Thursday, July 24, 2014

Without making plans, part II

I stand forever directly at the edge of an extraordinary inner mystery.

For as long as I cling to my presumptions, I will always remain at that edge; and little will cross over into me. But the minute I forget everything of what I know, forgot even myself, and give myself to the inner structure that exists apart from my mind—the organic structure—I enter that mystery; and that mystery enters me. We are not indistinct; we interpenetrate one another. 

We are one.

This is a higher authority which I must submit to. I do so quite willingly, when I encounter it; because it emanates from a love and a joy that I wish to be part of. Yet if I want to submit to this authority, I can't set my own agenda. And even when I encounter this higher authority, immediately, because we are together, my ordinary parts think they know something about it, that they can be the authority. Those parts want to have control; and I want to do things, perform actions with this energy, because they presume they know what to do.

There is an irony in this that I need to see. The energy itself makes it quite clear that I don't have the authority or the understanding, the instant that it arrives; so why do these presumptions and assumptions persist in the face of it? They are a testament to the strength of the ego, and its determination to survive at all costs, even in the face of the obvious. Because the ego is the very essence of selfishness — they are not distinct, selfishness and egoism — it will lie about absolutely anything in order to have its way. And if I don't begin to see that I am like that in every circumstance where I am dominated by my ego, then I don't learn very much.

I can't say for women, but men have a particularly hard time with this question of their own authority. I am angry whenever my authority is threatened or challenged — and all the other men I know are identical in this way. We are like this; but we don't see it. We just don't see it. And of this subliminal anger penetrates us at all times, just beneath the surface. So if we are provoked, it comes out at once.

In any event, my contact with the inner mystery has to be unplanned. I can plan to make myself available, to be open to a possibility; but that's all. The possibility has to be sufficient unto itself, not programmed by my agendas.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Without making plans, part I

This morning, as I usually do, I got up at 4:30 AM. I don't leave myself any choice in this matter — if I am not already awake (which is not unusual) when the alarm goes off, I instantly jump up out of bed. I never hesitate: one cannot engage in inner discipline if one is inclined to be lazy and hesitate.

This is just it, that people are not disciplined. I led a meditation yesterday, which was, admittedly, for beginners — all good people, I might add. Everyone said their meditation practice was casual: which means they are undisciplined, even lazy. I ask you, does God want us to be lazy? Think about it.

I ask you equally, does God want us to be inattentive? To make messes, to not properly clean up after ourselves and lead a disorganize life? He doesn't. Duty is something that extends to every incident of life; everything is my duty, and I must rise to that occasion in every instant.

In any event, while I was making Turkish coffee this morning, the question of how I do exercises and conduct meditation sessions came to me. There is a difference between organization and disorganization; but there is also a need to be flexible and relaxed, which may be in a free style—not structured, but still attentive. This is how I prefer to approach meditation.

Now, many people who lead meditation like to do specific meditations on chakras, to circulate energy in specific ways. This has become somewhat the vogue in recent years. I've even been to meditation sessions led by "advanced" (at least, so advertised—which in itself is suspicious) Qigong Masters, where they lead the participants through many different "chakra activations" and visualizations so quickly that one gets whiplash during the process. Others proceed at a more leisurely pace, but always there is this specific idea and structure about how to take the inner energy and do this and that with it.

Over the years, I've done many such exercises; and I know a number of exercises I have never told anyone, although various older members of the Gurdjieff work occasionally bring such an exercise to a sitting, where I recognize it from my own work.

The reason I ponder this is because I was not taught many organized methods of sitting before my inner life changed. For some reason, ever since I began meditating, I have been largely freestyle in my inner work. My own teachers were never rigid in their approach to energy; we never had specific things we were supposed to do over and over again, for example, circulating energy down the front and up the back, or vice versa, and so on.

Yet I opened; and I opened without all of the set pieces, the prescribed meditation methods.

Ever since then, I have spent years studying the inner conditions — investigating all kinds of meditation methods, both structured and unstructured – and trying to understand exactly what it is that helps one to open.

I have come, over the course of these many years, to understand that the prescriptions don't work. That's because all of the prescriptions come from me: and I'm not a doctor. Others aren't doctors either, although everyone believes they have some kind of snake oil that can lead us to God. The fact is that God leads us to Himself, not through our methods, but through His own.

Consequently, I could teach people many ways of opening chakras, inhaling energy in through them, and so on. But I intentionally don't. My own work with such methods over the years has shown such methods to be highly invasive and intrusive, and without exception all of them eventually (or even immediately) become a manipulation of one kind or another. The temptation, invariably, is to allow them to become a kind of masturbation.

Now, I am not one of these Victorians or Calvinists who believe that masturbation is a crime; but it hardly leads anywhere important, as everyone ought to know. But if I don't allow the energy within me the freedom to do its own work, as it sees fit, I am trying to put myself in charge of something I know very little about. And in my own experience, the more I know about it, the more I see that I am not in charge.

This is why I attend; but I attend without coming with an agenda, and I attend without making plans.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Playing a Role

The question recently came up about playing a role.

One of the significant points about playing a role is that the actor never expresses his own desires when he is playing a role. The desires that have to be expressed when playing a role are the desires that belong to the role, not the actor; and I can understand a bit more about the question of playing a role in life once I see this more clearly.

 I need to be separated from myself, and, most specifically, from my desires, when I am playing a role. If I am vested in sensation and accept it, if I allow it to assume its voluntary position in my life, then the separation is much more distinct, and even though my desires drive me quite strongly, I can build a firewall between my own desires and the desires that the role requires. It's quite important to be clear on this, because it's very common, when playing a role in life, to discover that my own desires are actually in contradiction to the role. This is, in fact, entirely normal; it's why everything in life is arranged to the way it is, and why so many things work out badly. Here is yet another reason that Mr. Gurdjieff indicated the need for our nondesires to prevail over our desires.

In playing the role, the actor must be the servant of the role. Arrogant actors who do not accept direction turn out to be bad ones; they have too much of themselves in the part, and it's transparent. The next thing you know, they aren't playing the role; they are being themselves, pretending to play a role. Results of this kind are painfully obvious.  This is possibly the worst kind of acting; yet this is how I am all the time. It's strange that we so easily recognize it on stage, and are so poor at seeing it in real life.  This is part of the reason that the "stage" of organized work in groups is necessary.

The question of sensation is essential, because I do not acquire enough individuality to distinguish between myself and the role unless I am rooted in an organic sense of being. Now, it is impossible to understand this unless I let the organic sense of being manifest; unless I get out of the way, and allow it to emerge in the is a real thing, a participant. Once that happens, perhaps I can distinguish more clearly between my own desires and the desires that the role ought to be expressing. My ego needs to become subservient to the role.

There are other questions at hand here; every actor in life is asked to play many roles, and he also has to choose and discriminate between the various roles he is offered. One doesn't, perhaps, want to play the villain or the tyrant; yet these are necessary roles, and we discover that it is the selfish people who assigned themselves these roles, which are entirely appropriate to them. The fact is, unfortunately, selfish people are very good at these roles, because their desires usually coincide with the need for the role. It's much more difficult to play more altruistic or compassionate roles. Well, one could go on, but the astute reader will get the gist here.

