Monday, April 21, 2014

The DNA of sensation

...thought and will could not exist unless there was a similar action and cooperation between life as it inflows and the spiritual organic structure underlying our brain. Life flows from the Lord into that organic structure. Because the organic structure cooperates, it perceives what it is thinking...

The spiritual organic structure consists of long strands in helixes.

Emmanuel SwedenborgTrue Christianity, 1771

Those who read about sensation—or hear about sensation—and presume that when I speak of this I speak of ordinary things the senses encounter in their day-to-day Being, or even in an unusual moment, may not understand this properly.

I bring this up because a highly intelligent man I know, one with many years of spiritual experience and someone I deeply respect, brought this subject up a few weeks ago and spoke on it. 

He apparently (to me, anyway) had a rather limited idea of what one means by an organic sensation; and all of his analogies and examples of sensation were based on our familiar forms of sensation. The situation worried me, because I realized that people understand this question from their ordinary Being and try to understand it from their ordinary Being, whereas it must be understood from the spiritual Being. And if the inner spiritual Being—the essence, Gurdjieff would have called it— does not awaken, it cannot be understood.

When we speak of sensation— when Jeanne de Salzmann speaks of sensation- we don't speak of a sensation of this level. The sensations of this level are natural sensations, or earthbound sensations. They are ordinary in the sense that they belong to this order of things, on this level.

These sensations are what one expects.

The sensation that de Salzmann speaks of, a voluntary sensation, is an awakened or conscious sensation: not a sensation I have consciousness of—it is very important to understand this distinction!—but a sensation which is conscious by and of itself. 

It is like (to borrow Monty Python's classic riff) the Spanish Inquisition: nobody expects it. (And anyone who has experienced it will understand me when I say that the analogy of the Spanish Inquisition has further implications which we simply cannot go into here.)

This is a very different order of sensation which is deeply connected to the place where, as Swedenborg puts it, life flows into the organic structure. By Life, he means the Lord, and what he refers to is the inflow, which I have often characterized as the organic sense of Being.

It is this sensation of God flowing in to all things that I speak of when I speak of sensation of this kind; and although this sensation does have its own iterations and levels, it is a thing unto itself— ein Ding an such— and whole, measured within the greater context it appears in. It is very distinct from ordinary sensation and in fact completely different than ordinary sensation; and we must not confuse the two or think for even one minute that they are the same thing, or that one eventually begets the other.

When I say that this sensation is deeply connected to the root of Being, I don't just mean that it is connected to the root of biological Being—it's also connected to the root of spiritual Being, and, since biological Being flows outward into life through spiritual Being, it connects to the essential root of manifestation as it arises in the material realm. So this form of sensation feeds Being with a certain kind of food from the angelic realms; and it affects one in exactly this way if it flows inward into Being. That is to say, it has a sustaining and transformational effect on Being. 

Jeanne de Salzmann well understood this property, and this is why she so routinely urged her pupils to understand this form a practical point of view. In a certain sense, given the very material properties of spiritual Being and the consequences of earthly versus angelic influences (inflows), without this kind of food it is, quite simply put, impossible to undertake balanced development in the centers, because this kind of food is a fundamental need and proposition for Being.

This form of sensation flows into Being so deeply that it is quite literally connected to the DNA in the body, since this structure is what receives and expresses its properties. And this is the reason that sensation becomes a distinctly cellular phenomenon, if it deepens sufficiently.

Hosannah.

  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Untouched

It follows, then, that our inner earthly self must be regenerated first, and our outer self must then be regenerated through our inner self. This sequence follows the divine design. To regenerate our inner self through our outer self would go contrary to the divine design, because the inner self acts as the soul of the outer self, not only in a general way but in every detail. The inner self is present in everything we say, without our even realizing it...

...the mind of someone who has been regenerated is lifted up to the spiritual level. From up there it sees what is going on in the earthly mind below...


People who have not been regenerated are dreaming; people who have been regenerated are awake. In fact, in the Word our earthly life is compared to a sleep and our spiritual life to wakefulness.

—Emmanuel Swedenborg, True Christianity

 I would like to day to just call attention to the potential to open to the inward flow of divine love.

People live their lives as though there were some purpose other than this in life; but no life can be real or complete unless this inward flow begins. Until then, one is just a machine that goes through the motions. 

The entire purpose of life, from its beginning to its end, is to receive and express divine love in all of its iterations. The reason that the natural world is so magnificent, so intricate, and so astonishing in every facet is because it is a complete expression of divine love. We may call it ten thousand other things; but one cannot undo what it is with words. The inner eye can see it, even if the mind tries to destroy it, and the body takes action against it, and the emotions deny it in fear.

We are here to receive this love; in fact, we ought to be the best expression of it, yet we have degenerated so much that we are become the worst. And only a work that reaches back towards a wholeness of the inner self can repair that damage.

In order for the damage to be repaired, as the love flows into us, it must remain untouched. This is the secret meaning of the Virgin Mary; as the energy of divine love flows into being, my ordinary personality ought not touch it. It should be inviolate, sacred, allowed to work on its own without any interference from me. I need only be present within it and be in relationship with it, passively, in order for it to act in the right way.

To the extent that I receive this love, so it is expressed. And if it is expressed properly, it gradually penetrates into the depths of my being and into the marrow of my bones themselves. I do begin to see what I am; not in the way of the mind, which is the way I have always seen, thinking it was real, but through the heart, which can see so much more accurately and does not make mistakes, if it is under the influence of divine love. To see through the heart becomes a different enterprise; oh, my, how I see all my lowness through this organ.

The whole idea of Christ consciousness is to see through the heart, to open the inner eye. This I sees with all Being, not just through any single organ, esoteric or otherwise; and to the extent that it opens, so I sense the inward flow of love quite directly, and without any mediation.


 Opening the ordinary parts of the heart is not enough. 

A much greater opening is necessary; and only returning again and again to the truth of Being can that opening begin to take place.

Hosannah.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The DNA of Heaven

...thought and will could not exist unless there was a similar action and cooperation between life as it inflows and the spiritual organic structure underlying our brain. Life flows from the Lord into that organic structure. Because the organic structure cooperates, it perceives what it is thinking.

The spiritual organic structure consists of long strands in helixes.

Emmanuel Swedenborg, True Christianity, 1771

 People think of natural structures as being material and different, or other, than God. The idea that everything that arises as a manifestation of divine Being, and that the material world exists solely because of divine Thought, appears to be an abstraction to us. We don't understand that, as Gurdjieff pointed out, everything is material – and in this sense, even the spiritual is material. Swedenborg, an accomplished anatomist and one of the very first to appreciate the extraordinarily sublime functions of human neurological structure, emphasized this so often that I am sometimes tempted to believe that Gurdjieff borrowed this idea from him.

