Monday, March 11, 2013

A Specific Practice


 I rarely, if ever, write down the specific meditation practices I'm engaged in, because they change constantly, even if there are consistent threads that run through them over the years.

Inner practice changes constantly because every moment, one has reached a new moment in relationship with the higher and sacred forces one seeks to be in contact with. Thus, no single practice or approach, no single exercise, can actually be repeated; every moment is a new moment in which the contact with the higher must be re-established on a new basis which is, in a certain sense, entirely independent of all the efforts which have gone before it. I say in a certain sense, because of course there is a relationship, but freedom requires a dropping of that relationship even as it is included in awareness.

 This requirement of constant newness and creativity is one of the reasons that exercises from schools often end up being ineffective. Each one of them attempts to codify and embody an active and moving principle; and so each one puts a piece of concrete in the middle of a situation that ought to be fluid. They become attachments, exactly the kinds of things they are meant to circumvent. Anyone who wonders why Gurdjieff kept changing his practice and teaching ought to consider this.

Nonetheless, there are certainly some overall principles that can be applied in this creative structure, much like the tools that an artist keeps at hand when preparing to paint a painting.

One such set of tools, in my experience, is derived from life. It is useful, on occasion, to conduct a meditation in which one begins by thinking back to the earliest moments of one’s life which one can remember. One might even remember a photograph of oneself as a baby and try to think oneself back to that point, to see if there is any organic sense of what that was like. In any event, one then uses imagination to take oneself forward through life, briefly touching on every living memory that one can muster up which is specific enough to put one in a time and place throughout the course of one’s life, in sequential order.

The idea here is to see the entire thread of one’s life from beginning to end, so far, up to the present moment. One may try to create a whole sense of the fact that one has come through this life with these many different moments, places, and periods, so that the inner memory of the life experience and the impressions that have been taken in can be sensed, in outline, as a whole.

In particular, one may during the course of this effort remember one’s teachers and the sacred forces which have made it possible to live in the first place, and brought this life up to the point that it is in, so that one appreciates quite fully the sacred nature of the blessing of life itself, its wholeness, and how it has been bestowed upon one so that one has an opportunity to come closer to a much higher energy, a force.

 It’s tempting here to describe exactly what it is like to have this light open and come into one, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that such a thing is definitely possible and will provide a major support to the ongoing effort, which is always one of purging oneself of all of the wrong and negative parts that one has acquired during the course of a lifetime. It’s essential, at some point in any mature work, to see this particular question much more specifically and understand the need for purgatory in an inner sense. Only by forming a whole picture of one’s life, appreciating it, and then seeing what has attached to oneself that is inappropriate to God can one begin to have an open understanding of the need for this.

The ancient Christian prayer, “Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world, hear our prayer” is a prayer that was originally designed to invoke the help from a higher level which is necessary to purge these parts, which we are entirely unable to free ourselves from on our own.

May your soul be filled with light.

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