One of the interesting questions that occurred to me about this is that our entire life is a role. If I can see it that way, perhaps I will see my life differently.

Perhaps I will even see it a little differently today.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Attention arrives naturally

There is a fineness of interaction that usually escapes me.

I'm interested in it, because it is always available; and it sits at the edge of my perception, awaiting my attention. I can discover it though sensation; and when mind and sensation, which are both always present, come into relationship, attention arrives naturally. I don't try to have attention; attention has me.

Sensation has to provide the motive force for this, because mind is unable. Mind is active under ordinary circumstances, even if its effects have been weakened; and I find it's when the center of gravity shifts into sensation, when the balance is corrected, that things change. Then sensation becomes active and mind becomes passive. This is interesting because sensation is so much more compelling in terms of its ability to receive life; in this case, mind just watches and has much less to say about things. It recognizes sensation's mastery over the art of receiving; and if sensation truly acts of its own volition, mind steps back not only because it resumes its natural place, but also (at least initially) because it has an immediate sense of awe, of inspiration, as it encounters this state.

The word inspiration is entirely accurate, because in this state, I inhale my life through sensation: I begin to function as a tiny particle in the lungs of God, that is, I inhale life through my attention, naturally, and my conscious being absorbs the enlivening material of impressions, enriching the inward flow of the energy as it passes through my body.

Although I am unable to discern the source of this energy as it arrives, and unable as well to discern the exact departure of the energy into equally unknown realms of Being, I am able to participate in the action of the energy within this realm, within the parameters of being as defined by my own experience.

I am here; attention arrives naturally. In this gentle crucible of Being, when the effects of all the emanations of Being itself, all of the results of objects, events, circumstances and conditions manifest and are blended within me, a remarkable infusion arises. Water becomes wine.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

On the nature of universal circulation, part III: The living organism of Being

 When I experience my being, because I have an ego which perpetually carries the intention of separating itself, I do not see myself as one with God. God is a separate entity; something outside me which comes to me. This is simplistic conception of spiritual nature as consisting of higher and lower, which has its truth in the overall hierarchy of Being, cannot possibly do justice to the fact that I receive God in the body, that God manifests through the body, and that contact with God is maintained as I feed God through the body.

 In this way, I am one with the body of God. Everything that is is one with the body of God, and my conscious effort to take in impressions are done only on behalf of God, who I am; all of what I perceive is a part of me, flows into me, and through that secret, sacred inner part, which forever praise for the greater glory of God, flows back into God, carrying the energy of the impressions into the source of His Heart and his Heavenly Kingdom.

 I will always have this perception of separation; because I am separated from myself and from God by the cloud of unknowing that begins beyond the veil of material manifestation, and I am separated from myself and from God by the cloud of unknowing that draws a second veil over the inward flow of my impressions back into the heavenly kingdom of God. I stand in the middle, between these two natures; and although I am told that these are two different levels, they are actually one thing: God. The world flows out of God into me; and it flows out of me, back into God. I am simply the part that breathes in and breathes out on behalf of God.

 There are so many further implications to this understanding of the inward flow, and its circulatory nature, that they can hardly be detailed in a series of essays. What is, without any doubt, most importance to come into relationship with this experience, at which point one can know everything that is necessary without having to outline it in any linear fashion, or use words to nail it down so that it can be examined with the logical mind. It is an invitation to enter the living organism of Being; and this, after all, is why I pray, why I live within this sacred universe of creation.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

On the nature of universal circulation, part II: the lungs of God

It is in the nature of all things that what is above always flows downward into things below, insofar as the lower things are adapted to the higher: for the higher things never receive from the lower, but the lower receive from the higher. Now since God is above the soul, God continually pours into the soul and cannot fall away from her. The soul can indeed fall away from Him, but as long as a man keeps right under God, he is immediately receptive to this divine influence unmixed from God, and is not subject to anything else, neither fear nor joy nor sorrow, nor anything else that is not God. So, cast yourself then completely under God, and you will receive His divine influence wholly and solely.

—Meister Eckhart, The Complete Mystical Worksp. 449

As we are, if we open our Being, God flows into us. This is the process I have been engaged in  observing for the last 13 years; and the mystery of its organic manifestation, the irrevocable stamp of individuality (that is, literally, undividedness) which it confers, is worthy of a lifetime of study. Yet, in the midst of my instantaneous and eternal consternation, which consists completely of Being without knowing, I have always held in front of myself the question of what the nature of this process is. It seems to arise from a higher level; and it seems to come from "outside" me; yet in fact, it's quite certain that it doesn't come from outside, no matter how stubbornly the conceptual mind seems to insist on this. In fact, the inflow always arrives inwardly, from inside; and in fact, this underscores my singular identity as a particle of God.

Yet the vessel does not just receive energy. It is not a dead end. And I cannot say that the energy that is received simply serves my own growth; because I don't grow that much. Yes, I grow a little bit; but most of what is received in arguably serves a different purpose, which is much larger than me. If anything, I corrupt that purpose, even though I participate in it and am privileged through grace to make some small contributions. This is the dilemma of sin, that a person can be good, and still sin.

 In any event, what happens after the energy is received? In order to understand this, I have to look again to the question of the cosmological processes and why these mysterious entities called black holes exist in the first place.

 A black hole is the center of gravity of a galaxy; and anyone who has had deeper experiences of sensation and has a direct and organic understanding of how Being forms in relationship to an inner center of gravity will know how essential that center of gravity is to the rooting of Being in sensation. Everything that is organized, that fits into these storage structures we create within being — which, as I pointed out in my earlier series of posts, are somewhat like honeycomb, storing the nectar of impressions — must be formed around the center of gravity. In a beehive, that center of gravity is the Queen, who, like God's Word, is perpetually fecund: another demonstration of correspondences. This idea of the center of gravity is female relates to Eckhart's ideal of the soul, which is also female (see page 453 of sermon 93, as well as many other sermons.) Speaking once again from my irrevocably Marian roots, the symbolism of the Blessed Virgin serves here as the center of gravity for Being; and when the center of gravity for being is born, it is analogous to the birth of Christ — that is, the gravity is what makes the birth of Christ possible, because it establishes the other end of the process of the inflow, that of the outflow back into God.

 This flow that takes place within us, so closely tied to sensation, and born of the essentially fecund an creative action of universal energy, does not just "flow inward." To receive is not enough; the aperture on the other end of Being that flows the energy back into God must also be open. So the inflow proceeds from heaven, through humanity, back into heaven; and as it flows through human consciousness, it is "aerated." That is to say, in exactly the same way that blood picks up oxygen as it circulates through the lungs and comes into contact with the air that is breathed in, as the energy that flows through humanity circulates, the impressions that man takes in aerate it so that it has a richer, higher kind of vibration as it returns by way of the inward flow back to God. In this sense, the universe itself is one of the alveoli in the lungs of God; that is, God breathes in and out, deriving sustenance from the impressions received by all of the conscious beings that populate our universe.

