Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Don't do anything

What if everything I do stands between myself and Being?

What if it is not possible to Be, in all my doing-to-be?

Gurdjieff famously advised his pupils, “Man cannot do.” We generally believe that this is a descriptive: it defines a condition we inhabit.

What if it is, instead, an imperative: a command? What if what he means is that man must not do?

Doing, after all, emanates wholly from my own ego and my own will. I stand within life, at the helm of what I see as my own vessel, commanding each situation and action as though I were in charge, I knew where I were going, and I knew what to do. The doing emanates outward from me. I am radiating my energy into the world, making it do my bidding.

Of course men endowed with the capacity of reason (not all of us are, you know) understand that this is ludicrous. No one makes the world do his own bidding, even though our psyches perversely try to convince us on a moment to moment basis that that is not only exactly what we ought to do... but what we do do.

Lo, world! Be as I wish you to be!

Perhaps the entire dilemma arises from the fact that this is my will being done, in direct contradiction to the Lord's prayer, Thy will be done.

I must do nothing. I should do nothing. In fact, only when I begin to do nothing do I do anything. And in the middle of life, no matter where I am, and no matter what inner or outer actions are taking place, perhaps it is possible to do nothing. Perhaps it is even imperative to do nothing. If I do nothing, something else can be done.

And in fact, the Lord is incredibly generous in this effort: the moment that I do nothing, the Lord does everything.

Everything is exactly as it was. All of the events are still taking place: I am walking, I diligently tote my camera–the famous dog Isabel is behind me or in front of me, I am surrounded by trees, reeds, and catbirds. The Hudson River is still there.

Nonetheless, everything is different: I am not doing anything. Everything is already sufficient, already complete, and I simply walk forward into life, without any need to do. Each moment is sufficient unto itself, without my interference.

Every one of my efforts stands in the way of real effort.

Real effort is the abandonment of effort, but the abandonment of effort in a new way, from a new gravity, with an openness that defies the opaque nature of my personality.

Grace is only one heartbeat away.

Seek it by doing absolutely nothing.

May our prayers be heard.



1 comment:

  1. Lee, I have a slogan that I suggest to my students,and that is that doing nothing is the "first Doing" It is VERY DIFFICULT TO ACCOMPLISH. To sit for even 8 minutes and "do" nothing -- and I mean NOTHING. The Chinese call it the "fasting of the mind."

    Then there is Wu Wei. Wu is a term which meaning the nothing that existed before heaven and earth, what physicists now call the roiling in the "cosmic foam". Subatomic particles are blinking in and out of existence continuously. We also, blink in and out of existence, but so fast that we have come to believe in our substantial realness of our bodies and mind and emotions.

    Truth (which is non digestable by "man") is that we do NOT exist, except through a play of forces over which we have virtually no command.

    Can you cease from breathing? From peristalsis, or stop your heartbeat?

    we live on an iceberg with an oar. Our kaleidescope of aversions and desires have us by the short hairs.

    This is very humorous -- a man rows in his chosen direction, but 9/10ths of the iceberg are below, like the sub and unconscious parts of a "man". So the man rows but the iceberg goes in another direction; the unknown ocean currents driving it.

    The "man" gets frusdtrated, so he rows in another direction -- asgain, he is thwarted, so he goes around and around until he happens to be rowing in the direction that the iceberg is already moving...

    "See, I have WILL and free power of direction."

    If this were not so sad it would be a comedy, which it is, until the first rascooarno, when a man is given the 2 books - the book of his manifestations and behaviours, and the book of his utterances, both verbal and subliminal.

    What a surprize is in store for him. he has died like a dog without ever knowing himself. Pitiest thou, oh man, for thou goest where the wind blows. No "Nir-Vana"(without wind); no Kaivalya (debraiding of the three forces and perfect aloneness = inperturbable, and free in both the lesser and greater freedoms.

    Man cannot "do", and only when he realizes his own nothingness can he become a worthy servant, attenuating the burden of our endlessness, who also prays for the hope of mankind, the last emergence of the Pandora's Box.

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