200 years before biology recognized that DNA was structured in helixes, Swedenborg seemingly already knew it and wrote about it. His sources of divine inspiration put him hundreds of years ahead of his contemporaries, leaving him to write about things we still don’t understand properly today; but we can see, from the quote this piece opens with, that he intuited the structure of DNA, long before anyone fully understood the nature of atoms and molecules which, in its modern Western form, had its origins with John Dalton in the very early 19th century.

Readers who are interested in the process of cellular operation can refer to this diagram from an article in the April 2014 issue of Scientific American. It very briefly describes the process of RNA replication in cells. Anyone who studies this carefully, and understands how enormously complex this process is, will immediately see that the idea that it could take place without an innate form of intelligence directing it is absurd. In its own way, the RNA molecule is actually more intelligent than we are — if you put a team of hundreds of scientists in charge of the operation of a single human cell, their collective efforts with all of the computers on the planet would be unable to properly order the process and orchestrate it in real time, and with good results.  Yet this tiny little molecule does all of this work; and in fact it even does a lot more than we currently think it does. It has always worked the same way; DNA and RNA were producing physical structures either identical or even more sophisticated than modern ones even 520 million years ago

Why is that?

In other words, we can see the ideas— and make no mistake about it, they are idea, or thoughts, about structure— that are encoded in genetic material are timeless and unchanging. DNA itself is so highly evolved that the appearance of life so very early in the fossil record raises the question of whether a molecule this complicated and sophisticated could possibly have evolved during the relatively brief span after earth's initial formation.

 According to Swedenborg's understanding, we would have to say that the reason DNA and RNA function at all is because they form the spiritual organic structure underlying our brain. In this view, the process of biology, which appears to be earthly, is in fact heavenly — as are all processes. But the innate intelligence of the divine inflow finds a much more refined and subtle expression in DNA than it does in inorganic structures. This is the point at which the influence of the angelic realms enters into the material; and this is why life is life.

 Because the inward flow depends on organic structures to receive its influences, it’s only natural that the sensation of divine influence begins at the cellular level, and, in fact, even beneath the level of the cells themselves. 

The roots of sensation of divine influence extend all the way down into the molecular level, and under the right conditions, and with the right kind of energies active in Being, can be sensed down to that level. This is an unusual thing, and almost never written about in spiritual literature, since so few people experience it, and even less of them understand it. 

We can, however, be quite certain that Jeanne de Salzmann understood a great deal of it, otherwise she would not have put the great emphasis she did on sensation in her teaching.

More on this tomorrow. 

Hosannah.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Coming under influences


This question of coming under influences is an important one. Many years ago, my teacher Betty Brown explained to me that everyone has to come under one set of influences or another; it is impossible to escape. The question is whether one comes under accidental or intentional influences; and we can understand this by seeing that intentional influences are those that help influence inner Being in a positive way, that is, they are related to the inward flow and they help Being to deepen itself.

Outer influences are relentless and often destructive. They don't have much direction. An inward influence, an intension, is quite the opposite, and for the most part, inward influences touch and come into relationship with higher influences in the solar system which are mediated, in the case of earth, either through the moon or through the sun. A human being that comes into relationship with this set of influences, of course, ends up being an intermediary between the two, but inevitably, the solar influence is the more powerful of the two, since that influence flows downward through humanity into the lunar influence. All of the influences, in point of fact, in our solar system are derived from the divine inflow of the sun, which gives birth to everything that takes place energetically in this particular solar system.

Much of this is theoretical and of little use in understanding the direct physical and organic influences that reflect these powers. The only way to do that is to become invested in them, and to see that they do not consist of psychological or intellectual states or questions. In point of fact, they don't consist of anything familiar; yet they carry an absolute vibration of life within them that can be participated in.

 Developing a better connection with sensation is the fundamental step in moving in the direction of solar and planetary influences. I must stress, these influences don't have any magical astrological effect on the events that will take place in a life; but they do have an enormous influence on the inner relationship that a human being has with themselves and with the divine spark of attention that ought to grow within them.

That, in fact, does have "astrological"— which means, according to the laws of the planets— effects, but those effects are effects of attitude, and don't exactly work on the way in which objects, events, circumstances, and conditions are arranged and interact with each other — which is an external affair and ordered quite differently than inner matters.  Matters of scale apply here; the way that influences affect the inner development of individuals and the way that they direct the activity of societies are two different things. An individual has an opportunity to change in a way that a mob cannot.

Hosannah.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Artificial Prayer

The prayer of the man who is given Grace is:

Lord, I do not deserve this Grace. Take it from me and give it to other, more worthy souls.

This is real, or natural, prayer.

If we receive Divine Love within our Being, it acts in such a way that we know our lack (as de Salzmann called it) quite directly. And through this real prayer arises naturally; it is the ordinary (lawful) consequence that follows.

But there is more than one aspect to this idea of lack.

Seeing our lack from the ordinary, or worldly, point of view is all we are capable of from our usual perspective: and Jeanne de Salzmann  exhorted us to focus on understanding this principle. Yet we forget, perhaps, that without an inner action of energy we can't see this except through the most ordinary lens; and it doesn't focus well.

To see our lack, however, is an action that does no more than correspond to the action that ultimately takes place; that is to say, eventually seeing our lack leads to a receiving of Divine Love, which both awakens conscience and instills heavenly doubt.

Within heavenly doubt, we see our unworthiness with all of our parts, not just one of them; and this is what leads to the great remorse which is, ultimately, necessary for transformation.

In the midst of this great remorse lies glory; for there is no greater glory than the presence of Divine Love, manifested both within the Being of the individual man or woman, but also—in the moment it arises within individuated Being—in all of reality. Although the book is entitled, The Reality of Being, it might as well be titled The Being of Reality, because the relationship is fully reciprocal and they cannot, in the end, be separated.

So.

What point is there in our inner development; what is it for?

If inner development isn't undertaken with the intention of serving others, it has no use. One can call on divine love and all the angelic realms, but never for one's self; both the effort and the action must to be undertaken for the good of others, and the planet, but not one's self.

The efficacy of the prayer of the man who is given Grace is only evident if I see how it functions when it does not arise naturally. Undertaken from any state outside a state of Grace, it cannot be sincere; and when I say it cannot be sincere, we need to be very clear about it. The man or woman who is outside a state of Grace cannot be sincere, because of course he or she wishes for a state of Grace; and of course this is an organic and natural aim and desire in and of itself, insofar as a person is properly formed from an inward point of view. 

However, when one wishes for a state of Grace, one wishes to be connected to Divine Love; and in that wish, from within that wish, I mean, one cannot wish the wish away

So if I ask for Grace to be given to others and am not already consciously within that Grace, the prayer is insincere. And so it goes with all such prayer.

