Monday, August 26, 2013

Drawn towards the good

People sometimes discuss the quality of feeling in inner work; Gurdjieff and Jeanne de Salzmann drew a distinction between this quality and our ordinary emotional state.

The quality of feeling is, as Paul Reynard once described it to my wife, an organ of perception. That is to say, when we develop our inner sensitivity, a quality of vibration becomes available to our sensory Being which is not available under ordinary circumstances. We won't in any sense call this an extrasensory perception, because the sense it belongs to is a real one, not a supernatural one; it is just atrophied in people.

 But why can we have this quality of feeling? And why should we have it; that is, what is it for, what good does it do?

The answer to this is quite simple. The quality of feeling is there in order to perceive the good and draw us toward it.

The good, as Socrates and Plato realized, is an objective Truth; yet it can't be arrived at intellectually, as they attempted through philosophy. Anyone who sees the struggle within modern civilization, with all of its technology and information, to settle the matter of what the good is will realize this. All the philosophical systems in the world may be able to define the good from an abstract point of view, but the good cannot be made manifest unless it is perceived using this sensory tool of feeling. Attempts to manifest it through the tools of intellect and the body — which is the method of the atomistic materialist point of view – are absolutely worthless, lies, even.

 We are not cognizant of the good, as conscious beings, unless a feeling quality leads us to it. God has made this feeling quality possible for us in order to draw us towards the good, which can only be sensed with the entry of higher energy, a higher vibration. Without that knowing, that gnosis, the good remains an unknown.

We must know the good within our hearts, by being drawn to it through feeling. Not sentiment; not emotion. Feeling. One of the reasons that the Gurdjieff method—and de Salzmann's teaching in particular— emphasizes sensation so much is that it forms the foundational element for feeling. Feeling can't arise unless sensation is present. So the method of self remembering maps out a path: the mind makes an effort at attention — the body arrives in the moment of attention with sensation — and then the emotions enter, allowing feeling to become a sensory tool. At this point, one can know what the good is; before this, it is impossible, because the good is interpreted in a partial way.

The greatest wish that God has for man is that he be drawn towards the good. All of the good that there is resides in God, in the higher level—a point Meister Eckhart made abundantly clear. We have no good in us, an ancient understanding touched on in both the Catholic and Episcopalian liturgy, and passed on in the understanding of original sin within Christianity, and the concept of karma in Hinduism and Buddhism. We don't have any good in us; but we can develop the capacity for sensing the good, which is a quality belonging to the Divine, if our feeling capacity is awakened.

This is a fairly specific and even scientific understanding of the nature of relationship, but it's rarely mapped out in plain language. It's important to understand why you are making an effort to develop the capacity for feeling. If you don't know that this is the only force that can draw you towards good and draw you towards God, you need to understand that. Otherwise you will spend a great deal of your life thinking that you can make those decisions, which is in fact impossible. You can only open to the energy which will help draw you towards the good. Once you stand under that force, you will develop a better understanding.

Heaven touches hell; and man stands in the place where that happens. They are not far apart, and as much as we aspire to enter heaven, even more so, we are in perpetual danger of falling into hell.

God's Mercy and Grace position themselves between heaven and hell, in the precise place where we are located, and come up under us to support us and lift us towards the good, if we participate in the effort that God has put in front of us.

May your soul be filled with light.

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