Saturday, September 29, 2012

Character

In Arabic, there is a term used by Ibn al 'Arabi to describe the process whereby man comes to manifest divine attributes. The term is takhalluq,  from the root khuluq, meaning character, in either a general or specific sense.

 In the general sense,  a spiritual path is understood to lead man to manifest these various traits, which may be said to reflect the nature of God. In other words, this reflection is (as Gurdjieff would have explained) a material reflection, but it's a reflection in process. In other words, a human being manifests divine properties in movement through life. Those divine properties  include Compassion, Love, Mercy, Wisdom, Generosity, Forgiveness, and so on.

 In al Arabi's  cosmic hierarchy, the manifestation of the divine strikingly (and very nearly exactly) recapitulates the material I wrote about in the Path of the Yogi.  Let's take this example:

"It is clear that a certain hierarchy exists among the names. For example, God does not do something (power) without wanting to (desire.) He cannot desire to do something without discerning its situation (knowledge.) And he cannot have knowledge without existing in the first place (life.) —The Sufi path to knowledge, William C Chittick, State University of New York press, 1989, page 23.

 I came across this after doing the work on the Path of the Yogi. Readers will see that Gurdjieff's enneagram, when the traditional properties of the yogic chakras are properly laid out on it, precisely reflects this Sufic understanding.

 All of that is well and good, and strongly reaffirms the wholly lawful cosmic principles behind this action of the divine, but it's not the point of this essay. It's important to understand technique, but this isn't a technical question, at least, not in this sense.

The point is that man can't acquire the character or nature of God unless he is in relationship with a higher energy.

The reason that Jeanne de Salzmann emphasized this work, very nearly to the exclusion of many of the techniques that Gurdjieff introduced to Ouspensky, is that inner work as it was introduced by Gurdjieff is an evolving octave—as it must be, lawfully. And the notes that had to be sounded in that octave by the beginning of the teaching have been passed. The work that needs to be done now, the inner work that is vital to the progress of this octave, is receiving the energy. Anyone who expects this work to continually remain in the same place and have the same emphasis is asking for it to stop.  Stopping is safe; it keeps us within the realm of the familiar. But this path of the yogi demands a constant movement into the unknown.

Some will stop. Some will move on. It's always this way.

No man can be transformed without coming into relationship with a higher energy. We are here to help the divine come into a material manifestation within reality, and we can never do that without being in relationship with a higher force. We can't just be in relationship with a higher energy during meditation, and then expect it to inform our action later.

We always need to make an effort to be in a relationship with a higher energy now. That will inform—inwardly form—actions which then take place in an outer sense.

This business of trying to change things from the outside in is a waste of time for those engaged in inner work. Yoga, inner work, works the other way around—it works backward, seen from the point of view of the ordinary world. And it works backward by beginning with a receiving, a coming into relationship with, a higher energy. This must become the absolute and fundamental practice—the root of everything that is done in life. I will be dragged off ten thousand times in other directions, and ten thousand and one times, I must return to myself and seek that relationship with a higher energy.

There is no other practice for those of us who are serious. This sacred task, of helping the divine come into an immediate manifestation with the world, must begin with the receiving of a higher energy, because no action in the world that does not first come from this action is in relationship with the higher. Those of us who think we are working ought to take a much closer look at this question in every minute of life.

  It's my responsibility to continually, all day long, seek to find each and every manifestation, no matter how ephemeral it may be, in which a higher energy comes into relationship. It may come into relationship with me in many different ways, because God does not work in one way. It will always be an inner vibration. And if I carry my question in me at all times, I will see that there is always a Friend close enough to me for me to reach out. I don't need to remember myself in relationship to my ordinary self—I need to remember myself in relationship to this energy.

 If I perform this task seriously, and not just by talking about it or assuming an outward air of knowing, I will see many disturbing things. This is certain. But each one will help me.

And the Friend that reaches out to support this work will always be present when it knows that I care.

  I respectfully hope you will take good care.


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