Stone carving: Christ and the Evangelists
The Cloisters, New York
January 24. There was an impressive snowstorm last night. Even though the aftermath of such storms is always trying, while they are taking place, no matter how big they are, one always strangely wishes they were even bigger still. There is a desire to be nested within the enormous force of nature and accept it. It reminds us by analogy of the great forces that we are under.
I use the word organic very frequently to describe Being, as in my original phrase — which I coined long before I was aware Gurdjieff himself had used it — the Organic Sense of Being.
In any event, what is organic is instrumental, that is, it is a tool that serves a purpose— a means to an end. Already, when we say organic, in other words, what is meant is something that serves. It's interesting that the word has roots so deeply tied to this idea, whereas we use it to mean something, generally speaking, quite different.
Our organism serves. When I am under a higher influence, I inherently understand that I serve something different than myself, and that I do so through what the body receives in terms of a higher energy. What is necessary is to turn inwards first, towards a sensation of this energy, and intelligently — using my awareness — put myself into its service. I'm really not quite able to do this; after all, the higher always puts me into its service, and not the other way around. But I can remind myself to turn towards this instrument and this purpose, which is to serve God, with an intention. That is an intimate and sacred inner action and a tiny thing, not some grand outward gesture related to forms, circumstances, or the need to meet some particular life function.
When I say it's a tiny thing, I mean it is a point on which awareness turns — and I ought to keep coming back to it from within. I forgot that, of course; and that's the problem.
This idea of coming back to myself is the idea of going deep into an organic good. Let us say it another way: an instrumental good, that is, to become invested (closed) in that which serves the good. Most of me does not turn in that direction; yet it's a small choice that could help me do so.
This morning, I woke up at about 3:45 AM because I have jet lag. I made an effort to turn inwards towards this small space, this tiny, sacred place, and I am doing it again now, a number of hours later, because I keep remembering that there is this great light that can sometimes manifest, which takes everything from me and gives me wholeness, which I do not have by myself.
Lee van Laer is a senior editor at Parabola Magazine.