Monday, July 27, 2009

a question on negativity

An anonymous reader asked the following, which I think is a quite extraordinary question:

"Lee, I've been wondering in terms of the real flesh we seek to inhabit....what is the actual relationship of negativity to the silence we seek and in turn its relation to dharma by way of the possibility of being three centered rather than one or two centered?"

These are difficult questions.

I will answer them to the best of my ability, from the state I am in, within the context of my own experience.

Readers are also urged to evaluate these same questions in a similar manner, on their own terms.

We speak about silence, but we don't know what silence is. Even when we are in the midst of silence, we do not know its nature, although it may know ours. Silence is higher than any state we know from this ordinary moment; we might call it the Lord. The Lord does not submit to measurement. All of the instruments at my disposal are unable to probe this question; they must all, in fact, be utterly put aside.

In a certain sense, everything that I am in relationship to this is the negative polarity. I exist within the sphere of the negation of the Lord. So what I am, what I do, and say, and how I behave, what I think, the way I move, all of this is in opposition to the silence, in opposition to the Lord.

I don't know this. Within this state of opposition, so many phenomena arise -- things that I call "good" and "bad" -- and I am so involved with them, that I don't see my opposition. It is only in rare moments that something opens and more becomes possible. So much more, in fact, is possible that one should not speak of it, but rather -- yes, you guessed it -- remain silent.

How does this relate to the Dharma?

There is only one Dharma. It isn't divided. The divisions that I create in the Dharma, no matter how magnificent or complex -- or even simple -- they are, are illusions. They arise because of the opposition that manifests in me. So every perception of separateness is false.

How does this relate to individuality?

I use the word "individuality," because Mr. Gurdjieff often used this word, and it is an important word. It does not mean separateness, or specialness within separation. It means to be undivided.

To discover a lack of division is a big thing. I cannot force unity. I can invite it, but if it exists, it must discover me.

There is a specificity to the question of centers and to two-centered versus three-centered being. We can take it down to the most basic level. If you have protons and neutrons, but no electrons, there is no atom. If there is no atom, then cause and effect as we know them cease to exist. They will be something different. And there is no escape from the fact, no matter how you want to spin the question, that cause and effect is real, no matter how much nonsense you may hear to the contrary. Dogen said a great deal about this. Some earlier posts discuss the issue.

So reality -- the Dharma, which is not countless finite sets of relatives, but one infinite set of absolutes-- must have three forces. No real Being with the chance of manifesting with any force against my opposition -- which would, in its own way, become affirmation -- can appear unless three centers work in unity.

My negativity, or opposition, perpetually works to breed itself in the active hope of preventing this event.

I need to come to see the action of this opposition in myself. I am, as I am, unaware of it, and it takes many years of intelligent and, it must be said, rather gentle work in order to come to that. Going at it hammer and tongs with tools of iron will produce a great deal of loud noise and nothing else.

One might say, if one wants to approach the silence, one ought to try to do it silently.

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


  1. I don´t know if the question is regarding Gurdjieff´s ideas or not, but, in any case, under all traditions, we are supposed to be a "divine spark" living as an incarnated "light" inside a body. In G.´s ideas the fact of living in that flesh implies living under 48 laws, in hindu traditions under the law of Karma, etc.
    We are supposed to be able to "remember" our divine origin... something that is common to all beings but which is behind our way of not only "living", but also of interpreting, being "three centered"
    As Lee says, this is a really complex theme, also, to me it was not clear what you meant with "negativity", but, follwing Lee's ideas I can only confirm that we all are negative in regard to the dharma insofar we live in and for an incarnate life... maybe one or two centered beings live IN the silence, but they don't have "something" to live a conscious "perception" of that.
    In our case, as three centered beings, the problem seems to be that we follow one or another center without paying attention and since our earliest childhood we become a solid ego... something immaterial that ocupies the place of a real attentiveness that comes from something so deep tan cannot be "perceived" but onlu "lived"

  2. Thank you Lee for putting aside some of your thought for this question. K.


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