In this way perhaps I begin to see that all prayer that does not arise naturally from within the state of Grace is artificial prayer; that is to say, it has an artifice to it, it is crafted with my own aim in mind, no matter how it's constructed. 

The natural state of prayer is another matter entirely; for it cannot be insincere, arising as it does from the initial impulse of Divine Love which naturally engenders it.

Ultimately, all Being— all life— and all action ought to serve Divine Love, which is exclusively expressed, among sentient beings, as loving relationship. Yet we are unable to engage in this kind of inner action without the inward flow, the inflow of Divine Love which takes place primarily in the center of Being, through the heart. There is, essentially, no difference between Divine Love and Truth; they are one. And both forces engender the natural state of prayer, which never need care for itself (it is already whole, and thus has no need for care of itself) but is always directed at the care of others.

We ought to direct all our efforts towards understanding this question of the inward flow directly through our inward state of Being; because there is no other reason for inner work. 

Without a sensation of this inward flow, all the other points of work eventually lose themselves, because they have no center of gravity around which to form.


Hosannah.



The receiving of Divine Love

The reason that Divine Love can be received in the body and sensed in the body is because it is a material thing.

 This is not an idea; it is a physical fact. But only the opening through sensation can eventually bring this home to an individual, because our understanding of everything is formed through the intellect, and not through Being.

 Because Divine Love penetrates everything, everywhere, its movement is never limited, and its arising can take place anywhere, in any part of the body, or any object, at any moment. In point of fact, it is not the arising of Divine Love that is lacking— it already exists everywhere, and always —, but the perception of it. As I have said before, God can come into your little finger; or he could just as easily come into your nose, or one eye. God, in the form of His grace, His mercy, and His Divine Love, goes anywhere He pleases, and at any time— woe to those who only look for Him where they expect to see Him! Only our suspicions and distrust keep us from living this experience; it is our earthly doubt that corrupts us.

In a certain sense, when Gurdjieff entitled Beelzebub's Tales "All and Everything," what he actually meant was Divine Love. Because, ultimately, the entire book is about opening to the receiving of Divine Love. When we speak of the sense and aim of one's existence, there can be no real sense and there can be no real aim that excludes this fundamental and essential principle.

There is no limitation to Divine Love; and no element of creation is worthy of it. One of the essential realizations that conscious Being comes to, to the degree that it attains any form of real ('three-brained') consciousness, is that no created thing is worthy of the love that has created it in the first place. Meister Eckhart goes to great lengths to try and explain this in many different ways in his sermons; creatures — the word he uses for all created things, be they animals, human beings, or "mere" solid objects — all come, to the extent that they become perfect in God, to the awareness of their own unworthiness and the vast distance between truly Divine Love and their own Being.  In some senses, his solution for this problem is the dissolving of all of the created back into the creator, a concept which shares many aspects with Buddhist principles. Yet here I touch on theoretical matters that are not as important as the subject at hand, which is the practical matter of becoming open to Divine Love.

 One of the greatest mysteries of God, which can only be appreciated through direct experience, is the fact that Divine Love blends selflessly and in unfettered generosity with Being, despite the fact that Being has no objective worthiness. This is, in many ways, the greatest measure of Divine Love, for it loves even though no love is deserved, and it loves even though no love is returned. When we hear the words, for example, God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, etc., they just sound like words — but if they begin to act in our feelings and we understand these words, it is a devastating experience. Devastating in the sense of creative, of course, although I cannot quite explain this in an essay or, perhaps, ever.

So all of these efforts, these yogic and Tantric practices, these efforts to remember the self, the positions, the movements, everything — all of it is an effort to open to the energy of Divine Love, to open the organs of perception so that we can see how absolutely we dwell within this material truth. If we understand this and our life begins here, everything else will flow naturally from it in exactly the right way. Meister Eckhart, of course, explains this in his sermons as well; but the explanations seem arcane unless we have the experience of the inward flow, and it begins to act within us.

  In one way or another, every human being serves as a vehicle for the energy of the angelic realms, and not all of these energies are positive ones. So great care needs to be taken. Not every angel can be trusted; and this is exactly why Gurdjieff populated his book with angels who were fallen, and angels who failed.

Some may think that Divine Love is bliss; but I say that it is suffering.  But this is the best, the most wonderful suffering you will ever do; and you will never regret such suffering, but only ask for more of it.

Think on this.

Hosannah.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The angelic realms and Divine Love

Time...Is the only phenomenon that has no source of its arising but, like "divine love", always flows independently and blends proportionately with all the phenomena present in all the arisings in any given place in our great universe.

Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, G. I. Gurdjieff, from chapter 16,  The Relativity of the Concept of Time.

In the previous post, we examined the  essence – question, am I not loving enough?

 Perhaps we don't see clearly that the only real aim in any conscious being must be to align oneself with Divine Love. All things arise from divine love except time; and every material manifestation in the universe contains its appropriate portion of Divine Love. Alignment with Divine Love is what aligns Being with the Good.  Every other esoteric or inner work that an individual undertakes is subordinate to the principle of alignment with this Love.

Divine Love can be received directly within Being through the inward flow. All of the work that Gurdjieff laid down, and which began to find its first maturity and fruition in Jeanne de Salzmann, was aimed at opening man to the higher energies which can receive Divine Love and align his Being with it.  So it seems worthy to make some remarks on the matter.

Divine Love is received in the center of the body. This location is usually referred to as the heart; but it is actually an infinitely small point within the middle of the spine. The spine also contains locations at the top and the bottom of the spine which can receive divine love in varying proportions; and of course divine love can flow inward through the top of the head. But it isn't generally understood that the inwardly-forming-source of Love, the center of its existence and manifestation in mankind, takes place in the center of the body, in the heart.

This is not actually a physical location, although it will be sensed as such a location because of the inherent limitations in one's psyche and body. But the center of the spine, the heart, actually opens into the angelic realms, and if there is conversation with the angelic realms, it will take place here. I say that the point is infinitely small, but it opens into the void.

Mankind was designed to receive this kind of information, but we're blocked. Only through the development of a comprehensive sensation, and then an understanding of the way that it feeds inner Being, will open the feelings in such a way to allow the inflow to proceed in a natural manner. The unfortunate fact is that most exercises and practices attempt to force this process, whereas, if it is to proceed correctly, it can only proceed in a natural manner, that is to say, without any interference whatsoever. In point of fact, because divine love operates in an absolutely natural manner, it is above manipulation.

We all ought to be aiming our work at a much deeper understanding of this principle, because all of the other answers that we seek in our life and our work center around this realignment of relationship with God, who is the supreme source of the emanation of all divine love. There can be no error if alignment with this force is active.

