Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Gurdjieff told Ouspensky that a man who was an Obyvatel-- a "good householder"--one who simply attended with what one might call intelligent responsibility to the basic requirements his life-- was already ahead of the man who had grand spiritual aspirations.
Of course we find Chogyam Trungpa dealing, more or less, with the same idea--admittedly from a slightly less earthy point of view-- in his classic Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. And Dogen constantly exhorts his followers to turn to, and experience, the ordinary in their search for what is extraordinary.
Perhaps the message here is that there isn't anything extraordinary. Everything is ordinary, although much is unfamiliar. In this sense, there is no supernatural, because everything-even things that appear to violate the natural order--cannot exist outside the natural order.
Gurdjieff explained this by saying that things that appear to be "miraculous" are simply the manifestation of what he called higher laws, and the process and progress of science in the 20th century has supported his contention. Without exception, things that once appeared to be very mysterious, even almost magical, from a scientific point of view turn out to be entirely understandable once the meta-principles that govern them are revealed.
I'm not sure we have any reason to presume that our inner processes are different. There are many inner states things we may encounter that are, from our level's point of view, miraculous, which are nonetheless simply the expression of something higher. It may be mysterious to us, but in the context of the universe at large, it all fits in as neatly as any piece of the puzzle. This is why man constructs cosmologies -- the presumption is that there is a puzzle, and that all the pieces fit.
So what, exactly, is a good householder? We can be pretty sure, he is not attracted by or dominated by consideration of the extraordinary. He isn't trying to become an angel. He is trying to become a man--more to the point, a "man without quotation marks", the aim Gurdjieff said every man should set for himself.
One thing that strikes me is as follows: the difference between the good householder and the egoist is that the egoist puts the wish to achieve before the will to work. Because of this, glittering objects attract him and distract his aim. The good householder puts his will to work first; eyes on the task at hand, he is deaf to any allurement.
Having said all that, the original point of entitling this blog posting "housekeeping" was because the post has to be a bit short today, and I wanted to take care of two pieces of unfinished business.
First of all, several of you have written very supportive comments thanking me for the work that I do on this blog, and I want to say thank you in return.
This is an enterprise that we are all in together, this work called life -- and if we offer each other of the best food we can in our exchange, all of us benefit. I benefit as much from the effort to keep this record as anyone who reads it. So my gratitude goes out to each and every one of you who, as readers, participate together in the sharing of ideas and the effort that we all share together.
Every single one of us is connected to each other by the tendrils we extend.
Secondly, the blog is coming up on its first anniversary, which will take place Sunday, November 25. To date, it has logged over 3600 visitors from all over the world -- not bad, for an enterprise as obscure as this one.
I hope to mark the day with something ordinary. LOL.
Let's hope that all of us have many more years to share together in this enterprise we call inner Work.
May your trees bear fruit, and your wells yield water.