Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Lamb of God

In Christianity, we have the saying, "the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world."

Of course this phrase refers to Christ.

It also seems to me to imply a certain emotional quality that we can acquire in an inner sense. This quality offers us a purity of motive and a lack of presumption in the way in which we meet life. But it is a tangible physical quality, not just an attitude or a set of ideas. It is a softening of the experience of the entire inner and outer state.

I am bringing this question of psychology up again because I am almost finished reading Trungpa's "cutting through spiritual materialism." I think the book is a terrific piece of work, but once again, like many other teachings we can read about, in the end it comes across as a set of ideas, not physical practices. And I am quite certain that we can cram ourselves utterly full of ideas without really much of anything changing, except our ideas about things.

Where is the physical practice?

The actual inner state needs to change, and this can only be accomplished through effort with attention within life. Just doing it in meditation will never be enough. We have to be willing to meet ordinary life with a tangible quality of being that is softer and more receptive, a quality that does not reject our life so readily. Above all it is the blood of the lamb that takes away sin. One hears talk of being washed in the blood of the Lamb; a powerful image, difficult to understand.

My own take on it today is as follows:

What cleanses us of our identification, our attachment, is to be immersed and bathed in the most essential part of our lives, in this sacred, coursing, energetic power of our very identity itself. We must become alive within the blood.

This brings me back to the idea of intentional suffering, which I have pondered for many years. This idea of intentional suffering was the second of the two intentional efforts of Being that Gurdjieff said we need to make in order to prepare ourselves for what he termed the second conscious shock.

I don't think that Gurdjieff's literature offers any specific instruction on exactly what this means, aside from the idea that it consists of not expressing negative emotion. Personally I think there are practices much deeper than that implied here, ones that cannot be touched with the tongue so easily--and that is exactly what we need to do, acquire their taste.

In considering the idea from the point of view of today's physical and emotional state -- intellectually, I seem to be more passive today--I find intentional suffering consists of allowing life's energy to enter me. This is a tricky thing; what does that mean, to let life's energy enter me?

As I go through my day, I see that there is constant resistance to accepting the condition of the body, the condition of the emotional reaction. The resistance often consists of a lack of will to bring myself to where I am. Jeanne DeSalzmann frequently spoke of this particular question; it is peppered throughout the personal documents she left, as well as the records of her talks. As she put it, we don't want to be here. We don't want to allow life to enter us. It is actually rather difficult work, and we are essentially lazy in this regard. It's much easier to fall back on our habits and coast.

To be bathed in the blood of the Lamb, to be fully immersed within life, invested within the self within life, would be a big thing.

We need help with that. The connection that Gurdjieff proposed we establish with our emotional being was a step in the direction of awakening ourselves to our Master's voice, so that we can hear His instruction and began to live again in a direction that is born in gratitude and thirsts for Grace.

The next post , Insh'allah, will be another in my series of postings from the business class lounge at the airport in Seoul. Cannot absolutely guarantee it, but I will do my best.

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

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