Thursday, January 7, 2016

A practical matter

The question of opening oneself to receive the influence of Divine Love is not a theoretical matter.

When I write about these things, I don't write about them from a theoretical perspective. I am speaking strictly from experience and strictly from practice, which is supported by materials I have encountered elsewhere, such as Gurdjieff and Swedenborg. While it's true that my foundational practice began with an education as an Episcopalian in my youth, and while it's true that I have spent many decades in the Gurdjieff work, these outward forms have not created my understanding of the inward flow.

The creation of that understanding can only come from God; forms merely exists to prepare the ground for such things.

So my discussions about Divine Love are strictly practical, that is, they relate to the practice of receiving. Now, when my teacher originally brought me into the Gurdjieff work, and I began esoteric work, certainly I was introduced to exercises. I did them for many years. Again, all they did is prepare the ground. My impression is that many people become identified with exercises and think they are an end in themselves, or that they are "producing" effects of one kind or another.  Readers who have stayed with this column for years will know that I don't put much stock, in the end, in exercises. One should, in a sense, keep exercise to the bare minimum necessary to focus one's inner lens. Going out into life and living with intention is in the end much more important than sitting in the darkness with one's legs crossed.

There is of course the danger that one will read my diary entries and form theoretical ideas from them. Yet there cannot be much wrong if one understands quite clearly what I am saying about the material nature of Love and our need to receive it in practice, as a material.

This is the most essential and vital part of any inner work and in fact the aim to which all work must ultimately be turned, no matter where it begins and what direction it goes in. Other understandings — and there are without a doubt many of them — are distractions.

This like a tree with many branches, many beautiful leaves, and many blossoms.  All summer long it blooms and people marvel at it. Yet when the harvest comes, only a single branch — the one with seed in it — bears fruit.

And when the harvest comes, it is only the branch that bears this fruit that matters.

Lee van Laer is a senior editor at Parabola Magazine.

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