Friday, February 6, 2015

Emanations and suffering, part II: the principle of extended suffering

From The Temptation of St. Anthony, Hieronymus Bosch

In order to understand the principle of extended suffering, as I would call it, we need to understand, as Gurdjieff did, that liberation theologies that promise a release from suffering miss the mark. 

Mankind, astral or otherwise, must progressively deepen suffering in order for the soul to develop. The reasons for this cannot be directly understood without coming under a higher set of influences, or emanations, and in our own case those emanations are those of the sun.
   
To come under solar emanations means to have solar emanations permeate the body and the being:

If the second body succeeds in becoming crystallized in a man before his death, it can continue to live after the death of the physical body.  The matter of this astral body, in its vibrations, corresponds to matter of the sun’s emanations and is, theoretically, indestructible within the confines of the earth and its atmosphere.  All the same, the duration of its life can be different.  It can live a long time or its existence can end very quickly.  This is because, like the first, the second body also has centers; it also lives and also receives impressions.  And since it lacks sufficient experience and material of impressions it must, like a newborn baby, receive a certain education.

Views from the Real World,  Feb. 17 1924

These emanations are finer substances than the emanations of the earth and planets:

Emanations from the Absolute meet other matter and are converted into new matter, gradually becoming denser and denser and changing according to law.

Views from the Real World,  Feb. 29 1924

What I am trying to explain to readers here is that there needs to be a substantial, that is, physical and permanent, change in the inner rate of vibration in a human being in order to understand these questions from a practical point of view.  At this point, one understands quite directly that more suffering is necessary, and even what kind of suffering. 

The issue is that one cannot produce this suffering one’s self; and lest we think we can, we have the objective lessons of The Holy Planet Purgatory to instruct us that suffering must be given by the Lord—that is, come from a higher level—in order to have an effect. While we derive this understanding from a practical experience within the narrow (yes, they are narrow) confines of the Gurdjieff work, it is, as one can see, entirely (and unsurprisingly) orthodox from a Christian point of view.

 It is, to some extent, “giving away the game” from a theoretical point of view, but I think it’s quite important for readers to understand that suffering is not something to be escaped from; it is a requirement; and, furthermore, that suffering as we need to experience it flows inward to us from the level of the sun, which represents the highest form of suffering we can asipre to while housed in the earthly body. 

This suffering is entirely distinct from the ordinary suffering in life, because it consists of particles of what Gurdjieff called “the sorrow of His Endlessness.” This particulate matter of very fine degree is actually a food for the soul, referred to as manna in biblical times. The point is a completely esoteric one which cannot possibly be understood without the direct experience. 

 One of the great difficulties everybody has in understanding what is meant by this kind of suffering is a nearly infinite number of associations with the word which assign it to outer objects, events, circumstances, and conditions. What is spoken of here is strictly inner suffering; so in a certain sense, intentional suffering means suffering from within. This kind of inner suffering arrives from within and is not provoked by outside forces or events.

So, in answer to the question of why one ought to develop an astral body, from the point of view of the man who wishes to save his soul, the reason is quite direct: one develops the astral body in order to extend the life of the soul so that it can continue to suffer.

Hosanna.




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