Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Being, in three places at the same time

There needs to be a clear sensing of the fact that there are two different natures in us, and that they are quite unlike one another.

And that this clear sensing itself has a quality of its own that contributes.

One can't make one nature "be" like another nature; one nature is dispersed, external, connected to all of the events that take place outside and is irrevocably committed to interacting with them. It contains the seeds of Being; one might say that is the dispersal method for Being, a tool for Being to move into life. Yet it has forgotten how to serve that way; it is so tangled up with the ideas of its own action that it forgets it is a servant.

The other nature is internal, collected, and more still; it is fed by influences from a higher level, but it needs to be in regular contact with both that level and with itself, under a conscious attention, in order for it to strengthen itself and to grow.

Both of these natures coexist. I was strikingly reminded of this fact yesterday (April 21st), in the middle of a day that started out with many negative attitudes in me, principally a business meeting I was more or less forced into by a friend, despite the fact that I repeatedly told him I wasn't particularly interested in it. Quite firm though I was vested in myself, the negativity was nonetheless insistent.

The day collapsed into a series of mishaps where, during the unwanted meeting, my son had the symptoms of an apparent heart attack (it was not a real cardiac event, thank goodness) while in the car, and had to drive himself to the hospital. I cleverly managed to run my Prius up over a large rock at my friend's house, requiring quick thinking on how to get cars off of rocks (sometimes, you dig a hole under the rock and let it drop down, rather than lifting the car up off the rock.) The damage to the car was mostly cosmetic, and I made it to the hospital in order to counsel my son while they did the necessary tests verifying he was fine, and had just had a panic attack.

 As the situation developed,  two parts of me were clearly present.  My inner nature was quite still, receiving the impressions of what was taking place—including my outer agitation. My outer nature was extremely distressed. Nonetheless, it did not manage to prevail overall; the inner part was functional enough to calm me down, extricate me from the car dilemma, and get me to the hospital, where I was able to ground myself effectively, be there for my son, and offer him some intelligent advice on what he could learn from the situation.

 Trying to "blend" these two natures in us won't quite work. One comes from a higher level; the other comes from a lower.  One is of personality, the "fictitious consciousness" we usually inhabit. The other is from essence, a consciousness that could be real, but is in infancy at best.

They can inform each other, and influence one another, but they are clearly separated, and only my conscious awareness of both of them can allow them to interact in the way that is necessary in order for life to become more whole.

 It's often said that one can't be in two places at the same time; yet this definitely isn't true. In inner work, one not only can be in these two places at the same time, one must be in these two places at the same time. And it's quite a striking experience to discover that one is not only in two places at the same time when this takes place; one is actually in three places. Our Being, if it's active and fully expressed, has all three qualities of manifestation: inner awareness, outer awareness, and awareness of inner and outer awareness. This is what we call “attention” or, as the Buddhists would have it, mindfulness.

  In order to explore this more thoroughly, perhaps we need to reformulate our understanding of what Gurdjieff's famous "three centered being" consists of. Perhaps this term has dimensions we haven't explored yet, in an inner or outer sense.

Conventionally, we understand the meaning of “three centered being” to be some amalgamation of our mind, our emotional state, and our body; yet the three states of awareness I speak of here are wholly analogous. The inner awareness, the part that is still, is a feeling awareness—the mind of the emotional part, when it is fully expressed and balanced in all of its own three parts. The outer awareness, the part that engages with the external world, is a physical awareness, of the body. And the conscious awareness is the intellect's awareness.

 I say “fully expressed and balanced in all of its own three parts" for a specific reason, which will be explored in the next post.

 I respectfully hope you'll take good care.

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