It is helpful for me to remember that human’s have a conscience, a conscience that is rooted in what Jean Gebser calls ‘the ever-present origin,’ the heart of everything, the source and essence from which all springs forth continuously. This conscience is not cultural morality which is imposed on us from the outside and varies in time and place. It is the still small voice existing within us in our subconscious and is waiting to be unburied. Gurdjieff saw that when conscience is unburied, it loosens things up internally and can revive the sacred impulses of Faith, Hope, and Love. Mrs. Staveley, one of Gurdjieff's students, wrote a piece about conscience which I read on Friday and the following quotes are from her in that reading (which you can find below). She said, “It is possible for us, we are told, to unbury this organ which is in touch with that which is higher.” It is waiting, as she says, “For the space in myself, to be prepared by me, where it can exist freely."
As humans we can make space to come into contact with and listen to and from this conscience. In fact, this is central to our responsibility as planetary beings. Mrs. Staveley posits, “That is why I am here. That is why we are all here. Sometimes I think we forget this, or rather, we fail to remember it. There are many aspects of the work but only one end. If I forget the end, the means—such as Movements, meetings, and all our other work together—these things are without real significance.”
Part of our ongoing being and doing exists in cultivating and stewarding an inner silence and quietness amidst sound and movement that we might be more attuned to that “still, small voice and cease to be deafened by the clamor and hysteria of [our] usual state.” We can create the conditions that best facilitate that conscience arising within as a director and guide. We “can work on making a place [inside] where conscience does not have to compete with all the chaos and confusion of… every day life.” But this does require giving something up in sacrifice. What needs to be sacrificed? Maybe our motivations to ignore this still small voice stemming from self-justification, excuses, blaming, pride, self-absorption, vanity, egoism, self-conceit, etc? “Conscience never excuses me, never justifies. It does not argue, nor can I argue about what it shows me. It sees things—me—the way I really am.”
Perhaps we may commit to “clear a little ground in the long task of preparing for a blessed moment when [our] own conscience can take its rightful place as director of [our] life.” And in the meantime we can observe our self-justification, self-merit, excuses, blaming, pride, self-absorption, vanity, egoism, self-conceit, etc without identifying with it.
May we continue to make space inside, to clear a little ground, to listen to the still small voice.
Here the Readings from this week's pauses:
What we need most
in order to make progress
is to be silent
before this great God
with our appetite
and with our tongue,
for the language
[God] best hears
is silent love.
(Sayings of Light and Love)
Soon, within that very stillness and release, they would begin to taste subtly of that interior nourishment, a nourishment so delicate that if they were purposely to try they could never taste it.
(Dark Night of the Soul)
[God] spoke one word. . . and this word [God] is always speaking in eternal silence. It is in silence that the soul must hear it.
(Sayings of Light and Love)
— St. John of the Cross:“Saint John of the Cross: Luminous Darkness” by Mirabai Starr.
I am, you anxious one.
Don't you sense me, ready
to break into being at your
touch? My murmurings
Don't surround you like
shadowy wings. Can't you
see me standing before you
Chocked in silence?
Hasn't my longing ripened
in you from the beginning as
far fruit ripens on a branch?
1 am the dream you are
dreaming. When you want
to awaken, I am waiting.
I grow strong in the beauty
you behold. And with the
silence of stars I enfold your
cities made in time.
— Rainer Maria Rilke: The Book of Hours 1, 19
“[Human] still has a conscience. It is possible for us, we are told, to unbury this organ which is in touch with that which is higher. That is, it is possible for me to have this, as it is called, “representative of the Creator” in me. In fact it is already there – waiting… waiting….
Waiting for what? For the space in my self, to be prepared by me, where it can exist freely. That is why I am here. That is why we are all here. Sometimes I think we forget this, or rather, we fail to remember it. There are many aspects of the work but only one end. If I forget the end, the means—such as Movements, meetings, and all our other work together—these things are without real significance.
How can I keep an inner silence, a quietness, that will help me become aware of that still, small voice and cease to be deafened by the clamor and hysteria of my usual state? How can I earn the right to have my own director, my own conscience, as a guide?
Perhaps I can work on making a place in myself where conscience does not have to compete with all the chaos and confusion of my every day life. I will have to give up some thing, sacrifice something, to accomplish this—to make this new place in me.
Today I will try to sacrifice some of my self-justification. I will put my effort on trying to be aware of the many ways I excuse myself, justify myself. They are legion. Conscience never excuses me, never justifies. It does not argue, nor can I argue about what it shows me. It sees things—me—the way I really am.
Perhaps today I may clear a little ground in the long task of preparing for a blessed moment when my own conscience can take its rightful place as director of my life. But right now I watch my self-justification, self-merit. I try not to identify with it. That is the only way open to me at present to sacrifice something.”
— A.L. Staveley: “Themes I”
“So, if you accept the view that [the self] is a dynamic experience, that the self can keep on growing, then it becomes a true self in the image and likeness of God, then there is the possibility that there is only one Self. There is only God. There is only one Self, or one consciousness in fact. And in the light of those scientific discoveries, if there is one consciousness, it is the infinite unlimited consciousness of God, which is shared with every creature according to its capacity. So, God is present in everyone, relating to them where they are, but nudging them to move beyond, especially the humans, to the unbelievable share in the divine beatitude. And what is that? It is ultimately sacrifice. That is maybe one way of looking at the universe.” — Thomas Keating: "The Self and Evolving Consciousness,"
The Most Important Thing
I am making a home inside myself. A shelter of kindness where everything is forgiven, everything allowed—a quiet patch of sunlight to stretch out without hurry, where all that has been banished and buried is welcomed, spoken, listened to—released. A fiercely friendly place I can claim as my very own. I am throwing arms open to the whole of myself—especially the fearful, fault-finding, falling apart, unfinished parts, knowing every seed and weed, every drop of rain, has made the soil richer. I will light a candle, pour a hot cup of tea, gather around the warmth of my own blazing fire. I will howl if I want to, knowing this flame can burn through any perceived problem, any prescribed perfectionism, any lying limitation, every heavy thing. I am making a home inside myself where grace blooms in grand and glorious abundance, a shelter of kindness that grows all the truest things. I whisper hallelujah to the friendly sky. Watch now as I burst into blossom.”
— Julia Fehrenbacher