Thursday, October 2, 2014

Not my thing

When Gurdjieff said "man cannot do," the phrase seems to have been widely interpreted as related to the idea of will. That is, a "human being" does not have real will; but if a person undergoes inner development, they will acquire real will. This is functionally related to the ideas of agency and power, ultimately conscripting ideas from hatha yoga and other spiritual disciplines that presume one can force the gates of heaven by one's own developed powers.

I've recently run into a number of people engaged in inner work at various stages of their lives who believe exactly this; and I'm pretty sure most students of inner work—esotericism—secretly presume this is possible. It is, after all, our fondest wish—to be the gods of, if not the whole world, at least our own lives.

It occurs to me over the past two days first, how absolutely and profoundly mistaken this idea is, and second, how equally absolute the secret inner belief in this is.

The inward flow, and the arising sensation itself, can do. These are not my properties—and if I think they are, it's certain I haven't ever actually experienced this energy; in this case, anything I have experienced is imaginary and egoistic. Ego can mask itself in an extraordinary number of ways to mimic real higher energy; it is a shapeshifter or chameleon in this regard, and one must be forever on one's guard in relationship to this question.

Again, I'm called to a question from a reader who recounted a range of experiences and asked, "is this and that or such and such what you mean by an organic sense of Being?"

If you need to ask, I told them, you haven't had such a sense; because if you do have it, you won't need to ask what it is; you'll know. Conjecture, in other words, is dispelled by real action; and real inner action that can do is an absolute that diminishes. I ask readers to ponder that phrase if they don't know already and quite instinctively-prayerfully what it means.

There is no part, no capacity, in humanity that can do. There is a capacity for receiving that which can do; and yet even that capacity is emphatically not under our own agency. A kind of passivity entirely unfamiliar to the ordinary parts of being (those horizontal parts under this order and hierarchy) is necessary; and any touch whatsoever, even the slightest part, that attempts to physically, psychologically or emotionally impose those conditions of receptivity begins at once with a contamination by ego that blocks the action of the higher energy.

The energy is under its own volition; it is voluntary, that is, it arrives under its own agency, not mine. This mistaken "understanding" that my agency can invoke the energy is sheer foolishness; and if the energy arrives at once I know this. I can meet it; but this is as much as I can do, and when it meets me, then something is done, but it is not my thing. It is not a thing, anyway; but I think strictly in terms of things (this is all the mind is capable of) so I turn it into a thing, and then already I am wrong.

The meeting point is the place described in the Lord's prayer: Thy will be done. We call it the Lord's prayer because the Lord has will and agency, and the Lord can do. This is worth thinking about, because we generally think we are the Lord, even as we actively profess to ourselves and to others that we don't think this.

This is in itself a lie; and seeing how I secretly believe I am the Lord isn't really even possible unless the Lord arrives within me, because by myself I am quite blind, really.



  1. Interesting. I don't think it was ever expressed quite like this by the eminences in Paris...They tended to stop at the 'cannot do' and give exercises to prove it - just in case you weren't convinced....It's true that mme did talk about the higher (angelic) energy but never really spelt out that it was that energy that enabled us....In fact, is this even clear in RoB? Not so sure and I don't have a copy to check with

  2. As a student of consciousness since birth, and having experienced some very strange phenomena when still quite young, I can attest to the fact that the human will is intimately connected with intention, and followed by attention and awareness. We are not meant to be our own agents. We ARE allowed to clean and hydraulically wrench trapped energies out of our body through Hatha Yoga, but Matsyendra is the name of the "Lord of yoga", where the energies of the body are likened to shoals of fish. (Mats = Fish). This implies that he who is truly lord of yoga can command through his intention, the actions of the energies of the body. Take a rowboat out where the fish are abundant and swimming in their daily routine and lean over and tell them to swim a figure 8 for you. Will they obey you?

    Human beings are repositories of experience, which work on oneself can earn from, a substantial sum to give to Great Nature when we reach the first rascooarno, AND human beings can become conduits between the cosmos above, through us to the cosmos below, as well as the response from below through us to above. IF we are dutiful in this service, we are left with a deposit of these various qualities of "hydrogens" whereby we may become saturated and form inner bodies, but I have a chorus lyric that states:

    "I was headed up, as he was coming down, yet both paths seemed to lead us to the same ground"


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