Thursday, May 16, 2013

All of Christ

I find it necessary to write another post following up on this question of Christ, which is the essential question for every Western religious person, if not the whole world, and which ought to be at the center of every sincere follower of the Gurdjieff method.

Understanding on this question has been degenerated over centuries, and because human understanding no longer corresponds to a rational (what Gurdjieff would call three-centered) understanding, people are unable to sense a right position in regard to this question, even if they profess to be Christians. This includes radical Christians and fundamentalists, who are just as mistaken on the issue as those they believe themselves superior to.

As I said in the earlier post on the subject, one cannot pick and choose in this matter. To paraphrase Gurdjieff, if one thing is true, everything is true. In this sense, one cannot just take a part of Christianity, the part one prefers, and have it be whole. Even one single fact which constitutes actual inner understanding that reveals the truth of Christ verifies and renders the entire question of Christ true. One cannot have part of Christ or the Christian story; it's an all or nothing proposition. So let us begin by understanding that we cannot make compromises on the matter.

This is not a proposition that manifests or can be found in the outward world. Although all of the outward manifestations are, in one way or another, real reflections of the Dharma of Christ, each one is just a fraction or a fragment. The entire truth of Christ is found within the living heart of human beings, in the Divine center that was mercifully given to each being when they were born. This Divine seed is a mystery that every human being carries in them that can be born into the light of Christ. But it is not opened unless it is properly tended to.

We are all separated from Christ by our entire nature; and it is our entire nature that must go if we are to become open to Christ. Even the most earnest and ardent seeker must spend decades and perhaps even lifetimes before that opening becomes completely possible, because it only takes place on a level where we have completely subjected ourselves to the humility of the Christian practice. That is, we must entirely and completely admit the whole of Christ into our heart, not just the fraction which we are pleased with or which satisfies us.

This idea of pleasure and satisfaction is exactly why Gurdjieff rejected the idea of pleasure, calling it "shit." Our pleasure — and this does not just mean physical pleasure, it extends to the entire idea of pleasure in all three centers — is what we reward and flatter ourselves with in our effort to avoid submitting to the authority of God. We spend almost all of every day inventing little fantasies of one kind or another that put pleasurable images in front of us, and each one distracts us from the dire circumstances we have put ourselves into our failure to make dutiful and right efforts toward submission. Every human mind and soul is eternally, it would seem, preoccupied with such nonsense, which can only be dispelled by an active and—let me put it this way—aggressive practice of prayer. 

All of the Tantric and yogic practices that attempt to expunge desire from the heart of man center around this particular question. When they became attached to outward ethical and moral questions, they lost force, because they were never intended to target the outer results of our inner failings. It is the inner failing that must be addressed. The secular attempts of Western (and, let's be fair, Eastern as well) civilizations to externalize and codify these practices into laws and ethical systems have always been upside down, since it is impossible for them to manifest properly without the development of the inward attitudes that create the unethical situations in the first place. 

Nonetheless, we see man continuing to make efforts to invest the power of transformation in his institutions, not his Being. (Only a few unique statesmen such as Dag Hammerskj√∂ld have, in modern times, begun to understand that a transformation of inner Being is necessary if institutions are ever to succeed in efforts to change conditions for human beings.)

Gurdjieff definitely understood all of this quite well, and cleverly — even brilliantly — designed an entire practice that acts on the deeper part of the Being by sidestepping and avoiding the many thousands, even tens of thousands, of ordinary parts that insist on manipulating and interfering with its development.  The development of Being is the development of the divine seed in man, and, in fact, represents the opening to Christ, which only becomes possible if real Being is acquired. To the extent that a man or a woman resists the idea that one should open to Christ, already, the entire inner work has failed in them. And only to the extent that one accepts this and understands that real Being is the opening to the Lord and to Christ (which, let's be clear, may go under quite different names,  according to culture and practice, but are always the same thing) can one progress. So you see, in regard to this question, a decisive and essential threshold must be crossed, and a human being can spend an entire lifetime pursuing inner growth without stepping over it.

Progression is not a journey upwards towards heaven. It is a journey downwards into the very depths of being, in which we progressively strip away all of the elements of ego and personhood that insist they are superior to God. It is like digging up a rock in the garden that gets bigger and bigger as you dig more and more, the further down you go. Eventually one discovers that the rock is huge and in fact so big that it cannot be moved out of the garden by one person, or maybe even a team (or group, or school.) This is how big the ego is, how hard and resistant it is to the idea of opening Christ. Eventually one realizes that one must appeal for help from an outer agency in order to move this rock.

In any event. Let me make it clear once again that one cannot have a part of a Truth. Truth is a whole thing, and one cannot carve it up into bits and pieces and selectively take what one wishes. The truth of Christ as a whole thing just like this, and it constitutes the entire Dharma and all that is.  

One must begin to see the difference between what one wants to be true and what is actually true. This is called discrimination.

One cannot embrace one's inner work without eventually embracing this understanding.

 May your soul be filled with light.

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