When we consider the basic premises of the Gurdjieff work, there is a seamless conjunction of purpose between his esotericism and the biology of both man and the planet.
Man, we see, evolved in order to take in the impressions of the natural world. This is incontrovertibly true from a biological point of view; it is equally valid from a religious or esoteric point of view–especially in Gurdjieff's system, where impressions are the chief food for the development of man. Our organs–our cells–the molecules we deploy for sensing the world–all of these evolved specifically and exactly to be in a very precise relationship with our environment and the impressions it provides. This is true for every organism.
Why man evolved in this way is a question. Some scientists would have it that it is a complete accident; others argue that it seems to be directed by some unknown force, in light of the intricacies, idiosyncrasies, and peculiarities that guide it.
In Gurdjieff's cosmology, all of it serves the purpose of God–ultimately, the universe is a support system for God.
It isn't necessary to understand the why in order to investigate the how. In this case, a how may lead to a why, but a why can never lead to a how. The first is a practical understanding, a foundation; the second represents a theoretical understanding that does not illuminate practical issues in any meaningful way.
The sublime and extraordinary nature of every facet of creation feeds the nature of the soul. Man would be nothing without these impressions; a man is, in fact, the sum total of his impressions, so much so that every human being represents an entire universe into which his own specific universe of impressions falls. Everything that a man experiences can be seamlessly blended into his Being. This sensitivity, this receptiveness, is essential: by essential, I mean, there is and can be no real Being, no deep Being, unless a complete blending takes place.
Without it, I have fragments and fractions of a universe. It is a flower that has been picked apart until there are only shreds of petals left; I am unable to sense the existence of the rose, even if I prick myself on its thorns.
There is a force that can arise in man that does not speak in the language I use now. It has a wish. This force is unknown most of the time; to many, it is never known. But it is only this force, this most physical and organic serpentine arising, which has no beginning or end, that can begin to understand this question.
Immediately, instead of coming into relationship with the direct mystery, I use words: energy. Breathing. Sensation. Feeling.
None of these are true. They are just reflections of force, a force I wish to be in relationship with. The instant that I name it, it becomes a theory. I try to hold onto it. Every name attempts to explain why; every question asks how.
To ask how demands of me that no words be used. This is, of course, impossible; yet it is exactly this, the impossible, that must take place. The whole premise is already impossible: every impression and every word is categorically impossible from the beginning. Nothing that exists can exist or should exist. The fact that it does exist already places me in the midst of the impossible.
There are times when I come to this like an infant, understanding for a brief moment that there can be no actual point of reference other than consciousness itself; that all of the constructions, words, forms, are artifices that prevent relationship, true relationship.
This question, over time, slowly becomes a living thing that grows from roots, and spreads its branches and its leaves into every ray of light that surrounds me.
May our prayers be heard.