Saturday, January 31, 2015

There is no theory of heaven, part III

Master ME- Madonna and Child
Metropolitan Museum, NY

But you can find something else to furnish you with a material capable of making you find remorse of conscience. Only this remorse can crystallize the factors which will serve you in remembering yourself. The rest cannot. Only remorse of conscience can. 

It is here that you talk; and afterward in life you forget everything. In life you have six days, twenty-three hours and fifty minutes. Here, ten minutes. What you do and gain here during ten minutes, you lose in life. Never is there a reminding factor, only remorse can give it to you.

These questions of self-remembering, remorse, suffering, and death are all wrapped around one another; and one can't separate one from the other without unravelling the fabric of the matter.

One needs remorse to remember one's Self. Why? Because remorse is tied to my mortality. I see, in remorse, how I am temporary, and how all others around me are temporary. This triggers an action of feeling—objective feeling, not the usual sentiment, lust, desire, feeling sorry for myself, or what have you—and that action of feeling reminds me I will die.

In light of this recognition, an organic sense of shame arises, for what I actually am, and the way I behave; and it's this shame, this deep sense of my own foolishness, frivolity, irresponsibility—even stupidity—in the face of my life that brings me to a place where perhaps,  for a moment, I'll remember myself.

This self-remembering is above all the understanding that I will die; and this clothes me in an acute and inescapable moment of reality. That is, of course, relative; to one degree or another it does this. What am I forgetting in the other six days, twenty three hours and fifty minutes? I am forgetting how mortal I am.

This work Gurdjieff brings us is thus of utmost importance; and yet he rarely, if ever, speaks of the help that comes. He alludes to it many times, in many ways, in the transcripts of these meetings; but it is encoded, hidden, because he doesn't want to encourage us to dream about such things.

Yet the help is, so to speak, right next door; it lies within me. And this goes back to St. Augustine's quote in the first post:

'Lord, thou givest me sometimes such great sweetness that, if it were perfected in me, this is not heaven I know not what heaven can be.' (ME, The Complete Mystical Works, p. 170.)



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