 Swedenborg, forever the committed anatomist, had what is undoubtedly the most sophisticated understanding anyone has to date recorded on the matter of correspondences between the human body and the heavenly kingdom. Gurdjieff's well-known contention that man was a universe in miniature, usually taken as an allegorical statement, was actually meant quite literally. The understanding of circulation in relationship to Being is an important one; because we are not distinct from God, we are God — we are part of His body.

 And perhaps I shall say a bit more about this tomorrow.

Friday, July 18, 2014

On the nature of universal circulation, Part I: the third striving

This morning, I had a particular insight into a question that has occupied me for the better part of 13 years.

As longtime readers may recall, in June 2001, I was shown — inwardly, not through any outside agency — that we are vessels into which the world flows, a subject I have written about on a number of occasions. Since then, I have observed this inward flow and the relationship it has to sensation for some 13 years.

 At the time I had this understanding, my teacher, who is now long dead, agreed with my observation. As she put it, we are receivers. She spent decades bringing me to this organic understanding. There were many other discussions about this; yet I think that for both of us, understanding this was for the time quite enough.

 In my 13 years of observation, which has consisted simply of watching, and suspending judgment, as this energetic process continually flows through Being, I have been constantly impressed and surprised by the organic and integral nature of receiving. As I've said on some occasions, at its finest levels, the granular nature of energy and reality itself can be sensed; that is, one becomes aware of the particulate nature of sensation and impressions. Always, it seems, the material is received from "outside;" and this is indeed in keeping, at least superficially, with our routine idea that God is outside us, and that we are separate and distinct from God.

As such, we are "here" — God is "there" — and we receive the world, that is, we are kunda (pots, or vessels) into which this world flows. We receive it; and our Being grows in relationship to it. Hence Kundabuffer; that which blocks the flow into the vessel.

 Yet there is much more going on here, and it requires a greater understanding of the laws of world creation and world maintenance — the third obligolnian striving— in order to comprehend it.

 When we conceive of mankind as a bridge between levels, we need to begin to understand humanity as a bridge not just from a higher level to a lower one — this is the simplistic and linear version — but as a bridge from God, back into God.

Some time ago, I explained that the cosmological order consists of suns, which are apertures which emanate the Heavenly Being of God into the known universe, and black holes, which take all of the cumulative energy assembled by galaxies in the creative act of solar birth and generation, back into the heavenly Being.  Tremendous amounts of energy are released into the universe through the emanation of suns; and even more material energies are radiated and emanated as the material returns back into heavenly Being at the event horizons of black holes.

 Mankind is a microcosmic reproduction of this system, which will take some considerable amount of time to explain, so we will have to leave it for the next post to continue on the exact nature of the details. 

 All of this needs to be considered in light of the group of essays on the reproductive and sexual nature of material reality, which is directly connected to this flow of energy. The entire system is essentially creative and procreative; and all of it represents the circulation of the word of God, that is, one single thought in the mind of God, which is infinitely adumbrated as it encounters its initial material manifestation.


Thursday, July 17, 2014


 In the previous series of essays on sweetness, I mentioned that all of creation — Eckhart's creatures— are actually reproductive or sexual organs. This may not make much sense to the average reader, so I think the question bears greater examination.

First of all, let us be clear that creatures, creation, refers to all things created — objects, events, circumstances, and conditions. That is to say, the totality of manifestation, the Dharma, is what Meister Eckhart means when he refers to creatures. In the same sense that the Sufi mystics understood it, anything that can be thought of falls into the category of creatures. The manifestation of reality, the existence of the cosmos, is but one single expression of creation and creativity, one single instance out of an infinite number of possible instances of creative thought and creation itself which God is capable of. That is to say, our own cosmos is a single thought in the mind of God, in much the same way that modern physics understands our universe to be one of an infinite number of universes, the multiverse theory. The two ideas are hardly different, in the end.

That which is, that which has Being, is essentially fecund in nature. We cannot separate Being from its productivity; and although sexuality, as a word, nowadays carries strictly biological connotations in terms of the mixing of genes through gender interaction, the word actually applies to a much larger set of actions in which all objects, events, circumstances, and conditions combined with the one another through the action of causality and produce new objects, events, circumstances, and conditions.

This perpetual unfolding of the Dharma is perhaps best captured, in Buddhism, by staggeringly florid works such as the Avatamsaka sutra; yet the idea is recapitulated in diverse works, such as the begettings in the Hebrew Bible, and the extensive investigations by Ibn al Arabi, who did some of the most incisive thinking on the subject to date.

This means that all action is sexual in nature; and sexuality, as Gurdjieff pointed out, is an energy of an extremely high order, so much so that if it is properly oriented, all other energies fall in behind it. If, on the other hand, it is subverted to lower forces, catastrophic dissonance ensues (see Gurdjieff's comments in chapter 12 of  In Search of the Miraculous.)

Yet at its heart, because sexuality runs everything and because the reproductive nature of material reality, even the lowest material levels (think of the organization of molecules into crystalline structures) are ultimately regulated by the constant reinvention of all that is. Conge said that everything prays; one could just as easily say that everything has sex, because sex and prayer are not separate things: they are joined forces, aimed at God's reproduction of His universes within the limitless context of all His thoughts.

 I realize that some of these concepts may be difficult for readers to understand, because one has to have a specific experience of how impressions are nectar, the way we collect them, how sweetness is expressed, and understand on a granular and cellular and even molecular level how these things integrate into the fecundity that Meister Eckhart presents as the essential nature of God. The closest most of us come to an experience of this is sexual orgasm, which has an undeniably different quality of experience from the rest of ordinary being. What is not understood is that this is a relatively limited and rather tiny expression of the full potential of higher energy in man; and that sexuality, with all of the higher energies that drive it, ultimately lies at the heart of spiritual experience, since the action of oneness with the Lord is, in the end, a sexual or reproductive action, in which the Lord is reborn within us.

A great deal of confusion has arisen on this subject because of the tendency of people to mix Tantric sexual practice, that is, corporeal or bodily sexual practice, with higher sexual practice, which takes place on levels and with energies that can only be reflected by the body, not held or contained by it. In this sense, all of human experience within the body is a reflection of the higher principles.

 This leads us to the idea of the body as a reflection of God, that is, a mirror in which all of God's Being is captured and reflected back at God Himself.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sweetness and the Lord, part IV

Jesus reveals himself, too, in infinite sweetness and richness, welling up and overflowing and pouring in from the power of the Holy Ghost, with superabundant richness and sweetness into all receptive hearts. When Jesus reveals himself with this richness and this sweetness, and is united with the soul; the soul flows with this richness and this sweetness into herself and beyond all things, by grace and with power, without means back into her primal source. Then the outer man will be obedient to his inner man until death, and will be at all times at peace in the service of God forever. 

—Meister Eckhart, the complete Mystical Works, p. 70

So now we come to the personal matter of sweetness.

Because we store the sweetness of the Lord within, we must first receive that sweetness; what Gurdjieff called conscious labor makes that possible. 

We must be intentional, that is, we must inwardly tend towards that sweetness, we must be precise and intelligent about ingesting it, in the same way that a bee uses its delicate mouthparts to probe flowers for their nectar.

