Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Presence and faith, part I


Personal notes on Presence and faith

The inner Presence of the Lord never needs to be far away.

I see that for the most part, people don't feel this is true; although they have a generally firm and committed understanding of the outward idea of the Lord, and a committed faith — perhaps even an unshakable belief in the Lord — they do not constantly feel His inner Presence and guidance. This is the kind of Presence that Brother Lawrence was attuned too — and it is something we professedly seek for, not something we are perpetually aware of.

This search, it might be said, is of the faith — that is, it emerges from our wish, and what understanding we have been able to form about the Presence of the Lord. It doesn't mean that the Lord is forever with us, within us, supporting us, and that we organically sense that and know that it is true.

For the most part, human beings don't think that there is a confusion between faith and actual inner experience. This is the kind of thing that enables some of the faithful to engage in violence and other grotesque crimes on behalf of their faith. It's the same kind of thing that causes people think that they are on a path when in fact they are far off that path. The striking contradiction between outward selfish action and the profession of inner faith and understanding of the Presence of God is everywhere in today's world. It has even become accentuated; and what intensifies it is the very belief that we know what the Presence of the Lord consists of. 

Anywhere we see destruction, discord, argument, and competition, we can be sure that the Presence is not with it. And the Presence is under constant threat, especially by the literalism of today's world. If Gurdjieff was concerned that there had been a striking deterioration in any awareness of that Presence in earlier eras, the problem is exponentially compounded today. We may even be seeing the gradual decay and destruction of that last untouched property of man's essence, conscience.

It's important to understand, to organically understand with more than the mind, that there is a large difference between faith and organic inner understanding of the Lord. Organic inner understanding of the Lord is to always stand under the Lord's influence, which is an exclusively tangible and inner one; for the Lord to be ever present to guide the inner action, stay the hand, guard the mind, and inform and educate the emotions.

Faith is an outer action. It doesn't stem from Presence, because it always begins apart from the Lord and seeks Him

Presence is an inner action which never denotes my presence — it always denotes the Presence of the Lord. I need to be quite clear about the difference between the two, and understand it.

This wondrous Presence is a gift of Grace sent from a higher level. It's not mine; I can never be worthy of it, because my nature is very different than the nature of this Force. That alone ought to produce the action of a real humility in me, and the absence of such a humility — any a hint that I am willing to harm others, in any way, for any reason — is a danger sign I must be constantly aware of. 

The danger, of course, is that no matter how much the Lord is manifestly present within, the ego thinks it knows. It is so deeply and irrevocably entangled with this outer world that its action cannot be denied; and even the knowing of the Lord's Presence does not cure this ill.

This realization leads to a very different kind of inner struggle in ordinary life than just the struggle to remain conscious of anything, to have an attention. To have a sensation or attention is good; but it is not enough.

Every action and circumstance in this world is a preparation for death. That simply isn't seen; almost every action is confused as being one of this level, with its material results and consequences. 

Every time I get entangled in that end of the thread of understanding, I don't see its length and breadth. I only see the knot at one end.

Hosannah.

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