Heat and Fire: Notes for 25 Aug 2014

The task for the week was to deliberately create an internal friction. Entering the esoteric path requires the non-identification with the personality “from which we should be able to detach ourselves at the price of particularly painful efforts.”  [Vol 1, IV (6)]

In an essay titled “Fragments of an Unknown Teaching” (“Les Fragments d’un Enseignement inconnu”, Mouravieff writes

The immediate goal is to place the disciple between two groups of forces: attraction and repulsion; to thus provoke in him an anxiety and thereby the most intense possible interior battle of affirmations and negations. This friction of specialized language called to produce heat in order to end up lighting a fire. As expressed in Christian doctrine, “the way towards the truth passes through doubts.” Multiplying doubts in the spirit and the heart of the student offers him the chance to break through the preliminary steps more rapidly.

A similar idea is expressed in a discourse addressed to the monks in India that can be found in Volume 1 of the Philokalia. Although it is meant for monks, we who are in the world (but not of it) can still derive benefit. This was intended as an encouragement to move beyond the initial stages. It begins:

The anguish of soul and hardship that you endure are more precious in God’s sight than surpassingly great virtue on the part of someone living in the world. Your deep dejection and despondency, your tears and sighs of distress, the torments of your conscience and your doubts, your feelings of self-condemnation, the sorrow and lamentations of your intellect and heart, your contrition and wretchedness, your gloom and self-abasement — such experiences as these, which frequently overwhelm those cast into the iron furnace of trials and temptations, are far more precious and acceptable to God than any good actions of those living in the world.

The word for today is “Synecdoche”, a figure of speech in which the part represents the whole, e.g., “Hired hand” for the services of the whole man. Become aware of synecdoche in your own life. It may be that a smaller issues is disguising a larger and deeper issue.
Figure 20
The reading is sections 6 and 7 from Chapter VI of Volume One. The task for the week is to meditate on Figure 20, as suggested in the text. In the meantime, you can use the gnosis mailing list or comments to post insights from the meditations during the week if you like.

Exterior man. Exterior man has not even entered on the exoteric path and is living spiritually in the scrubland or outback. I don’t like the translation of “brousse” as wilderness, since wilderness has a different, and more positive, meaning in the Bible. I will reserve any commentary on these sections until after the next meeting.