Saturday, April 18, 2015
What gives life life
I come home to a cold spring; it was a cold spring in Shanghai, as well.
In my 60th year, I gather together the many threads of my life; and I see, gradually, what we are supposed to come to, even though we do so reluctantly and with dragging feet.
In youth, I raced to get somewhere; in middle-age, I thought I was somewhere — even though I was not sure where that was — and now, as I reach the maturity of that middle age, moving across the crest of the hills I have grown in myself, I see that I have been places, but I am not sure what those are either. Location is no longer a sure thing. The only place I am is within myself.
I try to gather old threads of my life together, to see the entirety of my Being and all that it has been from a high perspective, taking in the good and the bad, and trying to evaluate both the inward and the outward quality. More and more, as I grow older, the quality of the outward seems unimportant. It is only the quality of the inward, of the inner impression, that matters, because everything outward is determined by it. So much of the damage that I see in the past is damage I did to myself, damage that comes from my lack of understanding; and all the goodness that there is comes from the objective truth of the fact that we are and that life is.
The goodness is, in other words, an inherent quality, that I don't understand very well — although I do encounter it with my feeling parts.
Gurdjieff said we use the present to repair the past and prepare the future. The past is a complicated piece of fabric; yet I sense the wholeness of it in me, even though I am unable to grasp its full significance. What marks do any of us leave in the sand of this beach, anyway? If there is any permanence, it must lie in the life of the soul, because there is no other place for it.
Here is the unspoken coda to Gurdjieff's advice: I prepare for a future that is both unknown, and finite. The future that I prepare for is a future in which, on this planet, I do not exist anymore.
How do I prepare for that? What does it mean?
I consider my ways.
The weight, the inner gravity of Being, exists, I think, just to hold down the soul in a single place where it can drink itself into itself and know what it is. Life falls into me; I am filled with it, like water in a vessel. All of these impressions, everything that I am, resides in a wholeness that can be read, like a book. A record is left; and the angels will read that record when I die.
I forget that I contain myself; I forget what I am. Yet within me, organically, is that wholeness of memory. Gathering it together, now, strikes me as what is vital, what gives life life.