This nectar which we collect may, at the discretion and by the Grace of the Lord, be released from time to time: yet this only takes place if there is enough nectar, and if the energy is needed for our inner growth. At such times the Lord sees fit to allow the release of that sweetness; and this is strictly and always to remind us of His actual physical Presence within us, and the need for us to continually work to receive Him.

When we are visited by the sweetness of the Lord, it is like no other sweetness. 

Imagine the sweetness of honey, magnified and multiplied so many orders that honey itself is mere dross or bitterness compared to it; and then imagine all of that sweetness, concentrated into a single, infinitely small point of Being, so tiny that it has no material existence but exists only as an instant in time and location, that is, a place rather than a thing; and then imagine that that place is in fact the Kingdom of Heaven. 

This is how the Kingdom of Heaven is within us; and it can only manifest according to the Presence of the nectar of the Lord, and His arrival within us, which is what Swedenborg called the inflow, the inward flow of divine Presence. Now, either one knows this or does not know this; and one knows for certain whether or not one does know, because either there is certainty, or there is not. The aim of inner work is to develop a relationship with God and to open the kingdom of heaven within Being and within the body; and there is no other reason for it. If one has no interest in this, one might as well just stop working and indulge in food, sex, money, things, and so on. To a certain limited extent, these satisfy; unless, that is, one understands what the kingdom of heaven consists of. 

Then, there can be no rest in Being.

There is no other reason to do inner work, but on behalf of the Lord; and it is this divine inflow, this manifestation of the sweetness of the Lord, that stands as a testament to His Glory and the reason we all work towards Being. Being is, of itself, both the parent and the child of the Lord's Presence; it is the flower of the Lord's deepest heart and the expression of all His goodness. Born in sensation, which is the fundamental building block of impressions, it gives birth to all and everything.

These matters are largely lost on us unless we have a direct experience of the Presence of the Lord, of His sweetness; and until that happens we think we know what we are, that we are important and significant and that somehow, we know something. 

But when the sweetness comes; then, we know at once both everything and nothing, and we know ourselves not in ourselves nor of ourselves, but only in and of the Lord.

Now he says: "This is my commandment. " If anyone commands me to do that which is pleasant, which avails me or on which my bliss depends, that is exceedingly sweet to me. When I am thirsty, the drink commands me; when I am hungry, the food commands me. And God does the same: He commands me to such sweetness that the whole world cannot equal. And if a man has once tasted this sweetness, then indeed he can no more turn away with his love from goodness and from God, than God can turn away from His Godhead: in fact it is easier for him to divest himself of self and all bliss and to remain with love close to goodness and God. 

Meister Eckhart, page 100


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sweetness and the Lord, part III

Honey: part of this year's harvest from my hives in Sparkill, NY

"He went up into the mountain." This means that God thereby shows the sublimity and sweetness of His nature, from which must fall away everything that is creature.

Yesterday I explained how impressions are part of the sweetness of the Lord, a concentration of His essence. Although even brief consideration of Gurdjieff's chemical factory and, in fact, his entire body of teaching at once reveals this to be true, it's not discussed much; yet it is essential to our understanding of inner work, lest we forget the most essential reason for it in the first place. When Conge says that everything is prayer, he alludes to this.

This nectar of impressions draws us into relationship with the innumerable flowering bodies of the Lord, that is, all of His creation and all of the arisings that, individually and collective, express His Being on this level. So we are drawn to Him and his manifestation; and we collect the nectar of His impressions, at the same time brushing up against the sexual or creative parts of His Being—that is, Eckhart's creatures, or, created things in all their variety. (This subject alone would be worthy of several essays, so we shall see if I can get to them later.)

You will have to bear with me here, because I am about to explain something that is very poorly understood but that is in fact precise and rather obvious, if one understands Gurdjieff's teaching properly. Those who are interested in this subject will find it profitable to think carefully on what I am about to say.

All created things are sexual organs, that is, flowers; and all created things beget more creation in each of their interactions. This is why Gurdjieff said, more or less, that sex runs everything; and it is, as well, the reason for Eckhart's fundamental recognition of God as infinitely fecund. 

As creation takes in and collects impressions, it brushes up against the "pollen" of Being, that is, the causality which brings into contact and transfers the genetic material of Being between various sources of its arising. 

Gurdjieff explained this in the abstract in Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, when he expounded on the arising of the various cosmoses (see chapter 39, The Holy Planet Purgatory); but the material is obscured and unhelpful-somewhat typical of Gurdjieff's own style, which has ultimately become outdated by events.

The nectar of impressions draws the various elements of creation towards each other in an attraction that, to varying degrees, allows for this reproductive activity; and while various Beings (including man) store this nectar, they also participate as fertilizing or pollinating agents in the ongoing, fecund, and infinitely creative reproductive action of what we call Reality. Readers interested in more extensive thoughts on this matter at the cosmological level are encouraged to turn to the writings of Ibn al Arabi, who treats the subject at exhaustive lengths throughout the body of his work.

So the entire universe of conscious Being is, in fact, a sexual machine that eternally creates new Being, even as the attractant- the nectar of impressions-is stored in each Being.

Being is designed to store the nectar of impressions for a number of different reasons. This necatar is, first and foremost, the very Essence of the Lord Himself; it has all of the sweetness and goodness of the Lord at the heart of its material Being, since it is nothing more than innumerable perfect particles of the Lord, in varying degrees of concentration, deposited (exactly as Gurdjieff said) in the body of each Being who receives them. 

To receive impressions is, in other words, to receive the Lord Himself; and insofar as a human Being stores them, so he or she stores the Lord within themselves, ever more concentrating His essence in their own bodies. This is, by the way, perhaps one of the most precise reasons Christ said the Kingdom of Heaven is within.

So we all become, to one degree or another, repositories of the Lord, storehouses of the very material essence of His heavenly kingdom itself, insofar as it manifests on this level; and to the degree we concentrate this essence, so are we informed—inwardly formed—by the Lord.

Tomorrow we will discuss the sweetness itself in more detail.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Sweetness and the Lord, part II

It is true that all creatures bear in themselves some consolation, as the comb produces honey. But the honeycomb, meaning whatever goodness there may be collectively in all creatures, that is altogether in God.

Many readers know I am a beekeeper; so I am familiar with the outer aspects of comb and honey. Yet there is an inner comb and an inner honey; and this analogy is quite precise. We might refer to Swedenborg's doctrine of correspondences, in which all things reflect properties of God, which they share in common not only with God but with one another. And this is indeed important; but without a specific explanation, it remains conceptual.

Our inner life is built, like the comb of bees, in a structure which has the capacity to be quite organized. Honeycomb, whether of the hive frame or freestanding, demonstrates an exacting order; it is a structure, much like the metaphysical ones posited by Ouspensky and Gurdjieff, in the sense that it is highly organized and designed to store something. In Gurdjieff's work the understanding of storage is expressed in accumulators and hydrogens, which a man is meant to ingest and retain; and the idea is ultimately yogic in every sense, since it clearly derives from ancient ideas about the ingestion and retention of prana. 

