Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Departure, and Sorrow

Yet another post from the KAL business class lounge in Seoul, Korea.

There is a sorrow at the heart of the universe.

It is an endless sorrow born of love; a sorrow that knows no limitations. It is the sorrow of a parent for a lost child; a lover's sorrow for the death of the beloved; a regret for the very presence of time, let alone its awesome depredations.

Gurdjieff called this sorrow-- which, he tells us, every three brained being has an obligation to make an effort to sense --"the sorrow of His Endlessness." It is the sorrow of my master, the sorrow of our father. And somewhere within the depths of my soul, in the crevices where the parts of me that are not stained by this world are hidden, I smell the sweet, hopelessly eternal musk of this sorrow. Rising up like a fine perfume to color the experience of this world in a perfect way that joy could not.

This sorrow, however, is not sorrow alone; it is made of joy -- paradoxically, it is joy in itself, turned over and discovered in antithesis.

How can we hold the sweetness of time, of our life, between the sieve created by our fingertips? It's impossible. Everything passes --and this, perhaps, is the essential heart of the sorrow. we live, after all, in a world -- yes, in a universe -- of impossible beauty, a universe where beauty is revealed in every passing moment, in the movement of every photon, and the position of every electron.

It may sound romantic to put it that way, but it is true. And it is romantic in the sense of adventure, not sentiment. It's the very magnificence of the enterprise of cause and effect that evokes the emotion of sorrow at its transitory nature. Having created and embodied this endless perfection, God cannot but feel sorrowful for an inability to confer eternity on every event.

Gurdjieff once told Ouspensky that the difference between them was that Ouspensky sought beauty, whereas Gurdjieff sought consciousness. It may be, in the end, that to try to distinguish between the two is to split hairs.

All of this touches on matters too vast to comprehend. In the bliss of an inhaled breath with presence, in the sensation of the body within this existence, we can touch more closely on the question -- the mind alone can conceive of it, but is unable to sense it in ways that are meaningful. But we will never be able to plumb the depths of this mystery, which gives birth to every cathedral, every symphony, every dance.

When touched by this sorrow, we are called to work within ourselves even harder to become open to the presence of God, and to share the burden of this mystery and this sorrow.

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


  1. Yes, I am with you. there is an unrelenting sorrow at the center of the universe, and an unfathomable bliss. They are brother and sister, and live together in the hierogamos behind and underneath the heart, or "center" which is the sound without soundmaker (anahata).

    Very poetic, your post, but it speaks of things so fine that only poetry or metaphor can capture in the stupid language of words.

    I would only take up a defense against the following:

    "Having created and embodied this endless perfection, God cannot but feel sorrowful for an inability to confer eternity on every event."

    In my own study down to the depths of my own being, I have it on first hand knowledge that the perfection of the universe is it's imperfection; and nothing ceases to exist in eternity, which is why the old testament can say "and god recalls the past".

    god HAS confered eternity on everything. and according to physics, light travels along what are called null lines, meaning that for light both time and distance do not exist; therefore the entire universe exists at once, and at all times simultaneously. only we little creatures have time and space. god is apriory time, space and number, primordial, prispacious and priduration.

    Every "now" always was "now"; always is "now", and will always be "now"..

    Nothing can be added nor taken away. To read through the lines of your post, you have tasted eternity, in a breath, which is where it resides for all "things".

    We have red and blue blood coursing through each of us, both the bliss and sorrow that are conjoined, and to feel this conjunction is the "work" at it's heart, because it reaches the entire solar system and beyond, and it is at the same instant, beingparkdolgduty and conscious labor and intentional suffering.

    You must realise that the earth, and sun FEEL that you have reached this connection, and proved a conduit between them as befits a man. taking even a jot or tittle of this suffering through yourself, you have lightened His burden, and helped the government of all that is.

    If only we all could serve in this way, even for a moment -- everything would change.

    alas, tis not meant to be just yet.

    perhaps in several hundred or several hundred thousand years, after human beings get through puberty, and put away their childish toys, it will be as you have described as a foretaste of reality.

    when you write like this, i know you are my brother... and that i am not alone.

    remember silly little Paul? Knocked off his horse on the way to damascus to prosecute the christians? He said exactly what you have said:

    Romans 8:22: "For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until anticipation, etc..."



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