In Practical Terms, What Is Self-Remembering? Pt II

Part I of this series is:

I am going to jump from what was written there to a description of a state which we can fairly call “self-remembering.” It comes from Jean Toomer.

As what Toomer called “the Experience” unfolds, he provides more details of what actually happened within him:

I became as a child, captivated by a wonder-work. At a stroke my mind was emptied of thoughts. As a child I gazed raptly. Myself was melted down to a single simplicity. Constrictions and fears, desires, plans, all vanished. I had no thought of myself, no wish for anything other than this amazing present happening. Now was important. Now was all. Past and future were no more. Place, people, passed out of sight and reckoning. The world itself temporarily disappeared. I was taken out of all that, and felt a rapture so serene, so interior, that no sign of it would have been visible to another person even had he been watching. (34-35)

The sense of wonder is the first thing to stand out: it is, on some occasions anyway, a sign that essence is awakening and seeing the world without the filters of personality. The next matter is how it reminds him of being a child: as children our centres are closer together (not so differentiated), and we are more in essence (this is significant in terms of “self-remembering” as “reassembling” myself. I have a paradigm for assembly: the simplicity of childhood). The third matter is that thoughts were stopped; perhaps a sign that formatory apparatus no longer dominated his psyche, and that higher parts of the intellectual centre were active. Since the higher parts of centres have an affinity between each other, that is, work together more closely and with less resistance, he finds that “constrictions” vanish (not so much stuck in a small part of myself), fears (emotional slavery and negative imagination), desires (liberation from like and dislike), and plans (often the work of lower parts of centres).

If I am correct in this interpretation, it also explains why he places so much significance on his sense of being in the present moment. It is so weighty, and so hard to express, that he repeats himself in different ways, trying to capture something he finds ineffable. The peace he feels is a result of the balance of his being. The absence of awareness of other things and people occurs at the commencement of the experience, rather like how when a light appears it may be dazzling, and time is needed before one can see in that light. Interestingly, he realises that what is going on has no exterior signs. He continues:

The entire rigid frame of the habits of the body-mind was quite dissolved, and I was made ready for I knew not what.

It is worth noting not only that he becomes free of habit, but also that he sees that he has been in the grip of a rigid frame of them. He does not have to do anything, simply by seeing with the eyes of something like “real I,” the habits are “dissolved.” This is a vital matter: one does not need to do anything other than see, but note, the seeing is not with one part of the intellectual centre, but with real “I.” The last sentence here indicate not only internal vigilance, but also impartiality to the conditions of existence. I might conjecture that impartiality is a sign of the feeling life of higher bodies. Then Toomer speaks of the development of this most extraordinary state. The significance of this is not merely the rarity of the condition he found himself in, but more so that he was present to it as it unfolded and can describe the stages:

Now there was a growing, as of an inward seed. What remained of myself was a pod being outgrown by a great seed. A life within my life was in motion. A being within my being was rising and gathering. All within was wondrously fertile and portentous.

The moving was not of me. I felt this distinctly now. The chief moving seemed, now, not in me at all, but outside me, occurring in another being.

Another being was in motion. Another being, in action, by action, was rising as Consciousness. (35)

The key-words here are life, being, moving, “another being,” and consciousness. I won’t say much more about this now, but I believe this to be a sign of the formation of the Kesdjan (astral) body. This is also, I think, something we can fairly relate to that process of the coming of Deputy Steward, Steward, and real I, the Master:

I beheld that other being as a stranger entering my life. To that other being I probably was a stranger entering its life. Stranger was meeting stranger on the border of a mysterious world. And what would be the issue?

There was creating, but not by me. Quite evidently, I was not creating. I could not so create. I was being created anew by the Power that had created me. (35)

As the Law of Three would indicate, the higher and the lower must meet in order for there to be a new creation. The “me” which Toomer says is not able to create is the lower “I,” almost the only “I” we ever now. The distinction Toomer became aware of here is close to if not identical with what Gurdjieff, in the 1940s transcripts, called “I” and “me.” The phrase “created anew” ties in with the awareness being a present awareness; it is a perpetual creation from a higher level. This becomes clearer in the next paragraph:

Yet it became increasingly clear that I was not the centre of this working in any way. Not the source, not the main objective. Not subject, not object. I was as if decentred, off to the side as a spectator. That other being was the centre, the source and the chief recipient of its own actions. Sprung from a seed, it was creating itself, using living substance, using me and my life, and life drawn from a higher order, beyond me. (35)

to be continued

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