Saturday, July 18, 2015

The second obligolnian striving: an inner meaning

Screen, Tenryu-Ji, Kyoto

“The second striving: to have a constant and unflagging instinctive need to perfect oneself in the sense of Being.”

Gurdjieff said to his pupils more than once that they must work from intuition and instinct, not intellect and sentiment. The inner work, in other words, ought to come from a deeper place in ourselves than the structures we can manufacture out of ideas that support our inner work. 

In order to do this, I need to become a dowser instead of a plumber; there is more good witchery to any instinct than there is chemistry. The chemistry may come, but its not the chemistry of textbooks; it’s a rich blend of herbs, simmered slowly over a low fire. This implies attention; and that attention ought to be constant and unflagging in a deeply inner sense, not in the sense of an outward attention whose courage is screwed, so to speak, to the sticking point. (The witches know the inner state, whereas Macbeth only knows his outer one.)

This constant and unflagging instinctive need is an engine that drives inner work; and that need arises organically, intimately, from the roots of the sensation alluded to in the first striving. The process is, in other words, additive; first, a higher level of sensation of the body is necessary, and only then can a second and more urgent necessity—the desire (need) to perfect one’s Self, which is a powerful (constant and unflagging) feeling-based impulse towards the sacred—which lies within the essential nature of Self-perfection within Being.

To strive for perfection in the sense of Being must, as we can see, be construed in terms of three-centered action; hence the emphasis, in the first and second striving, on the physical and emotional arrangement of the inner life.

In both the first and second strivings, there is an unspoken call to perception of Being through a finer set of faculties; the organism needs to receive the impressions of Being through different minds than the mind of the intellect. The two strivings call me towards a tactile, not intellectual, experience of life; but I need to peer beneath the surface of the strivings in order to better understand them from an inner point of view.


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