Divine Love manifests differently for different individuals, because all of the angelic realms represent different aspects of it. There are Beings that are closer to God; and Beings that are further away. This is why both Dante and Swedenborg described  the arrangement of angelic forces in heaven as circles within circles, moving ever closer to God. Alignment with divine love determines proximity to God.

These sound like theoretical matters, but human beings were designed to be able to receive this material and align with it. All of consciousness serves this purpose in one way or another. Because of the enormous power of divine love, it trumps every other spiritual effort. If an individual can open once to divine love, and allow the inflow to begin, it instantly causes all of the magnetic particles within Being to realign and point themselves towards God. This is actually the moment of arrival of "the big energy" that Mme. de Salzmann described to Ravi Ravindra in Heart Without Measure. Gurdjieff reportedly referred to it in far more arcane terms when he was speaking with Ouspensky, calling it the large accumulator. (Personally, I object to this kind of terminology, because it makes everything sound like we are dealing with crankcases and steam engines instead of love.)

So our efforts have to be turned towards understanding the connection with the body much more deeply, while at the same time understanding that the aim is to serve the good, and to serve divine love. With the taste of this in our mouths, and our eyes set on this goal, our work will always have a solid guide to it.

Hosannah.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The angelic realms and heavenly doubt


 There are vast differences between the earthly realms in the heavenly realms, but mankind thinks only from the earthly realm; and this is because the mind of the mind is capable of nothing more. The mind of the body and the mind of the emotions, or feelings, are both capable of having much more tactile contact with the spiritual or heavenly realms; but our connection between these three minds has been lost and they operate dysfunction only within our Being. So men think from the intellect; and they get into arguments about things. Heavenly realms don't have arguments; hellish ones, of course, do, but that is outside the scope of this essay.

Doubt arises in two different ways in man. Earthly, or natural, doubt arises from the intellect and the ordinary state of being. This kind of doubt often becomes academic; and when it degenerates, which is  a natural occurrence, simply because what is low intends to go lower, it becomes self doubt, which afflicts mankind in ever greater measure. 

Self-doubt is a destructive force. It brings things down. All fear arises from self-doubt of one kind or another; and this is what tears individual men and women and societies apart. This tearing apart or destructive force is both natural and necessary, because creative forces cannot operate without it, but in so far as possible seekers on the spiritual path should avoid self-doubt. It's an unproductive avenue that simply causes us to obsess about ourselves and who we are; in other words, it becomes a downward spiral into greater and greater selfishness. (Gurdjieff called earthly or self-doubt inner considering.) Although self-remembering is one of the most essential tasks in the spiritual realms, the concept itself is easily misunderstood and can be turned into a destructive force all on its own. We should be careful to consider this not just with our intellect, but with our sensation and our feeling as well.

Heavenly doubt is a creative force of upward movement. Make no mistake about it; one cannot be neutral or have neutral intentions. Natural doubt has a negative intention, and heavenly or spiritual doubt has a positive one.  One cannot tread water between these two forces.

Heavenly doubt can in some ways be expressed in a single sentence: 

Am I not loving enough?

 This question cannot be applied as an intellectual exercise, but must be brought to as many moments as possible in a lifetime, as an active principle of inner Being.

Anyone who applies this question often enough in the context of the intersection of the three minds, rather than bringing it up within their thinking mind alone, will begin to see the efficacy of its action almost at once. Heavenly doubt centers around this question of love and its inner application within the context of the outward expression of life. It is a creative force that slowly dissolves the ordinary Being in favor of one that is far more permeable to the angelic realms, who are constantly sending their energies inward towards men and women to support them.

This inward flow of the divine energy is closely related to heavenly doubt; and earthly or self-doubt blocks it. Self-doubt is a form of tension. Everything connected to earthly and self-doubt ends up devolving into fear in one way or another, because it moves away from the angelic realms and from God, and the further the distance from these realms, the greater the fear.

 A great deal more could be said on this subject, but I would prefer that readers contemplate it for themselves at some length, make an effort to both taste and feel heavenly doubt, and see the difference between heavenly or spiritual doubt and earthly or self-doubt.

Moreover, the distinction between natural or material thought, which is always of the intellect, and its ultimately destructive nature when functioning on its own, ought to be drawn in an inner sense so that one sees that all one's "turning" and associative thoughts form a vortex that pulls one away both from heavenly doubt, and the upright self-respect one ought to have within one's being both for oneself and forces from the angelic realms.  If one understands the difference between heavenly doubt and earthly doubt, which can be done through feeling and sensation better than it can the intellect, one takes a step in the direction of balancing the centers. Heavenly doubt creates an inner agency that brings the centers together.

Jeanne de Salzmann referred to this principle as seeing one's lack, but for my own work and for these times, the principle of heavenly doubt carries an equal, but newer, force. In any event, the ideas and the action are the same; and we need to see this question from many perspectives in order to understand it properly. Hence the neologism.

 The unfortunate fact is that the lower realms also attempt to exercise influence over mankind;  And they do so exactly through this self-doubt which feeds fear.  Men and women think such thoughts belong to themselves; they don't see how much they are under influences. But knowing the source of such things helps a human being to make choices in what they align themselves with.

This is a much more complicated subject we cannot deal with here. But readers are encouraged to refer to Swedenborg's observations on the subject.

Hosannah.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The source of all and everything

One of the things that Swedenborg made abundantly clear is that the angelic realms continue to work on the instruction of mankind, down to the present era.

Of course, this type of instruction appears to been more commonplace in biblical times; but it isn't forgotten, even today. The angelic realms exist in part in order to instruct the lower orders of Being; and periodically, messengers from these realms arrive, along with inwardly formed messages that need to be delivered to humanity.

While Swedenborg openly stated that his messages were from the angelic realms, Gurdjieff avoided it. Swedenborg was a scientist; he was chosen as a messenger because he had great expertise and precision in a literal report on the situation. Gurdjieff, on the other hand, was the son of a storyteller, and was therefore, logically enough, given the task of passing on an angelic message in an allegorical format.

This whole subject came up several days ago when someone brought up the question of just why Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson is set on a spaceship. The book is a message directly from the angelic realms; hence the very unusual (for its time) cosmic setting. And Gurdjieff was in the end not so entirely subtle about the source of the material: he not only populated the book with diverse creative angels, he made a fallen angel the chief narrator and protagonist.

This was not for literary and allegorical purposes; it was because the source of the material was angelic, and he recorded it more or less exactly as it was originally sent to him. That was the task he was given; and he discharged it without fail. The reason he never made any claims about its source, or reported it as such, was because he was asked not to do so. It was considered more important, by the angelic realms, to have the material inserted into society as an allegorical force that would work on man's subconscious, than a more literal one like Swedenborg's. By the early 20th century, it became apparent to the angelic realms that Swedenborg's effort, heroic as it was, had somehow failed; and so an attempt was made to bring an inner work to the more subtle areas of man's subconscious psyche, or, to be more specific, his conscience.

