Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Levels and communities

I've spoken on more than one occasion about the way in which Gurdjieff indicated that growth of Being does not extend just upward, but also downward. Yesterday morning, I was discussing the matter with my wife in terms of a slightly different context.

Anyone who begins to sense themselves more deeply, that is, develops a voluntary sensation, discovers immediately that the cells have a life of their own, a vivifying level of vibration that supports the organism and consciousness itself. Once we develop a relationship to this, we begin to understand the way in which a vast community of smaller organisms and organs support the consciousness we experience. Each one of these entities has an individual being of its own, appropriate to the level it's on. This becomes an essential and fundamental understanding in inner work.

What we fail to understand, I think, is that the level above us is equally formed of a community of persons. The angelic levels are not formed of Beings we can readily understand; but they are very real persons, that is, individuals with real Being.

Of course, for the average man or woman, this is just a belief; an abstraction supported by various images of people with wings on them, which are all very lovely and symbolic but have little or nothing to do with the actual nature of angels. The danger of this imagery is that it makes angels look like us, and the minute that we see things of that nature, we leap to the conclusion that angels have something in common with us. In reality, the angelic levels are quite different than we are, in the same way that we are quite different than the cells we are composed of. This doesn't mean that there aren't commonalities; and I don't intend here to get into the extensive areas of overlap that every great esoteric master cites between the angelic realms and the enormous potential of humanity.

 What I am trying to get at here is the essential personhood of angels. Angels are people in the same way that we are people; they have a selfhood in the same way that we have a selfhood. The fact that we rarely, if ever, encounter such Beings does not change their personhood, or its perpetual expression within the context of their own level.

The angelic realms are not just people; they are furthermore divided into helpful and unhelpful entities. A significant portion of the angelic realm is demonic, not angelic—that is, it is fundamentally oppositional in nature. It is much easier to fall under the influence of such beings at our level, because they already represent and are aligned with a downward movement. These creatures exert a far more considerable force on this level than is generally appreciated, but it was well known in ancient times.

It's difficult to find anyone in modern times with legitimate direct experience of these matters. 99% of what we hear about such things is written in books; and yet the very real nature of support from angelic realms — which is what all spiritual seekers must earnestly hope for — is misunderstood in both specific and general terms.

 I was called to contemplate this subject earlier this morning because of my various experiences in this area, and the need for me to renew my appeal to the helpful forces who have from time to time looked in over me with support. I often forget their legitimate and very real personhood; because of the separation of levels, I'm not constantly attuned to their existence—nor should I be. In large part, we are left to our own devices on this level; in the same way that you can't expect a child to grow up if you constantly hover over them like a helicopter parent, the angels who look out for us frequently do so by doing nothing.

If we do not confront our own struggles, and are instead subject to constant spiritual bailout, there can be no growth.

Nonetheless, there are moments when we ought to acknowledge our fealty to the higher and indeed very personal forces that support us; and in the case of the spiritual seeker, the angelic community on the level above them that supports their effort — and a collection of like-minded people's efforts — needs to be recognized and remembered.

 One may go through a whole lifetime without ever having tangible and legitimate contact with that level which lies above us. It isn't actually necessary; and not necessarily a sign of favor or disfavor, whether or not an angel manifests in our presence. These things are dictated by forces and concerns well beyond any of our own; we must simply acquiesce in the face of them.

However, for thousands of years, it has been a support for the faithful and a sign of hope that there are angels, and that they look down over us.

Let us remember this from day-to-day, lest it be forgotten forever.


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