The analogy of honeycomb is far from casual, since both the structural nature and the purpose of man's inner order are exactly like it. This esoteric truth has been preserved, in some ways, for thousands of years in traditions that liken the spiritual activity of man to that of bees; yet it is more than allegory, a fact which Gurdjieff's teachings provide a bridge to. 

Humanity, in its ingestion of impressions, gathers their honey- the extracted nectar- into itself. I am required, here, to explain the precise nature of impressions and their relationship to honey in more detail. 

Impressions are the nectar of Being. All Being emanates impressions, which are conveyed through various diverse channels, all involving either molecular vibration or photons. Without becoming too technical, it should be understood that nectar is, in flowers, that which attracts the pollinators; its nature as an an attractant is born of the essential sweetness of Love, which creates all things and is focused and concentrated by their Being. 

Each individual act of Being, no matter what it is, is a flower of God's Love and concentrates and exudes its own nectar in the form of the impressions it emanates. (Eckhart's creatures—i.e., created things—all fall into this category.) 

Consciousness is designed to collect and feed on that nectar; and just as there are innumerable types of flowers and bees, innumerable types and concentrations of nectar, there are innumerable types of consciousness. The nectar of impressions of Being and the nature of consciousness which collects them evolve together in lockstep, because the various systems and levels of consciousness are mirrored by the behavior of the biological structures which give rise to them.

So our own consciousness, like all other forms of consciousness, feeds on and stores (if it functions rightly) impressions in an inner "honeycomb," a storage place for all of the concentrated energy, the good things, the impressions, which are emanated by life.

The impressions we feed on are emanated strictly to attract us to the nature and manifestation of outer things, all of which are a direct expression of the good of the Lord; so impressions are actually of the Lord, all of them, and taking them in is actually a form of worship. 

Tomorrow we shall investigate that in a bit more detail.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sweetness and the Lord, part I

 'I sometimes experience such sweetness in me that I forget myself and all creatures and wish to dissolve right into thee.' But when I want to seize it, Lord, you snatch it from me. Lord, what do you mean by this? If you would entice me, why do you take it from me? If you love me, why then do you flee me? Ah, Lord, you do this so that I may receive much from you.

The first phrase in this passage is attributed to St. Augustine (confessions); and the balance, according to Josef Quint, is Eckhart's own.

It's interesting that we hear little or nothing of this sweetness in the Gurdjieff ouevre; yet the sweetness of the Lord is often spoken of in Christianity. The concept is not foreign, either, to esoteric Islam; and although Buddhism may come to expressions in a different way, its iconography leaves little doubt that the matter is familiar to the discipline.

Is this sweetness, as some might presume, an invention, an imaginary experience? Is it purely conceptual, a product of the wishful mind? Or does it have a real and meaningful place in the actual, objective manifestation of spiritual work; and ought it be sought for, lauded, or otherwise integrated into an organized, scientific, and objective body of understanding on esoteric spiritualism and the essential nature of inner work itself?

Those bereft of this sweetness, those who have never experienced it, cannot qualify to approach such questions or write on them; and this is exactly the problem, because so few come to this sweetness in their own real life, or routinely experience it. It is merely something heard about or written about; a tradition passed on in word that becomes a dismissable tradition, that is, a set of events or reports based strictly on hearsay. How many philosophers speak directly of such things? It isn't in the canon; and in the Gurdjieff work, despite Gurdjieff's tantalizing allusions to the bliss of the second Being-food, so much emphasis is placed on Ouspensky's inherently reductionist analysis of Gurdjieff's methods, and the structural, workmanlike application of said methods to a conceptual architecture, that the sweetness of the Lord- the very thing that any spiritual structure ought properly to house-  is very nearly forgotten.

It is left to the few fundamental mystics with some direct experience to resurrect this subject; and it is perhaps one of more than passing interest, because it touches not only on the deepest spiritual traditions of the actual Presence of the Lord—as opposed to discussions about it—but, parenthetically (or, perhaps, inevitably) the question of what Gurdjieff called "higher hydrogens."

Speaking of the sweetness of the Lord, which was something common to the mystics of the middle ages, has fallen out of favor, because as humanity's inner spiritual conditions have steadily deteriorated, so has its ability to receive such sweetness. You will note that Eckhart refers to this sweetness as that which is received; and a culture which is not open to God will receive little of Him. Our grasping nature (again, alluded to by Eckhart) only increases with time; and that which grasps cannot receive. 

Yet as a confirmed Marian (disciple of the blessed Virgin) I will now venture to speak on this sweetness, since there are times when such witnessing is necessary, lest the entire tradition be abandoned and perhaps even destroyed. And it is presumably of interest to readers to attempt to understand something true about this sweetness.

So in the next few posts we will examine this question of the sweetness of the Lord without, insofar as may be appropriate, resorting to the exercise of my poetic muscles, which are in fact a superior tool for communicating the sweetness itself, insofar as that may be possible.


Saturday, July 12, 2014


 Someone who reads this blog recently asked me to apologize to my readership for exposing them to something that someone else said.

Given this objectively convoluted idea, the subject of apology became quite interesting,  so I pondered it at some length.

It turns out that the word originally meant, taken from its Latin root, to make a speech in one's own defense. Of course, it usually doesn't mean that anymore; words undergo change in meaning, just as objects, events, circumstances, and conditions do. Meaning constantly changes in relationship to that which takes place. The most horrible things may not mean what we think they do.

In this context, I often examine the most insulting and personally injurious things that are done to me. They are baffling; they are often motivated, it seems to me, by pure selfishness or sheer mean-spirited action; and yet there they are. In each instance, I try to see how I am and who I am, and what my reactions are, in the midst of these upsetting events. My ordinary parts are affected by such things; why deny it? And when I think about it carefully, I see that I do things like this as well; no one is free from selfishness, and no one is free from being mean-spirited from time to time. It is my examination of these selfsame sins that truly becomes interesting, because I am outraged when I see them in other people; yet I invariably engage in self justification when I see them in myself. Such a contradiction!

It's these circumstances that lead me to the moments of real feeling, where real apology is necessary; and the only real apology that is necessary in spiritual life is apology to God for my own fallen state. One dispenses secular apologies to other individuals in life according to circumstance and necessity; and when feeling enters that, it's a good thing. But in the end, all real apology is religious, and belongs to God—and it is the entire state of my own sinfulness that I have to take responsibility for: not anyone else's.

Interestingly enough, the higher never demands apology; because God emanates nothing but Love and is in fact Love itself, forgiveness and Mercy are dispensed in advance of any apology. That fact alone is what helps to create humility; when one is forgiven in advance for one sin, as God always does with us, one is forced to consider how limited and circumstantial one's own love is: that is, one isn't actually loving.

I always get tangled up in my states of conflict with others; and in doing so, I'm taken away from the settled state of inwardness that comes into relationship with something more real. Each time, my organic state of being is, to one extent or another, forgotten; and although the thread can always be kept alive, a thread is a good deal less than a whole piece of cloth.

In the meantime, taking a cue from God, who in His infinite Mercy forgives everyone for everything in advance, I hereby sincerely apologize in advance for everything I ever do or write about, or expose my readership to. The apology is primarily intended to God, to whom I ultimately owe all apology, but once again, emulating His infinite generosity (which I fall woefully and infinitely short of) I offer it to everyone else, too.

