The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Cloisters, New York
And there is only one single thing that can possibly do it, no matter how many exercises one tries to engage in. That is the fundamental organic and living connection to our sensation, which connects the current that flows within Being that can open the rest of Being to the inflow.
That inward flow or influence from a higher level provides a very fine material that allows the emotional center to do the work that is necessary to unify Being.
Even that takes a very long time, yet of course we want quick results. We want to be "better" right now, or at least by no later than tomorrow. Even worse, we want to be better. This will never happen; and we are wasting your time on it, dreaming about how we will improve ourself instead of attending quite specifically, intimately, and organically to this quite simple question which lies at the root of everything we think we wish for.
There is a huge difference between the single sense of Being and the ordinary parts, which exchange places automatically and pose, each one of them, as being complete. Only the single sense of Being can provide enough perspective to understand how thoroughly we become identified with one or the other centers; and, as Gurdjieff says, only our sensation can create your individuality. Only the organic sense of Being can lead, eventually, to one “I” which experiences the world continuously without having it divided into constant fugue states which interrupt one’s observation of one’s nature.
I suppose that readers presume some smooth path towards this with clear signposts; but there is no such thing. It is an uneven road that needs to be traveled in many directions at the same time in order to reach one’s destination; an enormous amount of creativity and flexibility needs to be applied, and above all this flexibility is necessary, because falling into the trap of a form or a rigid set of ideas about how one ought to do this or that is certain to ruin everything. Our opinions and judgments are the first things to meet most of life; and every one of them wants to assert itself and create just such a box and stuff our Being into it.
Only if we bring a loving and compassionate attitude to our work with ourselves, one that embraces rather than dividing, can we hope to slowly introduce the parts to one another in such a way that they cooperate. Once again, sensation provides the vehicle for that, because it brings a sense of gentle mystery to what we are. It is the first introduction to a finer substance that can manifest within the body, a more subtle and higher rate of vibration that has a wish to form a relationship with us. One minute of work like this is worth a thousand hours of philosophy.
I’ve explained this before, but it’s always worth understanding it from a new perspective. Think of the way that the solar system is arranged, with magnetic energies flowing from the sun through the Earth’s magnetosphere and eventually being transferred to the moon. Mankind is built in exactly the same way; and as I have again explained before, we are meant to come under solar influences in this work. That is meant quite literally; we are required to re-create the ray of creation within our being. This means that we transmit higher energies which we receive from the sun through our body and bring them to the moon. Many ancient esoteric systems embodied symbolic languages that showed this relationship (think of the Virgin Mary standing on a crescent moon) and it is only recently— speaking in historical terms—that human society-at-large has, for the most part, forgotten this relationship.
In this system, roughly speaking, sensation — physical sensation of a higher kind — belongs to the moving center, which mediates the connection to the moon or lunar influences.
Feeling is under solar influences, and our earthly being stands in the middle as intelligence.
So feeling is the most sacred of the properties, being closest to the sun and receiving the higher influences from the Lord; intelligence is the next most sacred, mediating (when it is properly arranged) conscious relationship between the sun and the moon; and the third sacred property is material existence, represented by the moving center and manifested through sensation.
A truly sacred energy of a finer kind must flow downward through the opening created by feeling, into the embodiment of intelligence which represents life on this level and exists within the center of our being, also called the heart in esoteric systems, and then flows downward into the moon, or sensation, which is the receiving vessel that takes the energy downwards into lower levels of the cosmos, which for us includes ourselves and even the molecules we are made of.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.