Hence the book.

It is time, I think, to stop beating around the bushes and fully recognize Beelzebub's Tales as a message sent directly from the angelic realms. It's a divine revelation, meant to instruct mankind in his responsibilities towards God, and to turn him back towards the inward good which Swedenborg laid out in so much detail.  There are few works of this kind in human history; and despite the squabbling over various translations, the book will, I predict, prove to be extraordinarily durable; far more so than we are. Works of this kind takes centuries to achieve their full effects.

The reason that there is so much consonance between Swedenborg's work and the Gurdjieff teaching is because they came from an identical source; and material from the source must always be in agreement. It always works, moreover, for the good; and for those who haven't taken note of it yet, there is in fact a Gurdjieff movement named "I wish to be for the good." That single sentence summarizes Swedenborg's work in its entirety, if it is understood properly.

In any event, understanding Beelzebub's Tales as a sending from the angelic realms is more important than ever now, because we need to come back, in our lives and in our societies, to an understanding that these realms are not figments of anyone's imagination, or inaccessible pieces of territory, but higher levels that seek an active action within the Being of man. Every effort to come into relationship with a higher energy is an effort to open to the angelic realms so that we can receive instruction from them.

 There is really nothing new in the idea that the angelic realms communicate with mankind; or that major literary works and bodies of philosophy have resulted from this contact. Ibn Arabi made it abundantly clear that the source of his material was from them; Meister Eckhart's insights are clearly from this level as well.  Hieronymus Bosch gave us great visual works which are clearly inspired by the realms; and he saw and revealed both the lower and the higher ones. We can include Dogen in the list, although the angelic realm that informed him was quite different due to the society he lived in; and Dante, Swedenborg, and Gurdjieff all followed in those footsteps.

 It's possible to recognize work that comes from the angelic realms;  but only if the right material is inwardly formed in a person. This work is what qualifies as objective art; It shares a commonality of material, theme, and purpose; and in every case, an opening to any angelic influence – the divine inward flow, the inflow — awakens us to the nature of such material. Gurdjieff referred to such affinities as magnetic center. The term seems rather sterile when juxtaposed against the inner richness of the material that it attracts.

Hosannah.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

kinder, gentler words



There is a need to understand one's negativity, and, even, to use it properly. It is there to be not only suffered, but employed, for it has its purposes. Jeanne de Salzmann, who was unusually energetic and lively well into her 90s, was once asked where she got all her energy, and replied, "from my negativity, of course."

In order to understand what she meant, one needs to form a quite different relationship to one's negativity, which does not mean that one banishes it. Being negative and being present at the same time is a fascinating exercise, and if one's sensation is entirely invested in it — by entirely, I mean, down to the marrow of the bones, and voluntarily — one sees that it is, like sex, a function. It exists as a truth; and like all of the Names, or manifestations, of God, it is necessary.

I spent the day in Shanghai today (this essay was written on March 15) and wandered into the antiques district at Fangbangzhonglu, an area I have frequented for decades. It is modernizing, and a great deal of the interesting material that used to turn up there is now gone. Almost everything is now fake; but some dealers still carry real and unusual Buddhist artworks, including, on rare occasions, truly extraordinary pieces like this one. They are, unfortunately, insanely expensive and well out of my budget; but the dealer who has these bronzes is kind enough to allow me to take photographs.

The deities here are, like many Tibetan deities, enormously ferocious and negative-looking demons. Of course, there are sound spiritual and traditional reasons for depicting and interpreting these gods, festooned with various skulls and human body parts, as positive — not negative — forces, but it doesn't do much to dispel the impression. The impression is inarguably beautiful, and sinks deep into Being. Wickedness has its own beauties; we forget that.

All of this raises questions about reality, which is comprehensive.

 Being needs to become an objective state, arising from an unassailable organic connection with sensation, in which all of these aspects and facts are included, without disturbing sensation. Being and sensation are so intimately tied together, in this aspect of inner relationship, that nothing can disturb the partnership between the two, even though the ordinary psyche and all its psychology continues to function in an ordinary manner. Awareness finds its position in direct relationship to the organic sense of being, and the psyche just does what psyches do. Awareness does not need to interfere with that; each aspect of Being belongs to itself. One must navigate the territory between the two states within the context of feeling.

One of the chief energies that sustains this action is solar. In point of fact, regardless of the connection between breath and sensation, a yogic matter which I have expounded on in considerable detail in years past, the connection between solar energy and sensation is much more important. The connection between breath and sensation is directly related to the formation of the astral body, that cheerful little entity we were discussing two days ago. But the connection between solar energy and sensation is connected with the formation of the being-body above the astral. When Gurdjieff speaks of the assistance that the action of solioonensius gives to those seeking to perfect their Being, he isn't referring to the question of the astral body. Solar energy can only act on bodies connected with solar matters.

 If one is under influences other than the influences of ordinary life, the difference between being under lunar influences and solar influences can be experienced quite distinctly, without any astrological trappings or Wiccan features.

These influences are related to what Gurdjieff called objective states of Being—objective in the sense that they are no longer under the control of the accidental collisions that take place on a day-to-day basis in a life that is not inwardly formed.

Hosannah.




Saturday, April 12, 2014

An inner energy

There needs to be a relationship between the self and an inner energy.

The self—the parts of me that function in ordinary life—are on their own unless there is a relationship to something higher. Left to their own devices, they have no real feeling, and do any old thing they please. It can already be seen from the general results of ordinary life—which are nothing more than the state of the world around us as it is today—that this is a bad arrangement. Many ills come forth.

If, however, there is a relationship to this inner energy—this inflow, which is not an abstraction or an imaginary force, but, rather, something quite substantial—then the self can have an intention towards the good. The inner energy is formed, you see, from the inward flow of the divine into mankind's Being, and as such represents the good—it is a positive and creative force which contains the power of transformation. The ordinary self contains no power of transformation whatsoever, yet it appropriates the ideas of transformation and the actions that it supposes might be those of transformation. Without the inner energy it can do nothing but think about stuff; and that occupies far too much time in us.

The inner energy isn't a tangible thing at first. There are a series of stages in its development, which are not spoken of often, but I will try to explain them for readers.

First, one must become familiar with the inner energy. In order to do this one must open to it, usually during work with others and meditation (sittings.) There is a long period during which this inner energy is supported only through these collective, or, conversely, very quiet private, methods.

