June 1. Traveling at high speed through Chinese countryside, oleander, magnolias, gray skies and a muted sun. Conditions that cry out for existential questions to accompany them... a post prompted by thoughts from my friend Richard H. in California. Hence, dedicated to him.
Our struggles, which appear to arise and exist within us, are- as Beelzebub so often points out- actually planetary, and astronomical, in nature. Just as we’re host to (or, one might even say, composed of) a colony of microorganisms that in large part dictate not only our physical health, but also our psychological well-being, in a complex and as yet poorly understood reciprocity, so we participate reciprocally in the life of our planet, and the solar system. Organic life creates new conditions for chemical evolution, producing entirely novel compounds and substances; and even man’s consciousness both influences and is influenced by astral and cosmic emanations and radiations.
The way we feel, in other words, doesn’t necessarily belong to us. We believe it ”is” us; yet it isn’t. Our treasured ”personal” inner state is actually an objective reflection of conditions on a much larger scale, as indeed must be the case in any evolutionary, emergent, and reciprocal system. We experience this reflection of conditions subjectively, but the reflection—the action—itself is entirely objective. It can’t be other than what it is. To this extent, all of life and all of experience are in fact deterministic, both from a western philosophical, Buddhist, and Gurdjieffian point of view.
It can be helpful to recognize this. In our zeal to do (ironically, by attempting to see how we can’t do) we forget that there is no doing. Everything is done. To participate in the done is greater than to try to do; in the first case, we fulfill God’s will, whereas in the second we merely presume to take His place, engaging in actions which appear to be volitional but are in fact ordained.
If all our doing were to become, in us, what is done rather than what we are doing, how different things would be. This isn’t a change in action, which is what we so routinely presume must be necessary; it’s merely a change in attitude, a quite different thing. And not just a change in psychological, in intellectual attitude; a three centered, a comprehensive change in attitude, in which a different center of gravity is acknowledged.
Every understanding of esotericism eventually leads us to this question not of doing, but of what is done.