Thursday, October 20, 2011

Unmixed attention

"Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer," wrote Simone Weil.

If so the whole function of the Work with Gurdjieff was to bring the student into a state of prayer.

Prayer not as an activity but a state of being, being present to the world, to another, through genuinely remembering our 'selves', being present in what we do, being watchful of that presence.

De Hartmanns' book is a testimony to how difficult this is: our minds wander, our bodies act without us, we do not inhabit ourselves.

Gurdjieff's work was to shock and train the self into attentiveness, indeed bring the self into genuine existence through attentiveness, and through that attentiveness bring a quality of our consciousness that can change and sustain genuine feeling.

The book itself carries a charge of genuine feeling in which the distinction between 'emotion' and 'feeling' is critical in this work. An 'emotion' is a state that has us: it shapes an ego that dances to its wants, needs. Feeling is a reality we stand in that moves through us, in awareness, it relaxes ego into a remembered self.

Gurdjieff is continually demonstrating, and nurturing in his students, this difference - for love cannot be bought out of emotion, emotions accompany love, but they are not it, do not contain it: we dwell in love, our common language recognises this: I am in love, not the other way around.

But we continually exchange love for ego derived alternatives whose very agitation is their excitement.

Simone Weil would want to say that we 'decreate' ourselves, rather than remember ourselves, so that grace and presence may truly abide through and with us: words slip and slide - but I think they would have recognized each other as saints in the making on the edge of established traditions of holy making (if that is they were not appalled by each other's distinctly different personalities)! 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Fake news is always with us

If you imagined that 'false news' was a contemporary phenomena, think again! It is a recurrent theme. Wherever competing intere...