We celebrate all religions together today — it is our task to bind to the faiths back together around the heart of the One and True God.
I was speaking the other night about how absolutely material… how granular… inner work becomes.
We don’t generally experience our being as material. Experiencing the material nature of Being is different than having a physical experience of being. It’s very difficult to explain this difference in words, but I will try.
The physical nature of my being (emphasize the lower case) is a powerful, yet rather coarse and direct, experience of life. All of my ordinary sensation is tied to this; all of the pain I feel, all of the physical satisfaction I participate in. Yet all of this is of this level alone; it arises on this level and it manifests according to the requirements of this level.
The material nature of Being is a different thing. I have often referred to it in the past as the organic sense of Being, because it is global and is tied to an inner awareness of the organism that comes from a different level. It is a living thing of its own; that is to say, it has an objective nature that does not belong to me as I am. Yet the organic sense (or sensation, if you will) of Being is not, in itself, a complete expression of the material nature of Being: it is a foundation for it. The material nature of Being is only sensed after long years of preparation through the organic sense of Being.
During this long, gradual process—decades in which the organism takes in impressions in a new and deeper way—finer materials are deposited in the organism. (Gurdjieff called this the coating of higher Being-Bodies.) Those fine materials—again, very gradually, because there are no short cuts here—build up an mass that develops more and more gravity within itself. That same mass acquires a magnetic property that attracts more fine substances to it; and to the extent that the magnetism is sensed and respected—to the extent that I participate—it continues to elevate the inner rate of vibration.
Eventually I begin to sense the world in a very different way. The world, and life itself, have a specific texture to them. This texture is a kind of fabric (hence eastern references to tantric practice, which means loom practice) that permeates all Being. The inner, physical sensation of that texture is a foundational building block for a new kind of feeling-sensation of Being.
This foundation structure needs to form in conjunction with an intelligent and intelligible force of awareness before a living, compassionate emotional connection to life and to Being can truly arise. Through this graduated practice of acquiring a sense of the material nature of Being, we prepare ourselves for a different level of emotive experience, which can’t emerge unless the connection to the physical experience has a firm foundation of understanding—not through the mind, but through an appreciation (a comprehension) of the experience itself.
Lee van Laer is a senior editor at Parabola Magazine.