Thursday, February 21, 2013
One of the benchmarks of a failure to understand is either a conviction that one has understood, or a reckless disregard of the fact that there is such as thing as understanding, and that things ought to in fact be understood.
Understanding measured from a horizontal level isn't understanding; it's correlative, not informative. that is to say, it can correlate but it cannot form anything inwardly; it can only react to what is already present in an associative manner. The majority of thinking and responding that goes on in men and women consists of just this kind of action. Gurdjieff actually explained it in some detail in his various discourses on forms of mentation. Associative thought, in other words, consists of more than just the obvious; it consists of very nearly every thought.
This kind of thinking results in accretions, or layers, of association that build up and attract like things to themselves. It forms a kind of geological crust in us; a false personality, as one might call it, and yet the false personality isn't just a personality, it is a dense and complicated web of associations, reactions, opinions and assumptions bolstered by a wide variety of rationalizations, each one of which presumes a "truth" that it is in fact entirely unable to represent. Everything—especially the justifications—is part of this egoistic network.
Even more insidiously, the network assimilates everything one has ever heard or experienced about inner work and folds it into itself like the Borg of Star Trek. It produces an artificial entity called "inner work" which one becomes entirely and absolutely identified with, utterly convinced that it's the real thing...when it is anything but.
An understanding that has the potential to form something new inwardly takes on a different and remarkable aspect as it arrives. It is alive; and it doesn't take its cues from the expected. It arrives and exists quite independent of this construction that is so invested in ordinary life. It isn't subject to the emotional levers that drive the horizontal influences in life forward through time; and it recognizes quite clearly just what is worth investing one's energy in, and what isn't.
Perhaps what is most remarkable about it is that one can invest a lifetime in inner work and yet still not acquire this kind of understanding. Every possible type of thought that can present itself will parade across the stage posing as understanding of one kind or another; yet the organic sensation of understanding that transcends a horizontal perspective can remain elusive.
And this element of transcendence is essential; because the action of understanding isn't born of this level, nor does it pay homage to it. The things of this world, of this level, are unimportant to it, except insofar as they represent a turning towards God. By this I mean all the things; and one must already understand, in order to understand this.
May your soul be filled with light.