Tuesday, October 7, 2014
A perpetual question, part II
It emerges from a sense of individuality and Being that is organic.
It arises from an inner vibration that can not be denied.
The other night, someone asked me how one comes into relationship with this. It's a puzzling question; in fact, I can't do much of anything. In my own experience, there is no secret formula outside an intense and protracted suffering of who one is and one's own life.
In my own experience, I had to suffer for many decades through an almost endless series of indignities and personal failures, each one of which I was required to tolerate and work through in one way or another, facing each one of them as honestly as I could (in other words, not very honestly.) It was only after I had been (metaphorically) beaten into many tiny pieces, had submitted to the forces of my own life, admitted to myself that everything was, in the end, my own responsibility — and when I was willing to forgive all the other people who I blamed for this, that, and the other thing — that something changed inside me.
So I think that I come into relationship with this quality through my own suffering. That is, I go intentionally towards my suffering and I try to understand it by admitting it. I don't run away from it; I don't deny it or repress it. I try to look at it right in the face, with all of the anguish it brings, and admit to myself that this is how I am. I don't try to be happy or to get away or to manufacture an imaginary life or world where things are good and I am a good person; I just try to meet everything exactly as it is. In order for all of this to happen, the don't worry – be happy factory needs to shut down.
Mr. Gurdjieff had a number of interesting words for things like this; the phrase remorse of conscience comes to mind. In my own case, I think there is something wrong with me if I don't see how ungrateful and difficult I am in relationship to the life I have been given. There is a supreme irony to me in the idea that others think I am some kind of good person; every goodness I have in me has only emerged through a struggle against that which is not good. So in almost every case, where something positive takes place, it is not that I have goodness, but merely that in that place I lack badness.
An organic sensation of Being removes one of the avenues of escape. The whole point of having an organic sensation is to find oneself in a place from which one cannot turn away. It is not so easy to sleep under this condition; and the idea is that one looks at what one is more clearly and more ruthlessly—that is, with less of the excuses that one usually uses for everything.
It reminds me of something I said about my skill with ethics: the fact that I have expertise in the area of ethics does not mean that I am an ethical person, it simply means that I know when I am not ethical. In the same way, sensation helps me to know what I am not; and knowing what I am not helps to remove imagination and assumptions from the way I live, so that I can try harder to acquire things it's clear enough I don't have.
If I want to be, I need to have a wish to be that does not die from minute to minute, but that is eternally reborn within the sensation of Being.
The mind can't sustain this kind of action; so it is up to the vessel receives something higher to remain open, and participate with it.