Monday, March 4, 2013

Comments from Xiamen

Almost a week into my business trip, a few comments from my daily work here which I will insert without a photograph, since I can't get them set up properly from here in China.

Today, I am in Xiamen. 

I really need to deepen my actual insight — my organic, cellular insight — of the fact that I don't know who I am. I need to experience this organically, in the body, as a physical component of the energy that I am made of.

Perhaps it's important, even before I have this insight, to sense this energy, because all of what I am arises directly from this energy — all these things that I call myself, thoughts, physical sensations, feelings, and so on — everything arises from this direct and tangible vibration, this influx of an animated and living quality from some other level, that then exists in this body.

I find myself in the middle of this experience, and it must be sensed within life — not just when I close my eyes and sit quietly in the morning. 

It must always be sensed, not just sometimes. Make it organic. 

It needs to be active, engaged within the reality of other people and all the ordinary demands of life: objects, events, circumstances, conditions. Not ones that have been artificially created: the spontaneous ones that are constantly around me.

Sometimes there is enough presence to lift me into a moment when I see more clearly. But above all, before that, there is a fundament, a ground floor, in which there is an unknowing. And that ground floor is where I need to find myself, because I need to have this unknowing quality as a vibration within me long before anything lifts itself into contact with a greater understanding.

I suppose this is probably a rather complicated way of describing what Jeanne de Salzmann  refers to as "seeing my lack," yet perhaps her definition needs more definition, if you know what I mean. In asking myself the question of what she means by those words, I find myself drawn to a more specific set of observations, which includes this sensation of unknowing.

Seeing that I don't know who I am may already be a component of what is called self remembering. I'm not sure, because I have never actually understood the idea of self remembering completely. I have had many different extraordinary experiences you might call self remembering; or you might call them something else. No one knows what anything is; we pick these phrases and words and we throw them around as though there were understanding, when the fundament — the ground floor — is that there is no understanding, and that's what needs to be seen first.

What there is, instead of understanding, is an incredible amount of presumption, and a constant and unrelenting action of ego. This is an essentially destructive way to approach life, yet ego emerges almost effortlessly to try and interfere with the inflow of higher influences. It is extremely well concealed, on top of everything else — if I catch a glimpse of it at all, I'm lucky.

 I've collected a number of impressions during the trip, but the overwhelming one is one of seeing how little shame there is in us. In examining the things that are going on in myself — and around me — and the things I read in the news  — I see a world where we all ought to understand how unbelievably tiny we are, and quiet down like church mice. Instead, everything is bluster and aggrandized manifestation. We could be treating each other honorably, but look at how we are. The lack is plain to see.

It's difficult to write about these things, because I see that I have probably an entire book's worth of material in me about the last few days of sensation and expression and the particular point I am in in examining this question of ego. But I'm not going to write any books. I am just recording snippets of impression. The wholeness of the question, and its relationship to the existence of the organism — this is the exact point. 

Those who can follow me here, please do so.

May your soul be filled with light.


  1. I love your image of the building and the fundament. It reminds me of so many so-called "spiritual seekers" that want to build a spiritual foundation, but they don't want to have to build a lobby – they want to start on the second or third floor. What they don't realize is then that the only way people could get into the building would be through the windows – there would be no doors.

    No matter what you call it, the fundament must be built first, and to ensure a stable structure almost always includes digging a deep hole in the ground in which to begin placing girders and building basements. So maybe we mean when we say me, or I, the entire structure is in need of demolition before we can do anything constructive.

    Then, when we look at the gaping hole with which we are going to begin building we can really see our own lack, stand in front of it and remain pondering how we should begin?

    No one can add Mr. Gurdjieff's teachings as an addendum to any other spiritual teachings – God knows how many have tried. My personal opinion is that in Russia where Mr. Gurdjieff did not use the words love or God, it is said that many left him on that account, saying that his system had no love in it. I think that finally, in a kind of exasperation, Mr. Gurdjieff stated, "For those who know already, you may call this "esoteric Christianity".

    But others want to call him a Sufi and others a Tibetan and a few of us see a strong Hindu influence. But although Mr. Gurdjieff talked of ancient things, he also said that his system stood on its own and was complete – even if he only handed it out in fragments. A woman asked him to explain something and he said, "I make ore, it is for others to refine!"

    He stated that he had good leather to sell for those who wish to make shoes – a reference to the esoteric meaning of shoes and feet where shoes stand for the personality which touch the earth, and protects the essence which Jesus washed of his disciples on holy Thursday.

  2. In the very large world I simply don't exist. Unlike others however, I know my purview – that area over which I have control. I don't think about things happening elsewhere. I don't talk about the world's events because I think they are irrelevant. They are exactly the same as they have always been, and my being negative about the negativity in the world destroys my own buoyancy, steals my energy as if I were a sieve, and leaves me in the same place tomorrow as I was yesterday.

    This I refuse to let happen. Even though I am in the world I do not believe in the world. I believe that this Work, that is our inheritance, is outside of time and distance.

    I lament, weep and moan over every breath that I have lost due to my entranced sleep. But there is an alchemical formula that Dr. Carl Jung used with one of his patients who had come to him for analysis after being alcoholic for a long time but while seeing Dr. Jung he fell off the wagon, and Dr. Jung told him that he was doomed to die of his alcoholism and the it he could see him no more.

    The man begged, saying, "is there nothing that could help me?" Dr. Jung told him about what is called a conversion experience, where a certain type of shock could realign the personality completely, somewhat like turning a kaleidoscope and allowing for a new crystallization. When he was asked where he could find such a thing, Dr. Jung told him that they were very rare but that the most common descriptions of such events were to be found in religions, and so he advised his alcoholic patient to find religion, if he was to have any help at all.

    The formula was Spiritis Contra Spiritus. Only the spirit can conquer the spirits. And in our work, that we are entranced, the formula holds. Trance Contra Trance. We can never be free of all laws, but we CAN change what influences us; what entrances us. We can as Gurdjieff stated in the first lecture in the third series, use that which is pernicious to free us.

    That man, who found the shock of a small group of Christians called the Oxford Group, and he never drank again.

    Who of us can endure such a shock – facing death dead in the face.

    Mr. Gurdjieff said, only that shock and terror of the situation where I know constantly that I will die as well as anyone my eyes light upon, can save me.

    And yet, when I am aware that by breathing I am pulling the future towards me in my inhalation and causing this "now" to move into my past on every exhalation, I am also slowly and inexorably moving towards my death. Every breath is a birth and a death of a moment.

    Why do I forget this?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.