Friday, December 5, 2008

negativity and intention


I've been taking a practical look at this question of my negativity over the last couple of days.

The question relates to broader investigations, including the investigation of what it means to be intentional. And of course, inevitably, the question of negativity arises in the context of our inner partiality, that is, the failure of the centers to be in proper relationship, and the consequent leakage of energy which then "goes bad."

My negativity is an active force. It actually arises with a wish for itself. How clearly do I know this? Not very clearly. Because I am so often identified, I take my negativity for granted. I don't see it as a force; how I see it is, in a real sense, by believing it is what I am. And for as long as I believe in it as what I am, there is no escaping it.

It's only if I have a separation from this experience and understand it as an arising phenomenon, rather than an inescapable premise, that I have a chance to go against it.

And this, of course, is one of the few places where Mr. Gurdjieff said we could "do." We are able to go against our negativity. He advised us to oppose our negativity through an act of non-expression of negativity. Not non-experience of negativity; no, he expected us to experience our negativity quite fully. The point was not to lose the negativity by expressing it outwardly. In other words, negativity has a value for us, if we see it and keep it contained. There is a close parallel here between the idea of non-expression of negativity and the nonattachment of Buddhism.

All of these understandings, placed in relationship with the negativity I see arising in me, especially in the morning, caused me to ask myself several things. One of them is whether or not it's possible to go against the negativity by seeing it and simply saying "no" to it.

Is it possible to be in relationship to the organism in such a way that there is an active intention to oppose my negativity?

And does Jeanne DeSalzmann's admonition to us to make an effort to "see our lack," and thus attract a relationship to something higher within us, bear a relationship to this question?

I find that it does. I need to be prepared within myself to encounter the fact that I am negative, and to suffer it.

In that encounter, I have to understand that negativity is a force of its own that has a wish, a wish that I must make an effort not to be taken by. There needs to be an active effort to create a polarity in Being that is positive, that is, to consciously know that both ends of the stick are there. [And here, perhaps, I begin to discover a constructive use of that force called imagination.] Unless both polarities are simultaneously present, the opportunity for a reconciling force -- and, thus, the transubstantiation of my negativity -- cannot exist.

This means, in my own experience, that there needs to be an effort to be more intentional in relationship to negativity. That intentionality actually does include an effort to be positive, only not an outward effort.

Furthermore, the intentionality and the effort must seek both their origin and their support in a relationship between the mind and body, that is, within the organic sense of being.

It's absolutely possible for a man to become aligned with forces powerful enough to eliminate inner negativity. This is an extremely unusual state, and cannot last long with us the way we are. Only with Grace does it truly become possible, because here we speak of a level where man truly cannot "do."

It is, however, this constant effort on our own to oppose our negativity that may lawfully attract the attention of a greater force that sees our helplessness, and is willing to intervene.

I am reminded here of Matthew, chapter 6, 28 -- 30.

"28: And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30: Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?"

If I am willing to go against my negativity with an active intention, a faith, that something greater than this mechanical and destructive impulse in us is possible, I begin to work on a possibility that can clothe me in an inner glory, rather than the squalor my negativity seems to prefer to dwell in.

May our hearts be open, and our prayers be heard.

3 comments:

  1. Lee, first of all, thank you for all your insights and candor. I have been in the Work for a little while. I study with a small group in Orlando, Florida. 2 of my teachers are from the Foundation and I am so grateful for them and their insights. Early on in my studies I found that almost all of the religions especially the eastern philosophies have much in common with each other and the Work. My teachers told me that was a good thing that I could see past the individual dogmas and bias so I find your interests compelling and confirmation of my own understanding.
    My question to you is this; I have come to a place where it is very apparent that I habitually come from a place of lack and negativity and even though I practice positive affirmation and attempt to be aware of my thinking and motivations. I see that most of my experience is still only know in the headbrain and not in the whole of me and that I cannot help myself in seeking results. I have had many wonderful experiences and I am aware that my questions right this moment are coming from the mind and ego but that does not enable me to understand how to open up to more of myself to allow real intention to manifest. I always find it so amusing to write any of my questions openly to anyone else because as soon as I do, I see the answer or the uselessness of the question. I guess a better way to ask would be to ask how to stand in that middle place between yes and no and not knowing and really be ok with that state.

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  2. Todd,

    it sounds to me like you're getting your feet solidly under you in these questions.

    I'd stick with the guidance the people you are working directly with are giving you, because--to me--it sounds like they are right on. And the place you are is a good one; the questions you're asking will lead you inwards, which is where we can begin to see how fragmented we are.

    Don't get frustrated. I know almost everything with the head. My "life"--such as I currently experience it-- begins there. It's only with years of work that I can discover a beginning to life that is grounded in the other parts.

    Work with patience, work with love, and work with people. You'll get there--and it's worth it.

    Lee

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  3. ...[And here, perhaps, I begin to discover a constructive use of that force called imagination.]... I am pondering this sentence. Not sure to get it within the context...

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