Monday, February 16, 2015

A fool's errand, part II

...and what ought we to be?

God-fearing, first of all, and second, more than that, contrite.

Consider how much I've been given; life itself, which is already everything—incomparable. 

Yet I don’t think I value it enough. It’s impossible, after all, to see the significance of each moment until, paradoxically, long after it has passed; some may think that the present moment is what gives life flavor, but it is above all memory that makes it sweet or sour. If I fail to honor the present, it cannot be preserved or cherished later; and perhaps that is, in part, what Gurdjieff meant when he said one must use the present to repair the past and prepare the future.

Why should I repair the past? Of itself, it is whole and true; if it is broken, the breakage lies within us, for I am perpetually the vandal of my own inner history. That breakage lies in a failure to value what has been; and this is perhaps because I don’t understand life itself and what it is.

I suffer the worst moments in life resentful; I come back to them later in fear, so much so that perhaps I don’t even wish to remember them. It’s only with a taste of what is true—which requires an inner wholeness—that I see what is real; and my inner wholeness must begin to correspond with the wholeness of life itself if any truth is to come to me.

In this inner wholeness perhaps I can prepare a future which is objective: a future which admits honesty, the unedited, unvarnished version. And it is in the honoring of the present that that action blossoms. Just living in the now is not enough; the now has a purpose in the context of both the future and the past. A human being isn’t here to live in the now alone; we have the capacity to sense both future and past for a reason, and that capacity is given that we may, in the end, find a way to be a little less the fool. The past and the future are a part of that wholeness which we were made to sense; and, let us agree, without a past or a future, life itself would be a broken thing.

It occurs to me that the fool, as we understand it from a symbolic point of view, is a role — that is, it does not represent the true being of the individual who is a fool, but, rather, a guise they take on, a character they inhabit to illustrate the absurdity of life.

In a sense, we are all required by the absurdities around us to inhabit this role, whether we like it or not. Everyone plays the fool in one way or another; and we do it either consciously or unconsciously, either knowing we are being (or have been) fools, or completely unaware of it. In the first case, knowing one has played the role of a fool can assist one’s inner growth; one sees how helpless one is in these situations, and how life requires us to adopt behaviors, attitudes, and even take actions that are contrary to our essential wish, whatever that might be. This is the life of contradiction that spiritual Masters pointed out to us. On the other hand, one becomes identified with the role of the fool — one not only ignores the absurdities, one embraces them with too much enthusiasm. And it is this embracing of the fool with enthusiasm that causes us to be shameless, unfeeling, selfish. 

So it's only by seeing the fool in our lives as a role that we can begin to understand anything about what life really is — that we are all actors playing a role, and that our real self ought to be, at its root, quite different than the fool we must play.


1 comment:

  1. I would only point out that "Fear of God" or "Fear of The Lord" is not dread or natural fear ala Job;

    Rather it is born of a love of God so strong that we fear to mistakenly displease him.

    This I learned through my performing the Novena to The Holy Ghost for many decades now. Fear of the Lord is born of Love of the Lord, not of Adam and Eve hiding in the shade of the day.

    Yes being in the human condition is fraught with natural habits and unconscious acts that we should live in shame of; a remorse that prompts up to awareness of our frailty.


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