Saturday, February 28, 2015

An uncrafted compassion, part IV

In exploring this question of the relationship between compassion and Being a bit more, the question of why we fail at our own relationships with others comes to mind.

 One doesn't fail in a relationship because one is a bad person, although it's quite typical to believe that it's my deficiencies — or, just as often, the other person's — that cause relationship failure. Relationships fail not because we are bad people, but because we lack Being. Being is the fundamental requirement for compassion; compassion is the fundamental requirement for relationship; it is a hierarchy founded on Being, and Being is founded on a right inner relationship. In so far as the inner world comes together in a single whole — an ideal, to be sure, but one which can be realized to varying degrees — to that extent does relationship repair itself and become a durable entity.

Words like love and togetherness and harmony are usually used to describe a union in relationship with others, but the word being is rarely invoked. You'll hear the word compassion, as well, although this is more often used to describe  a quality needed for less intimate relationships; yet compassion is, at its root, the most intimate thing one can have, and an essential part of the most intimate relationship. I've noticed that, oddly, the more intimate relationships with people are, the more blind we become to the compassion we ought to exercise; at least, I see this in myself, and I strongly suspect I am not alone in this problem.

Being has a different capacity for understanding another person. It begins, first of all, with the organic sensation of being, which includes — at its root, and irrevocably — the sense that I myself am mortal. It is strongly tied to what Gurdjieff called the sense of my own nothingness: and if I begin from that point when I am interacting with anyone else, it changes the game before there is a game to change, so to speak. It becomes a foundation, this Being; and without it, nothing else is possible.

Jeanne de Salzmann recognized this quite clearly; in a certain sense, she saw that everything Gurdjieff tried to do for others would come to naught if they did not develop a sense of Being able to receive the rest of the teaching. She developed a sense of intuition — a genius for it, really — which took Gurdjieff's inner work further than he could have taken it himself. That was her job, after all; every teacher wishes for the pupil to go further than the teacher did, and she was under a responsibility, from the beginning of what she received and understood, to carry the work forward further than her teacher did. That is, in fact, the responsibility of every pupil; and I will write more on that during this trip, once I have finished expanding on this question of compassion.


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