Saturday, March 16, 2013
Gurdjieff, in discussing man's essence, touches on the same question; and essence, in his eyes, also touches what he called the higher parts of man—those parts which can receive the divine influence.
Yet for the most part, one has no clear sensation of this distinction and division. Especially in the sense of seeing it and being directly present to it within ordinary life, in day-to-day activities, where a clear understanding of the division between the sacred and the profane ought to be most active and best understood.
Every moment of life carries a perception of this intersection; and every aspect of what we call the ordinary has both the sacred and profane aspects active in it. So just as I have a clear division between higher and lower forces intersecting and manifesting in me, so does everything else. An expression of the higher within life honors higher forces present in everything; but if that expression doesn't take place, the experience of life—including its sensation, one's thoughts, and once emotional responses—becomes horizontal at once, that is, it is flattened, and there is no experience of the sacred.
In this way, perhaps I begin to see that the vertical and the horizontal aren't conceptual premises. They are actual sensations. This means that when inflow takes place, and the higher is sensed, an entirely different alignment is present in all things. When it does not, such sensations are quite impossible. So life can be experienced on two different levels, as two different orders; or it is only experienced on one. this depends on the degree of sensitivity and receptivity to inflow, or, as I have often referred to it, the organic sense of Being.
I call this the organic sense of being because the organism—the receiving vessel—senses, or becomes perceptually aware of, this state of Being, which itself is the direct expression of a higher level of energy. This action is intimately related to what Gurdjieff called "real I;" and it is indeed entirely different to everything conventionally understood as expressing the idea of "I", of the self. This is because every ordinary idea of the Self is impossible; all of them arise because of the horizontal experience of life. We say the experience is extraordinary because it is extra–ordinary, that is, it lies outside the realm of the ordinary on a vertical scale, in which forces that exist in a clear and distinct separation from this level begin to express themselves. This is Ibn 'Arabi's realm of the imaginal; and it can be called imaginal, because it gradually begins to form a stronger and more durable image, or reflection, or the higher forces that are received.
Life eventually becomes a detailed study of this question, and the way in which the two influences congregate around awareness. This congregation is inevitably disorganized at first, but it must identify its polarities and discover a center of gravity as it develops. This is the place from which more interesting questions can be asked, and investigations can be undertaken.
In inner work, each step through life eventually begins to align itself magnetically with this activity, so that all of the impressions begin to take on a different kind of order, in which they rightly organize themselves, just like iron filings, so that the higher points towards the higher, and the lower towards lower. It's useful to understand that all impressions have this quality, being like iron, in that they can align themselves so that the sense of verticality begins to apply to them, and they fall into place in order, rather than knocking about inside us in a confused way, which produces all of the bad results we usually see in life and in society. This alignment of impressions can't take place unless inflow is stronger, and one begins to submit to the sacred forces that make such alignment possible.
This needs to become a conscious process, not an abstract thought.
May your soul be filled with light.