Tuesday, September 10, 2013
A path of return
Even the spiritual path becomes a journey towards something: there is an imaginary goal of some kind, enlightenment, bliss, freedom, God, what have you, and we are moving towards it.
Yet the inner path is actually a movement away from something. In a certain sense, we have already arrived at that distant place called life; and although we inhabit it, everything about life is a process of discovering how to return to where we came from, so we are not moving towards life; in the end, as one begins to acquire a definite inner sense of one's whole Being, we are moving away from life.
One can only move away from life by moving towards it; one can only return by going much more deeply inside both one's inner and outer being until the wholeness of it is sensed. The definition of the inner path cannot be completed without this wholeness of sensation, of feeling, of Being. This is because a human being can't decide to go anywhere — even to go home — unless they know where they are. Until this takes place, one can make any number of decisions about where to go, but one never has any idea of where one is going — and, indeed, isn't that exactly how life works out?
In this sense, everything we are, and everything we need to know about ourselves, is not the obstacle on the path forward: it is the obstacle on the path backward, the path that goes into our selves, into our cells and leads through ourselves towards God. This is part of the meaning of what it means to become transparent.
So we stand in the way of our own retreat, our own return. We are all actively living within the parable of the prodigal son; and we forget that it is the son himself who refuses to go home. He's having too much of a good time here where he is.
It's important to understand that what I am is the obstacle. If I say to myself "I am, I wish to be," and I wish to be what I actually am, eventually, if I have Being and I discover what I am, I will discover that Being and what I am in life are two different things.
Yes, they can become wedded to one another; yet ultimately, the aim is not to Be in life, but to live in Being.
This probably sounds paradoxical, because the requirement is, of course, to Be in life most assuredly. Yet this is a temporary condition, a trial, and really just practice for an understanding of what it is to live within Being. Ultimately, this body will be cast off, and death will lead us into the mystery of life within Being which is eternal, unlike Being within life, which is a larval condition.
To begin to realize exactly how we really are is to be filled with a great sadness, because every one of us is a glorious creature, an intimate and extremely precious aspect of God's creation, who has forgotten very nearly everything. The point of Self-remembering is to remember what we are; but to truly see where we are and who we are leads us to depths of feeling and remorse that no one could possibly want to navigate.
On a related note, last night, a close friend was talking about the politics and pettiness of spiritual organizations, and I reminded her that the reason all of this exists is because we think we are important.
This is exactly the problem.
Turning back onto the inward path and returning to God is the only way to understand our own insignificance, our own nothingness. And when Gurdjieff called us to sense our own nothingness, it was no casual action he called us to; it was an inner revolution in which the entire world is turned upside down.
May your soul be filled with light.