Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas eve 2008

It's Christmas Eve, very early in the morning. As the Christian world prepares for this celebration of Hope and Love, the appearance of a new light in the world, I find myself once again contemplating what this question means.

As I have pointed out before, it's difficult for anyone who is serious about the Gurdjieff work to separate it from Gurdjieff's contention that this work truly is, so far as we are able to understand it, "esoteric Christianity."

I am called once again to remember what Frank Sinclair told us in his fine book, "Without Benefit of Clergy." He recalled the moment one Christmas when Gurdjieff himself advised those around him to call on Christ for help.

Mr. Gurdjieff understood something real here, something that is almost impossible for those of us who live in the modern western world of the 20th and 21st centuries to understand.

He understood that the forces that wish to help men are real and living forces, and that the individuals who live on levels higher than us are real individuals, not metaphors, or folk figures, or figments of a religious imagination.

This is a chasm we are unable to step across in any intellectual way. Mr. Gurdjieff offered us the refined material of "Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson" in order to try and find a way to let something penetrate deeper into us, something on the order of a key that could unlock some of the understanding our intellect is so lacking in. Of course, our intellect deconstructs even the best of material until its value is corrupted.

Nonetheless, we soldier on.

Today I am called on -- in an inner sense -- to remember that something higher has a wish for all of us. I have an individual responsibility to remember this. If I don't work -- if I don't make an effort to strip myself naked emotionally and say yes, to be willing to receive something that can help -- the entire state of the planet suffers. I know that probably sounds grandiose, but it isn't personal. The planet suffers with each and everyone of our lacks, both individually and collectively.

When am I humble enough to ask for help? When do I begin to understand the act of prayer in something more than a mechanical way?

When do I acknowledge that my search for Christ must become a living thing, rather than an idea?

This only happens when part of me steps aside. Every part of me that thinks it is me, every part that grasps, and plots, and plans, and analyzes, must becomes silent and make room for other forces.

may our hearts be opened, and our prayers be heard.

1 comment:

  1. Once, before I began following Mr. Gurdjieff, I had a remarkable experience. I was in a very bad way, and on my way to a very bad self destructive act (no, not suicide-I know too much for that).

    I was walking downtown along first avenue and I began to reason with myself: I know that there is no such thing as "time"; that it is a construct, and all that is, is, can't be was, IS. Past as well as present, shimmering in potentialities. The past can be changed, I know that.

    In any case, as I was walking down, I thought and reasoned with myself about the powers of Christ Jesus. There is a story about the Centurion, a Roman Soldier, who asks Jesus to save his child, who is near death. Jesus acquiesces, and starts to go with the Soldier but the Soldier stops him and says: "I know that you are under authority (God the Father), and I am also under authority, and my men are under my authority. If I give an order, I do not have to be present to know that my commands will be carried out. Therefore I also know that you do not need to trouble yourself with physically coming to my home and seeing my child. Only say the word, and I know that he is saved back to life.

    Jesus himself was astonished, and declared, "be it as you wish" and he turned to his own followers and said, "never have I seen such faith as in this Soldier (a gentile)"

    So I reasoned with myself that Christ Jesus was outside of time, and if he could cure the Centurion's son over distance, he could if he wished, cure me without concern for time. So I asked him for help, and I swear to high heaven that the help came and I was set free. It was a moment of incredible grace. I turned around and began walking back uptown, away from disaster.

    By a few blocks the devil showed up, as well as a guardian angel, and they fought over me. The devil said "how long will this grace last? A week? A few days? Can you stay in this state forever; no, you will fall. And the angel said to hold fast. I walked several blocks in this struggle.

    I wish I could report that the devil lost, but he didn't, and I lost faith, sunk in the water like Peter, and turned again. This nearly led to my death, and I was visited by a karma that put me in the hospital for three months, where I should properly have died.

    Of all the things in the world to claim, Bob Marley saved my life by sending me a song, which became a mantra and led my out of death. It turns out that Bob owed me a favor, for sending him a musician by my actions many years before, and in the esoteric realm he owed me and paid this debt.

    I cannot explain it all, but your bringing the recollection of Mr. Gurdjieff's advice brought that back to my memory, and it is well worth pondering.


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