Monday, March 4, 2013
The search for real "I"
The point of yesterday's post about the bird master is that everyone tries to know what Gurdjieff meant by "creating real I" starting from where we are now; and this is like trying to know what the outside of the bottle is like from the inside. In point of fact, when Christ said you cannot put new wine into old bottles, what he specifically meant was that one can never understand the idea of what Gurdjieff referred to as "real I," the New Man, from within the old one.
Consequently, every single action one takes to attempt to find or acquire real "I" is doomed to failure.
One doesn't know what one is looking for, and one doesn't know where to look for it.
Only hubris brings men to believe that they can understand this question. And because everything is interpreted from this side of the fence—absolutely everything, make no mistake about it – it's actually quite impossible to understand this question from where we are.
Now, it is entirely possible to understand this question from a completely new point of Being, but that point of Being is what one calls Truth; because that point of Being does not arise from and is not constructed by anything even remotely related to what we refer to as "I"in ordinary life, anything we can conceive of. It is objective, and it is from a higher level; and as Gurdjieff, Jeanne de Salzmann, and every other legitimate teacher has always pointed out, one can never understand the level above from the level one is on. They themselves stated that they were subject to this law, like the rest of us.
This objective fact is consistently forgotten in the frenzy of effort that people undertake in order to discover, create, or develop their "real I." The enterprise is sometimes so profoundly misunderstood by those undertaking Gurdjieff's ideas and his work that it can actually be dangerous, unless one is working under the guidance of very intelligent and well informed – I mean by this inwardly formed — people. Tens of thousands of steps can be taken in wrong directions, every one of which will look right. This is why it's important to be in a firm line of teaching that, while it acknowledges and values theory, has been passed on from person to person through individual contact — not books. The line of teaching with the vast majority of those who knew Gurdjieff personally, for extended periods of time, exists at the International Gurdjieff Foundation. It is, in point of fact, the only organization for inner study I know of where multiple people who knew Gurdjieff personally are still attending, participating, and teaching.
Truth emanates from and exists on a level that we are not within. One could argue that this somehow represents Gurdjieff's "real I;" or that it doesn't. The activity would be pointless. Only by inhabitation of the condition can one begin to understand the question, not by discussing it theoretically.
One would have to sift through all the many hundreds of posts in this space to see the many times I have mentioned the fact that inner light is a revolution; that it doesn't have anything of what we call "I"in it, and that no one actually has any idea of what they are undertaking or agreeing to submit to when they begin a work of this kind. Even if one comes to a certain level of understanding about the energy that one receives, this isn't enough. Because even that understanding will be taken if one keeps going; in the end, one discovers that nothing, absolutely nothing, belongs to oneself and the part of one's self that understands this or that. And one must be willing to continually abandon every single thing that is acquired in one's movement deeper inward, one's movement outward into life, in fact, every movement one makes.
So we can't acquire real "I;" the idea, as expressed by Gurdjieff, only has context within the action of a real master in real life — not on the pages of books, or in Internet forum discussions. We can't develop real "I"; its domain is not the domain we are in, and our actions cannot affect it. Our efforts cannot construct it.
So what can we do; what is possible?
May your soul be filled with light.