We are now nearing the end of Chapter 2, and Harold brings us to the subject of Self-estrangement, which is the experience of the separation of the conscious and the unconscious, and how it may be healed. He begins:
As Whyte points out, it is not the separation of consciousness and the unconscious realms “but their unification as aspects of one complex continuous activity which is now held to be primary.” Jesus’ words indicate that man’s psychic division is as a cleaving, that the divided state is only “as if,” that being is indivisible. He says that Son of man is: “…as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.” This one goes on to prepare the way, apart from consciousness, but it is not lost to its love of life: the ego-group. “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
The Authority-Ego gives the ego-group authority to do their assigned work, while it also commands the porter to watch. I wonder who plays the role of the porter? The super-ego? Peter, one of the elect, as the recognizer of the coming of Christ in man? The problem with these answers is the porter is supposed to “watch,” which is synonymous with being “awake.” We learned a few posts ago that I-consciousness, which coincides with super-ego, cannot always be awake; it is not a constant as is the Authority-Ego which neither slumbers or sleeps. So the role of porter will remain a mystery for now.
Now on to how Self-estrangement may be healed…
The idea of Self-separation and Self-estrangement has long been voiced by man. Robert deRopp writes that the meaning of the word yoga, “is similar to that of the English word, to yoke. A yoke unites two beings…” – the separated self, jiva, and the origin, atman, “the One seen behind the many.” The anxiety generated by a sense of Self-estrangement has also long been recognized. The discourse between Arjuna and Krishna heals Self-estrangement, and so do the words of the Hebrew prophets, as though consciousness speaks to the One in saying: “Whom have I in heaven but thee?” And the One speaks to consciousness in saying: “…and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.”
Just because we immediately experience the separation of I/thou as a reality of our lives does not mean that it actually is…
The sense of himself as both “I” and “thou” which is operative in everyone does not indicate that the unity of one’s being is an illusion. As the ego-group contemplates the God-head, it must ascribe to the Authority in its life the “thou” or moving role while it remains “I” at rest. Because consciousness may center itself in or around the seat of Self in being, one may “Be still and know that I am God…” that the “Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” As the ego-group calls itself by the name, “I,” the Authority-Ego becomes “Thou, O Lord” because it can in no way become a part of the personality, a self-image in the group.
I like the idea here of the ‘thou’ as having a moving role. This supports the reading of the Hebrew “I AM that I AM” as also being future tense: “I WILL BE what I WILL BE.”
Jesus’ words with regard to the kingdom of God that are translated “within you” may also be translated, “among you” – but the difference in possible translation is of no concern when the ego-group is recognized to be myriad selves and the kingdom, seat of “I-being,” is recognized to be in the midst of “you,” among “you,” within your pluralistic being, although it is not any one of “your” conscious selves that acts a part to make up personality.
This recognition of our ego-group as a myriad of selves, the truth that we have no actual one ego ruling our lives but are made up of many egos vying for position, THIS is the beginning of healing our Self-estrangement:
Until man understands that he has no ego as one-entity in his conscious domain, he cannot begin to understand that the one-entity within him is Lord: Authority emanating from the unconscious, master of both domains, and through its work the destructive impulses are eliminated as the good and evil of his own world are brought to face reality, truth, life as it is: all held in love. All that Jesus says of the unconscious indicates that it is in no way static: it is ever “coming” to consciousness and thus it insures man’s becoming in time.
What Harold is saying here is exactly what the great rascal-sage Georges Gurdjieff taught as the basis for his “Fourth Way,” or, if you like, “Esoteric Christianity.” From his book, “Views from the Real World:”
TRY TO UNDERSTAND THAT WHAT YOU USUALLY CALL “I” IS NOT I; there are many “I’s” and each “I” has a different wish. Try to verify this. You wish to change, but which part of you has this wish? Many parts of you want many things, but only one part is real. It will be very useful for you to try to be sincere with yourself. Sincerity is the key which will open the door through which you will see your separate parts, and you will see something quite new. You must go on trying to be sincere. Each day you put on a mask, and you must take it off little by little.
Gurdjieff says the healing of Self-estrangement begins when we are sincere enough to want to understand the reality of our situation. When we are, we can then begin “The Work” and allow Authority-Ego to take more control over our lives.
We’re getting close to finishing Chapter 2. It’s just around the bend; hang in there! Until next time, peace…