Capitals from the Cloisters, Manhattan
“…in practicing this I see that a very close relation is created between my body and this fine material. I can feel this substance of "I" in the body. It is of another order. But for now it is without its own force, powerless, without material. I need to have a more lasting awareness of it as a totality.”
—The Reality of Being, Jeanne Salzmann, P. 237
Well then. This idea of the confluence of truth, where did it come from?
It is something I saw as a natural consequence of our life one morning while I was working with others at the Gurdjieff foundation. It may seem like an idle thought, but it came to me at the time as something important enough (as is obvious) to write about, because it is actually a rather big idea and the chances of an average human being experiencing the confluence of truth in any significant way are, on the whole, rather low. Most of the people that I meet are much too involved with their own ideas about this and that, especially their personal reactions and opinions, which are very very important (to them) that they aren’t interested in trying to repose within sensation and take in objective observations about their own life or our nature. It’s much more exciting to become an imperfect idiot, that is to say one that is not fully formed. (The Latin perfectus means completed, past particle of the word perficere which means accomplished, finished, or complete.) To become a perfect idiot means, in other words, to become completely whole, completely oneself; and to inhabit oneself.
Perhaps, when I explain it this way, it begins to make more sense to the reader and you may see how this whole thread is tied together into a single line of understanding. The confluence of truth, which was the original point of this essay, is an exact description both of our nature, what we are meant to inhabit, and the overall potential of our consciousness. There may be other consequences; of course everyone wants to see God or have psychic experiences. But is that really the point? I have done both of these things; and neither one of them is anywhere near as satisfying as to inhabit my own humanity with as much love and humility as I can open myself to receive. These are small and humble things, not the deeds of powerful gods and those who can manipulate, craft, create and destroy; all they are are the inward deeds of one who is able to receive life as it arrives. It is a rooted and earthly talent, to be sure; and yet the relationship with God seems so much more vital and realistic in an everyday way, from this perspective, then the bombastic possibilities of rising towards heaven.
If I call us, then, to a more prosaic experience of life, I do no more than repeat Meister Eckhart’s famous last words, in which he said,
“It often happens that what seems trivial to us is greater in God’s sight than what looms large in our eyes. Therefore we should accept all things equally from God, not ever looking and wondering which is greater, or higher, or better. We should just follow where God points
out for us, that is, what we are inclined to and to which we are most often directed, and where our bent is. If a man were to follow that path, God would give him the most in the least, and would not fail him.
It often happens that people spurn the least, and thus they prevent themselves from getting the most in the least, which is wrong. God is in all modes, and equal in all modes, for him who can take Him equally.”
From Meister Eckhart: the complete mystical works, page 588
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.