Friday, May 17, 2013

Manifestation with joy


Although it is objectively true that we need to intentionally suffer ourselves, we have a parallel responsibility to manifest joyfully. This is a difficult task, because most of us manifest according to our emotional attitudes, and most of our emotional attitude is negative.

Nonetheless, opening to an energy that is selfless — available through the offering of oneself in a simple and natural way to the conditions of life — can help us to open to the possibility of joyful manifestation. This means not thinking of ourselves, but thinking of others, and of acting directly through the best kind of compassion and kindness that we can find available within ourselves. In these instances, we are transparent; we aren't asking for anything, all we are doing is offering ourselves, who we are, the way we are, to the other.

This kind of gentle and attentive correspondence to others, in which we consider their well-being and offer a kindness of one kind or another, can be transformative in itself. In this kind of attention is the essence of what Mr. Gurdjieff called outer considering, a practice which he appears to have mastered (along with many other remarkable personal manifestations which were, to say the very least, unexpected.)

In any event, there is much to be said for showing up in life and just trying to be joyful. We need not be overly earnest; the first requirement is to be gentle, and to see the other person. Ideally, in encountering another person, we put aside all those nasty little prejudices which we nurse so assiduously to our bosom when we are thinking in private. We have all these bad parts, to be sure; but they are not necessarily an essential part of what we are. They are incubi and succubi, evil sprites that can be rightly banished to the lower hells of our being if we are attentive and know them for what they are. 

In this attentive inner banishment of the bad, and intentional inner turning towards the good, we do our best to discover our inherent and natural good feelings towards others; to value others, to offer them everything we can of a joyful exchange, a positive exchange, one based on friendship, support, and brotherly or sisterly love. This doesn't have to be some idealized exchange; it's quite simple, and can only take place in the moment, uncontaminated by our ideologies, politics, or religious beliefs. It's just two human beings, being human.

 Because human beings are vicegerents, or earthly representatives, of God, the natural human state, stripped of all the egoistic pretensions we carry in us, is one of selfless and loving expression. If we were to abandon our own will and inhabit the will of God, this is the only kind of expression we would be capable of. God, after all, is merciful above all and loving above all; and he expects us, acting at our best, to express exactly these qualities, and none of the evil or petty qualities that we are usually filled with.

I've spent some time on this trip (I'm writing this in China, although it won't post until well after I am back) contemplating the enormous amount of gossip, pettiness, and outright ill wishes that we all harbor in even the most casual exchanges amongst one another. We forget ourselves; and in forgetting ourselves, we don't manifest joyfully, as an offering towards life. Instead, we manifest selfishly, according to our inner considering.

I keep encountering difficult situations during this trip, and I keep reminding myself over and over again that my job is to tolerate and suffer the conditions, and to move forward in an effort to manifest the positive. This requires a constant vigilance and a constant application of the inner energies acquired through work to intelligently navigate life without damaging others, and finding good solutions. It's like shooting the rapids on a river; and one does hit rocks, there is no question about it. Every day, I slip and fall; I find myself being a slippery political animal instead of a straightforward and decent human being; and to be true to the matter, business sometimes requires that, no matter how unsavory it may be. One learns to be flexible; one learns to change one's direction over and over again as rocks appear and one must maneuver around them, but one attempts to remember not to do any harm — above all, to do no harm.

I don't know of any better action one can offer in life than to be decent, kind, and loving towards others, no matter the circumstances. It is the individual and collective shame of every man and woman — and I emphatically include myself in this category — that we fail so miserably in this effort.

We must try — and try — and try.

Our work expects nothing less of us.

May your soul be filled with light.

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