Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Higher Standard

It is time to come down off the pedestal and stand on the earth.

Every kind of judgment, every petty attitude, every deed that is done without enough Love in it–every deed that is done without any Love at all in it, which is probably just about every deed, I think–all of this is worthless. Nothing acquires value except through Love.

Love can't be a hypothesis in life. It can't be a premise or an idea, a theory or a goal. It must be a practice which is immediate, a practice which lives in the now. And every act of self observation must begin with the question:

...Love?

Do I act with Love? Do I feel Love organically, in the marrow of my bones, where the Lord put it, right now? Or I am I estranged from that understanding? Am I busy deciding how inadequate other people are? Ah, yes, that sounds like me all right... is that where my work has led me? To a place where I think I am superior because I think I “work?”

Yes, it has come to this, hasn't it?

There is a ground floor. The higher standard consists of taking the lower position–the position of humility, of understanding my lack. Of seeing how I should be the last person in line for everything, about how it is important to offer to others first, and take for myself later. Of howevery idea of my superiority–even the legitimate ones–must be thrown out in favor of an outer considering of others.

Forgiveness ought to be unconditional. People don't see this. Always, there is one condition after another, one judgment or rationalization after another.

Of course this is too high a standard for us–but it shouldn't have to be. Love, Grace, and Glory penetrate every bit of matter–they are in the shit, as well as the flowers that grow out of it. We are not so far away from all of this: we are made of it–and yet, we turn our heads, we snipe at each other; instead of attending to ourselves, we are always attending to someone else.

Do you see that? I see it. I have to suffer myself in this way every day, a tension and a friction between the unconditional Love that forms the fabric of existence, and my own inability to inhabit it with the deep respect it is due.

There is no condition or circumstance exempted from this kind of examination. Every action that does not begin with Love has already failed to connect with the source of what is real, and can beget only imaginary results. But Love is painful–Love requires relationship–Love begins with seeing my lack, with seeing how I am, and that is a difficult thing. I don't like difficulty much, I would rather forget about Love and other people and what is needed to support them.

But what if?

What if the entire purpose we have here in relationship to one another is strictly to offer support, and the weight of the soul is determined by how well we perform that task?

The sorrow that permeates the temporary nature of our existence, the sorrow that lies deep in the heart of the manifestation of energy, the sorrow that Mr. Gurdjieff advised us we needed to help partake of–this endless, penetrating, and inestimable sorrow of the Lord–it breathes silently within the fabric of matter itself... and within us.

Yet we have become so insensate that we do not know it is there.

Gurdjieff alluded over and over again to the central place of emotion, the pivotal force of Love, in his work, and I am sure he knew in every cell of his body this sorrow I speak of.

It changes everything.

I see, in this sorrow, that I am indeed held to a higher standard–not a standard created by the mind, a set of moral dogmas or rules written down on stone tablets, but a standard that grows in the heart, rests in the bones, and pumps through the body and blood of my life. When I forget myself, this is the first thing that I forget.

What is self-observation? Year after year of a technical list of events and facts... of intellectual observations about how I think I am?

That is not enough. It can never be enough.

Every deed, every single deed, must be examined; and the part that must see it is the part that Loves.

If there is ever to be any awareness, it must begin here, because without it, there is no awareness, and there is no life in the spirit.

May our prayers be heard.

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