Eventually, however, the energy must become organic. This means it must arise voluntarily from within the very marrow of the bones. At this point an individual becomes responsible towards it in a quite different way. That can't be exactly explained, but we can say that this is the point at which one must form an inner intention to bring the energy together with the self. This is the beginning of an intention towards the good.

Over many years, the energy must then become durable, that is to say, it must become strong enough to resist the efforts of outside life to deflect it. Intention helps in this.

Finally, the inner energy must become permanent, that is, it must always be present within life as a support. At this stage it ought to accompany an individual during all their waking hours, and, often, even in dreams, because the energy must eventually penetrate and recruit every aspect of Being.

 Many other processes take place alongside this; it's impossible to catalog them all here. But without this presence of inner energy and a repose within sensation, Being cannot develop.

Hosannah.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The presence of God

Mayan King, Yaxchilan

 There is a question about presence; people want to have presence. Or they want to be around others with presence. This impresses people greatly; people want to be around others who they think are great, whether they are great temporally, politically, socially, artistically, or — as is also often the case — spiritually.

Charisma plays a large role in this. Charisma is one of the most insidious poisons infecting humanity, since it attracts people to outwardness in other persons, and has great power. We have seen time and time again throughout history how this generates destructive force on enormous scales. But to the extent that anyone falls under the influence of another, already, a destructive force has been  generated, because each individual should only be under one influence, and that is the influence of God. To leave us under the influence of our own selves is already dangerous; and the moment we fall under the influence of other people, we've turned our attention away from our responsibility to come under the influence of God.

This question of presence is important in that regard, because if I want to have my own presence, already, I am mistaken. Every presence that is not the presence of God falls short of what is needed. So anything in the way of presence that I have — or that someone around me has — is already not the Presence of God, for the Presence of God belongs to God alone. For a human being to be, inwardly, under the influence of God and within the Presence of God, all human presence must flee. There cannot be a shred of ego left in this question; and the Presence of God is a hidden thing.

One might think that some great saint or person under a higher influence will emanate an extraordinary presence; well, perhaps they will. But only to the extent that God is there; and in cases of the outward, it is extremely easy to mistake the devil for God. True Presence hides itself; it is invisible, and resides only within the man who has it, who is receiving that presence on behalf of God — which renders him into a state of humility which does not radiate the greatness we expect in outward life. 

So a great man is actually a tiny one, not one who looms large on the stage of life. In a certain sense, greatness is measured by how small a human being becomes within themselves, a subject Meister Eckhart takes up in some of his sermons. True presence of God is discovered within true humility; and true humility neither needs nor creates advertisements. Advertising is against its very nature.

In this way, he or she who is least is the one who may be present within God; and it is not so obvious who that is. It may not be evident at all; and it may well be that all the ones who we think are heroes are actually the villains in this regard. God is found in the small things; and it may take an extraordinary amount of attention and understanding to really see someone who has been gifted with Presence.

Again, to come back to the beginning, the only influence we seek to come under is that of God; and to the extent that we turn to others, or rely on ourselves, already, we miss the mark. There has to be a fineness of attention and a willingness to put aside what I am in order to find something real; and that has to be related to the inward attention which I discussed yesterday.

Hosannah.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The inward nature


I say further: the inner and the outer man are as different as heaven and earth. But God is loftier by many thousands of miles. God becomes and unbecomes. But to return to what I was saying: God savors Himself in all things. The sun sheds its light on all creatures, and whatever the sun shines on absorbs the sunshine, yet the sun does not lose its brightness. All creatures give up their life in favor of being. All creatures enter my understanding that they may become rational in me.  I alone prepare all creatures for their return to God. Take care, all of you, what you do! —Meister Eckhart, The Complete Mystical WorksSermon 56, p. 293.

We see all things through our outwardness. Yet all things exist first in their inwardness, and are created in their inwardness. So the inwardness is where creation resides.

When we judge, we think that we judge outwardness; yet judgment is always a question of inwardness. As I said to my roommate from freshman year in college yesterday, what is perceived is always in the perceiver; what is seen always summarizes who is seeing, not the object that is seen. So if I find something good or bad, this is within me, not within the object from outside which I see. In this way, when I exercise judgment, I act on behalf of a higher power. In this sense, Meister Eckhart says, take care, all of you, what you do. For the act of seeing is also an act of creation; and the creation is the creation of my inwardness.

In this sense, the universe is created. I can only understand the context of my own life and everything that is through my own inwardness; and each of us is this way. When I perceive through my own inwardness, then and only then can I perceive the inwardness of all the things; for they also have this inwardness, by degree, according to their level of creation. And if I perceive according to this inwardness, which is unusually sensitive and quite different than my outward perception, then I see all things according to their level of creation quite differently. The entire world assumes a different value and has a different weight within me.

Now I return to my inner and my outer man. I see the lilies in the field, their brightness, their color, and all their leaves. But I do not see their fragrance. Why? Because the fragrance is in me. But what I say is in me and I speak it forth from me. All creatures are savored by my outer man as creatures, like wine and bread and meat. But my inner man savors things not as creatures but as God's gift. But my inmost man savors them not as God's gift, but as eternity. (Ibid)

Inwardness is not an idea that I have in myself. It is the living quality of my own Being, which is akin to what Eckhart refers to as eternity. There is no time within Being; and Being encounters time, but Being is not within it. So they are separated; and eternity means without beginning and without end. So this word, eternity, does not mean forever; in a certain sense, it means now. Another way of seeing it is that it means there are not any boundaries to enclose what takes place.

To say it this way is dangerous, because these words already put limits on a sensation and kind of attention that is supposed to be — intentionally – limitless, that is, one should not try to define, but just be within.

This leads me to a question of presence which I contemplated yesterday while walking the famous dog Isabel, but I'll leave that for tomorrow.

 In the meantime,  it's worthwhile to contemplate this question of inwardness from an organic point of view. 

Hopefully, as I attempt to encounter this, the center of gravity always arises first in sensation.

Hosannah.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Certainty

I spend a great deal of time in my life contemplating how things are from the inner, and organic, point of view.

From the inner point of view, there is the certainty of life; and nothing more. Life is; there can be no doubt of this, as I am. Yet this is the only thing — perhaps — that seems certain. And even life is lived one step removed, without an inner relationship.

Yet there is a certainty, and that certainty is the love of God. It removes all doubt and is sufficient unto all things. Yet this is never just an idea; for as long as it's an idea, I don't understand it, I just think about it. What is far more interesting is the actual, immediate presence of this certainty, which penetrates all matter and all Being.

 Perhaps the reader thinks I speak hypothetically; but this is not the case. Perfections are their own argument; and everything is perfect within the love of the Lord. If we don't see this, it is not because the love is insufficient, but rather because we lack the capacity. Even that lack is willed through love; and, as I've thought to myself many times, perhaps that's because love, if we experienced all of it at once, would burn us into nothingness.

