The nature of being on this level is such that I am thick.
Materiality as I experience it is coarse and crude. I may think it's quite refined; when I encounter great works of art or music, striking pieces of architecture, or the objectively beautiful impressions of nature, I see goodness. So within the range of its usual ability, my sensory experience conveys a certain kind of satisfaction.
Yet none of this is enough. This is not what I was born for. I live in a universe and a field of forces that I am generally unaware of. Coming in to contact with what Gurdjieff called "higher energies,” the influences of the sacred, a slow form of dissolving takes place.
What I am is more or less crystalline. My entire personality and all of the things that I think I am have crystallized and set into a rigid entity that I inhabit, thinking it is quite right. I don't know any differently.
It's only contact with an emotional force, a reconciling force that enters to influence the materiality I inhabit, that begins to help me intimate that this form, which seems to be so substantial, is actually empty. Paradoxically, I need to start to become empty to understand that where I am right now is the epitome of emptiness. What I "have" needs to dissolve.
This can only happen through the action of suffering. Not suffering in the sense of allowing bad things to happen to me, or admitting my iniquity, not in any literal sense. The suffering has to take another form.
That form is expressed within experience and presence. I need to be present to the experience. I need to inhabit my life. Impressions take on a different quality under such circumstances, but it is not the nature of that quality that matters. One might say that that quality was perfect, or sublime, or so on and so forth. Yet the quality of my impression, fine though it may be, is not necessarily the point. Every impression that is taken in more deeply has a finer quality to it. Yet it is the action that is important–the experience of the impressions as they enter. Not their definitions.
Impressions that enter me more deeply help to begin to dissolve what I ordinarily am. It is as though one were drinking a very fine medicinal beverage, one that slowly cleans out all of the garbage and nonsense acquired over a lifetime, replacing it with a certain kind of emptiness which has far more substance than what came before it.
This emptiness is an emptiness of quality that stands ready to receive what arrives. It doesn't make decisions in advance about how anything is going to be; it stands ready to allow what is to be what it is. It sidesteps the complications I create with my intellect. It makes an end run around the expectations I create.
Within this emptiness, this suspension of the world as I know it, lies an emotional quality that sustains. Without a sensitivity to that, and a willingness to allow that emotional quality to enter, nothing real can happen in me. The taking in of deeper impressions is, in fact, the arrival of an understanding relative to the nature of what life is.
The world has a clearly material quality expressed in terms of the objects that I encounter, and it has a clearly intellectual quality expressed in terms of the relationship between those objects–all of which are, as we know, subject to physical and chemical laws.
Generally speaking, I relate to the nature of life and to nature itself in a one centered manner; maybe I'm pounding nails into a board, interacting with the material quality. Maybe I'm thinking about the way physics works, interacting with the intellectual quality. Maybe I am even thinking about how physics affects the nail I am pounding, achieving a crude yet effective two-centered impression of my world.
What I do not see is that nature, as I encounter it, also has an emotional quality that binds all of the parts of material reality together. I can't be sure of why, but the fact is that man has generally lost the ability to sense this in any direct way, even though the organism is designed to receive vibrations of that kind. Of course, there is accrued emotional relationship to nature which, when it's there, consists mostly of association and enthusiasm; nonetheless, this is sediment. I say sediment, because it accretes in layers that appear to acquire significant meaning, but it might just as well be sentiment.
This emotional quality that exists within nature is the third force that binds reality together, acting between material and thought. It has more than a little bit to do with all of the discussions I have had in this space about the nature of Love; yet this force that ultimately creates reality is so sublime that it's probably better not to put a word on it at all.
This ineffable nature that binds thought and material together can enter the body. Not in any intellectual or sentimental way; no, it can enter the body in a way that dissolves what I am.
This three centered sensing alone, should I choose to become available to it and allow its action, can have a profound effect on my understanding.
May our prayers be heard.