Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Glory, Grace, and Mercy, part IX: Everywhere, in Everything
It's easy to forget that these three material (but also metaphysical) embodiments of Divine Love are perpetually in action, everywhere, in everything.
Sometimes, when I walk the famous dog Isabel ( who is, like me, growing old and gray) in the morning, I sense the entirety of this Love and the way that it instantaneously and forever manifests all things and all being at every moment. If I am able to forget, for a minute, the tiny and constricted focus of myself — my obsession with my own agency – I become a blank canvas, upon which the world writes its Truth; and this Love arises, surrounds me, penetrates me— it is all that there is.
It is what Gurdjieff would have called an objective force: and when he said that there was really only one thing, this Love is what he was really referring to.
Although Love is, in fact, completely material in the way we encounter it, it's a shame that we have all become materialists in the way that we are. I suppose we don't have a choice; the action of Grace, which embodies Love in the material, leaves us no choice but to be consumed by it; and it is only by the action of our own subsequent sacrifice, both inner and outer, that we can cause this world we are born into to spit us back outward and upward towards God, and Love, and the good things.
Jeanne de Salzmann said, at the beginning of the Movements film made in the 1980s (it has, regrettably and quite tragically, never been released to the general public) that everything is always in motion: either going up or down. By this, of course, she met the things either go towards the good — towards God — or towards the bad, that is, away from Him. In so far as we find a way within ourselves to move towards the objectivity of love, so far do we move towards God; and the more we move towards ourselves and our own greed and insufficiencies, the more away from Him.
Last night I was sitting on our deck looking up at the trees with my wife.
It occurred to me there under the spreading canopy—a blessing unto itself—as we view the world from this tiny and constricted focus of self, we invariably think that the world and the things in it are there to serve us. This is how things are arranged, both inwardly and outwardly.
This is a terrifying inversion; the first Truth — we are vessels into which the world flows — makes it quite clear, at the beginning and above everything else, that we are here to serve the world, and not the other way around. We are meant to receive the Love that forever expresses itself: Swedenborg quite rightly explained that God created the universe itself in order to receive the Love that emanates from his transcendental and Divine Being.
We are ever more responsible for this; to learn ever more and more about the laws of world creation and world maintenance is, in the end, to always learn about Love, because Love is what creates the world and what maintains it. It's not just the set of the mechanical laws of physics and chemistry, which are just iterations of mathematics; there is no mathematics of Love, because it is a much higher thing.
One can do the math of the universe, but one can't ever do the math of Love.
It simply has to go into the heart and help Truth open.
Lee van Laer is a senior editor at Parabola Magazine.