Friday, August 3, 2007

membership

In the Gurdjieff work, and in spiritual work in general, we may gradually begin to appreciate the idea that there needs to be a relationship between the "lower" and the "higher."

Put differently, there needs to be a point of contact established between levels, and the individual manifestation of human consciousness can help provide that point of contact. But how?

The outer form of any work becomes a strong attraction. When I first saw this, I was cynical about it; I have often observed that many people in the Gurdjieff work seemed determined to manifest as faux Sufis. Others don Zen Buddhist robes or Hindu attire, fill their house with paraphernalia from other cultures (I'm guilty myself) and so on. If we're not donning the garments of pious religious practices, we're donning the gay apparel of popular culture, piercing or tatooing our flesh in a desperate attempt to become a member of whatever the tribe du jour may be. Even atheism becomes a bauble to be worn as adornment.

Admittedly, my cynicism on this matter may be misplaced, but my observations, I think, aren't.

Everyone ends up in works, or religions, to some extent because of their outer form. Outer forms, like cells, create "receptive surfaces" to attract and bind members- or, in the case of cells, molecules. The tricky thing is that molecules that get bound firmly to the surface never penetrate to the inside of the cell.

And the inside of the cell is where all the action is.

Inside us is where all our work ultimately needs to take place. In addition, we have to find our Being within our life. That is, within our life as it is. Devoid of trappings or attachment to trappings, divorced from the superficial appearances of form, we have to learn to dwell within this exact life of our own, as it is.

If that life is being a rock and roll guitarist, or a business executive, or a registered nurse-- whatever it is, here in this modern world, that is what it needs to be. None of us need to adopt the styles, motifs, fashions, or habits of past or foreign cultures in order to be what we are.

So here we are, within what we are, as we are. It's this question of the organic experience of inhabiting our life that interests me: if we are here, within this body, within this life, breathing in and out, what else do we need?

Do we need to look like we "belong" to Buddhism, to Christianity, to America-- or to the Taliban? Is that where our inner identity comes from? Or do we all need to look like we belong to the human species?

We say we live in the "information age." What does that mean? What is the inner form? What is in-formation?

What we really need to become a member of is...

ourself.

May your trees bear fruit, and your wells yield water.

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