Thursday, April 2, 2015

Decency, part I — thieves and murderers

One of the things that has baffled me my whole life is why people aren't just plain decent to one another.

 There's a simple, wholesome decency that ought to spring from the soul; a consideration for others. Gurdjieff called it outer considering; one might just as well call it unselfishness. Any way you look at it, it ought to be our default point of reference for relationships; and yet most of us leave a life of wreckage behind us in regard to this point of Being.

 It's such a simple thing. Really. Never mind all of the efforts at consciousness, the exercises, the heroic attempts to develop will. How hard is it, really, to just treat another human being in a proper and respectful way? I've watched people around me violate this principle so many times I can't count them. Now, I can't say that I am really any better than others at this — but I do try. I see my impulse towards cruelty and anger constantly, because it is a constant impulse, and over and over again, every day, I demand of myself that I go against it.

I say no to how this is; and although I want to attack, fight back, revenge myself, I find myself over and over again with an inner advisor who is next to me reminding me that I ought to treat others better than this, no matter what they do to me.

That advisor was around even many years ago; I think it came along sometime around the time I got sober, although I do seem to recall it as an active presence when I was quite young. Let's call it an angelic advisor, for the lack of a better word — a part that seems to come from somewhere else, and remind me of my smallness.

It occurred to me, a few days ago, that old saying that there are even thieves and murderers in a real spiritual work. I'm not sure at all that this was meant to be taken literally, and aimed at describing people other than myself. I think the thieves and murderers are thieves and murderers of the soul; that is, we are all thieves and murderers. We have this element in us. I certainly know I have it in me: the capacity to destroy. It is a hateful quality; and yet it is here, in large measure, and powerful.

Are we all like that?

Is that what we need to see about ourselves?

 It's one thing to listen to teachers about how we must stop being in relationship so much with the animal, the lower part, and come into relationship with the higher mind. It's true, of course; and yet this is a very difficult and high level task. How can we think about such things if we can't just treat others properly? If we can't do this ordinary thing, imagining that we are capable of work on a much higher level is both foolhardy and dangerous. It leads to delusions; and we can see them in action all time, as so many supposedly spiritually developed people engage in horrific acts of destruction in relationships, marriages, jobs, and even the religious organizations they are members of.

It doesn't take a village to manage relationships this way; it takes a village idiot—and unfortunately, our inner villages have a surfeit of them.


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