• March 15, 2023

    The answer to prayer is the prayer.

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  • March 9, 2023

    Desiring is not the same as wanting. To be wanting, and to know it, is to be on the way to God.

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  • December 3, 2022

    Culture is trash, said a group member. True if you think of some of our current music and entertainment…lighting up genitalia, twerking and the like. But culture also encompasses our greatest achievements as humans, reflecting the highest use of sensitive energy to create the beautiful.

    Consider reading Doris Lessing’s Marriage of Zones Three Four and Five. Zone Four is a culture based on rules and thinking. It is known for its rigidity and lack of imagination. Its inhabitants do not look up to the mountains. They follow dictates. Their highest form of organization is the military.

    Zone Three is the creative use of sensation. Zone Three does not ultimately lead to the fully conscious experience of the mysterious Zone Two but its life is elevated by subtlety and communication.

    The difference between Zones Three and Four is visible in something as simple as serving a cup of tea. In Zone Four, the cup is plunked down while the mind goes on to the next thought, the next task. In Zone Three, The gesture is completed by taking into account the server, the served and the tea and the placement is an exchange between their gestures and postures.

    One artist can be interested in learning technique while another wants to explore the sense experience of the materials, the light in the studio, the placement of the easel.

    Fourth way work tends to be too much Zone Four. Most of the questions I get are literally senseless.

    Voluntary sensing is Gurdjieff’s World 24. Still impermanent, but it touches on World 12 where feeling enters from the miraculous realm of the infinite. Better to cultivate sensing than thinking. Use attention. Let mentation follow along the rails of sight and sound. This way lies consciousness and World 12.

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  • September 11, 2022

    Work on self is utterly dependent on observation of self, not just the big events of anger and fear but also the small flutterings of sensation that lie beneath my actions, words, thoughts and gestures. Ambitious people on the spiritual path overlook this fact. They are so busy trying to do the ‘work’ that they do not know they are not reliable enough to have a connection to it.

    I must become reliable. What does this mean? I must see exactly what is going on in me and be able to shift it, even the most minute reactions, in real time. Failing this, I must be able to account for all my uneasiness…the residual disturbances of sensation…after the fact of making them, and correct them. Cleaning up the mess in aisle 6 as it were.

    This knowing of self in not analytical. It is perceiving in real time. The why of it is an indulgence, a backward look. What is wanted is the ability to dance among my own phenomena, using them or dismissing them as they arise.

    Attention, attention attention. I have no other genuine tool for transforming me.

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  • August 18, 2022

    What does it mean to have an intention? It’s a thought about doing something in the future. It has very little reality, doesn’t it? Perhaps our intention will translate into action, perhaps not. Every intention brings opposition, resistance. It’s a measure of my maturity that I have many fewer intentions as I get older and I tend to keep more of them as I become aware of my tendencies and the consequences of not doing what I intended.

    There is another path less travelled, the path of intending. What is intending? Intending is an unpremeditated action of the will in the present. Intending does not need an object to accomplish. It connects inside to outside in a wide open gesture of submission to the moment, an action in and of itself. Things happen whether or not you have thought them.

    I watch the small birds while having coffee at an outside café. They unfailingly land precisely on the arm of the chair next to mine. Never a miss. No food here. And off they fly, seeming randomness. Do they think where they are going? No time for that. Do they have an intention? Or are they imbedded in intending, their instantaneous maneuvers guided by an invisible matrix of energy and shared attention.

    Can I bathe in this medium so excruciatingly exact and perfect in which plans do not exist, just responsiveness? This mind is quiet, open. Not the closed mind of one who has things to do and thinks the steps, who faces a world of cares and sets a course into an uncertain future. Animals have this other way. Their only fear a present danger, otherwise on the wings of the invisible they are moved, the wind beneath their wings the force of universal intending.

    Can I invoke intending and see what happens? Sorcerers say intending can be beckoned with the eyes. Is this true? Strangely, it may be so. Looking into open space seems to connect me to intending.

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  • August 6, 2022

    When I invoke presence, I pivot, I turn towards the real world.

    What is the real world? It is easier to describe what it is not. It is not the world of my personality, the world of the things I want, my anxieties or ambitions, my worries and fears, my roles in life. Being present, other things can enter, the possibility of feeling, of open perception, an objective view. My state is a prayer. I stand at the doorway.

    Being present does not last long. The reverberations of the machine…the body and mind…continue and pull me back into habitual living. The life of the world beckons. How to remain in the real world? We are advised to waken the machine. What does this mean? In the waking state, body and mind have no negative emotion…no emotion that drains my energy down and out. (Negative in the electrical sense, as much true of euphoria as anger.) I am translucent. I have energy. I am an energy transformation device converting sensation to consciousness and consciousness to love. I enter the real world.

    You may think you can ‘do’ this…become present, waken the machine, join the work. Perhaps you can release your personality for a moment and call your presence to be. To waken, much more is required. Your attention must be able to hold, note every flutter of habitual sensation, thought and emotion and release them as they arise. With no discharge, you fill with energy and higher functioning is possible. This is exaltation.

    Some teachers of the work state the rules of procedure for waking the machine. You cannot rely on them. The rules come after the experience. They become clear when you have travelled the path. You cannot begin with a view of the end point. You struggle to observe self. You see that all higher states are gifts. You slowly fall in love with the simple, with nature, with smiles and small gestures.

    Trying to awaken is like trying to put hay through the wrong end of the elephant. One day, your experiences will begin to waken you, when you have stopped your pathetic need to react to everything habitually and your ambitions fall away. Then you can work.

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