Christ on the cross between the Virgin and St. John
circa 1330 – 1335
Ugolino de Nerio
Museuo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
What, one might ask— my wife did actually ask this — does my sensation have to do with this new organ... something like the organ Kundabuffer...
HA! an antikundabuffer...
...which Gurdjieff speaks of?
Well, my sensation is an organ. Among the many principal meanings of the word (which also include musical instruments and physical structures in the body) is an instrument (principle meaning III in the Oxford English dictionary.)
Sensation is an instrument, or an organ, of perception.
An awakened, active, or voluntary sensation (all three are valid ways of describing the nature of the organic sensation of Being) is a means of perceiving Being. It is, as opposed to our thoughts and imagination, a real and direct way of perceiving Being which is unmediated by the thinking mind and brings the impression of Being directly to awareness — which is different than mind.
So what fascinates me so much about the organic sensation of Being is that it brings me to a new awareness. This is why Gurdjieff says, "only such a sensation and such an awareness..." in the passage that was quoted in part one. It's helpful to learn to distinguish the difference between thinking or imagination and awareness, which are different qualities.
To be aware is to be watchful, vigilant, conscious — again, from the Oxford English dictionary. This embodies the three most important qualities of our inner work:
To be watchful is to see.
To be vigilant is to be attentive.
To be conscious— well, this is what all our effort is for, isn't it?
Sensation brings exactly this kind of awareness, which cognition and intelligence can interpret, but not receive. It is in the receiving through sensation that we develop understanding.
In the same way that my eyes are organs that see, my ears are organs that hear, and so on, my sensation is the instrument — the organ — through which I perceive my Being and the organic nature of my life. I perceive it through the finer vibration of sensation that I receive within my body.
As I deepen the sensation, I understand evermore and more that I receive it from higher levels, from forces that I do not understand which cause me to manifest the way that I am. These things are tied to some important questions in quantum physics with I will explain in some posts in December — they are too complicated to go into right now, and what I am hoping is that we can all, together, focus right now on this question of my organic sensation and how it functions as an organ.
It is a new organ that can grow in us. But we become responsible for its growth. Our effort to become aware of ourselves — to see, attend, and be conscious — through a connection with sensation is what grows this new organ in us. That effort takes many years, but when the organ is truly born within, one knows it, because it has the capacity to receive divine influence in a different way.
Never doubt that this is possible. State your life on it and turn all of your efforts in this direction without fail. It is what God wishes for all of us.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.