The Reality of Being is a newly released book of writings and talks of Madame Jeanne DeSalzmann, who was called upon to continue the teachings of the Work after Gurdjieff’s death. I’ll be quoting from this book for years to come.
One bit [that I’ve been sharing with a number of my classes recently] hits home with so many people.
“I begin to see that I live torn between two realities. On the one hand, there is the reality of my existence on the earth, which limits me in time and space, with all its threats and opportunities for satisfaction. On the other hand, there is a reality of being that is beyond this existence, a reality for which I have nostalgia.” from The Reality of Being
At first, this made me uneasy, and I didn’t speak of it in my classes until I’d unraveled it for myself a bit. Something like this was touching me, yet the juxtaposition of earthly existence and this “other” existence needed clarification. In the tantric world, we are decidedly NOT limited in this earthly existence. We are, however, meant to make the most of the earthly opportunities presented while we are here, now. What spoke to me, though, is the remembrance, the “nostalgia,” the yearning for connection to the most calmly centered, connected aspect of ourselves, and it “calls to our consciousness,” according to Madame De Salzmann, “across all the disappointments and misfortunes, to lead to serve” the divine in ourselves, that “other” existence.
Serving the Divine in ourselves means serving the Divine in everyone around us, in everything we do. What does that mean, to serve the Divine, in anything or anyone? It means to bring our highest game to the table, to be still and powerfully choose our stance, to be – if you will – a Warrior of Light. It means to be great, to be forgiving, to be listening; and most of all, to be present in this “earthly” existence.
Recently I’ve had a few email exchanges with students around interactions wherein we are challenged by someone else’s fear-based insecurities. My various responses contain a certain commonality that I hope may be useful.
Based on what I’ve learned – from Dr. Douglas Brooks, from Hugo Cory, and from the Handel Group coaches – is that anyone else’s action or assumption toward me is simply reflecting some state or behavior I’m hosting within myself. So when someone asked recently about what to do if a colleague is using them as a proverbial punching bag for their own insecurity, I offered two very simple options:
- mind your own reactions and remain courteous, calm, and centered;
- find the way in which YOU are treating THEM as a punching bag for your own insecurity, even if solely in your mind, and address it in yourself. Then return to number 1.
What I recognize in others is always something I hold in myself. Now it’s a matter of the “Art of Attention:” am I placing attention on some fear, or can I return, artfully, to the present moment and offer my best? The question comes down to dread or beauty? My choice. My POWERFUL choice.
A wise friend of mine recently offered, “You’re allowed to change, and you’re allowed to enjoy who you’re becoming.”
In a recent moment of confusion, I was asked to deliver my beauty and power to that moment, instead of running away (which I’d already done, to a degree). I took 30 seconds (yes, I’m keeping track; last time it took at least 3+ minutes, and in recent years it’s taken from 10 minutes to 10 months) to shift emphasis and deliver my beauty and my power in the form of my strong, steady presence, which was all that was needed.
I took hold of the situation by doing what I’d wanted done for me; I gave affection and attention. For so long I’ve wanted to stop the train of insecurity and rise higher and I’m finally certain of my capacity to adapt, and bring light.