Tuesday, June 3, 2008
what comes to us, and why
Today, after over six weeks of low energy, struggle against disease, and confronting a wide range of negativities, inner assistance has arrived several times.
This leads me to ask the question of how much is up to me.
From this perspective -- that of my singular and relatively powerful ego -- it's because I have worked. In other words, I did something. I am meritorious.
I stop here, because I recognize that that is not true. What I have been doing for all these weeks is asking for help. I am asking for it in many different ways by my various efforts, but the point is, I know I cannot go it alone. I need help both horizontally and vertically.
The horizontal help comes from my efforts with my wife, my family, at my office -- where conditions are quite difficult because of the economy -- and from struggling against the adverse circumstances that I find myself in. My negative attitude, which I have had to suffer face on and quite directly for weeks now, is giving way in large part because it keeps being seen, and it can't tolerate that. Unfortunately, from experience, I know it will go underground and pull a sneak attack. That's how we are. I will just have to live with it and deal with it when the time comes.
The fact is, I don't like any of this horizontal work. I have seen again and again in myself for the past 30 years that a large part of me consistently wants to run away. I have a horse in me that keeps trying to get away from the battlefield, and a great deal of my inner work consists of turning the horse around and pointing it back towards where the shells are exploding.
It gets tiring after a while, believe me, because the enemy seems to have an endless amount of shells and an endless amount of energy to fire them.
The vertical help comes from places I know little or nothing about. It doesn't come when I want it to; it doesn't come when I expect it to. It doesn't come because of clever inner exercises I have developed, or energy I intentionally take in. I do do those things; it's a fact. But being proficient in the acquisition of prana does not, I find, make us "worthy."
Yes, we may acquire some power that way, but I think it's temporary. And yes, it probably falls under the heading of a kind of work we ought to be performing. It's not, however, what we are here for. And it reminds me of something that my friend rlnyc has shared with me more than once: you can do all the exercises you want. Very cool things can happen with sex energy and other kinds of energy. None of it leads anywhere unless a man is already a master, and if he is, the place it leads to is not where it will lead us.
In fact, he does not even want to go to the places we could.
Before anything else happens, we need to submit. This is why Islam puts that word at the introduction of its practice, by naming it such. As I grow older, I increasingly see that my path is indeed a path of submission.
In the end, it's only in the asking for help that the help comes, not in the permutations that I cleverly design for my work.
Mr. Gurdjieff famously said that every happiness in life is experienced only as the result of some other unhappiness already experienced. In other words, in this supermarket called life, we pay for what we get with very hard coin.
And, as Christ said, a man cannot get out until he has paid the last penny.
May your roots find water, and your leaves know sun.