As one breathes the air of love into oneself, and feels the energy of love within each cell, one knows that nothing can surpass this. To call this Presence into each thing, and to call this presence at all times — not issuing a call that presumes the Presence can be demanded, but issuing a call to it like a lover, a friend — like a call to one's mother or one's father — this is a task to undertake. I become reciprocal to the extent that I reciprocate.

I'm not needed; God's love has no need of me whatsoever, yet it comes and is here. What does that tell me? It doesn't come according to conditions, the way everything is in me — I am nothing but conditions. It comes outside of conditions, and without regard for conditions. This is the way love is.  Being roots itself in the ground of love; it is the earth and the soil which feeds and nourishes Being. Only bring the water of the spirit to it, and Being will grow.

Being, which grounds itself in love, ought to grow into love, because that which grows from the soil contributes to the soil and helps to build it. So the idea of Being as a growth ever deeper into love is a sound one. Yet it shouldn't remain an idea. It ought to be a living experience.

There are energies that feed this growth which we know nothing about. We can receive them; but we shouldn't touch them.

They know their way about this place within.

Hosannah.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

An unsurpassable distinction of Being


But if a man seeks God's will alone, whatever flows from that or is revealed by that he may take as a gift from God without ever looking or con­sidering whether it is by nature or grace or whence it comes or in what wise: he need not care about that... —Meister Eckhart, The Complete Mystical Works, Sermon 55, p.290

Eckhart asks us here for unconditional acceptance; whatever flows from God’s will need not be analyzed, weighed or considered. This is interesting, because here, I believe, he speaks not of material things... which are by their very nature analyzed, weighed and considered... But of the inner state, that is, how we are within in relationship to what I refer to as objects, events, circumstances and conditions.

In a sense this request for unconditionality is interesting, because by its nature, God’s will already defies such classification. To receive God’s will, in a sense, presupposes this suspension of judgment, since it already brings us into an inner realm of mystery, or nothingness, in which such considerations are useless. This is the peculiar mystery of the spirit, which he speaks of at great length elsewhere; so why lend us this word of guidance here? I'm not sure; perhaps because he wants us to see that all ordinary considerations are unnecessary when embracing, and being embraced by, the will of God.

... He should take just one thing from God, and what­ ever comes, accept it as the best for him, having no fear that by this limitation he will be hindered in any way, inwardly or outwardly. Whatever he may do, if only he is aware of having the love of God within him, that suffices. (Ibid)

To live within the certain knowledge of the love of God is our aim; and this certain knowledge is to be aware of the Love of God within us.

This awareness is expressed physically, but the experience is metaphysical; that is to say, the sensation of divinity exceeds ordinary sensation as much as love execeeds contempt; and perhaps this is an apt example. Contempt and love are as far apart as one world from another; in contempt, we know no love, nor even admit to its existence; whereas in love, we can  find no contempt, nor admit to its existence. These things are both inner states, one elevated, the other debased; and it is only by their direct experience that we can know them.

God’s love is the same way; we must know it by direct experience. It banishes all that is not love; comes and dwells in us regardless of our proclivities, preferences or distinctions; we cannot explain it, nor do physiological explanations of it suffice. It is in one part love within mind; also, love within body, and love within feeling, such that mind, body and feeling are called to an unsurpassable distinction of Being.

I use this term unsurpassable distinction of Being because the first instance of experiencing God’s love is that of Being which is distinct. We recognize it- see it- within and understand through the divine and combined action of Grace and Mercy that it is distinct, that is, unquestionably exceptional or notable, apart from what is ordinary.

The second instance, which is coincident with but separated from the first (for we sense several things at once here) is that it is unsurpassed, because we see that there is no state within man that compares to this love of (from) God. We know at once that every one of these sensations and inner actions is higher than we are; the state expresses its divinity without room for argument or doubt. In this way God’s love has what is called authority, since we recognize it, without question, as that which is of God and not ourselves.

I find the mention of this distinction important, since so few seem clear about it. One who knows this truth knows no other truth; for only this one is necessary; and this is the “one thing” one ought to take from God which Eckhart speaks of in this sermon. 

Anything less is not God.

Hosannah.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Nothing

But if God is neither goodness nor being nor truth nor one, what then is He? He is pure nothing: he is neither this nor that. If you think of anything He might be, He is not that. —Meister Eckhart, The Complete Mystical Works, p. 287 (Sermon 54)

 In order to understand this properly, we should understand that we are distinct from God, even though we are also one with Him, and that we should in no way interfere with anything He does.

 This conception may be difficult to process in the context of the Gurdjieff practices, which appear to be nothing if not meddling of one kind or another; especially when interpreted through the narrow lens of Ouspensky. Yet his appointed successor, Jeanne de Salzmann, went a very long way towards correcting this grievously mistaken impression. 

Even so, this idea of non-interference— which perhaps finds its most mature expression in Zen— is quite difficult. So today I'll try to speak from experiences gleaned over the course of this trip to China, and more specifically, this morning's meditation.

I must inhabit myself fully and without reservations as I am if I wish to allow myself to not interfere; because if I try to be not as I am, that is, if I strive towards something other than what I am, already, I am interfering. 

The striving is an obstacle. I must be exactly what I am and accept it — no more, and no less — and then wait. Perforce, that which is necessary will arrive: and if I am both fully with myself and at the same time entirely empty of myself, that is, not attached to myself — even my attachment to myself is an interference — then there is a space which lawfully calls God to enter.

 Anything can happen in that place; and whatever is necessary will happen. I can see that an energy arrives and acts; and I must not touch it, or even, in a sense, acknowledge it, but simply let it take its action without my interference.  Even my acknowledgment is interference. I must trust this energy, because the instant I do not trust it, or want to change it, it cannot have its full action, which extends far beyond its own arrival. 

 The most that can be permitted is to intuit the relationship. This is an organic action.

The energy goes deep into the body and works changes that affect things much later in the day, or the week, or the month — or, perhaps, even the lifetime. But the moment that the energy is touched, it has been interfered with; and although there is nothing delicate about it, when it is mixed with my ordinary state, it loses its effectiveness. It is as though the current traveling through a wire has a short circuit; although the equipment that it is meant to reach is powerful and has extraordinary abilities, if the current does not reach the equipment, the equipment is powerless. This is a very rough analogy, but it will do for now.

I can study this question quite precisely in meditation by not doing anything. Not even meditating. I just present myself quite exactly as I am and I try to open, which consists of not doing anything. It's as though I place a question mark within myself exactly as I am, a question mark which is nothing more than a notation — and it does not interfere, it is an instrument that merely marks the place. This action, I ought to note, is always an instantaneous action, not an action that is gained by hours of butting one's head against a meditative wall.

