Sunday, September 22, 2013

Reciprocal feeding

"Iraniranumange," the law of reciprocal feeding, is the obscure term Gurdjieff coined to describe the process of inner digestion. Although it might seem he cast it largely in terms of the outside world, the law of reciprocal feeding takes place within us as well as outside us. 

In other words, both biologically and psychically, literally and figuratively, man feeds himself with himself.

This may seem so obvious, once stated, that one wonders why it even need be said; but this idea of taking one's self and eating it isn't really discussed much in esoteric circles.  The understanding of inner impressions, their action, digestion, and the role they play in the creation of Being is largely neglected.

This is because the process is quite impossible without the participation of feeling, which is closely linked to remorse of conscience. One can never begin to swallow one's own life-which is actually the most essential and intimate form of questioning one can undertake-unless feeling, a higher level of inner vibration, carries the existing and new impressions of life into the deepdown, the inner recesses of Being where contact with the highest principle is possible. It is only deep inside, in this sacred place where the single seed of the Love of God resides in man, that the fire that can purify and transform our impressions can be found.

This is not a hot fire but a cold one; and it does not emit light in the sense that we ordinarily undstand it, because the light it creates is the vision of feeling, not the vision of the eyes. Feeling is a sense perception that encompasses a whole Being in itself; that is, it has eyes, ears, a nose, skin, and a tongue, so that it can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste, but on a different, a new level not interpreted in the coarse generalities we understand associatively through the physical senses.

When Gurdjieff spoke of coating higher inner parts, and of creating higher bodies, he implicitly described the action of inner feeding. Ouspensky's chemistry notes demonstrate that the ancient yogic schools came a very long way towards understanding the exact technical processes driving this matter; yet it turned out that precise technical knowledge, although attainable, didn't truly serve anyone, because it invited theoretical understandings that were unsuitable for the inner work of most people. It became, in other words, a distraction. The tactile and intimate nature of the actual work that is done-as opposed to the many technical details and theories- is paramount.

No amount of studying diagrams can prepare one for the actaul arrival and re-ingestion of a past moment, with a conscious attention and the conscious intention of taking that impression in all over again, sending it deeper into being and allowing it-without judgment-to contact the deepdown. It's this willingness that we sometimes refer to as intentional suffering; and that term is as good as any to describe something which is actually impossible to describe.

When a human being dies, this process accelerates exponentially, which is why people report, during near death experiences, that one's whole life flashes before one's eyes; but this is not a process to be rushed through at the very last instant. Much preparation is recommended; and this is what inner work is for.

Studying the work of the chakras as a digestive system is an interesting exercise readers might want to consider. The question is closely tied to the function of the enneagram, which also recapitulates this inner process according to the lawful form it has to follow.

May your soul be filled with light.

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