Sunday, November 9, 2014

The organic sense of feeling

 Some of you may recognize this as the famous dog Isabel. The picture was taken 11 years ago when she was still a puppy.

Dogs have a terrific organic sense of feeling. This is what attracts us to them; they understand feeling in a way that we don't. This is because, in comparison to dogs, we are basically idiots when it comes to feeling. The parts of us that ought to feel are so atrophied that they don't do much of anything.

I have spoken for many years of the organic sense of Being, which actually has two meanings I ought to clarify here first.

The first meaning is the meaning of sensation itself, when sensation becomes rooted in the flesh, blood, bones, and marrow. This is the organic or cellular sensation of Being, the rooted quality without which nothing else can proceed in terms of inner development.

In the second sense, it is a more global expression related to the coming together of many different parts of being in the organism, but we will get to that in a bit. In the meantime, I'm going to discuss the organic sense of feeling in the same context as the first meaning of the organic sense of being, that is, in its individuality — not the global meaning it also carries. There is, fundamentally, an individual as well as a global feeling — and there is even a universal feeling, although that is much too big for us to discuss. These are the three aspects of feeling which in the end constitute holy denying of feeling (individual feeling) holy affirming of feeling (global feeling) and holy reconciling of feeling (universal feeling.)

In the context of individual feeling, that is, feeling that belongs to the self, or my individuality — that quality which Gurdjieff said could not develop without the organic sense of Being — there is the potential for an organic sense of feeling that arises naturally and organically, inherently, emerging with its own consciousness within the moment, and arriving as a guest — and a partner — in the effort to understand Self.

 Because Self is not understood— and because this is, with feeling, clearly seen — feeling inevitably produces a form of sorrow, which is actually the first tickling of an experience of what Gurdjieff called the sorrow of His Endlessness. There are widespread cosmological implications to this, but I can't go into them all here. The important thing to recognize at this moment is that this sorrow, this feeling, is sacred — it lies at the root and the heart of all experience.

One might daresay that it is impossible to understand the word sacred without experiencing this feeling. It is the force that melts, the fire that burns the Self and destroys what I am in favor of a greater good. If I am lucky, it touches me just a little bit, over and over, over a long period of time, because if it truly touches me in any big way, it is unbearable.

This organic sense of feeling must become as rooted in the body and the Being as the organic sense of being, taken in the sense of sensation. So both sensation and feeling become conscious entities that participate within the organism, expressing themselves in the bodynot in the mind.

 The mind can't do any of this. As you read this with your mind, try to take it in so that it's swallowed deep into the organism where it can be digested by parts that don't think about things. When a concept of this kind is swallowed deeply enough, it can work very far down in the body where the conscious mind can't — and should not — penetrate. One then conducts one's search through sensation, and as the roots of being gradually grow finer and penetrate the nature of sensation itself, eventually, feeling awakens and begins to extend its own tendrils into the fertile soil of inner work.


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