Monday, August 5, 2013

Making the form whole

It's often said that there isn't a form; and from the transcendent point of view, from the point of view of God, essentially, it’s true: there isn't one.

But to take this point of view is a copout; because we aren't God. For us, there is a form, and to aspire to formlessness is, in a very real way, to abandon the responsibility we are given to act as Vicegerents of God during our lives. We incarnate on this planet in order to embody form, which is lawful on to this level. Trying to escape it is an abrogation of the task we were sent to accomplish.

We believe, based on our sensory experience, that the form is an external one, but it isn't. We are here to create and experience an inner form; and that inner form is exactly the same whole piece of cloth, the Tantric experience, that I spoke about in an earlier post. Each human being is responsible for their own highly individual —Gurdjieff would have called it idiotic — form. That is to say, every life must become itself, be itself, sense itself, and know itself. We have to take charge of understanding who and what we are in a context that comes from within.

To be sure, this isn't how life is understood. From the very beginning, everything is propped up around us and held up as an example of how things ought to be — outwardly. Few parents are insightful or experienced enough to teach their children, from the beginning, to understand that the child must have an inner sense of themselves. The sense of self is always attached to religions, jobs, cultural practices, superstitions, and traditions. The idea that it begins from within and comes into relationship with the outward is forgotten. Everyone thinks that we attach ourselves to the outward, like a limpet hangs onto a rock, and that that will explain everything.

You would think by now, with the deterioration of the planet and societies, that people might realize the outward is not where the answers lie. Instead, we argue about politics and laws, and then we shoot each other.

The process begins neither by espousing formlessness, nor by adopting some proffered outward form, but by asking myself, from within, what is my form

Clearly, I have a form — and I have an inner form, or I wouldn't even exist – but I don't know what that form is. Arguments to the contrary are sophistry. Only by becoming sensitive to my form — intimate with it, as I like to say — can I begin to know that inward form. It most definitely isn't anything like I think it is — and if I'm fortunate, that is, if enough serious misfortune befalls me — maybe I will begin to see a few glimpses of how I actually am. How unkind, for example, I am towards others. This would be an excellent place to start, because so many examples of how I actually am begin with the way I manifest unkindness in one way or another. Not sentimental or mechanical unkindness, mind you, but the kind of unkindness that is personal and emotional and exists in the moment between two people. 

Mindfulness, the expression the Buddhists use, actually means kindness. To be mindful is to be kind towards the other. We are almost universally bad at this.

Asking this question of what my form is over and over is, in its essence, the kernel of self-remembering. The form is an evolving entity, so I can only know it by active participation. It is new every time I encounter it; and it continually delivers me to the unexpected both within myself, and in my relationship to outer life. So the form is actually a living thing, an entity, not a fixture. It takes place in movement; and by studying inner movement, I can begin to see what's necessary.

May your soul be filled with light.

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