Obelisk, Spanish Stairs, Rome
Photograph by the author
Gurdjieff told Ouspensky that the earth- along with other planets—was attempting to evolve to become a sun.
At first glance, of course, the idea sounds ridiculous. Yet scientists had to do a good deal of studying before eliminating the possibility that there was actually a nuclear reaction taking place in the core of the earth. While this literalist interpretation of the teaching has been, so far as we can tell, legitimately dismissed by now, there is an allegorical meaning related to the nature of the sun as a source of emanation of the divine.
Of course the Earth is attempting to become a sun. A sun, as I have explained before, is an aperture through which divine emanations flow into the material world; and it is the responsibility of every organic and inorganic consciousness arising within the known universe to attempt to become a receiver of the divine inflow.
This means that everything, at every level, ought to attempt within the course of its own being and on the level it is on to become a receiver and distributor of divine influences. When dervish teachers report that they whirl in order to "bring the light down," this is what they are speaking of; and microbes and minerals are just as responsible for making this effort within the context of their own Being as human beings and animals are. Planets are not excused from this responsibility; and at each level, the responsibility to "become like a sun" is a requirement of existence.
All of existence is capable of receiving divine influence from the level of heaven. All of material existence is, in fact, reflection, or correspondence, of heaven; and although they are obscure and failed to the Western mind, there are many references to this in Buddhist teachings, which understood this at a level of sophistication that has generally escaped Westerners. The flower ornament Sutra is a teaching about this; and in its exuberance, it encapsulates (in a very large, extremely wordy capsule) the essential principle of all material existence becoming like a sun. The teaching, in fact, that insists that all sentient beings must attain enlightenment is exactly this teaching.
So, you see, Gurdjieff's remarks are not only entirely consistent with mystics such as Swedenborg, who taught a doctrine of correspondences between earth and heaven; they are also deeply reflected in Buddhism. Christianity, also, reflects the same idea in the receiving of Christ, which is a divine influence, within the human heart.
Because we generally turn our faces upwards, we don't understand that the same forces exert themselves on lower levels, and that cells, bacteria, microbes, and even crystalline structures such as quartz, ruby (corundum), emerald (beryl), and so on conform to this same principle. But if we are transformed in an inner sense, and we truly receive divine emanations and come under the inflow of heaven, we will see how our cells also become participants in this process; and the structural relationship between ourselves and our bodies can perhaps help us intuit the relationship between our bodies and the earth, where we play the role of the cell and the earth plays the role of the body.
All of material arising participates in the striving in one way or another, because in its innermost heart it is the absolute wish of all material reality to return to the divine source, that is, to return to heaven. This is why the enneagram so decisively reflects the path of the Yogi, which is the path of all matter in its efforts to return to heaven.
May your soul be filled with light.