Friday, March 21, 2008

To be a vessel

I've mentioned more than once how we are vessels--quite literally, containers -- into which the world flows.

This is indeed a fact, but the way we consider it, we usually think that it refers to the way that the outer world enters us. We are so firmly attached to this level that it is nearly impossible to conceive of it any other way.

This interaction with the outer world only represents one side of our nature. This set of impressions that belongs to the outer world is powerful, and does a great deal to feed our work, but it belongs to the lower. That is to say, this is the portion of our work that takes the coarse material of the world into the crucible of the birthing soul. The analogy of alchemy is apt, because it is this coarse material that must be transformed, and the vessel of the flesh, of this body that we dwell within, is the vehicle within which that transformation takes place.

In the act of transformation, we will discover that the world is nothing like what we think it is. We live in the midst of an alien planet that we have absolutely no understanding of. If an angel should appear -- this is rare, but it does still happen -- the shock of it is so great and terrifying simply because it is a brief moment where we are privileged to see reality clearly.

We're not prepared for that. Moments of clarity produce terror because they are so absolutely foreign, and because they reveal a world, through revelation and revolution, that destroys everything we think we are, and everything we think we know. Those who have read the Bible will know that Christ never hesitated in describing the arrival of the kingdom of heaven as calamitous. "For as the lightning comes from the East and flashes as far as the West, so will be the coming of the Son of Man." (Matthew 24:27.)

When we hear that description, it may remind us of the way that a thunderstorm charges the atmosphere with electricity. This is not very far off the mark, because the Beings and forces that transubstantiate themselves through us are all electromagnetic in nature. The levels above us manifest through that quality, and inject a "charge" into the octaves below them if conditions are right.

This may sound peculiar, but one need only look at Gurdjieff's explanation of the law of octaves to understand it better. He made it quite clear.

If we refer to the Enneagram, and we understand the differences between the two kinds of energy that are present in from the two different laws, we see that man's work as a vessel takes place at an intersection. Energies from this level--the one we live on--enter us and need to be worked with. The notes do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si--represented within the multiplications that begin with 142857 --all belong to this level, to the octave that we represent.

But the note do--and the consequent shocks that arise from its intervention-- come from a higher level. (Notice that the note do represents both birth on this level, and also birth on the level above us if our inner octave is completed.) It is the work of the finer, higher inner impressions that we receive--which we must learn to identify and prepare for through inner discrimination and inner effort -- that can help to raise the temperature within the crucible, so to speak. And, as I have also explained, a crucible that leaks bleeds out all its heat and energy. We have to learn how to seal our container.

In order to do this, we first need to discover the inner world -- the world of the crucible -- and know that it exists. Then we have to take in material of both the inner and the outer world that we have been so far squandering (think here about the numerous parables in the Bible about servants who did not know how to manage money properly!) and through a process of raising our inner temperature -- through friction that arises between seeing the contradictions between our inner and the outer world -- fuse the two together.

What comes from above, the material that is sent to us to feed our inner work--this "electrical charge--" is mysterious and often ephemeral. For many years, it may seem vague and insubstantial. There's no question, it is not always available -- I explained this in a post earlier this month--and it takes a great deal of patience and effort to acquire it. It is certainly beautiful, but it doesn't get served to us on a platter.

In this work, almost everything consists of preparation, and of patience. When will what we need arrive? As Christ told us, "...about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36.)

We must continue in unrelenting efforts to roll the stone away from the tomb of our ordinary, habitual way of living.

In doing so, we dare to hope that this mysterious force which cannot ever die will rise up within us, and lead us into light.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.