Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Everyone is incomplete.

 We should be very careful of those who would have us believe they are above us, because all men are equal in the eyes of the Lord. Some think they are teachers or leaders; and each man or woman thinks what they are of themselves.  We begin to tell each other stories about how so-and-so is such and such. Before you know it, there is agreement that so-and-so is indeed a leader, or that someone else is indubitably beneath us. Everyone of us does this every day, all day long. It's quite confusing, really, because the nature of the human condition very nearly requires it. An enormous amount of posing goes on. 99.9% of it successfully camouflages itself as authority. Those with authority of any kind — even spiritual authority — end up with the same delusions... The delusion of significance, rather than the recognition of one's own nothingness. 

Only those who take a vow of inner poverty can change things; and this involves embracing exactly what appears to be most worthless.

All these things we can think we are do not necessarily mean that it is what the Lord thinks we are. We are not formed by ourselves, but by the Lord, and what we are in the mind of the Lord is quite different than what we think we are here on earth.

Each imperfection that exists in us is actually a perfection; because all that is imperfect in us is given to us by the Lord to remind us of His presence.  They are, in other words, perfectly suited to their task, like all things in creation. Thus they are in fact perfect, no matter what they look like to our egos. 

If we didn't have imperfections or see imperfections, we would forget that we are servants, and that there are higher principles. The ego, in fact, constantly demands that we forget such imperfections, walk past them or fix them, so that we can preserve the illusion that perfection might somehow be under our own command. We don't often stop to think of the purpose for imperfection — why it might be there, or what it does for us. We would rather think we are lords.

Rather than looking to the imperfections of others, we ought always to look to our own; to try to understand them, to love them, to value them, and not judge them. It is only when we inflict our imperfections on others that they do not serve us. Insofar as an imperfection moves outwardly from us, it tends to do harm; in so far as an imperfection moves inwardly towards us, so that our soul takes it in, tastes it, and appreciates it, it tends to do good, because as we see our imperfections, they remind us of our station, and they help us to heal our attitudes. But this is only if we are aware of them and take them in to us. And that is not a common action in us. No one likes to eat the things one does not like. And yet this inward digestion of our imperfection is what Gurdjieff was alluding to when he said "like what it does not like." What, after all, do we not like, if not our imperfections?

To remember the self is to remember the wholeness of the self, not just the parts we prefer. To take ownership of the wholeness of the self, without adjusting it — with all of what we think is good and what we think is bad — and to do this lovingly, within ourselves, is a real action. Real actions are actions that affect the state of the soul.

All outer action that involves the material world is just moving things from one place to another. Although it's what seems to be real, it always ends the same way: people are forever the same, and things go horribly wrong. Life can be lived from the beginning to the end without any of this changing. It usually is.

 Changing the location of money, objects, or even people is hardly the point of life. It's changing the location and condition of our inward state that matters; putting the inner kingdom in order so that those who dwell on its lands dwell in the right places and do not damage them; so that enough food is produced to feed all the individuals in us; so that they are ruled justly and with kindness and compassion.

When we say the words "Thy kingdom come" it is an intimation of this kind of inward order that might exist: one that exists under the watchful eye of the Lord, with an awareness of His Presence. The awareness of the imperfections in us is always a help to remind us of this Presence; and the more we accept these things in ourselves, inhabiting them with kindness instead of anxiety and anger, the more the Lord sends us the support we need in order to digest them ourselves, instead of using them as weapons to interact with others.  When Jonah tried to flee the imperfections of his inner kingdom (Nineveh), the Lord continued to bless him; He magnanimously sent a fish to swallow him, imperfections and all. 

But Jonah, curmudgeon that he was, didn't get it; even after this spectacular display of compassion (God sent a whole whale! How obvious could He make it?!) he decided he would still rather die than accept his imperfections. This is what Gurdjieff was getting at when he said that the one thing a man would refuse to sacrifice was his own suffering.

 Oddly, the more deeply we embrace our imperfections and acknowledge them, holding them up to the Lord to let Him know we have seen them, the more help we receive.  We can never begin to know the true Glory of the Lord, no matter how many cathedrals we build or beautiful hymns we sing, except through this inner experience of our poverty. The true glory can perhaps be reflected in the works of man, but the only place where the reflection can, for a moment, truly capture the image of God in the mirror is within the soul; and it is only there that we see all the cathedrals in the world are tiny little things, incapable of expressing the Truth. 

The Truth is in every object, event, circumstance, and condition; and the present moment of life is always the true cathedral. It's never a place where we go; it's always where we are.

It's only in the anguish of this acceptance, this swallowing, of my imperfection that I can become anything. With some luck, it can go very deep indeed. Gurdjieff called that remorse of conscience; but that is not an action I undertake. 

It's a blessing sent to help me see more deeply.

 I respectfully hope you will take good care.

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