Capital, Autun Cathedral
A few days ago, I talked about Love as the binding force within being that glues the mind and the body together.
Well, in fact, Love is the binding force that glues everything together, but we need to understand it practically in this particular instance instead of just theorizing.
In order to allow this love, which is always present and which God wishes to send to us in great abundance, we need to put ourselves into a prepared condition of surrender.
Gurdjieff's way of expressing this was to say we had to "realize our own nothingness." This is exactly the action that creates a prepared condition of surrender; yet perhaps some new words are needed for it. The minute the ego hears the words Gurdjieff used, the defensive barriers are raised and the portcullis comes down; archers man the battlements. So it creates a bad reaction that already strongly prevents the understanding from having any chance of taking root. It probably worked quite differently when he gave it to people in person.
This prepared condition of surrender has to come from a very clear and concise seeing of how I am in life and how we are all the same in the midst of a great mystery we do not understand. The organic condition of agreement that comes from the center of gravity in me is capable of receiving that impression; but my ego and my personality are. So I need to search for something in myself that receives life, organically and very deep in the body at a level where there is no argument, and acquires the humility necessary to see that everything — absolutely everything — is a grace and a gift that has been given to me. In point of fact, the entire universe and everything that ever manifests is a single thought in the mind of God, and has been created with an infinite amount of Love and put here with an infinite amount of effort.
The sacrifice that is required for this perpetual and eternal act of creation, which is still ongoing, is absolutely unimaginable, but we take everything for granted like fools. It's possible to have that run into the body like an electric current, which creates an irrevocable humility.
Admittedly, this is a high practice, but it is directly connected to the realization of my own nothingness. Insights of this kind will be extremely rare, but perhaps I can process the understandings that precede it in such a way that I'm more prepared in case it comes.
What isn't seen by human beings is that the entire planet and all of the conditions on it, no matter how atrocious they may seem, emanate from a perpetual and limitless state of Grace. Participating in that more consciously may reduce me and my ego to the point that I can agree with the conditions and see their absolute value, instead of constantly trying to turn all of them into a relative value — which is always relative to my own desires and what I wish for. This turning of things into a relative value is the origin of Gurdjieff's phrase, “organic shame."
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.