Thursday, June 2, 2011

catnip


Perhaps we don't understand the difference between higher forces and lower forces.

Many years ago, while I was living in Georgia, I mentioned to the minister at my church that we seem to spend a great deal of time trying to pull the Lord down to us, instead of lifting our hearts and souls unto heaven.

The point is that these two levels don't really mix. They are not mixed. They interpenetrate; this is not, however, the same as mixing. Each level is distinct unto itself, even though levels are built from the levels below them.This separation between levels is both intelligible and necessary. Not only that, it isn't subject to violation, even though we seem to have a consistent wish to somehow employ the forces from a higher level to benefit us on this one.

All of this occurs to me because of the sensation that I had about a half an hour ago. I took coffee out into the backyard and took a look at the nepeta (catnip) blooming in our rock wall.

The impression was vivid and distinct. It was not visual: it was one of feeling. The lavender color of the catnip contained, within its beauty, an enormous amount of sorrow. This phenomenon is on the order of emanation: not a wave–not a particle–

A presence.

Now, it may sound odd to hear that: after all, why would anyone associate sorrow with beauty? This doesn't really make sense on our level–beauty is supposed to be joyful, wonderful, and create feelings of positivity. Yet I see there is an essential quality to it that comes from a higher level, and this is connected to something quite different. Beauty is, in all of its glory and perfection, actually an expression of the sorrow of His Endlessness. It was created specifically for that purpose: it represents a manifestation of the highest possible principle.

Our organism has essentially lost the ability to sense this truth. When conditions are right, if a man works, he may become open to such influences and begin to sense according to the aim and purpose he was created for, but this is relatively rare. Those of us who engage in inner work–no matter whether we are Christians, Buddhists, Gurdjieffians, Muslims, or what have you–may occasionally be given the privilege of such a sensation. It is in moments such as this that we see the world is quite different than what we think it is.

That is, after all, the problem: we don't live in the world, we think about living in the world.

The level from which the sorrow of His Endlessness emanates is quite distinct from our own level: nonetheless, every single object, event, and circumstance on this level arises directly from that sorrow, which lies at the heart of creation. Once again, the best place to begin to acquire a taste of a taste of this question is in the chapter “The Holy Planet Purgatory” found in Beelzebub's Tales To His Grandson.

In the end, it all comes down to the wind in the trees; the amount of moisture in the air; bees winging their merry way through a morning ray of sunlight, and the catnip in the driveway.

The color of the catnip in the driveway. That, and every leaf and spire of its substance.

I am here, incarnate on this level: this manifestation, in its current place and circumstance, is irrevocable. My potential place as a bridge between this level and something higher than myself is a privilege to be earned, not a right to be taken; any ability to sense the presence of the Lord in all His proximate glory is a Grace granted, not an action taken.

And all of that other level, the one above me? I know it not. A mere brush with it, effortlessly and almost casually encountered, reveals how very little I understand, and how utterly dependent I am upon the forces from a level above me to help me engage in the conscious labor and intentional suffering that Mr. Gurdjieff advised us was necessary-- if we wished to become whole.

May our prayers be heard.

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