 The instrument that marks the place could be referred to as attention; but attention has nothing in it. And this is quite important, because nothing attracts nothing.

 Once I ceased to be, everything is; and many things which are unexpected and even, to tell the truth, impossible take place. 

But it is, after all, our task to allow the impossible.

Hosannah.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

An inescapable love, part 2


 Taking up where we left off yesterday, we continue to examine this question of becoming wet with love.

 In the citation from sermon 53 which I mentioned yesterday, Eckhart goes on; after he describes the inward flow of divine love as being like water (the inference is mine, but it is clear enough from the text) he describes the quality of the love itself as being like salt; it is what gives the experience of Being its savor. 

In Eckhart's view, our ordinary state is like a kind of filth that coats our tongue and prevents us from tasting God. This idea of ordinary life as a kind of filth was amply illustrated by Hieronymus Bosch in the right-hand panel with Garden of earthly delights; and it underscores the paintings esoteric message. The divine inflow, which begins in the left-hand panel, is ultimately coated with creatures, by which we can understand things of the mind and literal, material understandings. All of this manifests as a kind of filth that coats Being and prevents it from understanding (tasting) and savoring God. The allegory of taste and foods here is important, and relates directly to Gurdjieff's understanding of impressions as food.

To further expand on why Eckhart uses the phrase wet with love, this love has the quality of dissolving what we are. When the inward flow brings a true sense of divine love, which is the creative force—the in principio of the text, the beginning of Being—all that we are, all that we think, do, and feel, is dissolved into the highest and beginning principle of love, and we cannot escape it. Everything that emanates from being under these conditions is loving; and in this love, we do not express ourselves, because this love is not of us, it is our father. That is to say, it is the active principle from which real Being, our own Being, is born. So this water of love suffuses us and takes us, embraces us and leads us effortlessly into a different state of Being in which there is no contradiction between our person and love itself.

Interestingly this idea of salt, which is dissolved in water, and brings the taste of God to us, brings us to the idea that we are dissolved in the water with the salt. Thus, as the water of love dissolves us, it brings us into intimate contact with God: we are mixed with Him, become one with Him.

Perhaps by now the reader begins to get an inkling of just how extraordinary and transformative this power of love ought to be, and how unusually profound and fraught with understanding the phrase wet with love is. Eckhart chose a metaphor here which is so subtle and magnificent that it takes some time to savor it and appreciate its full import; and even then, to appreciate it intellectually has absolutely nothing to do with the full experience, which cannot be described.

To a certainty, Eckhart could have tried to communicate what I have explained here. But he was far more interested in the actual experience than the philosophical implications, which he expected the astute audiences he exchanged with — that is to say, the other masters he worked with — to make efforts to understand on their own. By not alluding to it, he called those who he spoke to to make an effort to seek this inner experience through its mystery, not through the precise words of the intellect, which are indeed able to explain it, out to the limits of their own ability. 

We have explored that here; and yet, we are brought to the verge of the great mystery, the transcendental mystery, which he wraps up the sermon with.

What is the final end ? It is the hidden darkness of the eternal Godhead, which is unknown and never has been known and never shall be known. (p. 283)

 To receive the inflow of this love is to be brought to a greater understanding of this unknown, which expresses its unknown and infinite qualities principally, in the beginning and in the end, through this love which can be received in the place of the inward flow of Being.

 We may feel ourselves to be very far away from this; and yet, as Eckhart points out, it is always active, always present.  ...whether you are asleep or awake, God does his work. 

It is our sacred duty to try and sense this force, not just by thinking about it, but by being within its active presence.

Hosannah.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

An inescapable love

It's one thing to talk about influences in general; but let us examine a specific question on influence. In order to do this, we will return again to Eckhart's sermon 53.

I was thinking on the way, when I was supposed to come here, that I did not want to come here because I should become wet with love. Perhaps you too have been wet with love, but we shall not discuss that. Joy and sorrow both come from love. (The Complete Mystical Works, p. 282)

Eckhart means something specific with this phrase, wet with love. This is an influence he speaks of, a higher influence; and this is why he doesn't discuss it: it's complicated.

Readers have, over the centuries, presumed that he must have been speaking about tears; but these are only an outward expression, a material thing, a physical manifestation. As such, they can't possibly have anything to do with what he was referring to, except that they represent its presence. Eckhart, as always, is speaking of an inner event, not an outer one; yet we can be bold enough to speak about this inner experience, in so far as we understand it.

When Eckhart says that joy and sorrow both come from love, what he refers to is the fact that love,  in its entirety, completely encompasses both joy and sorrow. That is to say, love is just as much sorrow as it is joy. It is possible to have an experience of love that is completely joyful, which is the way we understand it; but it is also possible to have that same experience in a way that is completely sorrowful. In general, human beings experience joy and sorrow as egoistic experiences, that is, things that affect them, and are related to their own experience. But the higher experience of love is an experience of joy or an experience of sorrow that does not belong to he or she who experiences it. This is a metaphysical experience of love, that is, a love that exceeds objects, events, circumstances, and conditions. And indeed, to experience such love is to become "wet" with love, because the love is like water, that is, it is a substance that fills every cranny, nook, and crevice, suffuses the entire being, and cannot be escaped.

In fact, Eckhart refers to this quite precisely later in the sermon. Of particular importance are the words, The earth can never flee so low but heaven flows into her and impresses his power on her and fructifies her, whether she wishes it or not. 

 This flowing in of heaven is, to be precise, a flowing in of love; heaven and love are not distinct from one another, but rather, reciprocal entities, as Swedenborg explained. And it is flowing in of love that creates Being. Eckardt repeatedly uses the Latin words in principio  to describe this Genesis, words that mean in the beginning. The meaning is specifically assigned to the inward flow of love. In this same passage, the earth refers to mankind, or, ourselves. Love is the beginning of all things.

 Coming back to this metaphysical understanding of love, that is, love that exists outside the body and is greater than the body, love that exists outside the mind and is greater than the mind, and love that exists outside feeling and is greater than feeling, we see that we speak of a love that exceeds all of our ability to understand, that, in fact, emanates from outside our own Being and creates it. Although we experience this love with our senses, because the only way for it to be sensed is through the material, the love itself is extrasensory. Because it is transcendental, it flows into us like water and it makes us "wet;" that is, it imparts its quality to all of our Being, in the same way that water wets everything it touches.

In this way, love transforms us by turning us into love itself, since it universally imparts its quality to all that we are and everything we can think, feel, or do. This is an unusual state and has nothing whatsoever to do with our ordinary experience of Being; yet, as Eckhart points out, it ought to be inescapable.

 The next post will discuss this in some greater detail.

Hosannah.