Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Positive Impulse

There are those who think that inner work is too introspective; that we should by preference devote ourselves more to the improvement of outer conditions and circumstances, and that those who fail to do so "don't understand the world."

Yet if our positive impulses don't come from our inner world; if they aren't informed by the inflow of a higher principle, from an actual energy that has  the ability to effect a transformation of our inner attitude, then they are subjective. That is, they are in constant reaction to the outer world, developing both their being and their impulse from a lower level.

So I wish to have an effect on something; and in order to have an effect on anything, it must come from a positive impulse of Being, a wish to Be in a right way. If I don't have this wish to Be in a right way, and it isn't informed by a higher principle – not a theory of something higher, but the actual action of an energy — then ultimately it goes nowhere.

 This is very difficult to understand if I haven't spent years carefully cultivating an inner sensitivity, and I don't understand what  by a higher energy is, or how it's received. Even if I do have some understanding of this, if it lies within the narrow confines of a system or a form that has been imparted to me, for example, the way that yoga conceptualizes it, I don't understand how deeply it ought to penetrate or how ubiquitous it is. It's not that the forms are bad; but they are partial. This is the whole point of the teaching which is not a teaching.

 I must deepen myself so that the entire Being receives these influences; not just the Hara, or abdomen. So ultimately, although sensitivity may indeed involve taking energy in from the top of the head and bringing it down through the spine into this area, something much larger must grow from it. The entire body and all of its centers must be included; and it must be an activity that takes place in ordinary life, not just when I meditate.

The positive impulse must grow from this inner life, this receiving, which becomes a part of the entire body, until there is no body, but just the energy. The body is an adjunct, it is nothing more than the vessel that receives the energy, which is the initial and fundamental principle of life. This must express itself as a point of origin for all action; and that is an action in life, not sequestered in meditation.

All of the action I undertake is lawful and correct; I need to have a job, make money, and enjoy ordinary pleasures. Rejecting or refusing them is pointless, because they don't have that much to do with my inner life. On the contrary, it is the inner life that is life itself; and if it informs the outer life, the outer life aligns itself without too much interference. The difficulty is that I am always upside down and backwards; the outer life attempts to do violence to the inner life by making efforts to arrange it in ways that it thinks are correct, when that is actually impossible.

 So to be active. This is something we hear a lot; Jeanne de Salzmann often says we are too passive. But being too passive is, actually, being active in the outer parts. They seem to have force, meaning, and substance, but this is simply because I am so deeply invested in them. Actually, in regard to higher energy, they are totally passive. This may sound baffling, but a careful investigation reveals that it's true.

 Perhaps this helps to explain my curiosity about the idea that I'm passive. I run around a lot and do many things, don't I? How could I be passive?

It is the inner relationship, the inflow, that I'm passive about, and that's exactly what I don't see.

 May your soul be filled with light.


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    1. It is said in Zen that a sign of a Master is when they can teach through their back. I want to share an experience I had which that falls somewhere along these lines.

      I came into the Foundation shortly after Madame de Salzmann had died at the age of 101.

      There was a time when the NY Gurdjieff Foundation rented a large theater and members of the Foundation were permitted to attend, which I did. At about the end of the first third of the film, I was to experience an impression that has never left me nor diminished in intensity.

      There came a scene where an older woman had her back to the camera and was speaking softly to a group of girls sitting in front of her. I saw her back and said within myself, "That woman has achieved Being and has known suffering". later we saw her speaking to the group where her face and body could be seen, but I remained with that first impression.

      When the film ended the audience sat in complete silence for about 15 minutes before some of the elder people began leaving their seats and people all got up and made common talk in the lobby before departing.

      Later I asked who the woman was and was told it was Madame de Salzmann. The impression of this woman of power who taught me something simply through the filming of her back.

      Although through time I had a great deal of resistance to the changes she brought to the work, I also appreciated the mandate she had received from Gurdjieff shortly before he died, to conjoin all of the various lineages (and there were quite a few who despised each other) and she was told she needed to live to 100 and "roost" together a nucleus of prepared people to meet the demand which was to come.

      This she did - and visited other world renowned spiritual leaders and exchanged with them. From Mr Segal's love of Zen (when meeting with him in private he would be asked for a suggestion as to what topic to discuss and he would invite them to sit and do nothing together.) This turned into the "sittings", otherwise known as quiet or 'inner work."

      It was during these periods of "sittings" that the intricate inner exercises given by Gurdjieff over the years were transmitted, always given in first person singular. You got what you got and took what you could from these extraordinary periods of 30-40 minutes.

      Thanks as always. Six years and you continue unabated. It is plain that you know something of what you are doing.


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