Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Presence and faith, Part II

I see how impossible it is to truly explain how Presence arrives or manifests itself. I've studied any number of systems, and read material from any number of guides and masters on this matter, even ones I can see are most qualified.

Yet I have never seen a formula that guarantees the awakening of real conscience or Presence in a human being. Even earnestly wishing that there be one does not make it so; and even the best methods fall short. In the end, the only thing that can awaken the Presence of the Lord is the Lord Himself.

Perhaps this is why Jeanne de Salzmann so insistently remarked that we must perceive our lack. Her work was in fact no procedural exercise, but a deeply religious process, so far divorced from ordinary practice that we misunderstand it in order to help it look familiar to us.

 This is a disturbing question, because it suggests that when I read her books, I think I understand things she is saying which can't actually be understood by the mind — and indeed, I'm sure that this is the case. In the same way that Gurdjieff intended Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson to speak to a much deeper part of us, one that has not been corrupted, so, too, I think her notes speak to that part. When she inveighs against dogma, she does not just inveigh against dogmas that lie outside her teaching — she inveighs against the dogmas we impose on her own words themselves.

This work is a deeply religious work; it calls us to come into intimate contact with an inner part that actually touches the Lord.

What an extraordinary premise — that part of us can extend a tendril to come into physical contact with the Lord himself. And yet this is a lawful way of communicating — to their astonishment, biologists recently discovered that cells don't just send chemicals through the "soup" of the body, they actually reach out to touch one another

This action is so microscopic and so intimate that I don't have any immediate experience of it; yet somehow, in the interstitial spaces between cells, there is a reaching out which physical tension prevents. And it is this very real contact that blocks our inner contact with the intimate forces that are needed to help inwardly form who we are in essence.

The reaching out of my faith must become as organic and ingrained, as deeply embedded in my being, as that cellular reaching out. Because the Presence of the Lord makes itself known at that level, if I only understood it.

I think this is why Gurdjieff said that awareness has to extend itself downward as well as upward in order for any awareness to be real. 

Yet explanations of this strike an unheard note; Who, in the end, can truly say that they have a sensation of this truth? To have a real sense of this runs into depths we cannot fathom.


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