Saturday, April 28, 2012

Why is there sorrow?

When we examine the question of “as above, so below"—the fractal nature of the universe, and the fact that every portion of it reflects the whole—we come back to the essential dilemma of man's inner struggle to know himself, and how it relates to the whole.

Sorrow arose from the very instant that the universe was created, because God, upon achieving the infinite feat of creation, did so knowing that there would forever be a separation between himself and his creation. Creation itself created a discontinuity, a disconnect, in the Supreme and Divine consciousness. The mind of God—the supreme and unknowable Intellect—acquired a body, the material reality that arises as a result of the collapse of the quantum state. In a certain sense, the entire process of the evolution of the universe ever since has been an effort by God to connect the body and the mind of His own being.

The arising of organic life, as well as all the planets, solar systems, and galaxies, represents, on a cosmological scale, the birth and arousal of sensation in God's body. Every portion of material reality is a sensory tool, a nerve cell of one kind or another, in the body of God, and all of them are endlessly striving to help the body become aware enough of itself to reconnect with the Supreme Source of their arising.

Man's inner struggle is an exact reflection of this; the effort to connect the body and the mind in an inner work are an exact reflection of this process, on a microcosmic scale. God, in other words, seeks to know Himself in the same way that man seeks to know himself, and by analogous means.  God suffers, on a cosmological scale and in the cosmological sense, from a lack, in the same way that we suffer from a lack. Our own longing for reunion with the divine is a simple mirror of the longing that God feels for reunion with his own creation.

Each one of us becomes a mirror for this process, and is actually assuming responsibility for acting on behalf of God to help God know Himself. This is the particular service and being-duty that brings essence-satisfaction, a satisfaction rooted in right relationship to the organism, quite different from what we usually think of as satisfaction.

This process of service and being-duty takes place on every level; angelic forces, which belong to the planetary and solar realms, have an equally great struggle in front of them.

 Everything participates.

Sorrow arises on every level, and penetrates material reality at every level, because it is an essential part of the emanation of Love, which created the universe. Love and sorrow are inseparable; this is because all Love knows its own impermanence. Love is, in a certain sense, very simply put the awareness—the conscious awareness—of what Gurdjieff called “the merciless Heropass,” that is, time. The feeling quality of the universe, which is the highest emotional expression in both God and man, is intricately linked to this sensation of time. Even in our shallowest expressions of love, we sense this. The idea that we will love the other "until the end of time" is so oft-repeated it's banal. Yet within this banality lies an essential truth.

So love, in and of itself, within its own arising, begets sorrow, because nothing can ever love without instantly feeling sorrow. All of the beauty that arises as an expression of love—and in this, I include all of the impressions we take in around us, of flowers, birds, trees, and so on—is also and in fact ultimately an expression of sorrow, because each one of these beautiful things contains within it not only the love that created it, but the implicit fact of its own impermanence.

 There are complex ideas here that can only be sensed, and not verbalized, but hopefully readers will understand the gist of this particular question, and see that we are dealing here not with conjecture or theory, but with objective facts about the nature of the universe and of man's existence. This has a great deal to do with the quote that was brought up two posts back.

Thinking of this particular excerpt from Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson as a theoretical proposition, or an idea that is foreign to our day-to-day life, is a terrible mistake. If we work—if we wish to work—we need to work to gain a practical understanding of what is said here. It's all well and good to try and puzzle out what is meant by the idea of trying to have non-desires prevail over desires, but, in a certain sense, why even bother? If we don't first have an understanding that all of our ideas about what life consists of, and in particular about sorrow and its nature—in other words, the first part of the text—are fictitious, what's the point of pondering our desires and non-desires?

Understanding the question of sorrow and our position in the universe is the motivating factor here. Without this understanding, there is no reason to work. So in a certain sense, putting the question of our desires and non-desires in front of the question of why we are here, and why our existence—and the existence of everything—is composed of suffering is putting the cart before the horse.

 We can only speak of this in our capacity as small things, who can only see in small ways. Objectively, the anguish of the Lord is infinite and incomprehensible, just as His Love is. His Love for His creation is what begets anguish. God feels anguish in and of Himself because of the fact of His creation; He is fully able to comprehend the scope of his responsibility, and the terrible fate of all creatures condemned to participate in material reality, with its temporal constraints and inevitable impermanence.

 There is an even larger principle at work here that needs to be considered, although it is once again very nearly impossible to understand, given our limitations.

This is that just as we ask for forgiveness from God, so God hopes that we will forgive him.

There is a reciprocity to forgiveness, in other words, whereby creation must forgive God for the fact that it lives and dies. The anguish of our Creator, the Sorrow of His Endlessness, ultimately lies in his separation of himself from himself, and the hope and fervent wish that all of himself might come back to him, rather than having to dwell apart.

Finding ourselves on the other side of that cloud of unknowing, perhaps we can begin to understand the idea that while God has compassion for us—and always has—it is we ourselves that do not have compassion for God.

 Most of the practical aspects of understanding these points of work lie in the capacity for developing real feeling, which has an umbilical connection to the matter: that thread that runs down through the center of our being, connecting us to the core of what is real.

An intimacy with this particular part of ourselves will inevitably lead us to an expanding experience of our role.

 I respectfully hope you will take good care.

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