This morning (May 3) it's raining. The miraculous impressions of spring, the greenness of the leaves, the lavender of redbuds in bloom, fills me with an absolute sense of the sacred that the rain only reinforces.
Fortunate we are to be here;
Practice we should.
I have been called away to China once again — unexpectedly, as is often the case. I find myself gathering the threads of my life together and warping them once again so that they conform to a period of travel of solitude. People who wonder where I find the time to do the things I do cannot imagine how much time is spent alone in contemplation during travels on business. It is not an activity for those who fare poorly in the absence of others.
Yesterday, one of my readers who has had considerable exposure to various legitimate figures in the Gurdjieff work — some of them important or revered ones — and is struggling through a series of unusual inward experiences mentioned to me that they weren't sure some of the people that they met in the work, even "higher up" people, were "serious" about their work.
Well, of course, we all want to be skeptics and critics, and we all have our doubts about each other, don't we? You — for example — as you read this, you are probably skeptical and critical; or at least you should be.
The tricky part of skepticism and criticism is to be anti-egoistic about it. That is to say, one needs to be deeply suspicious of one's own skepticism and criticism. It always has an ego-component; the question is, how much? One needs to keep a close eye on the little devil that engages in this activity in order to puff himself up. He is always at work, he's an active little fellow. One has to admire him at times.
Everyone is serious about their work; and everyone is serious about "the" work. Generally speaking, there is a very good level of seriousness— that is, weight, importance, gravity (that's what the word means) in Gurdjieff people.
The danger is that the wrong kind of weight and gravity can drag one right down under the surface —and then one drowns.
It is just as easy to drown in the Gurdjieff work as in a pond if one isn't careful. One has to remember to maintain an intelligent lightness of Being as a counterpoint to its very gravid weight.
To this end, my comment to the person who was discussing the matter with me was:
Everyone in the work takes it seriously. Don't learn how to take it seriously – learn how to take it organically.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.