Sunday, November 12, 2017

Meditations on death, part III

Gurdjieff alluded to this sensation of being when he said, at the end of Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson,

The sole means now of saving the beings of the planet Earth would be to implant in their presence a new organ, an organ like kundabuffer, but this time having such properties that every one of these unfortunates, during the process of his existence, should constantly sense and be aware of the inevitability of his own death, as well as of the death of everyone upon whom his eyes, or attention, rest.

The molecular sensation of Being is tied so firmly to a direct understanding of life that it by default includes an understanding of death within it.

This penetrates being in a way that is difficult to describe; in Zen, they call it attaining the marrow. It distills the essence of what life is and includes death.

This is a conscience of the body; that is, it is a feeling-capacity born within the emotional center of the body that senses both life and death together, that is, it summarizes all of the understanding and awareness that is possible for the body.

This will probably come as a surprise to some students of the Gurdjieff teaching; conscience, after all, is referred to in the work as something that appears as a result of proper three centered work, and a factor that is engendered by what he calls organic shame.

The idea that each of the individual centers could have its own experience of conscience may seem, at first, bewildering; yet it's inevitable. Because each center engages in its own kind of three centered work (each center has an emotional, intellectual, and physical component) each center is functionally capable of experiencing both conscience and remorse of conscience in its own right, according to the structural function of its own nature.

Hence there are three kinds of conscience in us which blend together to form a whole conscience; and there are three kinds of remorse of conscience. The law of three, in other words, affects conscience and remorse of conscience within the individual centers themselves, simply because it is a functional law at every level and in every operation.

Sensation summarizes the functions of life and death by putting them together within an active vibration of feeling. That active vibration of feeling begins in the emotional part of moving center; and it is possible to assign the function of the sensation of life as a holy denying factor.

This is because when I affirm life, I affirm myself; and when I affirm myself, I affirm myself as a self separated from God. This action of "I am" which is so essential to the initial formation of real Being on this level, has the paradoxical and puzzling effect of denying God while affirming myself. Hence holy denying.

From this perspective, death is actually the holy affirming principal within both this center and all the centers. That is because the death of the self, one other the intellectual, emotional, or physical self — whether the death of the conscious mind on this level or the death of the body — surrenders to God, to the creator, and by surrendering affirms Him/Her.

Thus death, which we see in many ways as an "enemy," is actually the sacred force that brings us back to God.

These two forces within sensation — holy denying, the sensation of myself, and holy affirming, the sensation of death — are unified within a vibration of sacred feeling that relates very powerfully to the sorrow of the Creator. Bringing the holy affirming and holy denying of this kind into contact with one another automatically creates a polarity that attracts the particles of the sorrow of the Creator, which are then deposited.

So there's a technical explanation for why sensation is so vital to the foundation of our work; it helps to form conscience and remorse of conscience at a higher level of vibration than what can arise in the intellect; and it is only when this particular level of vibration is formed that we can begin to vibrate or oscillate at a level that allows the even higher vibrations of conscience and remorse of conscience from the feeling part of the center to enter. There's a hierarchy of vibration built here; and it is built through the contact between life and death, which could be seen as an unexpected result — except for the fact that it fits perfectly within the system and is an entirely lawful and even necessary interaction.

Last night, my stepson's fiancé was discussing her feelings about a grave matter which she has given me permission to share. Earlier this week, her younger brother committed suicide. Her brother had a long history of depression, and the circumstances were objectively gruesome. She was baffled by observing that two completely contradictory emotional forces were present in her at the same time: grief and gratitude.

This was a compelling example of the presence of conscience in a feeling context: and it was what put me on to the understanding about sensation, and the understanding that each center experiences its own form of both conscience and remorse of conscience. This means that each mind within Being, each one third of what contributes to three brained being, has its own whole experience which it can bring.


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

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