Tuesday, May 12, 2015

By Grace, in Grace, through Grace

I've been going through a period of very intense, inner questioning in which even the most basic premises are suspect; it reminds me, in its radical nature, of the moment Betty Brown told me, quite late in her life, "...the things you love the most are the first things that have got to go."

She said it, of course, about herself and her own inner work; yet, at the time, for my benefit. 

She was right, of course; and lately I have been seeing that everything is what I love the most.

This radical premise relates to one of my favorite quotes from Meister Eckhart:

...some people want to see God with their own eyes as they see a cow, and they want to love God as they love a cow. You love a cow for her milk and her cheese and your own profit. That is what all those men do who love God for outward wealth or inward consolation - and they do not truly love God, they love their own profit.

—Meister Eckhart, The Complete Mystical Works, p. 117

During this period of troubling and dissolutive inner questioning, in which all of the premises upon which I base my own existence and happiness (such as it is) come under the most intense kind of fire, I see myself in this finely polished medieval mirror. 

I love not just one thing, but my whole life, for my own profit; this is indubitably true. I can't consider this without seeing it, but I take it so much for granted that the understanding of it isn't really operative. I take even my own ideas of spiritual edification for my own profit; yes, even Grace itself I want for my own profit.

The best thing of Grace is that it teaches; and above all, when it comes, it teaches exactly this—that in and of myself I am profitless. 

Only by Grace, in Grace, and through Grace do I come to Be (for as I am, I am not) and it is only through this force of Grace—the highest inner force that acts on this level, since it is ultimately bestowed by the Lord Himself—that I am. 

The point comes home to roost through Grace, and the idea of I AM (which is what one might call the "great idea" of the Gurdjieff work, although it is only the Old Testament half of the great idea, whose counterpart is the New Testament's most all-powerful Lord Have Mercy) is only enlightened (revealed and instructed) through the lens of Grace itself. 

I can't understand this I AM without Grace; and then it is revealed that I AM...


In the dissolving light of Grace, what I think I am is stripped away; even the faintest taste of the Grace calls me towards an inevitable death, not of the body (that is, the easy death which we are all granted) but of this self, which needs to die into the soul- a place it cannot go, as long as it carries what I love and what I believe in.

Ah, how mistaken I am, revealed in this light! Here, if it can be found anywhere in this life, lies that final, fatal flaw that dooms every man and woman to purgatory. 

Only when the last iota of this personal wish for my own profit, and the things of myself, is gone might I truly be washed in the blood of the lamb; and that is no easy thing at all. The suffering required seems unfathomable.

How I wish I could be taken by such unbearable sweetness; and at the same time how little I trust it. 


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