Sunday, February 16, 2014


I thought to myself yesterday that what currently impresses me the most about all of us, in our various religious and esoteric works, is how fastidiously we have learned to wipe ourselves after we poop on others. Admittedly, I’ve been reading George Eliot’s “Middlemarch;” and if there is any novel in the English language capable of exposing mankind’s collective foibles and conceits with surgical precision, it’s this one. So perhaps that’s coloring my cynicism; yet one knows the shade of it is far from a dated one.

One thing I cannot do, no matter how elegant my philosophies, is escape the inevitability of my own negativity. 

I struggle with this because it is quite a force in me. It's interested me for years; and despite much study, I don't understand it well.

In attempting to understand this ongoing struggle, I’m reminded of the Episcopal confession, in particular the line there is no health in us. And this is, indeed, the manner in which I, personally, and speaking for myself alone, need to present myself to the Lord. This is my point of work today.

Last night, I was unable to sleep; and what troubled me the most —as it has for some time—in the three and a half hours I tossed in the dark is the contradiction in me, this inability to do. That doing being, as it happens, the banishment of negativity—for this seems to be the exact kind of doing that would be meaningful, if it could be done—the movement into an inherent goodness which does not exist in me, but which can come by Grace.

Gurdjieff insisted that only consciousness could bring us to such things; yet he himself admitted that he was unable to live up to the same high standards he set for his pupils (see series 3, “Life is only real then, when I am.”) So we are all in the same kettle of fish here; even those who imagine themselves different.

Polarity, negativity, is inescapable; yet there are ameliorations available, and those come through Grace, through a relationship with a higher energy. Some, humanists at heart (and I have a personal preference, if not outright weakness, for this end of the spectrum) would have it that this cannot be taken as a refuge, an abandonment of the need to engage; and I completely agree with them. 

Yet the relationship to an inner energy, the divine inflow, must become primary and must become the motive force for life. And, as I put it recently, this raises questions about the nature of manifestation: which is, after all, exactly what we question as we attempt to observe ourselves. 

What is the essential nature of my manifestation?

In my experience, as the inner landscape reconfigures itself, shifts in Being create new currents, eddies, and backwash, with elements of conscious and unconscious behavior rippling and swirling together in new and unexpected ways. One of the effects of this mixing of currents (mixing, mind you, as they ever-so-slowly sort themselves out) is an actual increase in negativity at times: a fact, an inescapable fact, that can’t be appreciated without tasting it. 

A struggle ensues; and the deeper the inner action, the greater the struggle becomes. There are, I see, forces that actively oppose inner effort to receive the divine inflow. 

And this is a puzzle, for the better parts of me know better; or, at least, ought to know better.



  1. Though perhaps not directly applicable to your situation, the Ayurvedic principle of prajnaparadha (crime/offence against wisdom) could be related.

  2. (sn't this a refrain of the christian tradition as expressed in the bible (jewish and christian testaments)...the devil doesn't like to lose...and the more you try the more there will be resistance....I think the Screwtape Letters (C.S.Lewis) were on to this...? :)


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