Monday, July 9, 2012
It's Not Like Anything
One is, inevitably, accustomed to hearing about the Kingdom of Heaven, and being told that it's like this, or it's like that. To be sure, some of this comes from the biblical expressions that Christ passed on to us in his parables; yet it would be criminal to assign blame for our ignorance in this matter to Christ.
Nonetheless, we have arrogated to ourselves the idea that we might know what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.
Yes, it's true, we do this in big ways with our churches and our preachers and our religious formulas; yet we also do it in small ways, within ourselves, and this is what is most insidious. Because in every instance, we presume to know.
The Kingdom of Heaven is not like anything. It is in itself, and nothing else; and everything else emerges from it, is a reflection of it. It's as though the Kingdom of Heaven were light, and everything else a gemstone that reflected it. And yet it isn't, because already, when we say that, the Kingdom of Heaven is like so and so.
In a universe that is subordinate and chaotic and impermanent, we cannot find anything that is "like" the Kingdom, which is Supreme, Perfect, and Eternal. Everything is like the Kingdom of Heaven, that is, all of reality is a reflection of an aspect of the Kingdom of Heaven. Because its aspects are infinite, its reflections are infinite, and here we approach an understanding of why the energy in the universe is organized according to its subatomic, atomic, and molecular principles. Only a reality this mutable is able to contain the infinite number of reflections cast off by the light of Heaven.
There is always a danger of falling into hyperbole when we begin to speak of such things, because we are ignorant. Yet we must speak and think of such things, because this is what man was created for. Consciousness is able to comprehend consciousness; unconsciousness can comprehend nothing. Man was created to manifest the potential of consciousness, which is why he is greater than the angels.
In inner work, it's tempting to withdraw into what is called the Silence. Yet this is an abrogation of responsibility; a failure to bridge these two worlds, which mankind was meant to help unify. Jeanne de Salzmann was well aware of this danger, that we might sink into our souls and so ultimately fail to connect the inner to the outer. The manifestation of the potential of consciousness requires us to think as we are, and to be as we are—not to stop thinking, or to be as we wish we might be. Because our existence is already, unbeknownst to us, a perfect expression (one ever-changing reflection) of the Kingdom of Heaven, what is needed is to develop an awareness of it, not manipulate or craft it to our own ends. This is why the Sufis say that religion is Islam, submission. We submit to what is.
What is is not like this or like that. Already, when we compare, we forget that the manifestations of the Kingdom of Heaven are infinite, and that though everything may appear to be like something else, everything is simply itself, and thus, in every instance, unique, remarkable, and miraculous. Hence Gurdjieff's comment that even God is an idiot. His meaning is subtle and far away from what we generally think the word means.
This is the great challenge; to stop wishing to be one way or another, and just to start wishing to Be, which is not being anything in particular, but being everything at once.
This can only take place if and when we receive an energy of transformation, because it's only in the alignment of the Being to higher forces that it can develop an awareness of its subordinate condition, rather than investiture in what we call the ego.
I respectfully hope you will take good care.