Friday, April 4, 2008
The Inward Nature
I was working once again last night on editing the sound files for "Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson," chapter "The Holy Planet Purgatory." In it, Gurdjieff expounds at length on how beings ought to consciously intake their three being foods in order to properly feed the development of the higher being-bodies.
Of course, this question may seem rather theoretical to most of us. Nonetheless, as I sit here, (attending to the sound of my voice as I dictate this essay) I see that there is an inward nature that receives the food of impressions in a quite different way than what my outward self is capable of.
This inward nature is variable in quality: not always active, and not always available. A great deal of what is active and available depends not on me, but on planetary conditions. It is up to me to take advantage of these conditions when they are favorable; going against them when they are not costs a lot of energy without producing much in the way of results.
If I am going to make any progress at all in ingesting my life differently, I need to learn to discriminate between times when things are possible and times when they are not. I also need to learn how to discriminate quite specifically between the two natures, the inner nature and the outer nature, in order to make use of the tools and equipment that are available for an experience of life that becomes more than superficial.
In order to do that I need to first discern, and then scrutinize, the level of vibration within the centers. Without an initial awareness of this, no intelligent alignment seems possible.
It's striking to me that one can understand a great deal about this question and still fail to work in a right way. Even the most practical understandings based on experience are rather easily torpedoed by the overwhelming influence of outside life.
If any set of circumstances whatsoever were going to teach me clearly how helpless I am, these would be it.
I have had a great deal of support over the past few days from various external factors. As usual, whenever this happens, I find myself provoked to examine my breathing much more carefully within the ordinary context of life, because so much of what becomes possible for me is clearly mediated by what can be acquired from the second being-food, using nothing more than attention.
Having a such connection arise is one thing; participating with it in order to feed oneself more deeply is another. One thing that has struck me recently is that awareness of the inner nature can cause one to withdraw into it, which is hardly the aim. What ends up happening is that I become too absorbed in my organic experience of life, and actually sacrifice a relationship with the outer.
This reciprocal relationship is, however, absolutely necessary from a balanced point of view. I wish to to bring my inner and my outer world together. I wish to inhabit the point of intersection, where my consciousness can participate in a more meaningful way. It is in the blending of these two conditions that my life arises at its most vibrant, and yet both the habit and the temptation is to be more invested in one or the other.
In attempting to discover a less partial relationship, I need to constantly turn my attention to the tools provided by the organic state of being, and apply them to the incoming flow of data from ordinary life through the senses.
There is living; there is breathing; there is hereness.
Turning back to an understanding that brings this into relationship with the ideas discussed over the past few days, I cannot escape influences. The idea that I can eliminate any aspect of reality as it stands from the picture, and thereby achieve something, is itself an illusion.
As Gurdjieff himself reminded us, a man must inevitably be under one set of influences or another. The question for us, as he posed it, is whether we are going to be under influences that are imposed mechanically, or influences that we make a choice to be under. A man can attempt to choose his being-location: inside or outside himself; or he can have that done for him. There are a great many influences in life that can drag a man downward, but there are also many that can lift him up.
It's a certainty- I'm not stationary. In every day, there will be an outer and an inner movement, up or down.
If I make the attempt to choose my location by beginning with the choice to be connected inwardly--to value myself rightly--I can at least know where I stand at the outset of this journey.
May your roots find water, and your leaves know sun.