Friday, November 15, 2013
Being, Grace, and mercy, Part IV- Death as a Grace
We live in a universe of contradictions. The Alpha and Omega of the contradiction are our separation from God and our wish to return.
This contradiction takes many forms; in its essence, every subsequent contradiction (and there are an infinite number) arises from this primary contradiction, which is inescapable. All desire, all longing, which arises instantly upon the manifestation of material existence, is a longing for the return to God.
There are two paths to return to God – the voluntary and involuntary path. Gurdjieff actually laid out the schematic for this in Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, in which he described a universe which originally allowed everything to automatically evolve back into God. It underwent a catastrophic change that ultimately frustrated this straight or involuntary path, requiring" shocks," or interventions, in order for things to move forward.
This allegory is an abstraction of the difference between a universe of involuntary, or automatic, return to God and one where choice becomes the fulcrum.
Sufi metaphysical arguments would pose that the idea of return to God is an illusion, simply because nothing can leave God in the first place — everything is contained within Him. The idea, well known in Zen Buddhism, that nothing can be separated from the Dharma is essentially the same idea; but in the broad sense of metaphysics as we examine them in the context of both of the Gurdjieff work and Christianity, as well as other cyclical cosmologies of the descent and ascent of energy, there is a separation and a return. The reason for the differences in concept arise in the tension between the transcendent and the immanent, which are essentially irreconcilable at this level – except by the mechanism of death.
I could write about this at much greater length, but instead I'm going to try to get at the heart of the emotive questions here.
We are separated from God; and we go through life unknowing, struggling, clearly incapacitated in our ability to understand that separation or its implications. There is a tremendous emotional vulnerability created, which generates all of the fear we feel about ourselves and about life. We have lost our trust.
Yet, God has sent us a guarantee of Mercy, epitomized by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; and we are also guaranteed Mercy through death.
Death grants us an irrevocable return. This is actually a huge gift; yet, perversely, we have turned it into a terrifying experience that everyone fears. The reason that near-death experiences generally involve an ecstatic encounter is because the return to God is a return to Perfection; and every Being is not just offered this movement back into the Divine, we are required to participate in it. That's because death is not the arrival of something foreign, alien, or inimical to life; it is a return to our own nature. The nature of the soul and of Being is transcendent; it comes from a higher level, and its restriction to a body and a set of habits on this level is a limitation it suffers in order to broaden its experience of itself.
So Death is a Grace.
It is a conscious work undertaken to allow the surrender of consciousness back to its own source.
I will leave you with that thought.
May your soul be filled with light.