Tuesday, February 3, 2015

An impersonal remorse, part II

This idea of remorse as a regret for some actions of my own—whether current or otherwise—is something well short of true remorse, as we ought to come to understand it.

True remorse is a force—that is, it is an energy, a much higher energy which has to do with the innermost workings of the cosmos. It is an essential force, by which I mean an elemental force, one which cannot be broken down into constituent components. If we were Sufis, we might call it one of the Names of God.

It relates, in therms of the enneagram, to the shock of intentional suffering. Remorse of conscience, in its highest and purest form, represents, on the cosmic level, exactly the same process of critique (see the last post) which is a form of observation of lack.

Mankind was created with the ability to sense remorse on more than one level, all the way up to the most sacred form of remorse which is, in Gurdjieff's cosmology, called the sorrow of His Endlessness—the sorrow of the creator.

This is impossible to understand if I insist on understanding remorse as having something to do with me and my own actions. The action of intentional suffering is, in a very real, physical, emotional and intellectual sense, to open my Being to this universal, cosmological force of remorse and allow (suffer) it to enter me. This is among the most sacred actions a man or woman can undertake; and it must be done at once voluntarily and unreservedly, insofar as it is sent. 

One cannot invoke; but through sensation one can prepare. Readers familiar with these questions will already understand that at the heart of the practice of sensation (an open sensation, an organic sensation) is the preparation for the receiving of this substantial force; there is no other ultimate reason for sensation. Surely one understands sensation has an aim.

Why else sense? Ah, but when one knows this sweet anguish—then one understands, in eternity, why one senses.

Sensation, when it opens the heart (and the soul itself) to true remorse, is overwhelmed; I am unable to drink more than a tiny bit of this medicine. In this moment, I understand that any remorse of my own can never belong to my own actions or deeds; in fact, remorse does not connect to anything within creation, but, instead, to the entire state of my Being itself. 

In this selfsame moment, the ultimate question is the separation from God, which produces that same absolutely impossible—and inexpressible—state of supreme anguish which Gurdjieff's souls in Purgatory suffer without respite.  They suffer this because insofar as one becomes fully conscious, to that extent must one suffer ever more intensely this inescapable, and perfect, anguish.

Remorse of conscience is not, in other words, a simple thing related to what I do here, on this earth; it connects the soul to a much greater sphere of inner action. Interpreting the idea of remorse as something which belongs to me—which I have, or which arises from actions I have control over—constricts it to that same narrow realm of egoism in which nearly all my potential understanding falters.


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