Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's complicated

So much of the experience of life consists of attempting to fit a template over everything.

I was walking the famous dog Isabel this afternoon at lunch time, and attempted to just be as open as possible, without slapping my interpretations on top of the experience.

Of course, it was impossible–the intellectual mind (that portion of the intelligence which is referred to as intelligent, but isn't) stubbornly insisted on interfering.

At the same time, I sensed, there is always the potential for a presence–and an energy–that comes from the core of Being, from the organic sense of one's self.

Dispensing at once, and entirely, with the inherent pessimism Ouspensky brought to the art of inner Work, I affirm for myself, now, as then--a little trickle of water from the well of reality is always available!

Taken affirmingly, each action can become a prayer in that direction.

I participate in many conversations over the course of a week regarding the nature of life, Being, and our inner work. We are for the most part rather interested in speaking about such things– you, as a reader, are probably interested, or you wouldn't even be reading this right now.

Such conversations are attractive. They suck us in, and away from the observation of this moment, subtly and effortlessly. Beguilingly, even. They even sound like they are leading somewhere.

At the same time, doesn't it strike you from time to time that we make everything too damn complicated?

I have an impulse to run, but I'm not sure I even know how to walk. I formulate spectacular aims for my life and my inner and outer work, and I formulate spectacular insights into cosmology, morality, and so on. It's a habit of mine. I think I know more than other people, I think I am smarter, and I think that I'm able to figure things out.

All of the energy of Being stands in opposition not just to those formulations, but to all the formulations. Being isn't complicated by such nonsense. It just is.

There is something refreshing about being able to walk along the banks of the Hudson River on a beautiful fall afternoon and not have to explain everything. When the tyranny of the associative mind, which rarely lets up, softens enough so that the cacophony is not in the foreground, there are myriad sensations and impressions that are unavailable when I am identified with the worrying.

There is an attention. It isn't forced. It's completely spontaneous.

The real need, I discover, is to live within this Being. Not to think about how to live within Being, or come to the moment with a formulation about what would be good or bad, desirable, or undesirable. Coming to the moment as I am, with a distinct and specific awareness within this body-- not forced, invented, or imposed, but rather, arising spontaneously from a relationship that is cultivated through a gentle and attentive intimacy-- I see that my explanations are really rather pointless. It is the unmediated flow of life in the body, the falling of impressions into the deeper parts of being, that matters.

I could call it work, but it isn't work. I could call it understanding, but it is not understanding. I could claim it as my own, but it does not belong to me. It is all part of one thing. That thing doesn't have a word for it... it's not even a thing.

Every limitation and interpretation imposed on it arises from a collapse of meaning, not an increase.

What I mean by this (just watch me get away with saying that, LOL) is that every effort at interpretation, of necessity, actually strips infinite layers of meaning away from what is taking place, in order to reduce it to something much smaller-- tiny, even-- something “understandable,” when in reality experience is being deliberately impoverished by fractional parts (individual lower centers, if you'd prefer I use Gurdjieff jargon) which are, by themselves, inept and incapable--all in an attempt to stick it into various boxes which are much too small for it.

As such, efforts by the ordinary mind to discern or impose meaning are actually a destruction of meaning. Meaning, real meaning-- Truth, as we might to refer to it, or, the Dharma-- can only be sensed from an inner level, or state, if you will, different than the one we usually inhabit.

It struck me today during this walk that we talk about men having two natures. I have even written about it myself. But I don't think this statement is accurate. Man does not have two natures. And there are not, as De Salzmann was known to say, two worlds.

Man has one nature, and there is one world.

What man is afflicted by–what I am afflicted by–is the perception that there are two natures, the perception that there are two worlds.

Where this division arises in the psyche and the spirit is a difficult question.

The act and the art of Being is to execute deft "inner footsteps" around such questions and, so to speak, to go straight in the door without all the long introductory conversations. We all seem to spend a lot of time talking about and thinking about what we are, who we are, how we are, and why we are that way. It serves a certain purpose–but it does not awaken the parts which are separated, it does not call the various lower centers together. Something entirely different is needed for that.

The tricky part is that we keep getting stuck in these theoretical conversations and formulations. It makes part of me feel smart and sound smart to say things such as “man has one nature, and there is one world," but the information (even if it is correct) is worthless except in the context of direct and immediate experience within the organism itself. That is, it doesn't actually qualify as information unless it has been formed inwardly.

And, as I think most of us have learned by now, I don't get up out of bed in the morning and say “this morning, I will experience one nature and one world," and then have that happen to me.

As I have pointed out before, however, it's possible to start the morning with a specific and intimate observation about how I am. That may carry over into the day: I might actually take a look around me from time to time, to see how it is to be here within this life.

A sensitivity to a finer vibration within is possible. It just takes time, patience, and a little bit of attention...

a simple approach, without all the philosophical wiseacreing.

May the living Light of Christ discover us.

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