Monday, December 15, 2014

Roots and Parables: The Parable of the Sower, explained: part II

Angkor, Cambodia

The Parable of the Sower Explained... twice.
(Matthew 13:18-23)

He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 

But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Having roots in one's being isn't enough; and this example of Christ's, of a man who receives the seed among thorns, is one in whom the seed is planted; it begins to grow. But it is overwhelmed; after all, the seeds of being are planted amidst the sharpness and strangulation of the many different influences of personality. We're filled with all kinds of material; most of it is misleading, although it comes with conviction, mediated and moderated by centers (all three of them) who are used to self-serving and contradictory work, the usurpation of material for themselves, and the dissipation of things that don't satisfy them.

This is why He refers to the deceitfulness of riches: the very phrase itself reminds us of Gurdjieff's contention that we lie to ourselves constantly. The lies are rich; every one of them seems convincing and beautiful, but, as I've pointed out before, each one of them represents an intention to go against the good, since one can't participate in lies unless one knows what the truth is in the first place. Lying is, after all, always and above all an intentional misrepresentation of truth.

There's an important and consistent misinterpretation and misunderstanding of Christ's words on a particular point here. When he uses the expression, he that heareth the word, the word that is being referred to is an inwardly spoken word. Now, in gospel Christianity, which is the overwhelmingly dominant form of Christianity being taught and shared in today's world, the word is always taken to mean the gospel in its outward form, that is, the good news of Christ's mission to mankind, and the word of God as found in the Bible. It is always seen as some kind of outward message, and all the interpretations regarding the matter consistently revolve around this idea.

 Yet there can't be any doubt that Christ is talking about an inward process here, and that the word of God is what we hear within ourselves, within our Being and our souls. This word is always being spoken and always present; because the divine truth is always flowing into us, even if we are in fact covered with concrete, resistant to it, and even willing to actively deny it.

It reminds me of something that Gurdjieff said:

When a possibility is there, within reach, and we do not actualize it, it continues to exist but for us it is lost forever. We must make use of it at once. And this is what it is to become a man, it is to respond, to make use of the possibilities that present themselves, but we live like irresponsible children.

This action of the inner word is, quite frankly, exactly that possibility of which he speaks; and we need to come to it immediately as a possibility, a willingness and an intention to not lie to ourselves, at the instant that this word arrives within our soul. As both Meister Eckhart and Swedenborg so eloquently remind us, again and again, this inwardly spoken word is arriving forever and in every instant within us; our life and our being themselves emanate from it and depend on it. Yet we choke it with thorns; our inner garden is filled with weeds, a subject treated in the next parable we'll take a look at. We ought to seize the opportunity to come into relationship; but we'd rather saturate ourselves with the nonsense of the outer world. We are unfruitful; instead of our being growing into a plant that gives fruit, that produces new material and a positive result both internally and externally, we become slaves to the external and are parasitized by it, so that the outer world feeds on us.

This is the normal condition of mankind.

This particular post took a bit longer than I expected it to to get through, so we will have to deal with the last passage in tomorrow's post.


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