Tuesday, March 13, 2012
A precise understanding
This is a critical point of work, because if one doesn't extend one's self observation into the intimate territory of a clear and precise understanding of one's parts, especially these two major parts, one doesn't really observe anything except the whirlwind of psychological conflicts that occupy our daily life.
It's not enough to understand the three centers of the intellect, the body, and the emotions. A precise understanding of this is very useful, no doubt; and it is, in fact, relatively attainable, because it's not that difficult for even the average person to distinguish between these three elements that make up a man or woman's manifestations. But essence—now, that must be sensed. It must be part of the organic understanding, not a theoretical, philosophical, or intellectual understanding. It must in fact be a directly sensed and understood manifestation of Being that stands apart and is clearly distinct from that of personality.
The great difficulty we all face in this work is that we live within personality, by and large. I've used the analogy before that it's like trying to see the outside of the bottle when one is on the inside of the bottle. Understanding it from the point of view of the enneagram can help, because once we see that personality moves around the outer circle, and essence dwells within the law of three, the stable triangle formed in the center of the circle, perhaps we understand that essence has a stability to it that can receive something higher, whereas personality is always relegated to the outer part of the circle because of the centrifugal force that drives it.
There must be an actual inversion of Being in order to sense essence. One must understand that one cannot "get to" essence from personality, that they do not occupy the same piece of territory. And one must first of all understand that everything of one's personality is insufficient and not related to essence.
Of course, without the actual experience, this whole question becomes a Chinese puzzle, an endless series of deconstructions orchestrated by the ego and the intellect. So the dropping off of Zen is necessary. Recognizing one's own nothingness is, in large part, completely abandoning personality and ego and standing naked and alone in a place where there is nothing, to see where that leads. This may create an opening that essence can express itself in, and one may get a direct and absolute taste of it. The true nature, one's original mind, one's face before one was born: all these expressions from Zen relate to the recognition and inhabitation of the essence.
One other way that this can happen is if everything in a man or woman's life is destroyed completely. It's a very useful experience, but one can't and shouldn't intentionally try to create conditions that will result in that. The reasons for this are many. Fortunately, most people understand that intentional self-destruction is a high-risk way to attain any legitimate realization. But it has been seen as a path in some traditions.
Only with a clear understanding within one's self, an inner understanding that is intimate, direct, and organic, of the difference between essence and personality, can one begin to understand all the truly valuable material encountered in The Reality of Being. Self observation must become much more than an analysis of one's behavior. It needs to evolve into a specific and momentary discrimination regarding what influences—what inward flowing forces—are manifesting, and the nature of the place where they are entering the Being. This needs to be seen with a conscious effort.
Essence has a completely different center of gravity, a different awareness, than personality. For all intents and purposes, it is the center of gravity, because it has a stability to it that is unattainable in personality. It has the capacity to be a vertical mast, firmly attached to the root of our being, yet reaching towards the heavens.
Essence is open to bringing down a finer energy that serves. Our personalities are the sails of the boat, flexible, always in movement, and with the capacity to catch the wind and direct the boat correctly—but only if attached to a firm, straight mast, and then trimmed and pointed in the right direction, with intelligence. Without that, they flail chaotically in every wind that reaches us, perhaps even tearing themselves apart.
It's relatively useless to attempt anything in the way of a deeper and more connected manifestation without understanding this particular question. One's aim, if one does not understand this, must be to attain a precise understanding of how these forces exist in one's Being. One's work must center around sensing the constant presence of essence, and inhabitation of essence, so that essence has enough strength to manifest and feed itself.
I respectfully hope you will take good care.