Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Hidden Part

The external affairs of human society are so distracting that man has largely lost the organic capacity to come into relationship with nature.

This capacity isn't merely biological in nature, that is, part of a mechanical process in which we are all participants in an ecosystem. To be sure, that's part of my reality, and I ignore it at my peril.

The question is more to the point of a higher energy, and my relationship to it. Life on earth evolved to serve a specific purpose. If I don't participate in what Christianity refers to as transubstantiation—that is, the conversion of higher energies—many things will suffer, first of all, man himself, but later, everything else.

If I look around me, I see that I am indeed suffering. There are a lot of theories as to why, but very nearly none of them come down to examining this root cause. Even religious explanations today speak only in general terms about character, society, moral obligation and ethics, and so on.

No one talks about bringing down the light, which is what's necessary.

Esoteric works—that is, core practices formed by societies with an abiding interest in this question—all know that this is what is needed. Sufi dervishes understand it well, as do various monastic traditions. In modern society, there's a large group of well-meaning but generally disorganized New Age seekers who generally at least know about (but often don't understand) the phenomenon, but have romanticized it and divorced it from many lawful understandings that are absolutely required in order for the action to have both purpose and meaning.

One cannot, in other words, just make stuff up. There are ancient traditions that have carried the torch forward on this work for thousands of generations; but soloists interested in reinventing the wheel are all over the place.

 This kind of argument and action—who is correct, and about what?—also comes from the outer world, and is dangerously distracting. The practice must be immediate, intimate, and sacred; that is, a human being ought to have parts of his or her practice that remain hidden, are never revealed. Gurdjieff alluded to this when he explained to Ouspensky that a person who had developed might appear to be even more mechanical than someone who had not.

There is, in other words, an esoteric core in every spiritual work: and this means not only in the work itself, but within the individual. When Christ alluded to this, he said, But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth. (Matthew 6:3.)

 It may seem a bit too mystical to suggest that there is an "unconscious," secret part hidden from ourselves that assists in our inner work to become more conscious, but it is a truth. Our ordinary self, as it is, is incapable. What I usually think of as consciousness is actually unconscious. But there are parts in me, buried parts, that are entirely capable; parts, as Gurdjieff explained, that have not been damaged by my aberrant outer life; chiefly among them, the property of conscience.

These parts are not at all divorced from the parts that can process large amounts of information over months or years, and then suddenly produce the extraordinary flashes of insight known as “Eureka moments.” Anyone who has had one of these will realize that we have a black box that things go into, which we can't see into. Impressions pour into that box over long periods of time, and are processed in ways that we don't understand. Modern psychology has come up with terms such as the unconscious, the collective unconscious, and so on to discuss these unknown pieces of territory in me. Idiot savants, who have unprecedented access to parts of this kind, astonish us with seemingly impossible feats which so-called “normal” people can't do. (Those perusing the Wikipedia link will note that it says “no widely accepted cognitive theory explains savant's combination of talent and deficit.)

 The higher energy I come into relationship with also works in secret. It needs to be ingested in small amounts, over a long period of time, in order to enrich and inform—inwardly form—what is needed in me for development. My insistence on believing that everything I know about working, and all the work I do, ought to be accessible to my ordinary self at any time, and visible to others, is nonsense. There is an iceberg in me. All I see is the tip of it. It looks shiny and white, so I think that icebergs are shiny and white, and float. 90% of the iceberg, however, is matte and  translucent blue, and sinks; and furthermore, it's invisible.

 This hidden part still does have the capacity to come into relationship with nature. The relationship is an organic one, rooted in sensation; and it carries the property of connecting the mind to the body in such a way that feeling can also enter. In a three-centered state, a relationship with nature is no longer a matter of externalized, scientific, psychological theories, or romantic ideas about how wonderful nature is. The relationship is immediate and raises an endless series of questions about who I am and why I am here. It is much closer to Essence, an untainted experience of life, than anything modernized Western societies can approach.

  What I receive ultimately determines what I can sense, because what I receive is what feeds the parts that are capable of sensing. It's worth considering.

 I respectfully hope you will take good care.

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