we inhabit—the vessel—must open its inner recesses in order to properly store any royal jelly from the incoming flow of life. We must allow penetration in a way we do not yet know.

Depth of being is not about comfort. Yes, there is an essential joy to life, which should be, I find, expressed insofar as possible without restraint.

This does not excuse us from work. And work is not so simple as observing a few annoying quirks, or the fact that we forget things. We may think work is about seeing a habit, or remembering to remember ourselves. But work is not about thinking… we cannot know God with the mind.

Work is eating our lives, rather than allowing our lives to eat us.

And in this work, we must remember:

The chef understands our nutritional needs, but he is not employed to cook to our tastes.

May your trees bear fruit, etc.

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