Tuesday, April 1, 2008
On inner notes
If I'm going to be hanged for a penny, might as well be hanged for a pound.
This is another one of those posts where some individuals will think I'm posing as some kind of "teacher," so let's preface it by saying that this is not an attempt to "teach." I am merely passing on specific observations of my own about the technical nature of certain Gurdjieff ideas. Most of these observations can probably be directly derived from any logical study of the material.
It is entirely up to the reader to evaluate their accuracy based on their own work and experience.
Inevitably, in the course of discussing such ideas, I relate them to my own practical experiences, so far as I am able. If what I say sounds mystical or revelational, it's not out of an intention to impress, or to obfuscate. It's simply that it's quite difficult to put most inner experiences into words. In addition, it's a bit difficult to extract the revelational experiences from inner work. They are in the nature of the beast.
When we consider the enneagram, and its fractal nature, whereby every level is a model of all levels, we see that man has an octave within him.
This is a material fact, not a conceptual one. That is to say, the existence of the various notes re, mi, fa, sol, la, si in man is a material existence, not a conceptual existence. The notes represent both physical substances and the locations, or organs, that they are associated with. (Readers not yet familiar with this idea should refer to the essay for the initial work on this question.)
The broad implication of this understanding is that man is, within his own body and in the sense of his inner work, responsible for the notes "do" of six subsidiary octaves. A single note of a man's inner work plays the role of the "higher" for each of these lower octaves. In every case, the energy from that particular note -- be it, for example, mi or la--acts as the motive force, the higher "do," that provides the necessary shocks for the octave below it. The enneagram clearly depicts this relationship.
This is a fairly big deal, because it demonstrates that every one of us has been given responsibility for the maintenance of certain supporting octaves, or "worlds," or "universes," that lie below us.
This raises a much larger question. In our perpetual reaching upwards, looking upwards, striving to connect with the higher, how many of us pause to consider the very sobering and sacred responsibility that is imposed upon us in our stewardship of the lower-- of these individual notes?
Perhaps it means that if we don't do our inner work in a serious manner, we cannot feed the levels that support us properly. So we don't just "find ourselves" by looking up. We also have to look down, to consider what is needed for what lies beneath us. This requires an organic form of stewardship that arises within sensation, not within mentation.
The nature of the relationship underscores the intimate interconnectedness of our own nature and that of the universe.
It also raises many questions about exactly what it is that we are up to when we attempt to discover the flowers within ourselves and help them to open. In every instance, our effort to be in relationship with our inner centers in a deeper and more lasting manner feeds enterprises at levels lower than us which we are not even aware of.
So in completing our own inner octave, we undertake a work too large to be squeezed into words. It can, perhaps, be comprehended with the breathing, and through sensation, but the intellectual mind cannot draw a circle large enough to contain it. All it can do is offer a framework, a beginning. The physical and emotional work that we do is what puts flesh on these bones.
I've spoken many times in this blog about the need for members of the work to study the enneagram carefully, and to understand that it lies at the heart and that the soul of the work we undertake. It is not a peripheral symbol; it is what Gurdjieff called "the map of pre-sand Egypt," that is, a symbol that lays out the skeleton of worlds within us, which are covered by the sand of our ordinary senses and experiences, blown over the remains of our essential civilization by the constantly changing winds of our personality.
May your roots find water, and your leaves know sun.