The first essential Truth is the following: we are vessels into which the world flows.
Ibn al Arabi explains the situation regarding man thus, in the very first paragraphs of The Bezels of Wisdom:
For the Reality, he [man] is as the pupil is for the eye through which the act of seeing takes place. Thus he is called insan [meaning both man and pupil], for it is by him that the Reality looks on His creation and bestows the Mercy [of existence] on them.
In this case, al Arabi refers to God as “the Reality,” adopting an all-encompassing terminology to embrace both the transcendent and immanent nature of God. His formulation is unerring; one can, in fact, determine that all of the following material he expounds must be correct, because he has understood the first and most essential truth, and put it at the very beginning of Bezels.
This particular understanding represents the relationship between the notes Do and Re on the octave of human development. The whole octave itself it represents ouroboros, the beginning and the end of the relationship between man and God; the creation of the material universe, and the encompassing relationship of purpose between the material universe and God.
Man—like all of reality, constructed of light—is also the aperture through which light, having emanated from the Godhead, flows back into the Godhead, in a cyclical process described and ruled by the law of octaves. (Echoing the Christian Nicene Creed, in which the words God from God, light from light, true God from true God are intoned. As Gurdjieff explained to Ouspensky, some portions of the Christian liturgy exactly preserve important esoteric truths; this is one example)
Light, in its initial emanation, is generalized and unfocused. It goes through a successive series of concentrations according to the law of octaves to gain focus. Every manifestation of consciousness is as the iris and retina are to the eye, adjusting themselves to allow the light to be concentrated, reflected, and refined until it can reach a level of vibration appropriate to return to the absolute. Al Arabi's analogy is perfect, because exactly like the eye, Being must have a portion that is open—a transparent faculty—an active portion with the flexibility of movement, like the iris, which interacts—and a passive element that receives, like the retina—in order to transmit the impressions into the vessel accurately. So when we look at the action of seeing in more detail, we discover that there are far more meanings here than meet the eye.
The alchemical process of refinement of lead into gold, although it seems complex and sophisticated, is actually a rather crude analogy for this refinement of light, which actually takes place using a much finer substance, and a much higher rate of vibration, than the coarse material elements the alchemists used as examples.
Light is information, and information is what forms consciousness in an emergent process. So we see that light, having emanated from the absolute, must concentrate itself by flowing into a vessel (man) who acts as a crucible for the refinement, or increase in the rate of vibration, of the light until it attains a rate of vibration appropriate to its origin, at which point it can return.
In that process, the light acquires information, knowledge, and, ultimately, wisdom about what it has encountered, which is returned to the Reality to increase its Being and knowing of itself.
In order to complete this process, several shocks are necessary. It doesn't take place automatically; effort and participation on behalf of the organ (eye, and "I") are necessary in order to increase the rate of vibration, receive the impressions, concentrate them, refine them, and move them onwards in this cyclical process.
This highly theoretical premise relates, nonetheless, exactly to the act of living. As vessels into which the world flows, each one of us is a personal representative of the Reality, with a personal responsibility for taking in every fragment of that reality that we encounter and homogenizing it to achieve a uniformity of understanding. So our active presence in relationship to the impressions of our life is essential in performing our task as representatives of the Reality.
All of the practices of mindfulness and attention we encounter are specifically aimed to serve as the foundation for this task.
The difficulty with the manifestation of the transcendent as it arrives into material reality is that we identify with it. We believe in material reality without objectivity. Attachment—identification—to material reality prevents the circulation of light in the vessel which is necessary for enter evolution. This is how the first granthi, or knot, affects us. Fundamentally—not intellectually—understanding our nature as a receiver of impressions, rather than an owner of them, is a step on the path to loosening this identification, which ties us to the lowest level of our life in a subjective manner.
I respectfully hope you will take good care.