Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Returning to the Glory, Part I

Christ Church, Sparkill, NY Dec 12 2015

Every day, I return to an examination of the Glory of God, which is with me every day in ways that cannot be explained using words alone. 

I report it to myself and others in words; and I don't discount them. Yet the Glory, the Perfection, cannot be described in words or contained in words because fully two-thirds of it comes into man's Being through the two minds that do not use words, that is, the mind of sensation and the mind of feeling.

 This is a difficult proposition, because in every human being, two thirds of the material that creates Being are not from the material of words. They are conscious material that arises within the context of sensation — wordlessly — and feeling — again, wordlessly. These two parts of man's Being that do not use words are overwhelmed in almost every sense by the domination of the intellect and words, which co-opt every other process into themselves and manipulate it.

Three-centered Being, as Gurdjieff called it, involves opening far more concisely to these influences of feeling and sensation. Words are then left behind; and yet we are stuck inside them, so to speak. They blind us to the Glory and the Perfection which flow inwardly first—as it happens—through the other two minds—if we are open.

 Because one cannot properly describe the influence of these two minds —  they are active and living influences, unlike the flat and relatively colorless observations of the intellect — one is left attempting to find a way, using that two-dimensional medium we are now engaged in, to describe the Perfection and the Glory accurately, incorporating the sensation and feeling that have flowed in from the other two minds.

It is always inadequate.

Most of the misunderstandings people have about life come from their inability to live in an active manner within all three centers. Atheism and agnosticism begin and end with this problem; no one can sense God properly without opening, and one can know precisely to what extent a human being is open to higher influences by their understanding or misunderstanding of the Glory, which is also called the Perfection. 

The deeper the immediate (not theoretical or hypothetical) sensation of the Perfection, the more impossible it is for a human being to do wrong to others or to deny God; and the deeper the feeling of the Perfection, the less a human being is ruled by their own ego and the more that humility grows in them so that they see what Glory is, and how tiny they themselves are in relationship to it.

I have seen that it's impossible to explain this to people, no matter how hard I try, because we human beings form a very hard shell around themselves that protects us — protects the ego — from anything true that might try to come in on this subject.  Everyone has one; the people who are sure they don't have one generally have the biggest ones.  People project their shells around them using enormous amounts of psychic energy which ought to be feeding much more important parts of themselves. This has a good deal to do with the subject of buffers, which I won't go into here.

The shell has an equal effect of preventing people from excreting and eliminating the poisons they collect in themselves from their self–serving intellectual exercises, which contaminate their inner Being and render them, in many cases, more and more toxic. Almost everyone I know who has this problem is completely unaware of their toxicity and even, in point of fact, nurtures it and celebrates it as an asset. This is not uncommon even in people who firmly believe they are on some high kind of spiritual path. We all have toxic parts that we nourish, which we ought through right Being learn to discriminate against.

A proper feeling and sensation of the Glory changes all of this, but it has to begin outside the mind of the intellect — even though we always discuss it and conceptualize it from within this mind, a dilemma which has no easy solution. Once one has a proper feeling and sensation of the Glory, one does not need to believe in God, because God is eternally present within one, inserted directly into the deficiency of Being which we all participate in. 

This presents human beings, if it happens, with a kind of suffering which is unusually helpful to the development of right Being. Gurdjieff came up with all kinds of interesting perspectives, observations, and truths about this suffering which have been progressively turned away from their (originally, essential) Christianity — a grave mistake — and into the service of, in many cases, more secular understandings that conceal their destructive nature beneath powerful veneers of misguided intelligence. Nothing can lead a man so firmly away from God as a belief in his own intelligence.

There is an unerring objectivity to the Perfection, and there is an unerring objectivity to the Glory. Now, it is true that that unerring objectivity has, in its entirety, created the situation I am describing here, and that the Perfection and the Glory give birth directly through their very nature to the imperfections we live within. 

That is only because we need a force to work against. One cannot climb a ladder without lifting one's own weight; and there is no spiritual profit in letting angels lift us up.  We need to work for ourselves to open to the Perfection; there is no real alternative.

This morning, in prayer and meditation, I was reminded that the Glory and the Perfection is a whole thing that cannot be divided into parts. 

This is how all of life is — it at once contains everything we are and everything we can be, and calls us within this moment to realize both of those things within one whole awareness.


Hosanna.








Lee van Laer is a senior editor at Parabola Magazine.

2 comments:

  1. 'Gurdjieff came up with all kinds of interesting perspectives, observations, and truths about this suffering which have been progressively turned away from their (originally, essential) Christianity — a grave mistake — and into the service of, in many cases, more secular understandings that conceal their destructive nature beneath powerful veneers of misguided intelligence. Nothing can lead a man so firmly away from God as a belief in his own intelligence.'
    The strange thing is the foundation as established by Mrs Salzmann is toxic. In fact, I suspect it has been used to provide energy for the hierarchy of that institution. There was even a 'high table' in Paris, during meals, whereupon the elect sat, to look down upon the drones.

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  2. I am reminded of Illich's comment about the church:
    "Corruptio optimi quae est pessima [the corruption of the best is the worst]. Through the attempt to insure, to guarantee, to regulate Revelation, the best becomes the worst....
    'I live also with a sense of profound ambiguity. I can't do without tradition, but I have to recognize that its institutionalization is the root of an evil deeper than any evil I could have known with my unaided eyes and mind.' (quoted in 'The Rivers north of the future, Preface). From 'The corruption of christianity: Ivan Illich on Gospel, church and Society,' CBC Radio.

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