Monday, April 7, 2014

Nothing

But if God is neither goodness nor being nor truth nor one, what then is He? He is pure nothing: he is neither this nor that. If you think of anything He might be, He is not that. —Meister Eckhart, The Complete Mystical Works, p. 287 (Sermon 54)

 In order to understand this properly, we should understand that we are distinct from God, even though we are also one with Him, and that we should in no way interfere with anything He does.

 This conception may be difficult to process in the context of the Gurdjieff practices, which appear to be nothing if not meddling of one kind or another; especially when interpreted through the narrow lens of Ouspensky. Yet his appointed successor, Jeanne de Salzmann, went a very long way towards correcting this grievously mistaken impression. 

Even so, this idea of non-interference— which perhaps finds its most mature expression in Zen— is quite difficult. So today I'll try to speak from experiences gleaned over the course of this trip to China, and more specifically, this morning's meditation.

I must inhabit myself fully and without reservations as I am if I wish to allow myself to not interfere; because if I try to be not as I am, that is, if I strive towards something other than what I am, already, I am interfering. 

The striving is an obstacle. I must be exactly what I am and accept it — no more, and no less — and then wait. Perforce, that which is necessary will arrive: and if I am both fully with myself and at the same time entirely empty of myself, that is, not attached to myself — even my attachment to myself is an interference — then there is a space which lawfully calls God to enter.

 Anything can happen in that place; and whatever is necessary will happen. I can see that an energy arrives and acts; and I must not touch it, or even, in a sense, acknowledge it, but simply let it take its action without my interference.  Even my acknowledgment is interference. I must trust this energy, because the instant I do not trust it, or want to change it, it cannot have its full action, which extends far beyond its own arrival. 

 The most that can be permitted is to intuit the relationship. This is an organic action.

The energy goes deep into the body and works changes that affect things much later in the day, or the week, or the month — or, perhaps, even the lifetime. But the moment that the energy is touched, it has been interfered with; and although there is nothing delicate about it, when it is mixed with my ordinary state, it loses its effectiveness. It is as though the current traveling through a wire has a short circuit; although the equipment that it is meant to reach is powerful and has extraordinary abilities, if the current does not reach the equipment, the equipment is powerless. This is a very rough analogy, but it will do for now.

I can study this question quite precisely in meditation by not doing anything. Not even meditating. I just present myself quite exactly as I am and I try to open, which consists of not doing anything. It's as though I place a question mark within myself exactly as I am, a question mark which is nothing more than a notation — and it does not interfere, it is an instrument that merely marks the place. This action, I ought to note, is always an instantaneous action, not an action that is gained by hours of butting one's head against a meditative wall.

 The instrument that marks the place could be referred to as attention; but attention has nothing in it. And this is quite important, because nothing attracts nothing.

 Once I ceased to be, everything is; and many things which are unexpected and even, to tell the truth, impossible take place. 

But it is, after all, our task to allow the impossible.

Hosannah.

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