Wednesday, August 7, 2013
A small fraction
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.