A detail of "Garden Gathering,"
Painted and polychrome glazed tiles
Iran, 1st quarter of 17th century
Islamic collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Over the last 30 years, the practice has developed into one where I use the Lord's prayer in almost every sitting, examining it and the inner taste of the words, the meaning, the sensation, at the beginning in order to to establish an inner foundation. This isn't, of course, anything like what is “conventionally” taught in the Gurdjieff work; but this is my work, not his, and this is the way I do it.
I'm bringing this up because I have an interesting observation that occurred to me this morning in regard to the prayer.
The Lord's prayer has an air of anticipation about it; a situation in which one is expecting that at some point in the future, the elements of the prayer may come true, and my wishes be granted. It has an air of request: I don't have my daily bread yet, but I would like you to send it, God. My trespasses aren't forgiven yet, but I'd like you to forgive them. I'd prefer you not lead me into temptation. And so on.
Taken from a different perspective, however, the prayer all takes place now. Our daily bread is already here; God has already forgiven us; no one is leading us into temptation. We can compare the idea of the Lord's prayer as an instance of now to the sermon on the Mount, in which Christ explains that the kingdom of God is already here, right before us; we just don't understand that.
I myself live in an internal state of anticipation, where enlightenment is out there. Life is out there. But nothing is actually out there, anywhere. There is only one where, and it is here. Both in here and out there are here. It's consciousness, the act of seeing, that blends in here and out there—the sacred and the profane, the then and the now.
There isn't any "then." This is it.
The insight reminds me of some of the more profound experiences I've had in regard to the nature of consciousness. The property of anticipation dropping away.
There is nothing to anticipate; it's already here. The lilies of the field are already clothed in glory; there isn't any enlightenment or non-enlightenment. They both belong to consciousness, which marries them. This fallen state I am in arises, by and large, from my own anticipation: my failure to see that I already am and the world already is. This is another, a new, a more organic and compelling version of Gurdjieff's "disease of tomorrow."
The disease of tomorrow makes me believe that I must anticipate; that the goal is later, not now; that my wish will be answered later, not now.
Yet, in my estimation and experience, perhaps the whole point of the Lord's prayer is to understand that our wishes are already answered, now.
Is it only my own inner blindness that prevents me from seeing that; and is there is a threshold we all already stand on that, with a single step, might lead us across the river and onto the other side of this lack, where all of the abundance that Christ promised—and make no mistake, this is not a Christian abundance, it is also a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jewish, a Hindu abundance—is available to us?
It's not out there; and it isn't far away. It is here; it is now; it is in me, in you, and all of us.
Where is it?
I respectfully hope you will take good care.