The ordinary mind, the mind of this level, is dominated by our personality. It's an entity formed by outer events which orbits the inner core of our essence. Our essence knows something of a higher level; having been formed by it, and arriving on this planet at our birth, it still maintains an intimate contact with that higher energy that creates life and wishes to participate in it.
We are trapped in the orbiting entity. It hears about Being and non-Being; Love, Bliss, the attainment of nothingness, going beyond, enlightenment; it hears magnificent yet somehow cryptic remarks from masters such as Gurdjieff and de Salzmann, Dogen, Yogananda and Krishanmurti; and it is sometimes touched by something of the essence.
Yet so many mysteries always remain, and so much is obscured by the circus of this level, that the aim and purpose of work don't seem certain that all. This is where doubt arises; what should one actually do—or not do?
The confusion collapses into disarray. There are sects, there are practices, there are arguments and philosophies, metaphysics and atheisms. As Gurdjieff once said to Ouspensky, people "...begin to break one another's heads. Everything ends this way with people." ( In Search Of The Miraculous, page 26.)
What we don't see is that this process is not an outer process—it is taking place inside of us.
Gurdjieff also said that "to speak the truth one must know what the truth is, and what a lie is, and first of all in oneself. And this nobody wants to know." (Ibid, p. 22.)
We speak about lying sometimes as though it were many different things, ten thousand sequential conditions in us, when really it is one big thing. The entire situation is a single lie, in the same way that chief feature is all of oneself. Trapped within a single enormous lie, everything that can be thought about it is a lie. In the end, the bliss, the being and nonbeing, enlightenment, going beyond, and everything else are a lie. This isn't because they are bad; each one of them is in itself both an expression of the whole and a whole expression. But each one is partial. This is what we don't sense.
Nobody actually wants to know—to really understand, to know in one's marrow—that we are under authority, that we must be obedient to the higher. We are willful creatures. If one spent 1000 lifetimes and ascetic disciplines and extinguished 99.999% of one's willfulness, the .001% would spring back to take over. Here is the ultimate impurity in us which keeps us in purgatory.
To become close to oneself in a sense of intimacy is to begin to make it possible to touch—and be touched by—the higher. It isn't confused by these situations. Above all, to be penetrated requires submission and humility. This force is able to bring these qualities home to us, at which point the sense and aim of existence becomes quite different. I speak here of the inner sense and aim of existence, which has absolutely nothing to do with achievement, success, being liked or disliked, enlightened or unenlightened, or whatnot. To be penetrated involves an action that is sacred and intimate, that becomes a matter that is only between God and a single man or woman in the innermost core of their being.
The kingdom of heaven is indeed a father; and there is indeed a mother who gives birth to a Christ child. This isn't a matter of mythology; in our solar system, it is an astral truth related to the sun and the earth. Humans are the expression of the entity that has the potential for the birth of this Christ child; and perhaps it is saying enough to remind everyone of what the destiny of Christ is in this story.
He is crucified.
Within the acceptance and action of that crucifixion lies the heart of understanding what inner work is and why it is engaged in. Many of the essays in this space have attempted to bring readers closer to an inkling of why we work; and the intricate cosmological processes that caused our arising, and make work absolutely necessary, even obligatory. I suppose one could argue that pointing the finger directly at any of these things may be a mistake; mea culpa. Nonetheless, in the grip of a maelstrom of influences on this level, if no finger points towards heaven, men will most certainly forget it is there. Every single one of us who is able is responsible for a numbering that we have a compass, and making sure that our eyes are on the needle as it points North.
Heaven is not a place of infinite bliss and perfection, a wondrous dawning of light where Flower Ornament Sutra blossoms will endlessly unfold. There is more to the question than this. Exotic philosophies and attractive disciplines (even austere disciplines can become quite attractive, because so many men, in their perversity, firmly believe that austerity is righteous) can't begin to explain the weight of responsibility on our shoulders, or what our organism is ultimately designed to do.
Even if a man is able to sense bliss and perform miracles, that would not be enough. The calling is a sober one that carries rewards, but tries a soul to the depths of its understanding. Gurdjieff was the only man who truly knew something of this; he alluded to it more than once in his remarks about the Sorrow of His Endlessness, and the gravity of our condition was remarkably outlined in his chapter on the Holy Planet Purgatory, found in Beelzebub's Tales To His Grandson.
I respectfully hope you will take good care.