Tuesday, August 19, 2008

lying, and the field of association

...Did you know you can eat lotus seeds? I didn't. Not until this trip, anyway.

At the end of a long trip, a bit tired, I've found it difficult to organize myself and muster the energy for a post the past few days. as it happens, I am about to get on a plane to come home tonight, and I felt one last post from here in China was in order.

It's a difficult thing to admit to ourselves that we are essentially dishonest. All of us, in one way or another. This summer I heard a reading of Mr. Gurdjieff's where he expounded on this. In the reading, he told the listener that everything in their life is based on lies.


Of course, at the time, it occurred to me that he was painting the canvas a darker shader of black than was absolutely necessary. Nonetheless, looking back at it-having allowed it to percolate for a month, which is always needed--I can see his point.

For myself, living within the current experience of this life (that is, within a kind of self-observation which is no longer wholly based in intellect or imagination) I see that most of me has dishonest impulses, all of which arise within what I'd call the "field of association."

It's surprising how utterly self--serving my ego is, how it is always looking only towards what it can get for itself, and how sneakily, underhandedly, fundamentally dishonest most of the impulses that arise within the field of association are.

The fact is that I am constantly forced to go against these impulses if I don't want them to be the rulers and determinants of my life. And in order to do that I am required to constantly sacrifice--to make an effort to go against my lies, as best I can (which, truth be told, isn't very well.)

I say I am "surprised" by these parts, but that's not entirely true either. By now I've been watching them for so long that most of them are familiar old friends, even if their company is undesirable. I've seen my sleazy impulses once too often; when I was younger they were a bit harder to resist than they are now. Instead, today, the essential activity is one of watching this unpleasant side of me maintain a constant dialogue and critique of the events around me. It's rather annoying to have to watch one impulse after another which is dishonest and unseemly arise.

All of this calls into question just what I am. It turns out that anything worthwhile in me appears to be born precisely out of this mass of lying impulses, and the effort to prevent them from making the decisions.

The difficulty with finding oneself in the middle of this ocean of lies, and truly seeing it in a less partial way, is that the mooring for the ship is cast off, and one discovers that one is adrift.

The boat may be floating, but one sees that the direction is determined by the current, and one has not yet acquired oars or a rudder to direct it.

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

1 comment:

  1. It is interesting that you have seen something more objectively than before, when you thought that Mr. Gurdjieff was painting a canvas darker than it was needed to be painted. There is nothing wrong with being an optimist, just as there is nothing inherently wrong with being a pessimist, but the most frightening thing is to be a realist, which Mr. Gurdjieff was.

    That all pleasure is shit;

    That the world is ruled by negativity; and incorrect use of sex energy;

    That everything in the ordinary man's life is ruled and based on lies.

    These are hard sayings. People don't seem to have as much trouble with a pithy statements such as "time is breath" because it doesn't prosecute them for anything having to do with their behavior or inner life.

    Christ had some pretty hard sayings himself: love thy enemies; turn the other cheek; store up riches in heaven rather than here on earth, etc. He even advised that he had come to bring a sword of division between brother and brother, and that for those whom their family was not an enemy, they could not be his followers.

    It is said that many left him on account of these statements.

    Mr. Gurdjieff went through some of the same turmoil -- in the early days people claimed his system had no love in it, no optimism, no religion.

    Many of the people on earth have cataracts. They cannot see clearly. Or they wear rose-colored glasses, which are given them by the evil magicians.

    About this lying business I am lucky. Even when I was an infant I looked up and noticed that the adults were lying not only to others but to themselves. I had a kind of double vision where I could hear the words and see their intent while also at the same time seeing the inner intent of the emotions around me. And it was curious and frightening to see the manner of world I had been born into.

    This does not mean that I kept my cleanliness -- the pressure and the current of negativity is too strong for anyone to withstand. Not even a salmon could swim up that waterfall, so at a certain point I decided that I would have to succumb or I would be destroyed, like all those who are clean are destroyed by those in the world, who by fear and envy and their own maliciousness, cannot stand to be caught out.

    I agreed to succumb, but kept a small part to myself, unsullied. This has been my mast and lodestone, which is why I understood and appreciated some of Mr. Gurdjieff's most difficult pronouncements without question.

    I say without question because I had actually seen it all myself. It was already part of my being.

    I hardly think anyone comes to the Work knowing what they are going to actually be told, or find out. They come to be special, to have special knowledge and superior being. Most are crushed by the weight of the truth and flee before they are utterly destroyed.

    For others who stay because of the undercurrent of conscious and unsentimental love that they feel, they still rebel against the truth, preferring to seek for spiritual consolation rather then the death of the old man, and the birth of the alchemical child.

    Many knock, but the door is opened for very few. The knock must come with a supreme humility and tenderness and with extraordinary compassion towards oneself and all other people, even if they are under the sway of the powerful hypnosis of the world. The fourth room only opens to allow in its servants and friends. It will never open for those who use force.

    I don't know why it takes decades for some people to see certain things for themselves. I can only guess that this falls under the auspices of the parable of the seed, and that even amongst those who find the Work and enter into it, the parable of the seeds still applies.

    Have a safe trip home.



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