Thursday, May 20, 2010

transitions


My apologies to the readership for the fact that I have not managed to get a post up for quite some time.

It has been a time of transitions and changes. People we know well have died quite unexpectedly; grave illnesses have struck friends, and many other reminders of how temporary the conditions around us are have arrived on my doorstep. Right now, as is so often the case, I am traveling--currently in Georgia -- and in a few weeks I go over to Asia. Everything is constantly in motion, and here I am, moving within it. Echoing through every step that is taken is a single impulse which arises again, and again, and again within the organism:

offer, offer, offer.

I am forever learning how to offer myself to my life.

Over and over again, in the midst of this life, I pause to see how vital the effect is of just taking in one single impression more openly. It is the reflection of blue sky in the black marble of a train station floor at the Atlanta airport; it is the red of geraniums and the green of their stems gathered together in the flower beds of the town square.

It could be anything; it is everything.

We are here to drink life, and yet we rarely open our mouths, so to speak, to let the water trickle in. Our thirst for Being is a wish for this water, but we are so preoccupied we forget how to drink.

I see this over and over again in myself: identified with what is in front of me and what must be done on this level, even the immediate sensation of something higher may fail to remind me of the need for deeper relationship.

And why don't I open? Well, for one thing, the experience is overwhelming. I boldly think that if I could let the world fall into me, if I had the opportunity to take every drop of water and make it into wine on my own, within this body, I would do it -- and yet, when it happens, I see that I am in no way prepared to accept this capacity and meet it honestly.

That real sensation of life penetrates so deeply, suffuses so utterly, that it overwhelms. I am not ready for this -- no, I cannot drink this deeply. I have been put here, like all of us, to take in the impressions of this world in such a way as to offer them upwards, but I cannot surrender enough of myself to meet that task. When I am truly touched by that which falls inwards, the sensation erases what I know-- and I am afraid of that.

The process of seeing friends and family grow old, sicken, and die, combined with the pondering of this capacity that the organism has for drinking life in much more deeply than we generally understand it, serves ever more as a reminder of the presence of mortality. If sufficiently engaged in, if cultivated and deepened, the sensation of life itself as it is lived now becomes a reminder not just of life, and the celebration of the magnificence of consciousness, but also a reminder of death, of the eternal presence within the now of what Gurdjieff called the merciless heropass--Time.

Merciless just because it contains both life and death within itself, this incredible and terrifying contradiction that we inhabit. And, as paradoxical as it may seem, a force that actually stands apart from God -- just as it was presented by Gurdjieff.

In the midst of this, the sensation of life through consciousness brings me to a greater awareness of the constant presence of love, which is a substance that blends with everything as the one reconciling factor that can make the oscillation of life and death bearable, at least in some measure.

Somewhere within the eternal manifestation of this mystery -- which has been vouchsafed to the souls of men to encounter and ponder -- is the question of what Mr. Gurdjieff meant when he referred to "the sorrow of His Endlessness."

That sorrow is not an abstraction which exists outside of us, or in some other place, either physically or cosmologically. That sorrow is part of the foundation of material reality and of the universe itself. It is here, now, around us and within us, helping -- in the manifestation of its eternal mercy and love, which forms both the material and the spiritual-- to create the universe. It embodies the contradictions of time and eternity; of limitation and infinity.

Every man has the capacity within him to open his heart and sense some of this. It is how we are made, and what we were made for.

This is how I experience it today.

May the living light of Christ discover us.

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