Monday, November 12, 2007


Over the past week, I have been struggling on multiple fronts, between recovery from jet lag, recovery from the debilitating virus I brought back with me, and the re-entry into daily life here, opposed to the way it proceeds on trips.

All of the rhythms are different. Add a change in seasons and the conversion to daylight savings time--it's a lot to heap up on one body all at one time.

Two things strike me quite distinctly in regard to this question.

One is that there is a tremendous resistance in me to actually taking in the ordinary impressions of life. The resistance is so absolutely habitual -- it has solidified into a substance that forms a barrier between me and life -- that I don't even notice that most of the time. It's only now, when my body is weaker and I am struggling with the impressions of life in general, that I see more clearly how little I actually let in. It's like communicating through a thick layer of sludge.

Being in relationship with my impressions costs me part of my being. There is material in me that actively resists paying that price. In moments like this, when there is less coin to lay on the table in the first place, the reluctance becomes more obvious.

The second thing that strikes me is just how difficult it is to inhabit a body. We do this, too, habitually and reflexively, and take it so much for granted that only pain and weariness themselves may cause us to see how routinely difficult the act of being alive is. With a greater sense of connection to the body, the extraordinary effort that is required just to stay in this body and experience through it becomes more apparent. Everything is difficult. Even breathing in and out is a lot of work, if I am aware of it.

Contradictory impulses arrives at moments like this, because at the same time I struggle to stay alive -- as we all do -- I see there is something that might be comfortable with just letting go. I am, after all, essentially lazy, and being here in this body is a lot of work. That's what it is -- work. Part of me just doesn't want to deal with it.

And on yet another level, today, I receive constant reminders.

There is support that arrives from places unknown.

Where does the support come from? This is perhaps what Dogen called "...merit achieved without doing, and ...merit achieved without becoming." (Shobogenzo, Nishijima and Cross translation, book 3, p.218.)

The subtle, glorious tendrils of support that grown within the body reaffirm it: we are already valuable.

So today I attempt to accept the condition of struggle, of difficulty. It, too, is part of what is necessary.

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

1 comment:

  1. Lee, just want you to know that I enjoy reading your blog. I think all long time members of the Gurdjieff Foundation should attempt to record their observations and efforts in some form or fashion on blogs. Please consider mentioning this to others at the Foundation.

    Thank you for the time and effort it takes to write this blog. One day, try and self-publish it. I think you can find some useful software to help you do just that at I'm sure there are other companies that do the same.

    With all good wishes,

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