Saturday, August 18, 2012
Returning to obedience
"The Unmanifest says "No" when the Manifest says "I [am]" and the Manifest says "No" when the Unmanifest says "[Only] I [am]." This is the nature of opposition, but the speaker and listener [in both cases] are One, the Unique. "
—Ibn Al Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom, Trans. R.W.J. Austin, Paulist Press 1980, P.86
This quote is taken from The Wisdom of Holiness in the Word of Enoch. I chose this excerpt specifically because it concisely embodies all of the principals of the enneagram which I expounded in my book The Law of Three. ... At the same time, I recommend you read the whole chapter.
When Gurdjieff said that the enneagram contained everything a man might need to know about the nature of things, according to his level of understanding, he wasn't exaggerating. Most specifically, the universal action of embodiment or manifestation of reality (the manifest says "I [am]") and the surrender of the manifest back into its origination in the Divine (the unmanifest says [Only] I [am]) are perfectly reflected here, creating a single whole symbolized by the entire progress around the octave, as depicted in the enneagram.
It furthermore recapitulates the processes of Holy Denying, Holy Affirming, and Holy Reconciling, and deftly explains how they exchange places with one another as the process evolves.
The first conscious shock involves the manifestation of ego, which is a denial of God, and the second conscious shock involves surrender to a higher will, a return to obedience, a return to the transcendent—as, indeed, the energy passes from si to do, completing the circle and the diagram itself. This principle of circulation was clear to Al Arabi, and the enneagram unfailingly illustrates it.
To view this as a process in the material world, we need to understand this process takes place perpetually and instantaneously, in every manifestation of matter. We are living through it in the material expression of our being, as well as in the process of our psyche, and the process is unending.
This is a sensate process, which is why Al Arabi and all the other great mystics insisted it cannot be mastered with the intellect. The organism itself must change so that it senses this process within it. That may seem like a tall order; and of course, from the point of view of us “doing” anything about it, it is, because it is not something that we can do. It's only offered through Grace, and even then only after real effort is made, a lot of real effort. Yet when it takes place, it takes place naturally, without striving, without desire, and without attachment.
The sensate process of participation is offered freely. But it has to be earned first.
One first needs to know that one works for such a thing. We are not working to be better people, or to improve our material place in life. We are working to put ourselves back under the obedience we abandoned when we first said “I am.” It's true that we had to say I am, to affirm ourselves; the material has no choice but to come into being and to express its being. This is in accordance with the will of God. But the remainder of the process is also in accordance with the will of God, and it can't be completed without effort, because to surrender I am, to return to obedience, is not an easy process.
An alignment with obedience is a thing of a different nature from what we think of as our life. It doesn't take life away; we lose nothing. We gain something immeasurably more valuable, which is added to life, as it is. It doesn't change anything, except how we are within ourselves.
The whole world depends on that, if we but knew it.
I respectfully hope you will take good care.