Thursday, October 21, 2010

No prepared statements

The idea of living in the moment is often forwarded in spiritual works–the Gurdjieff work as much as Buddhism, for example. But how often do we actually approach anything that way?

For example, I have a spare hour here, and I thought I would post to the blog. But immediately, I see that what I want to do is plan something out–have a subject, say something special and intelligent. There is an inability in me to just take the enterprise as it stands, as I am, right here, right now, and begin to speak, quite naturally, dictating just what comes, and not some plan which I have devised.

Even when I try to stop for a moment and launch myself, so to speak, “into the void,” in that very instant, I find myself making plans about what to say. It is insidious: there is a part in me that forever wants to generate the form that will follow, not participate in the form that precedes me.

This was a rich week, filled with plenty of impressions. There were conflicts. (There always are, aren't there?) I read my poetry and showed slides of Asia at the Orchard House Café in Manhattan on Wednesday. There have been a number of exciting walks with the famous dog Isabel. (Who is doing just fine, thank you.) And the whole week has been filled with a windy, cloud-spattered sky, and the green, red, and golden colors of autumn.

Above all, there is a sense of being here. Just being here. Not much needs to be done; the simple act of existing has a gravity to it that transcends much of the activity that life requires. Oh, yes: the activity takes place. It is real. And yet the relationship is with the body, with the gravity, with the inner sense of self, not with the activity.

When Jeanne DeSalzmann says that we are taken–that was the word she usually used for it–it is this activity that we are taken by. What goes on around us consumes us. There is an absolute conviction, isn't there, that the activity is what it is all about? At least, I find it so, unless and until the gravity of my own Being is strong enough to resist that. At that point–a point I have been at any number of times this week–most of the activity, although it needs to be engaged in, becomes an afterthought, and seems, in many ways, unimportant.

So if the activity–if the daily requirements of life–seem unimportant (and I mean that in a qualified way) then what is important?

Well, paradoxically, these exact same daily requirements are all of paramount importance, but in a completely different way.

What is important is the relationship to Being within the context of these daily requirements. That is to say, the inhabitation of these daily requirements, this daily bread–if you will–and the inward flow of these impressions of life, these absolutely ordinary impressions of life–which are the selfsame water which, under the right conditions, turns into wine.

The New Testament parables about this phenomena of changing water into wine were characterized by Maurice Nicoll, in “The New Man,” as the transformation of one level of truth to another. That transformation can only take place right now, within the human being who perceives it. And it is nothing more or less than the transformation of the ordinary. In this transformation, the levels of vibration in the body quite literally change-- tangibly, organically.

So the daily requirements are still here, but the relationship to them has changed a great deal. Specifically, the way that they nourish the Being has changed. And it is this nourishment of Being that becomes interesting and is of such paramount importance, as opposed to the things that take place.

Things that take place are all dead ends, in a certain sense, unless they are ingested in such a way that they participate in the inner transformation of my life. This is why people can reach the end of their lives wealthy and famous, and yet be terrified and alone. It's not uncommon. When things alone are what a human being pursues, they are left, in the end, with nothing, because things in and of themselves are perishable, and ultimately useless.

Only the transformation of the soul matters in the end.

That transformation takes place by small degrees, in the taste of the air by the side of a marsh, in the yellow color of leaves about to fall; it is in the wings of birds and the curl of a cat in my studio.

We think we will find ourselves in the grand gestures, but it turns out that all of life--what it is, what it can be– lives within the smallest details.

May the living Light of Christ discover us.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lee,

    I like the Oct. 14 photo; the fall colors are wonderful. The blog is so familiar, in the sense of hearing many of my thoughts; resonating with your meanderings and musings; much like my own, although not being a writer, I usually don't have the need to put something down for anyone to see, so I can cheat a bit. And edit too. But
    what can take me further? Something else is required. How can I open to it? Surprisingly (why surprised)I find that, my mind seems to have very little interest in going beyond its usual realm or toward consciousness. Who writes this? I must accept this lawful action.

    I'm finding the practical suggestions in Madame's book (not really a book; more a meditation) striking a different chord and very helpful. I'm not very comfortable in print, I feel the ecco of my voice, but little vibration. Where do I go? Who hears? Who is the enemy? Can I bear this?

    Enjoy your trip to China.
    Warm regards,
    Peter

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