Wednesday, March 6, 2013

levels, the inner, and the outer

"Anyone who does not know how the divine design is arranged in levels cannot grasp how the heavens are distinguished from each other, or for that matter, what the inner person and the outer person are (in an individual.) The only idea most people in this world have about inner and outer things is one of continuity, or of a coherence along a continuum from the finer to the coarser. Inner and outer things are not arranged in a continuum, though, but with definite boundaries."

Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Hell, p. 106

 Swedenborg's masterful explanation of levels (which is the subject of the entire book)  is in substantial agreement not only with Gurdjieff's explanation of the universe,  but also the cosmologies of Ibn 'Arabi and other similarly inspired illuminators of Divine Intelligence.

What's perhaps more interesting, however, is his mention here of a principle that Jeanne de Salzmann tried to emphasize over and over: the inner and the outer qualities of man.

 Gurdjieff referred to these two parts of a man as essence and personality. Swedenborg understands these concepts in exactly the same way, though he uses slightly different terms. The essence is what can receive the inflow of the divine; and lest you think that de Salzmann understood it any differently, what she said about it was this:

"Through the breathing, by opening voluntarily to a mysterious life-giving force, I can become conscious of this finer current, which opens me to possibilities latent in myself... The perceptible breath is not the true breath, that is, the current which animates inhalation and exhalation. We are aware of the air but not the current, which is imperceptible. It is a kind of magnetism that produces the action and touches the essential parts of our being." (The Reality of Being, pp 145-146.) 

 In point of fact, the majority of de Salzmann's work was about opening man to the inflow of the divine, since nothing can be properly formed without it. Swedenborg: " There is actually no inflow of what is natural into what is spiritual, but of what is spiritual into what is natural. This latter inflow is of the divine design, while the former would be contrary to the divine design" (Ibid, p. 159.

 In an action that can only be undertaken by one with a higher understanding, De Salzmann refocused her pupils, and the entire Gurdjieff work itself, on an initial and foundational understanding of this relationship, because she saw, through her own work, that nothing else can proceed in any organized way whatsoever without this influence. One can undertake any or every kind of self-study, self remembering, inner exercises, and so on and so forth, but without the active participation of this influence, it is ultimately worthless. Swedenborg clearly drew the distinction between this influence and our own influences; one produces love for the divine, the other only produces love for ourselves, which de Salzmann referred to as egoism. Our love for ourselves is, in other words, our chief obstacle, and exactly what forms false personality.

Swedenborg's remarks at the opening of this post are essential, because a human being must recognize the difference between the inner and the outer quite clearly. This impression we may have that there is a continuum of some kind between the two is completely false. There is an essential and fundamental separation between the inner and the outer, and Gurdjieff was well aware of this — which is why he emphasized the separation of oneself from oneself. This phrase, simple and succinct, describes the situation exactly: we must learn to discriminate between the inner and the outer and understand the difference.

As I have mentioned before times, an organic investment in relationship, and an intimacy which discriminates decisively between the inner and the outer, is necessary in order to understand this question properly.

Unless there is an organic sensation of this difference that arises through a finer kind of vibration, and is very nearly constantly present, one cannot work in life. The presence must be active.

 May your soul be filled with light.

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