Saturday, March 2, 2013
The death of the Self
We have two choices; we can come to see this and work on it in life, or we can wait until the death of the physical body.
Everything that we think of as working, all of the ideas we construct to advance ourselves spiritually, come from the ego, because there is no other alternative while we are under the influences of this level. In fact, a radical, a completely new, kind of action is necessary, in which the head is, so to speak, cut off — metaphorically speaking.
Cutting off the head doesn't mean removing it; it means reorganizing, reengineering, the inner being, so that all the parts are connected. But even this, I can't do; and I have to come up against what I am and how I see things over and over again in order to begin to understand that the action that's necessary doesn't begin with me, or what I think I am. While this gradual wearing down of my assumptions is taking place — and it is a glacial process, grinding down the hard rock of my being over the years of a lifetime — I need activities. The activities take on a wide variety of colorations, and each one of them is meant to present a discipline, or a challenge — a form of obedience that I undertake.
But each of the forms of obedience, as such, has nothing to do with the dissolution of the ego, and none of their actions have anything to do with that. Each of these actions is only meant to serve as a preparation that takes place within my attitude. Within the forms of obedience, what I am always learning is how to obey. I'm not creating anything that has some substantial effect on my situation, and other words; the only thing that it affects is my attitude.
This preparation may help me to begin to understand the question of submission. Because the "I" that I inhabit does not understand these things; it thinks it can do things, and it thinks it is in charge. It has even adopted very elaborate dialogues and expressions, intelligible theoretical constructions, to assert to itself that it will be able to achieve its own dissolution.
Gurdjieff put all of this in much simpler terms when he summarized it: "Man cannot do." The idea that I can acquire Being presumes already that Being can belong to me. And this is in fact quite impossible.
Being belongs to itself. This is what is not understood, after all the readings and the group meetings. This is what is not understood in my search; it is not understood by anyone. Yet this fact emanates directly from Truth, which is an essential quality, not an acquired one. Because it is an essential quality, each human being has a seed of this element, let's call it, at the heart of their being. And this is why the way to the truth (coming back to where this series of posts started) is through the heart.
Swedenborg explained this very accurately when he said that every man has a seed of the Divine within him; and this, indeed, is also one of the secrets expounded in the Vedic texts. But the seed belongs to the Divine, not to man. And the equally essential fact of our separation from it, if we sense it, produces the elements of feeling which are required in order to understand the question from a level other than the one we dwell within.
We truly think we own things; whereas, we are nothing but servants.
Our confusion arises from the exquisite dilemma which manifestation has presented us with upon birth: we must also inhabit this level. Jeanne de Salzmann very concisely saw how confused we become about this question, and spent a good deal of her life trying to teach people how to stand between these two questions, so as to balance the inexorable conditions of our existence with what she called "a nostalgia for Being," the—once sensed—intolerable longing and unbearable anguish for a return to our source, the Creator.
The action leaves us between Scylla and Charybdis — and creates all of the dilemmas which Bosch outlined in his painting, the Garden of Earthly Delights. Each of the worlds that we stand between offers an alternative ecstasy: one physical, the other spiritual. To immerse oneself in one or the other, is to become lost.
May your soul be filled with light.