In taking on the task to investigate Gebser and his work and lest, I, and we, fall into the trap of perspectival seeing itself in trying to attain seeing-getting the next new thing in our own personal spiritual development. Where the Imaginal realm, or citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven is seen as better or higher than, instead of ontologically objective, given as a birthright to be unveiled and stabilized in us as a viewing platform of the heart. Here the Imaginal’s meaning only matters in relationship to the whole of Creation-and therefore to all worlds and all beings. I offer a word of caution and context for my sense of where many of us are being led and called to hold posts within our community, communities and world.
Chosenness and privilege, in the universal sense of being a pixel of consciousness as human being, is and always has been equal to the role of service; not a reward for being “virtuous” or “morally admired” (ie the best of World 48). It’s this perspectival confusion of equating chosenness with specialness that creates and comes out of the closed loops of self-reflective thinking. Just look at most of the forms of Christianity many of us grew up in. But even now, from this place we confer positive or negative qualities on ourselves and others-often justified by our “spiritual work and development.” The minute we begin to think, “they” need to do their “inner-work,” we’ve inevitably left doing our own.
The gift of the aperspectival is its ability to come from, and, as a unit of, the whole where all other units belong. New creations cannot come about without second force, without constriction and without some sense of felt resistance, whether from within or from without. Not wanting to do our work is a sign that we’re very likely doing our work. Or else the concern wouldn’t even be on our radar. World 24 is never in isolation, indeed none of the worlds or structures of consciousness are. All must belong in our seeing because all belong objectively. Our identities, therefore, span all realms and all structures of consciosness, NOW. According to the aperspectival view they always have. The personal then, by definition, cannot be anthropocentric.
If as I perceive Cynthia lays out in her book, the Imaginal is where our true identity best navigates World 48 from, then self-remembering is a re-membering all of our identities included in, and filtered through, the wholeness of our Imaginal, or even, Christic identity. Include and include replaces transcend and include, where transcendence, if and when it shows up, emerges mutationally.True personhood, objectively speaking, becomes patterned as our Christic-identity. That is self-emptying other oriented love.
Our salvation is found in the continual gesture of letting into the self-donation of the entirety of this phenomenological-self. The Imaginal flows objectively through this inter-subjectivity through this realm and beyond. Substitutionary love reveals itself as the pattern of the Whole-experienced (here at least) personally, particularly, and impartially so. Subject to subject to subject. Like eternal pearls of the Divine strung through the worlds in all directions, true personhood resounds through in concert resonance with the eternal Big-Bang at the core of the Ever-Present Origin. In so much as we get on board with this train, we sound the drum-beat of the “future.”
But we cannot begin to see what we are until we commit to the coinciding of where we are from a different vantage point-to a “that we are,” neutralizing perspectival categories of higher or lower stages of consciousness. We are not without help, nor are we ill-equipped to access this seeing through the intermediary vessel of the heart.
This context, in my opinion, delivers the missing ingredient in much of the posturing of positions we find ourselves locked into choosing between politically and culturally right now. That being the Heart of Our Common Father; ie Divine Compassion.
Until we “special chosen ones” (ie, educated, often white and religiously identified) begin to take seriously the work Gurdjieff refers to as “remorse of conscience,” we won’t be able to consistently hold a level of being sturdy enough to supple the fear and othering within the whirlwind forces at play (coming from worlds 96 and beyond). We might also find ourselves perpetuating the divide even more in our blind willingness to throw out particular parts and people based on the qualities of virtues or lack thereof that some have and others don’t based on whatever our perspectival sense of moral categories are. And this is true across the board. But for many of us, this can quite easily manifest through the politically correct, nicely masked passive-aggressive high-road of much of the collective liberal personality we share.
Stillness. Stillness. Lord, Have Mercy.
The Sorrow of Our Common Father must become our own in all three centers. It is the seedbed for the emergence of imaginally rooted mutations, virgin creations, so longed for in the collective cry spread across this country and throughout this precious planet.
As a friend said recently, “No matter what, love is still in this world.”
The question is, will we have the courage and commitment to take on the responsibility to wield its forces?
A few supporting quotes from our common lineage…
“There is, indeed, only one Creation, but it recurs perpetually, from instant to instant. And since Creation means essentially theophany, the relation between the creativity of the heart and perpetually recurrent Creation can again be defined by the idea that the heart is the “eye” by which the Divine Being sees Himself, that is, reveals Himself to Himself.”
-Henri Corbin in, Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn Arabi
“Our inner work exists within the Megalacosmos and for the sake of the Megalocosmos, not the other way around; it is important never to forget this.”
-Cynthia Bourgeault in, Eye of the Heart
“Imaginal creation is always virgin.”
-Cynthia Bourgeault from, Valle Crucis Wisdom School 2020
“There is a force acting in man that makes him curious, hungry for impressions. Ideally, this hunger should be satisfied in the enjoyment of truth and beauty; that is in the search for real knowledge, the contemplation of nature and works of art, and also in actions performed for the welfare of others. We know well how in our modern life these noble impulses are debased and how in their place we feed upon a morbid curiosity about the misfortunes of others, of which our newspapers are full, and upon the spurious excitements of sport and entertainment. When these are put aside, there remains of all human activity only a very tiny residue of achievements that can be regarded as having some intrinsic or permanent value outside the bodily wants and the egoistic fears and weaknesses of man himself. The construction of fine buildings, the creation of works of art, scientific discovery, and the philosopher’s search for truth are names that disguise much triviality and self-seeking, but there is certainly a remainder, a residue that has a value beyond mere self-preservation or self-destruction or the satisfaction of egoism.”
-J.G. Bennett in, Making a Soul: Human Destiny and the Debt of Our Existence
May our increased efforts be made conscious and common for the sake of ALL.
Jonathan lives in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas with his wife, dogs and three children. His teaching blends the Christian Contemplative tradition, 4th Way spirituality and the teachings behind the Enneagram - with a focus on companioning others from the unified and collective field accessed through the heart. He is a life-long seeker who offers, retreats, workshops and private Spiritual Direction in person or by zoom, one-to-one or in groups.