Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Sensation, presence, suffering
As I have explained in the last few posts, there is an overall purpose to inner work.
That purpose, in its largest sense, consists of suffering; and in fact the aim of all inner work according to this particular system is suffering. There is a hierarchy that relates to this.
One develops sensation in order to create a foundation for presence.
Presence can't manifest unless it finds itself in an active, grounded field of awareness through sensation. At this point, several different levels of sensation develop in order to support presence. The first one is organic; the second one is molecular; the third one is atomic. That is to say, one moves from sensation within organs (chakras)—which although various schools say is refined, is actually a rather gross form of sensation—to sensation within the molecular sense of the body, to sensation of one's atoms.
Each of these stages is something that takes a number of years to develop, because the deposition of the material substances of impressions that make it possible takes a rather long period of time. During that period, which can easily last a decade or more, successive layers of material are deposited which eventually support these successive levels of inner work.
Eventually, the organic sense of being leads to an inner sense of gravity: and that inner sense of gravity is generally supported by solar influences, which wax and wane. One needs to learn how to move within the rhythms of that energy in order to develop a good relationship with this gravity.
The gravity attracts presence. Presence waxes and wanes with it; and yet in itself it is not an end.
The whole point of developing both sensation and presence is so that they can support suffering; and that takes yet another long period of time, during which the material of impressions is deposited to support the work of inner suffering. Only after the foundation of both these two qualities of sensation and presence is firmly established can this inward suffering really begin to take place.
Inward suffering is a quite different thing than suffering which is attached to outward life and the material circumstances of life. It brings a relatively inexpressible anguish which ought to become almost constantly present. Because it is detached from ordinary emotions and life, it doesn't create the same depression that suffering in the lower emotional center or physical center will produce. It is a suffering that holds itself apart from ordinary life, but radically deepens one's experience of it. Once again, reaching this stage is a very long process—and yet that only represents the beginning of an inner point of such work.
When one speaks of intentional suffering, one has to understand it from the point of view of this inward suffering, which cannot become available without a thorough support from sensation and presence. Even then, it must trickle into being in small doses over a long period of time, because the experience of it in large quantities is overwhelming and impossible to sustain over anything but a brief period. As such, one is required to suffer intentionally for many years; and what makes this intentional is that—as must be instinctively understood—one must go towards the suffering. This is why one needs to learn to work with one's instincts. Instinct on the ordinary level runs away from suffering — instinct on the spiritual level is attracted to it.
It's quite possible that an individual may be shown some of this at an early stage of inner effort, to give them a taste of what needs to be worked towards; and as one's work progresses, further indications in this direction are given, as long as one is prepared to recognize them.
A perspective which asserts that presence and the freedom, or bliss, which often accompanies it, are aims unto themselves, does not—in my own experience, at least—take into account the further stages of effort which are necessary in order to continue inward in this manner.