Friday, October 19, 2007

the fourth division

As of today, it does not cease to astonish me as to the amount of energy and effort it takes to maintain a regular posting to this site. At this point in time, I am probably creeping up on 200,000 words worth of commentary about personal effort, the Gurdjieff work, and Zen Buddhism, which is the rough equivalent of two full-length novels.

I never set out to do that. I simply set out to incrementally record my daily observations about my own work and the Gurdjieff work in general. And, as always, it is the forward movement within life that interests me, not what is left behind. I was like that as an artist; I am like that as a writer, and if you listen to my music, you may notice that it also shares that quality.

We all live within the constraints of the merciless heropass; give it its due.

Let's move on to the fourth division of the society of Akhldanns, which in our hypothetical allegory corresponds to the number five on the enneagram, or, the heart. Here's the quote from Gurdjieff's Beelzebiub:

"The members of the fourth group were called 'Akhldann-psychosovors,' a name designating those members of the society who made observations of the perceptions, experiencings, and manifestations of beings like themselves--observations that they verified statistically."

What interests me about this particular division is that there is an inference that it involves compassion.

One might argue I am reading into it -- of course one can make that argument for the whole enterprise --but it seems to me that to outwardly consider, to practice compassion, is precisely to observe the perceptions and experiencings of other beings.

This is the practice of putting ourselves in their shoes -- a practice Gurdjieff said we should always engage in ("consider outwardly always, inwardly never.") In effect, he instructed us to always live our lives first from the heart. To live first from a compassionate observation of our fellow men, a consonance of emotion, a tolerance born of understanding that others labor under the same misapprehensions and organic conditions that we do.

The specific point in the body that this center relates to is the center of the spine. We can sense the top of the spine; we can sense the bottom of the spine, as we do when we attempt to seek the understanding of the first division. We can even connect the top and the bottom of the spine, possibly. But unless the center of the spine participates, the connection is not complete. The origin and the consummation of the connection do not complete themselves without the life of the connection, and the life of the connection lies in the center, just as the essential nature of our being lies within the center of our being.

To open the heart is a sacred task. Every man has this opportunity within him; few men understand that this is an organic task. Heaven and earth cannot be joined unless man makes the effort to act as a mediator from the center of his own life. If a man undertakes this task, and succeeds even in a small measure, it will transform his nature and his understanding in a permanent manner.

I'm not speaking here about a transformation of attitude, but a transformation of experience.

Transformation of attitude in the absence of experience is temporary, fugitive. Within the transformation of experience lives the birth of a more real attitude.

In my own experience, when we invest ourselves within the opening of this particular flower, compassion becomes unavoidable, fundamental, irrevocable. This does not mean that the condition becomes permanent; it does mean that for as long as we are within the capacities of this center, negativity becomes impossible.

Of course, within those conditions, sorrow becomes inevitable. We cannot help but suffer our own lack when our parts begin to connect in a right manner. And in that seeing of our own lack, we discover that organic compassion which leads us to meet our fellow man on level ground, instead of coming at him from the soap box we like to prop under our feet.

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

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