Thursday, December 27, 2007

Edge conditions

In biology, it's well understood that edge conditions are just about ideal for life.

For example, when an upwelling of deep, cold ocean currents meets warm water, carrying nutrients, there, in the juncture between the two, life explodes and congregates. Salt marshes are another good example of an edge condition. The one you see in the photograph is at the mouth of the Sparkill on the Hudson River.

Once again, we see that nature, understood correctly, contains all the necessary lessons. The question of intersection of inner and outer impressions is exactly the same.

From contact with inner impressions--from the cold, deep, religious core of silence--nutrition wells up within our being.

And continuously, the warm, sensuous outer impressions of life cascade in through the senses.

The two sets of impressions mix together to create a potential; within this meeting point arises what we call consciousness.

There is a mystery here. The inner impressions come from another level; the energy within the body may be of the body, but its origins lie beyond the body. What creates the body is what creates all matter; it is an intentionality that collapses the quantum state, a resolution of improbability into reality.

No one can explain this intentionality; the Buddhists call it the Dharma; the Muslims call it Allah; Christians call it God.

We all want to name, but perhaps it is best for this to remain nameless. Suffice it to say that there is a source from which all reality, all being, arises. We have the inner equipment to know this, not with the coarse parts of the mind, but the very cilia of our cells themselves--or, like the three little pigs, by the hairs of our chinny-chin-chin.

And, come to think of it, there's an interesting story. The pigs, by becoming progressively more inward and more contained in more and more solid dwelling-places, ultimately devour the wolf. Thus, the increasingly stalwart inwardness of the three-membered pig family learns to ingest the outwardness of the wolf, instead of the outwardness of the wolf eating the inwardness of the pigs. And it's on the threshold --at the edge--that all the real action takes place.

From within the upwelling out of silence and into being, something can enter into life, just as life can enter into us. It is our responsibility to stand on the edge and become the life that inhabits it.

It is in the effort to become sensitive to, understand, and dwell within the meeting point of these two conditions that our consciousness approaches the possibility of development.

Can we stand within our life, directly in the middle--the middle way of the Buddha--between both the inner and the outer, and help them to meet one another in a right way? We need to discover the meeting place, within ordinary experience, and see how we inhabit it.

To be between the devil and the deep blue sea is to willingly stand between the alluring desires of outwardness, and the seductive bliss of inwardness--both accepting the gifts, and assuming the responsibilities.

May your roots find water, and your leaves know sun.


  1. Wonderful piece! Your efforts are greatly appreciated

  2. Very astute observation about the three pigs - it's seems the old nursery rhymes have depths of understanding waiting for us to be ready.

    Just a note that I appreciate your writing this blog.

    I'm on a Christian path, integrating Gurdjieff work, and your learnings strike at my core regularly.


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