Wednesday, March 12, 2008

men as notes in a higher octave


Coming directly on the heels of yesterday’s post, man speak with forked tongue. I’m going to cover a theoretical point that I think will be of interest to many who feel frustrated by their daily struggle for a connection.

One of Dr. Welch’s famous questions—I heard him ask it many times—was “Why don’t we work?” A corollary I have also heard many times is, …“Why can’t we work?” And indeed this issue baffles all of us. What makes us available? Unavailable? Why are there times when more work is possible and more help is available, and why do we sometimes find ourselves, so to speak, “in the desert” for long periods of time?

Of course it’s possible to talk about the obvious individual details—about our lack of effort at attention, muscular tension, how we squander energy, failure to feed ourselves properly, and so on.

However, today we’re going to look at an overarching reason for this problem of connection and lack of connection.

Man cannot do. This is a fact that has implications far and above out of the ordinary.

When it comes to inner work, man can only complete his octave with the intervention of help from a higher level. The enneagram explains this dilemma visually by clearly and unambiguously depicting the intervention of energy from the law of 3 as it penetrates the octave, lending assistance at the points where shocks enter.

If you haven’t considered the diagram from this point of view before, do so. The key to understanding our abilities and limitations is directly related to this question.

First of all, we need to understand that every man represents a note in an octave above him. That is to say, his “do”—the point of contact with the level directly above him—is a note (for example, a “mi,” or a “fa”) in a superior octave. This is because of the intimately interconnected, fractal nature of the universe. (See the relevant diagram in the enneagram essay at doremishock.com, which instantly explains it far better than any words can.)

The student of inner energies and the centers will eventually see that energy within his inner octave is in constant movement. At various times in the development of any progression of energy within an octave, one or another center (chakra) may be more active, passive, or neutralizing, and correspondingly more or less available to contribute the hydrogens (levels of vibration) it is associated with to the welfare of the organism and its level of work.

Here’s the key: this holds true as well for the octaves above us.

That means that we can only receive energy in accordance with the progression of the octave we are contributing to. If the note we represent in that higher octave is not "active," we might suppose we cannot receive much from it. In this case our position must be one of containment.

The biblical parable of new brides trimming the wicks of their lamps as they await the bridegroom is about just this matter. As the energies move within an octave, the “bride” (the female, or receiving, part—which is us) must wait, and must be prepared, for the arrival of the active energies (the bridegroom.)

The waiting bride trims her wick in an act of conservation, conserving the light—that which helps her to keep an appropriate attention, to see—so that she will be ready when the bridegroom arrives. Much of the effort in Gurdjieff’s movements relates to developing the attention in preparation for arrival of something higher.

I’ve said before that much of our work consists of preparation. We can’t “call God down” to us. The higher energies we need for help cannot arrive outside the context of law, so we have to wait for their lawful arrival according to the progressive development of an octave above us which we cannot see, but invariably contribute to.

This realization that we are each part of a greater whole, a fragment of an entity on the level above us, may change the way we see our lives. It implies possibilities--and responsibilities-- that we are otherwise unaware of. Who else-- and what else-- depends on us and our work? It may well be that there are other people on this very planet who belong to the same octave we do. Are we a fraction of a single soul from the bardo, fractured at birth here? We don't know.

If it's so, then our relationships may be very much deeper and richer than we suspect. The question as posed doesn't just inform us of an interesting technical reason for our spiritual limitations; it raises the question of just who is "other," and who may be another part of ourselves.

That may cause us to bring a different kind of respect to life.

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

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