Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Something more specific

One of the most common words used during exchanges in the Gurdjieff work is "something."

I'm not guessing. Some years ago, a group of people auditing a wide range of official (i.e., not bootleg) tape recordings of Gurdjieff meetings and events actually studied this, and in analysis discovered that the word "something" was used more than any other in describing various esoteric experiences, energies, questions, and so on.

It coexists rather comfortably with the stock Gurdjieff Disclaimer, that near--mandatory preface: "it seems to me..."

All of this is well meant, of course, but perhaps we adopt such verbal habits out of a subtle fear. We're all afraid of being wrong... Of making a statement that others will object to. We all seek acceptance within the community (which may lead directly to an unfortunately imitative conformity) and we often fear looking stupid, or being otherwise diminished in the eyes of our peers and elders. And, to a certainty, egoism prompts us to wish to look smart.

Fear causes us to use excessive caution in both what we say and how we say it. This almost certainly isn't conducive to healthy exchange, but- speaking from my own experience- it seems rather difficult to overcome.

We're also afraid of making a commitment. If we say anything definite, well, gosh, that might look like an "answer," and according to our standardized dogma, we are not supposed to offer answers to anything... Even though the word "answer" means, primarily, a "response."

The upshot of it all is an unfortunate vagueness... a lack of focus. This outer lack is a direct reflection of a corresponding inner lack.

It's already a good habit to be more aware of how I speak and what I am saying in life... no matter where I am, whether in a spiritual exchange or just in "ordinary" life (as though that were separated from spiritual exchange, which it is emphatically not.) I find, for example, that it's especially useful to avoid the use of the word "something" and to try to substitute a more precise expression, if possible. Again and again, an active stance towards outward, verbal expression in life consists, for me, of a search within the moment for precision and, insofar as possible, originality, or authenticity, in choice of words. Not self-consciously or out of considering, but attempting to draw directly from that freedom and spontaneity that is born of an awareness of the moment.

I make this effort because it occurs to me that the tendency to be vague- to avoid commitment, to keep things fuzzy and undefined- is a reflection of my passive attitude. The easiest thing to do, I find, is to avoid any precise observation of the present state, and avoid any precise relationship to it. As long as it's kept in the area of vague, insubstantial, ephemeral, I can push it off to one side and excuse myself from looking carefully.

And it's this lack of care, of a clear and exact willingness to be here as I am, the way I am, that is at the root of my insufficiency.

I cannot see anything about how I actually am unless I have an intention to be more specific.

This specificity consists of an inner action, a more distinct relationship, between my parts. It doesn't mean I am seeking (or providing) more exact, accurate, or spectacular definitions of what I see. It doesn't mean that there is a predictable formulation taking place within me which can then be applied like a template to what arises.

Instead, it means a more precisely active stance in an inner sense. This is a living quality, not a thought. In some senses, in fact, I have to stop thinking in order for it to appear.

The act of becoming more specific, in other words, is an organic effort, not born of tension, not mediated by assumption, but rather discovered by invitation, and moderated by the participation of more parts than I usually muster when confronting the moment. All this, done NOW.

So, right now, I need to be more specific within myself. This involves a kind of discrimination, an inner examination, that calls me together. The discrimination is born of intimacy- a specific inner sensation of my self, a specific and tangible awareness of the sensation of Being.

This sensation of Being... I also refer to it as the "organic sense of Being-" is distinct and apart from organic sensation of the body. That is a distinct sensation of its own, and by itself, although of inarguably great value, it does not provide a sensation of Being. As formidable a foundation as it may lay for me, it isn't enough.

The sensation of Being is specific unto itself and arises from a combination of organic sensation of the body, organic awareness of the mind, and organic sensitivity to the feelings. I could use the word "active" instead of organic, but in a certain sense they are interchangeable- what is organic is essential, it is inherent, it is in and of the organism, and it exists in, of, and for itself.

So it is active. The organism, its capacities and potentials, are always active. It is "me"- this peculiar and poorly understood thing I refer to as the "self"- that isn't active within the context of my perpetually available organic potential.

Being does not hesitate or prevaricate- it arrives here in the moment, and participates.

I use the terms sensation of the body, awareness of the mind, and sensitivity of the feelings to try and move towards a more definite inner understanding that these three qualities, or minds, are distinct and independent entities within the body; that they can be sensed separately from one another; and that each one has a unique quality of its own that is not shared by the other two parts.

They have the capacity to share experience in blended form, even though each one speaks its own special language.

And it is precisely this capacity, if actively sensed, that makes way for the birth of real Being, as Gurdjieff described it in the last chapter of "Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson." ("From The Author.")

In any event, I feel a need to move in a direction more specific than "something." This impetus serves as a starting point for my exploration of a more immediate quality in work in life: a willingness to be more intimate, and more specific, rather than floundering around in water rendered muddy by my own agitation.

May the living light of Christ discover us.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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