Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A small fraction

 When we see the world around us, we see a world that we describe as being in three dimensions. Yet, these three dimensions are, to us, actually flat.

Perhaps that sense peculiar or difficult to explain, but under the ordinary conditions in which we taken impressions, our perception of the world is a flat one. There is a depth within the world that cannot be perceived without the inflow of the Lord, and spiritual insight, and we do not live in that condition.

In fact, what we see is a small fraction of what is real. The most incredible beauty, the most stunning landscape, a superlative flower— no matter how wonderful or fantastic anything we see is, it does not begin to approach the glory of the Lord. Our perception, as it happens, of the world we see around it is a pale reflection of God. So no matter how wonderful we think anything is, do we do not see it in its true wonder unless there is a spiritual light within us that helps us to receive it.

The authors who wrote the flower ornament Sutra were aware of this and had had a vision of it, but the only way to try and describe it was to use a nearly endless — and, unfortunately, repetitive and ultimately boring — series of words to describe the infinite unfolding of Glory that belongs to reality when revealed through inner light. The Glory of Heaven, in other words, represents a kind of perfection which is only reflected in the material world.

Inner work is designed to, after many years, slowly bring individuals to the threshold of this perception. It's true that you can cheat, game the system by taking chemical drugs to achieve such insight, but what is gained in that way can never be durable without damaging the organism and its relationship to this higher level. The objective is to open slowly, so that every taste of the true can be appreciated and savored on the path towards inner consciousness.

Gurdjieff gave his own unique description of this in the chapter The Holy Planet Purgatory. He showed remarkable restraint in his description.

The influence of the higher enters this world through the expression of the material; and so the expression of the material is actually the bottom side, so to speak, of a much higher level. When we see the material world, we see the underbelly of a whole creature, a living creation, which only touches us at its lowest part. We are unable to perceive the much higher organism it belongs to, we see it only as a flat, essentially two-dimensional entity, even though our impoverished state causes us to experience it as a three-dimensional thing.

Through grace, perhaps we can gain an inkling of this; and this is where praise of the Lord begins.

May your soul be filled with light.

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  3. Dear Lee, although you very rightly point out the great dangers in the use of mind altering chemicals or plants; those which Mr. Gurdjieff used the word Polormedehktic, he also indicated that their use could be sanctioned in the interests of "seeing ahead" to potentials and possibilities that man can then go and achieve without the Polormedehktic substances.

    I think it is because that Mr. Ouspensky had been using various chemicals and narcotics to gain the visionary insights that he placed in his book – the book that Mr. Gurdjieff said that if he understood what he had written, the teacher and student positions would have been reversed, but alas and alack, Ouspensky did not understand what he wrote>

    As a person myself who has been both a drug addict as well as an alcoholic, and who has risked life in this exploration, where I consider the withdrawal of something like a heroin addiction to be akin to a spiritual trampoline, the almost inhuman suffering that it causes can lead to sharper sight and lingering insights that can be made permanent, but it is on the far side of the left-handed path into the subconscious.

    When I first joined the New York Foundation, in the very first discussion I had with my contact there, considering myself an open book I had to reveal my considerable use of narcotics and of every other Polormedehktic substance I knew, I was asked what I had learned from the use of drugs, and had to make assurances that I was not using them any longer – and began to discuss what they had learned through the use of these substances when I realized that it could not be spoken of so simply, so I told her I would write an essay, which I did. For one thing, a pound of flour and a pound of heroin both weigh a pound, but with one you can bake bread, and the other you can put your entire self asleep or easily kill yourself.

    So from this knowledge I was able to see levels of power and of insight that otherwise might escape the ordinary person. My mentioned that René Daumal had done the very selfsame thing as well as Ouspensky, and both of those are highly honored in the Work.

    I was told that the use of substances was forbidden as opposite to the intention and work of the Foundation. I contend that if I had not been the alcoholic drug addict of my youth, I would have never been prepared for the Gurdjieff work, and is a recovering alcoholic yourself, I remember your discussions with one of our oldest members, now deceased, that she wished that the Foundation could utilize some of the methodologies of Alcoholics Anonymous in the Gurdjieff Work.

    Becoming awake in the sense of our work on consciousness and conscience is no easy task – but I use as an example the instances that almost everyone has had of their foot falling asleep and the suffering of pins and needles as the foot reawakens. -- Now just imagine if the entire Self, with a capital S, were asleep, what suffering it would take to awaken the entire self. Well, some drug withdrawals are that painful and if entered into intentionally and with a specific purpose, they can lead to a greater Awakening than can be found anywhere else. I was never just a clown risking my life and taking drugs for no purpose – I had entered into this endeavor fully conscious of its risks and dangers, as well as what I call the "trampoline effect" of removing those substances from oneself. I consider it a viable path – a true path, acceptable by certain sects in India, and elsewhere, where Shamanic journeys are deemed sacred. And what of the elusive Soma, as mentioned in some of the oldest Scriptures of the world – the Vedas? I am just putting questions out not necessarily as a reaction against your blog, but a ponderable subject in its own right which was triggered by your newest blog post. I wonder if you have ever gone back to the very beginning and read your own posts from beginning to now in order to see how your values have changed and your insights have grown, and how much more religious you have become. Yours, – Richard

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