In doing so, I visualize this particular apology as a very large, rich stick of butter, radiantly yellow (I'd never thought of this before, but that's a lovely color for an apology, isn't it?), quite soft, which can be spread over innumerable pieces of toast without losing its ability to impart flavor. At least, I hope so.

I make this buttery apology universal because everything is, in one way or another, flawed, and anyone who reads anything I write is, unfortunately, irradiated by the inherent flaws in it. The noblest course would be to stop writing, or, better yet, commit suicide, so as to remove my flawed Being from this universe; but alas! I am too weak and egoistic— more flaws.

Those who wish to apply this apology retroactively are welcome to do so.


Goodness again, from sermon 91

Bread is a great comfort to a man when he is hungry: but if he is thirsty, bread gives him no more comfort than a stone. It is the same with clothes when he is cold: but when he is too hot he has no comfort from clothes. It is the same with all creatures, and so it is true that all creatures have bitterness within them. 

It is true that all creatures bear in themselves some consolation, as the comb produces honey. But the honeycomb, meaning whatever goodness there may be collectively in all creatures, that is altogether in God... But the consolation of creatures is not complete, because it is not unmixed. 

But God's comfort is pure and unmixed: it is perfect and complete, and He is so eager to give it to you that He cannot wait to give you Himself first of all. God is so besotted in His love for us, it is just as if He had forgotten heaven and earth and all His blessedness and all His Godhead and had no business except with me alone, to give me everything for my comforting. And He gives it to me complete, He gives it to me perfectly, He gives it to me most purely, He gives it all the time, and He gives it to all creatures.

 I am generally accustomed to commenting in my posts; yet this particular excerpt is so succinct and exactly right that it barely needs my commentary.

 Nonetheless, having set myself the task, I will proceed.

 Coming back to it the day after I set it up, this quote has a richness in it that consists of its flavor, the way it tastes: take note that comfort and the lack of it is associated with taste, that is, in us, it is bitter. Yet consolation is sweet like honey; and I have to note both tastes to know the difference between them.

Bitterness is a strange thing, because it has good in it. How can this be? The fact that it is like this tells me how there is good in all things. When I come to sorrow and find the goodness in it; when I come to bitterness and, in the taste alone (not in some vindictive spirit I invent) discover goodness, then I begin to understand something more real. Goodness is in the beginning of things; individually and collectively, they may acquire other aspects, but everything begins in the good. This is a mystery I can't explain, as I have mentioned before; and yet even in the worst events, I encounter its truth.

Exactly what is God's comfort here? It is in Being; Being contains inherent comfort, but I can only know this within it as it manifests. In its absence, there is nothing more than guesswork.

Is there any difference between Being and God? There is not. At least I don't find it so; because in all of Being, God is always present, hallelujah.


Friday, July 11, 2014

A Natural Inwardness

It's possible, in every way, to come into touch with a natural inwardness that is a living thing.

This natural inwardness ought to be the root of experience; and it always ought to be present, because it is the beginning of what I am. Yet the only natural part of myself I know very well is outward; and that direction is essentially unconscious, that is, it is inhabited automatically and without any effort.

Natural inwardness, if it develops, includes its own rate of the vibration and a natural gravity that draws a life in towards it, instead of going out into that life. These are quite different movements; and I can be familiar with them both to the extent that I don't think as much as I usually do. I need to stop thinking and start sensing; I need to engage myself with the texture of experience, the granular nature of sensation in a fineness of vibration that arises in the body and occupies all of me.

This is where the intimacy begins, in this texture of experience. The texture of experience is not a hypothesis; it needs to become a fact. This is exactly the kind of fact that Gurdjieff was referring to in In Search of the Miraculous when he said to Ouspensky, "There will be facts."

 For Ouspensky, all facts were of the intellect, things that could be deduced and rationally organized. It never occurred to him that a fact is an unassailable truth experienced through sensation; and that these are the absolute facts, because the organism, although it begins with a fundamentally subjective expression, carries sensation as a manifestation of the objective within it.

My thoughts can and will lie to me; my emotions will overreact. But I can rely on my sensation; it's not a liar, it doesn't have it in its nature. In this sense, it can be trusted; there is no devil in it.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Good deeds

Truly, truly, by God, by God, be as sure of this as that God lives: at the least good deed or the least good will or the least good desire, all the saints in heaven and earth and all the angels rejoice with such great joy as all the joys of this world cannot equal. And the higher each saint is the greater his joy, and the higher each angel is the greater his joy, and yet all their joy combined is as small as a lentil compared with the joy that God has at that act. For God makes merry and laughs at good deeds, whereas all other works which are not done to God's glory are like ashes in God's sight.

—Meister Eckhart, Sermon 91

I continue to ponder the question of goodness, as linked to Being.

 To me, goodness is within Being, just as goodness is within God, for Being is within God. There is no Being without God; and there is no God without Being, so the two are inseparable. 

In the same way, the good is inseparable from Being, and being and goodness are consonant.

 I had a particular moment yesterday when I was driving into my driveway, and saw a large stand of nepeta, that is, catnip, growing out of the stone wall in my parking space. These plants put out gorgeous sprays of purple flowers, and there is a wholeness and truth in their existence that expresses itself in a way that can't really be conveyed in words. But I'll try.

In the moment of this impression, there was nothing but goodness — and it spread its tendrils out in every direction, into the goodness of its flowers, the goodness of its color, the goodness of the bees that feed on it, the nectar they collect, and the hives which I tend up on the hill. There was a goodness here; it began with the plants, but it radiated outward, touching everything, including the sunshine, the stone, my car, and my own Being; and in the end, although each of these objects, events, circumstances, and conditions seemed to be separate and individual, each with its own goodness, in fact, there was and is only one goodness, which flowed into me through Being. 

Goodness flows in this way into the entire world of material creation through Being; it manifests itself always and everywhere through Being; and, although this is inexplicable and strange, the worst events — let's take something simple and personal, like the recent death of my father — are filled with goodness. Goodness is inherent and cannot be divided and taken away from what is. Even in badness itself, there is goodness, and it is paradoxes of this kind that are impossible to resolve with anything but the feelings, which have a much greater depth of intuition and understanding than my intellect can have in its perpetual dualities.

Good deeds are thus deeds of Being, in which Being is perceived

Within the context of this Being, bad cannot be done — if a human has a real Being, they become incapable of action that harms. I can measure my Being in direct proportion to the harm I am willing to do: and when feeling is active, when it is ascendant and connected to Being, it is impossible to do harm. 

So I am sure the amount of harm done on earth reflects how rare the ascendant property of feeling actually is within us,  no matter what our opinions on it are.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Whole cloth

It’s possible to be very firmly seated in the body, so firmly that one sits within each cell. 

One is poured into the cells, so to speak, so that there is no separation between Being and body.

This isn’t a comfortable state, necessarily, because it’s quite unfamiliar and doesn’t correspond to the usual disconnection between body and Being, which is so routine in me. Even the connection between body and mind is not quite the same as this, because this isn’t a connection between body and mind; it is body and mind together as a third entity, a vessel or vehicle, which receives life. 

