Tuesday, August 21, 2007
In order to appreciate the idea of containment in relationship to the enneagram, we begin with the idea that the body we inhabit is a vessel.
By vessel I mean a container which is designed to receive and store materials. When Christ discussed the idea of putting new wine in old bottles, he was alluding to this idea of man as a vessel. The idea of changing water into wine refers to the idea that there can be a physical transformation of the vessel's contents.
The diagram has a great deal to tell us about this.
When we view the enneagram, we see that it is circumscribed by a circle. Everything takes place within that circle.
Imagine the circle as your body. There's your "sealed vessel."
There are two geometric figures within the circle. One of them, a rather distorted version of a hexagram, consists of the notes--with the exception of "Do."
The other--a triangle-- includes both the note "Do" and the two conscious shocks. These two geometric figures represent intersecting energies from two different levels.
Each of the notes on the circle represents a specific organ within the body, that is, a center capable of receiving vibrations. If you go back to the last chapter of Beelzebub, which I am currently sound editing, ("From The Author") you will see that Gurdjieff specifically refers to the six inner centers (I call them the six inner flowers) as being organs belonging to the emotional "brain" of man.
When Gurdjieff says that emotion must begin to enter a man's work before anything real can begin to happen, I believe it's quite clear he's referring to the work that takes place within this system.
The inner work that man needs to undertake for himself is the work within this "emotional vessel," consisting of the six notes and their relationship to one another. These notes need to be brought into increasing harmony in order for the vessel to be durable enough to hold anything.
OK, now to the crux of this discussion.
In many esoteric works, the Gurdjieff work included, there is an understanding that energy can be taken in through the top of the head, or, the seventh chakra. (In the enneagram, this is the note "Do.") Most people's experience, if they have one, is that this energy arrives during a meditation session.
It generally does not have a durable quality -- it does not last. Everyone who does this kind of work is familiar with the sensation of something quite miraculous, but fleeting and transient.
Why doesn't it stay with us?
Essentially, this is because the vessel the energy is being poured into--us-- is leaking like a sieve. Unless our six inner flowers, or centers, represented by the notes are working in a sound harmonic relationship, the shocks provided by the energy are all but worthless. They temporarily produce interesting sensations and wonderful feelings. That's about it.
In order for the energy to produce any lasting effect, many years of work are required. The six inner flowers must be brought into relationship. As the diagram clearly shows us, that work belongs to this level. All of this work is work to prepare the flowers for their real and ultimate work, which is the receipt of energy from a higher level.
Once the system gains integrity, that is to say, the energy being exchanged between the six inner flowers is in a more whole and unified relationship, another energy from a higher level can enter and find a place to stay. When one achieves this unity, one has fashioned a new vessel for the new wine which arrives. In this case, it can stay throughout the day and manifest during ordinary life, at any time, not just when ones eyes are closed and one is sitting on a cushion. And that is the greatest wish of the Holy Spirit-
to be born within life.
To inhabit the ordinary.
We might recall the words, "On earth as it is in heaven."
Of course, this is a lofty goal. It may not be achieved but once in a thousand lifetimes. We don't know.
What we can know, what we need to know, is that the vessel we inhabit contains a structure and functions according to a set of laws.
Already no one likes this idea. As human beings have proved over and over again throughout the course of history, no one likes laws of any kind unless they are laws that they wrote themselves. The idea of being under natural law, whether biological or spiritual, rankles people.
This is why human beings constantly reinvent laws so that they suit them better. Whether or not the personally invented laws are technically valid is beside the point, so long as they are satisfying.
This distressing state of affairs brings human beings to a point where everyone wants to believe that just about anything is possible at any time. For example, as though we could grow our flowers with no water, in the desert, and yet have them bloom. And in a man's life--even in the Work--ignorance of the law usually becomes the excuse for everything.
In the Gurdjieff work, the idea is we study laws so that we can actually understand what our real possibilities are, and where we stand. Imagination and dreaming do not help much. Instead, a much more specific attention to the facts and to our inner arrangement is necessary.
It's certainly possible to open the top of the head. The question is exactly why we would do that and what it serves. If that "sacred mustard seed" we acquire as a gift from the note "Do" falls onto ground that is not prepared, it will not grow.
This is why cultivating a deeper understanding of the inner relationships being discussed here is necessary.
May your hearts be open, and your lives be full.