Thursday, September 12, 2013
Real I and the Truth
The discussion of real "I" in the Gurdjieff work is commonplace. Yet the actual presence of real "I" and how it functions is often misunderstood and regarded more as a theory by people. In most cases, ego finds ways to seep into the picture, contaminate this very high question of inner work, and appropriate it until it manages to convince the seeker that they have invested their Being in real "I"—when in fact the exact opposite has taken place. This is, in fact, in the nature of ego: it is a consummate liar and co-opts others around it, both internal and external, into a charade in which bad things happen.
There is a simple principle to apply: real "I" tells the Truth.
It's uncompromising in this regard; and it's why it is so indispensable to any fundamental understanding of Being, and the development of Being. This is because inner lies block the inward flow of the higher energy, the divine source. When we speak of tension in inner work, what we really refer to, ultimately, is lying. This, like my dream, is a complex subject worthy of further discussion.
Imagine it thus: you have, within yourself, an entire corporation of various individuals who have over the years been hired to work for your life. (Ibn Arabi described it as a "Human Kingdom;" but for modern purposes it's better to understand it as a corporation.) In addition to having ambitions and earning a salary—that is, performing tasks and acquiring recognition which gives them the right to a place in the theater of self-expression—these individuals are all engaged in competition with one another to be better than others, because each one wants the stage. They all resort, in the end, to the usual politics, lies, and manipulations we see in the external world, but they do so in an inner sense.
We're unaware of this because of our poor sense of Self; and the resultant chaos is predictable.
What is needed is for real "I" to arrive on the scene: and this is a part, an individual, that tells the truth about things. It needs to be present within the day to day workings of the corporation, and it needs over time to become the dominant presence. The corporation can't be dismantled; it's necessary in order to navigate life. But it needs this truth-teller, this element that keeps it honest and always tells the truth, in order to create a corporate atmosphere of informed trust.
Informed trust is an essential idea one absolutely needs to understand here, because what it means is inwardly formed trust. One has not, of course, heard this idea in the Gurdjieff work before: it's not a part of the average jargon which was formed nearly a century ago and has existed, with some notable exceptions, in a state of stasis ever since. But, new thought though it may be, it can be effectively used to understand what is needed in us.
Take a look inside yourself, for example. There are many destructive factors at work within ordinary life that become apparent as one ages. In one's best moments, one sees, for example, that one drinks too much; one eats badly and is fat, sluggish; one treats others with a secret and unexamined contempt, and so on.
How can one trust one's Self when it is self-evident it has all these undermining features? Well, one can't. But if there were one honest individual who acted within the ordinary functioning of day-to-day corporate life, one could see these things, these quite ordinary things, and begin to understand them. Only then can one develop the force (the will, as Gurdjieff called it) to go against this pack of inner liars who conduct themselves in inhumane and inhuman ways, both inwardly and outwardly, and go against them.
More on this in the next post.
May your soul be filled with light.