One can’t speak of body and mind here because the distinction is no longer precisely relevant; and in this particular situation, the only thing that matters is the opening that is created for the feeling parts to function.

This is in fact a space within which feeling finds not only its expression, but its scope of action, its theater. So it is, in a certain sense, a cavity of Being, a pocket that can be filled with feeling.

Feeling is attracted to this space quite naturally, as though it were a creature whose den were nearby; so it slips in comfortably and makes itself at home. Well, not just comfortably; because feeling is what it is, and comfort may or may not be of it—as it is as and it arises—but in any event, the presence of feeling is there, and it finds its accompaniment in sensation quite naturally. 

So everything fits together quite naturally; and although this comfortable and uncomfortable presence of Being corresponds to nature, it is above it, in the sense that it is superior to my own ordinary nature.

So here is another aspect of Being; it inhabits and is at the same time inhabited. The loom of living Being, tantra, weaves a different fabric of life; and it is whole cloth.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A definite quality

 God does not have a tentative quality.

A real sense of Being, the reality of Being, is not indistinct or undefined. It consists of truth and what is real; and it can't be mistaken for anything else. The nature of the organic vibration does not submit to argument or theory; it is not a hypothesis.

Everything in me, in what I am, consists of an argument, a theory, or a hypothesis; and when I put all of these things up against the vibration, the material fact, of a higher energy and a different presence, I see the difference at once. There is nothing tentative about the Lord; but everything about me is in fact tentative. This is why I am forced to believe instead of knowing; this is why I think, instead of coming into relationship with my Being.

To come into real relationship requires a commitment, a willingness to step away from what I am; and this is a terrifying proposition. Why would I do this? It goes against all of my associations and upbringing, everything I have been taught and — yes — believe in. Because I believe only in myself, not in a higher good, not in the agency of the Lord. Even if I say, "Thy will be done," secretly, I intend that that will ought to be my own will — that's how I think of it, because I only think. Only through the unselfish action of the higher can I begin to stop thinking and start understanding.

This energy, this presence of God, is forever generous and willing to educate me; and it comes at all times, but I am so often deaf, or, at the very least, extremely hard of hearing. I can be faced with the presence of the Lord directly and still have a wish to turn away. This is in my mortal nature; and is is what I need to suffer if I want to discover who I am.

This morning, I spoke to my mother; I've been checking in with her very nearly every day since my father died three weeks ago. During the conversation, she mentioned the old adage, "Money is the root of all evil."

"No," I replied. "Love of self is the root of all evil."

And I think this is a far more accurate statement; because it is our love for ourselves, always our love for ourselves and our belief in our own importance and validity, that gives us a damaged will which is willing to inflict damage on others. In trying to always get my own way in life, I fail to see that I extend that right up to my attempts to become open to God. Certainly, I want to become open to a higher energy: the higher energy that I want, the spiritual experiences that I want, the life and the romance and the external trappings, the devotional objects, the lifestyle, the garments, that I want.

I don't see how all of that will have to go; it reminds me of what my own teacher Betty Brown said to me near the end of her life. "The things we love the most are the first things that have gotta go."

 In any event, it is this definite quality of the Lord that is interested in me, and that I have an interest in; and my inward quality can see that it is life itself that is tentative and tenuous, whereas the inner quality is durable and real.

I'm very confused about that; only coming back to my sensory experience and the inhabitation of the body can I straighten my experience out and point it in a direction that might help me.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Deeper yet

This morning I had this distinct impression of how I am always drawn outward; and it seems as though the question of how not to be drawn outward ought to be much simpler. 

The fact is that when I begin to be identified, I don’t even see that I am drawn outward; I can’t at all see outwardness from within outwardness. It can only be seen from within inwardness, which is able to see both qualities. 

This is because while inwardness contains outwardness, outwardness cannot contain inwardness. Outwardness is stripped of individuality and has no personhood; and it is the essential personhood of inwardness that creates Being in the first place. Yet from my outwardness I persist in believing that outwardness can see inwardness, even though I quite definitely know better.

So there I was, sitting- an activity that any heretic with solid credentials will tell you becomes proportionally less necessary in relationship to the organic manifestation of Being- and observing quite carefully how everything in the mind is drawn outward, and how imagination manufactures a non-existent future that perpetually occupies the now. Organic sensation is not just a palliative: it is the polar opposite of this imaginary action, this thinking-of-being, because it is Being, and Being is an inarguable proposition which the mind cannot broker, no matter how hard it tries.

The remedy— to become more inward—is shockingly obvious; yet Gurdjieff himself struggled with it, as he documents in the third series. His words may not be the most helpful guide; in my own experience, de Salzmann’s personal notes on the matter exceed his own by a fairly wide margin.

I think the issue here is that life must not become an exercise. I grow up in inner work wanting tasks, exercises, limited speculations to engage me; and it’s in this investigation of minutiae that I may become bogged down; I may actually prefer to experiment and interpret, instead of living.

So I can’t treat life as a proving ground for future approaches to Being; a wish to Be is a wish to Be now

Unless it acquires the necessary organic impulse, a voluntary nature, there is no Being, because Being is never what I seek, invoke, command or demand; it is only itself, and it joins me in such a way that I am one with it in gratitude, not its master, but — fundamentally — its servant.


Sunday, July 6, 2014


There is a feeling response to life that lies deeper than ordinary being.

I think I know what this means, in my ordinary state. But it is nothing at all like my ordinary state and it can’t be thought of from that state. It exists in a different order. That is the whole point of orders; they differ from one another, and my ordinary state is of an order—that is, a form, a level—that is different than the deeper level of Being.

This deeper level is quite different than the usual one, and everything is different when perceived from it. One finds one's Self perceiving the exact same things, but one uses a different part of Being to perceive them. 

In this, action all actions become sacred.

This order ought by rights to be kept quite private from ordinary life as it is lived outwardly, because it’s sacred. There is no part of it which ought to be put on public display. In a sense it is secret; it reveals, but only in an inner way.

In sensing this deeper part, I see how inward it is; and how alive. I ought to keep this connection active; and I see at the same time how life draws me outward constantly. Instead of staying within myself and actively connected to myself, imtimately valuing this closeness, imagination draws me outward. Contemplation, real contemplation, ought to consist of dwelling within this organic relationship, instead of going with imagination.

The action is sometimes described as coming back to myself; and yet I’ve never liked this description. They are someone else’s words for someone else’s experience; and the action of being inward seems so much more delicate and tangible than the words are. Really, it begins and ends in being with myself; being with Being, which is myself in quite a different sense than my outwardness. It’s the difference between being alive and being dead.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Death, purification, vibration — meditations on the Hypogeum, part II

Yesterday, I alluded to the chaotic nature of primal vibration, and its need to organize, which represents a process of purification.

All of Being acquires organization as it grows; the physical organism develops cellular and neurological relationships which become more complex over time; the mental organism grows a sophisticated body of understanding; and the emotional organism, if it develops properly, develops a depth of feeling. Organic life, all of which goes through these steps in one way or another, is a reflection of greater principles which are equally expressed in the organization of inorganic life, and the physical laws of the universe.

