Saturday, January 19, 2013


The whole point of all inner work, as every esoteric master from Meister Eckhart to Ibn Arabi and Swedenborg makes clear, is the receiving of the divine within the vessel of the body.

No wonder Gurdjieff called what blocked this the organ Kundabuffer; Kunda, after all, means vessel in Sanskrit, and the organ blocked the vessel. Divine influences could not flow in; man was cut off from God. The word that he chose was in fact quite perfect.

Sri Anirvan's Inner Yoga is a fairly contemporary source that discusses the matter of receiving divine energy within the cellular structure of the body; and certainly, Jeanne de Salzmann was acutely aware of the need for this action in order for an individual to develop. The Reality of Being is the most contemporary source we have available for teaching on this; and every age receives the teaching it needs from people of that age.  The authorities of de Salzmann and Anirvan hence offer the most appropriate work in this area for our own generation.

In Heaven and Hell, Swedenborg— a largely unrecognized but entirely extraordinary master to whom the world owes a very, very great deal— called this process inflow. Like Gurdjieff, he explained that everything is material; and the receipt of divine influences by the material — the penetration of the material by the divine, another fundamental principle of Gurdjieff's cosmology — was the essential necessary action in life, according to his views and understanding.

We exist in order to receive this inflow. Reality is created by the divine; and unless the material that we consist of is influenced directly by it, by the inward receiving of the material, we cannot change, because only this force can produce true change. Matter, and everything that arises, exists, and takes place as a consequence of it, is fundamentally unable to affect itself, because it is not its own source of origin. It originates in the divine, and only the divine can influence it.

This means that a man who has no inner connection, who does not have real information in him — that is, that which is inwardly formed by the divine — can do nothing. This is one of the many esoteric meanings of the saying, "Man cannot do." Man, as he exists, exists only as an expression of the divine. He is not himself; as Ibn Arabi would say, he is no more than a manifestation of one of the innumerable names of God. Man, in other words, is an effect.

 The material cannot affect the material; they are of equal value and force. It's the same thing as a man trying to lift himself up off the ground with his own hands. Only the inflow that creates the material, the influence of divinity, can change what takes place in the material world, because it is an original cause, not an effect. Bosch's painting The Garden of Earthly Delights, which I covered in an earlier post, was all about divine influence and what happens when it doesn't reach man in the right way. What we are left with looks like hell to us, but, actually it's just earth, the way it is now.

 We understand from the above that the divine influence can, with inner work, be expressed through the body, and thus emanate from the action of man; this is what Gurdjieff meant when he said that there were those who could heal with the force of their magnetism, and so on. In each case, it is not man's action that he was describing: it was the emanation of the divine, finding expression through a vessel properly prepared.

 This question of preparation is critical. Ibn 'Arabi,  Swedenborg, Gurdjieff, and de Salzmann  all empathetically insisted that a man can only receive of divinity what he is prepared to receive; nothing more. Gurdjieff reminded Ouspensky of this when he told him that people always wanted to have Jesus be their teacher — but no one was ready for Jesus to be their teacher, they were not at that level.

 One must carefully attend to the material de Salzmann offers us on the question of how to prepare ourselves. Without this work of preparation, there is no possibility of receiving the influences of the divine within us.

 May your soul be filled with light.

1 comment:

  1. I find it extremely vital that you have found Swedenborg in your research. I first found his writings in the 1970s, at the same time that I found Nicoll's Commentaries. For your general readership I suggest two of Swedenborg's books.

    Divine Providence
    Divine Love and Wisdom

    Those two books together bring a zeitgeist and worldview that is radically different from any "New Age" meanderings. They describe just as you state, that Man is nothing in himself; has nothing in himself, and does nothing that doth not proceed from the word of the Lord.

    There are those who decry what they call "mixing", that is, they assert that nothing but the teachings of Gurdjieff alone should suffice to use as work information in this world; but I contend that this is or should be only until a certain inner maturity emerges out of our work on ourselves and with others, and at a certain point Man must begin to study other spiritual dispensations, using Gurdjieff's teachings as a kind of skeleton key, as they are capable of unlocking all other manner of otherwise obscure dispensations of spiritual knowledge.

    In my own study I have gone through many paths of seeking, but until I found Mr. Gurdjieff, I had no central ridgepole from which to see how both ends of the stick are logical and rightful.

    In 'Views From the real World" pg. 203 Gurdjieff states: "I have studied about two hundred religions"

    Can we state in sincerity anything like that? Mr. Gurdjieff was once asked: "Mr. Gurdjieff, can we become as you are?" and his reply, "Yes, only to suffer as I have suffered."

    Another time a woman remarked that since he seemed to sleep very little, his sleep must be very sweet. He then replied to her: "Come to my door at 2 AM and you will hear the 'Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth".

    No, we are not mythical beings with any special powers, but even those powers which rightfully belong to Man we forfeit if we fail to work consistently, always understanding that we are perpetually at the beginning, knowing nothing.


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