Attaching to an outcome DM Mar 2, 2008
Attaching to an outcome in this work leads to frustration, guilt, despair and other negative states because in this act we are working from a sense that we know what the outcome should be. This is another form of living in our imagination, making up what will be in the future. The goal of this work is to live in the moment – we don’t and can’t know what the future holds. Our work is in what is presenting in the now. The Lord sets the outcome not us.
We set tasks to create opportunities to observe the behaviour of the proprium and our identification with it. We are not working to change it or make it better; we are working to affirm what the Writings teach concerning it as a matter of life. It’s in our acceptance of what the Word teaches concerning the proprium that breaks its power.
Now before we rationalise that we accept this truth (and blind ourselves to our non-acceptance of it) we need to understand that acceptance in this sense is not an intellectual knowing: it’s a matter of the will. How do we actually live in relation to the states that arise within? How we live is what reveals the beliefs we are living from. So when I set a task and find myself frustrated because I see my proprium acting up and fall into a negative state of mind as a result, that is a sign of my non-acceptance of what the Word teaches concerning the proprium – I am then living from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil where “I” become the judge of what the proprium should or shouldn’t be. The shock of seeing negative states active within us reveals a hidden belief that the proprium should be better than it is. If we actually lived from what the Word teaches concerning it, it would be impossible to be shocked by its antics.
To live from the tree of life is to accept what the Word says the proprium is. This acceptance doesn’t mean it stops being active, far from it, but what it does mean is that I am no longer being drawn as easily into its machinations – I have truths in which I (my true sense of self) can be held while it (the proprium) does what it does. One of those truths is that in and of itself the proprium would rush headlong into the deepest hell, and take us with it. Do we really believe this, or are we living from proprium’s insatiable need for acceptance so that we are forever sewing fig leaves of natural good (doing the right thing from the wrong motivations) to cover ourselves –which merely keeps us from engaging in the work that is actually being presented for us to do in the given moment.
Our response to the Text is so important in this work of the moment. We all have things we want dealt with, and wish we were rid of, but it’s vital that we learn to work with what the text highlights for us and not what we think needs sorting out. To run with what we imagine needs sorting is to offer as spiritual work the offering of Cain. Anger (frustration, guilt, etc) is the result which ultimately leads to the death of Abel or charity – i.e. the ability to work, for the first of charity is to look to the Lord (Word) and shun evils because they are sins, which is done by repentance (Charity 1) or the practice of the Word in relation to the life of our mind.