Scientists marvel at these extraordinarily complex and intricate structures; yet all of them serve a single understandable purpose, which is expressed in the enneagram. The whole universe is a structure which attempts to evolve back to its source. The source is a source of perfect order, a single point of extremely low entropy (for all intents and purposes, an entropy of zero.)  Scientists refer to this original state as the state before the Big Bang.

The point is that vibration, and the physical expression of vibration by living creatures, serves as a method of purification. In particular, as human beings grow older, we acquire not only desirable and harmonious levels of vibration and relationships, we also acquire undesirable and dissonant relationships. In religious practice, we call these characteristics sin; yet they have physical characteristics, material characteristics, like everything else, and from the strictly physical point of view, sin is an inharmonious vibration. (Hence Gurdjieff's Institute for Harmonious Development might just as well have been called, "The Institue for Non-sinful Development.")

The introduction of harmonious vibrations helps to purify or remove these inharmonious vibrations by bringing them into relationship. The dissonant vibrations, or sins, aren't eliminated; they are realigned.

Take careful note here: their original energy is preserved; but it is redirected.

Structures like the Hypogeum represent physical spaces that were designed to demonstrate and facilitate the realignment of vibration into harmonious structure.

Anyone who has been into the so-called "King's chamber" in the Great Pyramid has had a chance to note its extraordinary acoustic properties, which were engineered to reproduce a set of the same properties expressed in the Hypogeum. So in ancient times, sacred spaces were routinely designed for these purposes; and the secret traditions that preserved the knowledge of how to build such spaces lasted down through classical times into the monastic practices of the Middle Ages. There are still some physical structures left from the middle ages that reflect these principles, including the spaces of the great Gothic Cathedrals.

All of this is well and good; yet in the end, perhaps the most important aspect of this question of vibration is the understanding of its relationship to one's own personal inner practice in prayer, chant, and meditation.

 In meditation and prayer, the vibrations most essential and useful to the purification of Being ultimately emanate from the sacred inner space of the one who practices. All of the ritual and formal practices that arise and are codified and repeated in hymn, traditional prayer, and sacred song owe their primal roots to the individual expression of vibration, that is, vibration that originally spontaneously arises in the spiritual seeker.

This may happen in meditation; and in so far as it is voluntary, that is, appears of its own volition rather than being invoked or deliberately "directed" by the practitioner, it remains pure, because its root has not been interfered with by a set of assumptions that have their origins in the ordinary mind. The spontaneous arising of vibration in chant and prayer is an intensely personal experience that is directly tied to the arousal of real feeling in a Being; it can't really be replicated in outer forms, and in a certain sense, it shouldn't even be taught: the adept ought to come to it entirely on their own, within their own secret and intimately sacred personal space, and engage with it as it arrives, never trying to make it happen. This kind of prayer is quite different than the prayer we learn from others or in spiritual organizations; and although both are valid, there is no substitute for sacred personal prayer.

Don't, in other words, ever try to chant or pray; instead, be chanted and be prayed.

The action of sacred, or inner, personal prayer is closely related to our understanding of our own mortality and death; and we don't come any closer to a personal and organic experience of our own mortality without this action of vibration, expressed in sound, which always emanates from the throat, although it has its source of arising in the much deeper parts of Being. All of the sacred sounds, such as OM and Allah, owe their origins to these personal and secret inner vibrations; and there is no greater longing, no greater spiritual nostalgia, than to try to remember the source of our rising and the root of our Being through the expression of vibration.

 When we engage in this practice, we connect with a human experience so ancient that it is nearly unimaginable; it reaches down into the depths of what we are and reveals not only our own nothingness, but the somethingness of Being itself, which arises from harmonious vibration and lives through it.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Death, purification, and the final vibration

 A good friend of mine forwarded this linked article about the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum in Malta.

The extraordinary acoustic properties of the tomb deserves some further explanation.

First of all, the tomb itself presents solid evidence that ancient peoples knew a great deal more about architecture and acoustic property than anyone gives them credit for today. The article reveals that  the structure was built with a great deal of attention to detail in order to produce certain rates of vibration; and we can be certain that this temple is not a one-off, that is, it did not spring whole from the earth without predecessors. The people who built this temple came from a long-standing tradition of peoples who investigated the acoustics of space, and had a very sophisticated understanding of them — so sophisticated that we are only just now beginning to grasp them ourselves. This means that the culture that built this temple (and, as we shall see, it is not just a tomb, but a temple, both of which purposes were intentional from the outset) was already an ancient one when the temple was built; their architectural sciences were mature and elaborate.

Secondly, these ancient peoples knew a great deal about the principles of vibration, the purpose it serves, and how to implement its use in sacred ritual.

As I have explained on numerous occasions, the position la or seven on Gurdjieff's enneagram represents purification, and falls in the position of the throat chakra in the yoga system. (This is explained in considerable detail in my book The Universal Enneagram.)  As I indicated in posts in late June, (See the dominant force: meditations on death) purification is the most essential step for the development of Being as it completes its cycle around the perimeter of the enneagram; and death permeates the entire left side of the diagram.

It was no accident that ancients associated vibration with purification. This is why purification rituals are always marked by prayer and hymnal; it is one of the most ancient traditions in the world to associate musical action and speech with purification ritual. This is because purification always results in the refinement of vibrations to more harmonious, compatible relationships out of the primary chaos that vibration exists in in every being. Indeed, all of the material arises from the reorganization of the primal chaotic quantum vibration of reality into organized form; so even the arising of the material represents the first step in purification, the alignment of vibration to serve a higher order.

Ancient peoples understood this; and by the time the Hypogeum was built, the sciences surrounding this were mature, so mature that we marvel at them today. They make an indelible impression on the soul, simply because the people who designed these spaces understood how that worked. And that impression on the soul was an important one; because as well as serving as a "primitive" bonding ritual (which is about as far as our modern day archaeologists and anthropologists can take us) its most essential character was expressed in the physical or organic experience of our own mortality, as it relates to the alignment with a higher or sacred vibration.

Gurdjieff maintained that human cultures were unimaginably more ancient than we can know; and buildings like this, which represent what was the tail end of much more harmonically attuned cultures which died out with the advent of "civilization," are the evidence that as of 5000 years ago, men still understood and preserved ancient sciences that probably date all the way back to the temples found at Göbekli Tepe; and, of course, even earlier, because the temple at Göbekli Tepe did not spring hole from the earth. At about 11,000 years old, it already represents a mature and sophisticated architecture and symbolic language which must have developed over several thousand years at a minimum.

Most of the ancient cultures that produced these extraordinary temples inhabited areas near rivers and the seaside which were flooded by the melting of the great glaciers after the last Ice Age. Because our underwater archaeology is primitive, little or no attention has been paid to the exploration of sites that would reveal the much more ancient roots of human culture; when they are discovered, we will see that man had sophisticated architectural, cultural, and spiritual understandings long before we assign them to the cultures we excavate today. Gurdjieff argued that these ancient cultures had, in many cases, understanding superior to our own; and the Hypogeum at Malta represents an echo of that.

More on the subject tomorrow.