Friday, December 16, 2011
Really, there is only a single condition.
It's very difficult to see this. The nature of ego as we inhabit it naturally obscures it.
Because we have capabilities and are capable, we continually see ourselves as capable. We see ourselves as ones with power, ones who know something; teachers. Everyone falls into this trap as they live in the midst of their life.
The one condition that we fail to see is that we are all, perpetually, students. This single condition of life is here for us to become a student within it. There are no exceptions to this. Christ was a student; Mohammed was a student. Even the star pupils are students when they arrive in this condition of life. (Readers of Gurdjieff's "Beelzebubs Tales To His Grandson" will recall that every personal representative sent by His Endlessness to determine what was necessary for mankind first had to become a student of his conditions.)
The absolute condition of life itself, from its beginning to its end, is the teacher. Every condition, circumstance, human being, animal, and plant that we encounter is a part of the lesson.
Why is this?
We come here as individual, tiny, particulate representatives of the consciousness of God, which is eternally curious. God is unable to see His creation at the level we are able to see it. This is much like the case with cells; a cell in our bloodstream, for example, can see exactly what is needed within its own environment, but we are unable to. Yet the cell is undoubtedly a part of us, and is doing work on our behalf. It is studying its conditions at its own level, and perpetually learning to respond to them appropriately within its own conditions.
God's own search for awareness, a question treated elsewhere in this blog, causes us to become a living representative of his search.
Each one of us is hence a fragment of that Great Consciousness, seeking to educate itself about its own nature. The Great Nature of God understands that it needs to be educated. It understands that it is forever a student of itself; God is making an effort Himself to remember Himself, and we are the representatives of that effort.
This confers an enormous responsibility on us, because only a humility at the highest possible level will allow us to participate in this work. We are the receivers of God's lessons. In the religions, it is often said that God is teaching us through life; but what is actually happening on a metaphysical level is that God is teaching Himself. When a man truly realizes this, he "becomes" God... but perhaps, initially, only in the limited sense that he finally understands that he is an eternal student.
To become self-aware is to discover that we are part of the receiving nature of God. We are here to receive life; only in the measure to which we receive life openly and take it in deeply are we acting as the student we should be.
This life we receive is only for the edification of God. We do not live for ourselves; nor does life belong to us. Nor are we mere "representatives of" God; we are all, in our own microcosmic way, particles of God Himself seeking the truth of His own creation.
It's quite a different attitude to go through life and to suddenly see the process of impressions inverted in this way. Suddenly, I am not here to impart my wisdom to others; I am here only to witness, to hear their own wisdom. My question becomes a question of active attitude and active responsibility, not just a question of "what's going on here?" Curiosity, in other words, is not enough. Curiosity is a good beginning, but it is too idle to work. I need to see that. And above all, I need to constantly see the other as a teacher. Not just the other, but the totality of life, conditions, events, and circumstances.
The whole process of "listening,", which appears to have something to do with how I hear things, expands to become something much larger. It is a new kind of attention to life with a different attitude and understanding about exactly what is taking place, and it converts the process of ego, turns it upside down.
The ego generally points outward. Because of this – because it appears to be the local cause of our difficulties, spiritually speaking – we presume that we should become free of it. Actually, this cannot be the case, because it is generally impossible to become free of ego. What must change is our relationship to it. The ego must be turned around so that it points inward. This is probably one of the meanings that Gurdjieff had in mind when he referred to "conscious egoism."
An ego that points inwards towards the center of the soul begins to learn that it is a student. If I can see this for even one moment in my life, already, the entire question of life has completely changed.
That change cannot be intellectual. It must become organic.
I respectfully ask you to take good care.