Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On "change"

Le Chateau des Pyrenees, by Rene Magritte

Years and years ago, there was a fantabulous occult bookstore — Samuel Weiser's, in Greenwich Village. It was there, in my early 20's, that I came across the works of Gurdjief and Ouspensky; it was the latter's works that first produced sufficient "shock" to propel me to a new and higher octave of internal living. The following is from one of Ouspensky's students, Maurice Nicoll, and which strikes me as appropriate regarding the idea of self change which has been cropping up here more and more.

The universe is intelligent in so far as we are intelligent. It becomes what we think and feel about it—what we make our own. The universe is infinite response. Mentally understood, it is all possibilities. Every point of view is possible, and because it ‘exists’ it is right. But it will give us what we make of it. One last word must be said about this response. The response is more than what we furnish to produce this response. To everything that is genuine and real in us, to everything that we really think from ourselves, the universe gives more than we give—‘full measure and running over’. It is not simply by reaction in a mechanical sense. The mechanical law of action and reaction does not apply where the mind and heart are concerned. Because response is more, negation is dangerous. This is why, when we give up trying to understand anything, we do not merely halt but begin to die. And this is why, in the other direction, if we struggle to create a special understanding of life, something begins to assist us. The universe undergoes a significant transformation for oneself. The universe is a series of possible mental transformations, one way or another. It is useless to try to settle, at the outset, whether the universe is good or bad. It is useless to start from any point outside oneself. All the standpoints that all human people reflect form a minute part of the WORLD. The universe is universality, and therefore is AllOne. So it is indifferent, neutral—that is, perfectly balanced. Only when one begins to change oneself does the universe change. That is the secret.
Maurice Nicoll, Living Time and the Integration of Life, p. 234-35.