Sunday, October 20, 2013

A community of souls


A few days back we went beneath the body of several churches in Trastavere, down into the crypts, which contain the foundations and remains of earlier churches, some dating back to the fourth century.

Surrounded by crumbling walls and fragments of what were once extraordinary frescoes, one is indelibly impressed by the fragility, the ephemeral nature, of human life, and the inexorable passage of time.

We ended the day at Santa Maria in Trastavere, in time to watch a black priest celebrate a Catholic mass under a 12th century mosaic of the coronation of the Virgin- just as twilight arrived.

It was a moment of appreciating the continuity of the human search for Being; the sacrament of the body and blood, administered across an acreage of time and race by the unbroken laying on of hands from the first apostles, into this time and this place. We are all connected, through the medium of deep Christianity, the most profound—and at the same time, ordinary—in the absolute sense of the obyvatel— esoteric practice which Gurdjieff sought to reawaken in the west.

We are a community of souls together; whether steeped in blood and sin or bound by love and compassion, bound we are by the limits of our flesh. 

We struggle to understand this; and the poetry- the unspoken word that breathes- lies in the effort. Every church, every fresco and mosaic, and every viewer who encounters them, form a whole of experience that moves through time in a single spirit.

Gurdjieff surely understood this; and he advised we his pupils to see ourselves as occupying a place in this heritage, this religious tantra—loom— composed of human threads. Respect for this is due; in the traditions, we aren't just individuals. We are part of the body and blood of our Heavenly Father, but also—and equally important—part of the body and blood of humankind— father, mother, sister, brother—whose very existence is a correspondent reflection of the nature and character of God.

We can embody this; but only if we deepen who we are, what we are, in such a way that our souls touch God- and one another- in a new way.

May your soul be filled with light.

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