Wednesday, November 21, 2007

receiving life

Today I find myself once again firmly resident with this body, saturated with the definite and undeniable experience of life. Regardless of what else happens, I'm nailed down here, resident within my weight, consonant with my cells, vibrating with the heat and subtle energies that make up the work of the body.

The associative mind comes and goes within this enterprise. I may find myself "stuck" within it, or not-- does it really matter? I wonder. We are routinely identified with the associative mind, the intellectual part, that's true. But isn't there something more there?

We receive our life with more than the mind alone, don't we? What flows into the Being-body corresponds-- and co-responds- to the physical body, the emotional body (referring here to the physical structure of the emotional part) and the intellect. It's true, too, that what is received affects the sex center, the instinctive center, and probably the two higher centers as well, but for the time being let's just consider the three "basic" centers.

So Being receives life through multiple channels, or flowers. We may not be quite aware of that, although one aim, certainly, is to become more sensitive to the possibility. Instead we find ourselves dominated by the "turning thought" that associations produce.

Maybe it's possible to just ignore that part. Like tinnitus (a delightful malady I have been afflicted with for years now, undoubtedly due to listening to too much loud rock music as a youth) the thought from associative center can be tuned out.

The trick to it is to find something else inside us that's more interesting. And this is where what we call seeing becomes useful. If we are really making an effort to see within ourselves, we don't get as attracted to associative thought, because there is something more compelling engaging our interest. Yes, we will inevitably lose our attention, and come back to associative thought- which, gosh darn it, seems to be cruising along at its own speed regardless of whether we pay attention to it or not!--but for the time being we find that seeing how we are can occupy a significant part of the inner landscape.

So maybe we can give ourselves permission to stop worrying so much about how deficient we are in this area. Part of seeing ourselves is just accepting things like this as a fact and moving on. This underscores why Hui Neng said that it isn't thought that's the problem for us; it's our attachment to it. In the Platform Sutra, he actually recommends that we just let it go. In Buddhism, the idea of allowing thoughts to arise and depart objectively, without interference, and without attachment, is considered a high practice. I don't think they have this one wrong.

There is always something we can turn to if our work is alive in us. There is always food being received, support for the effort of Being offered. If we turn away from it, then we turn away--that does not mean it isn't there. Remember, Gurdjieff's system is one of the only ones that says man does not need to "develop" higher centers-- they are already there. It's a matter of establishing contact, of finding the relationship.

That may be a rather high calling for all of us. We can't presume to be perpetually poised on the brink of opening our higher centers and attaining enlightenment (although perhaps we are--anything is possible!)

We can presume that those higher parts of us are always reaching towards us, hoping for contact, offering us the possibility of opening the doors to receive the fullness of life in a deeper and more satisfying way. If we reach back by showing an interest--

well then.

Maybe nothing else in life really matters.

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

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