Friday, November 9, 2012


My professional work is in textiles.

My inward work is also in textiles.

The word Tantra means loom. This textiles term is closely associated with inner practice.

 The word indicates an inner action.

Human beings, generally speaking, don't understand that there are both inner and outer actions. They get lumped together in a mish-mosh. But they are distinct from one another, they are not all the same, and the practice of discrimination can help one to understand the difference.

It's quite easy to form a connection to an outer action. Almost all of the experiences we have consist of such connections. So, for example, a loved one dies. We grieve. We experience this as suffering; but perhaps we don't understand that this is not at all suffering in the sense of what Gurdjieff called intentional suffering. Or, let's take another example. We put ourselves under a difficult physical discipline, such as assuming a sitting pose for hours in meditation. Yet this, also, is actually a connection to an outer action. It does carry potential; it could form a connection to an inner action, but the reason that meditation takes many years to master or produce any results is that for the most part it is connected to the outer action, which thinks that this effort, also, is intentional suffering.

Once again, generally speaking, the difference between conscious labor and intentional suffering is poorly understood. The terms are used so frequently and so many assume that they know what they mean that a careful examination of the question often falls by the wayside.

Much of what human beings perceive as intentional suffering is in fact conscious labor.

Outer action is connected to conscious labor. Intentional suffering applies to an inner action, and it does not have the same meaning as suffering in ordinary life. It relates, most specifically, to the practice of dissolution. All of the ordinary suffering we go through, and our efforts to meet it responsibly, are actually part of conscious labor.

One might want to become clear about this; it is the difference in and the distinction between inner and outer qualities and inner and outer effort that creates confusion.

Consciousness—attention, mindfulness— is the bridge between inner action and outer action; the reconciling principle. When we are unconscious — asleep, inattentive, unmindful — outer action attempts to inform the inward, with poor results. It ought to be the other way around: inward action should inform the outward.

 Now to the point about the living threads of inner action.

 Inner action is a quite different thing than outer, and the formation of parts that are related to inner action is uniquely distinct from outer action. Parts related to inner action have a living quality of vibration that is not related to the parts formed by and connected to outer action. One can tell the difference.

In each case, that which arises from inner action has a living thread that connects it to outwardness.

 These threads, furthermore can be sensed as active agencies.  There is no mistaking the sensation of an inner action. It has a different quality of vividness to it. Gurdjieff called it vivifyingness of vibration.

The threads  connecting inward intelligence to outer action arise because of the formation of a real intelligence in man or woman, not the ersatz intelligence that one's outer life is conducted with. As threads connecting inner action to outwardness slowly form in a human being, they need to be woven together into a whole.

 First, a man or woman must sense these threads. This is not a simple task that just happens. A great deal of conscious labor, of immersion in and acceptance of, outward action must take place. If this happens, eventually, some threads may appear and become tangible to the practicing adept. This is the point at which real inner work begins, since there is now a living principle that informs outer action — or, at least, has the potential to do that. And in every case this living principle is connected to the idea of prayer.

 Very often, human beings who begin to form these threads don't know what they are. They seem magical... and one wonders what they are, what one should do with them. All kinds of incorrect thinking are applied to them, because the understanding of their nature is poor, and so much mythology — so many fairytales — are connected to both their existence and their manifestation. There are some teachings with a pretty good idea of the situation, but they don't receive much attention. Many of the more bizarre theories and approaches to this are more interesting, simply because of the embellishments.

 In Tantric practice, the many threads — and they are innumerable, because they arise as living principles within each moment — need to be gathered together, exactly as a weaver gathers threads together. They need to be organized on a warp of Being, much like the warp beam that a loom uses to carry the threads. And then they need to be interwoven with one another so that they create an integrated, whole, experience of life.

 One would think one might read about this more specifically in the many esoteric texts that cover these subjects, but one doesn't. (Odd, perhaps, because even the word text means, in Latin, woven. So words and looms are also, perhaps, more closely related than we think. They, too, form a fabric of practice.)

The idea is not clear, even to those who have encountered it directly. But it's the sensitivity to these threads that connect to the inner life to the outer life that makes the difference between the work one has heard about, and the work one undertakes.

 I respectfully hope you will take good care.

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