Notes on Aim, pt. 2

One of the more personally puzzling themes I’ve found while studying the Fourth Way approach to Initiation is the contrast between being and doing. Many practitioners of the Fourth Way speak of the paramount importance of “being in the eternal moment of now” (paraphrasing). At a glance, the striving to self-remembrance seems very passive. It is as if the state of incompleteness most of us are in would inevitably render all actions futile – that if we try to engage the world around us, we are too prone to lose the precious sense of Being. Only the very advanced individual would be able to blend these two.

Is there a way out of this? Perhaps. Harken Robert Fripp, the mastermind behind King Crimson:

Do nothing as much as you can.

The third primary principle of King Crimson

It is crucial to note that it is not just “do nothing”, but “as much as you can”. Those things that speak of deep needs, of the Aim, those that are coming from the Heart cannot and should not be dropped. They are absolutely necessary.

The issue is that we rarely engage with only those things, or are even able to see them as priorities. We get lost in doing this and that, fueling the sense of activity and productivity without sight of the necessary. Among the lesser(?) consequences are health issues, stress and anxiety, and a sense of meaningless drifting through motions.

Striving to hear the Aim is akin to tuning a weak antenna while on the move. You catch glimpses of the signal proper, but much is lost in the noise and interference. Attempts to connect to the signal may make the reception even worse if you are not paying enough attention. The awareness of the signal in itself requires careful maintenance, and the focus on what is actually happening has to be regained regularly. It is here that the silent moments of striving to be simply present have their worth. It is also here that the active work in the world has its proper place.

The nature of the Aim is dynamic. One can have a deep sense of it by simply being present, but this is not enough. The growth of the individual Being is tightly linked to the growth and transformation of the Aim itself. Such growth requires action – Doing to balance the Being. Proper understanding can only come from first-hand experiences rooted in the real. This synthesis of Being and Doing is one of the primary functions of the Heart.

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Notes on Aim

 

To have a constant and unflagging instinctive need for self-perfection in the sense of being.

– The second Being-Obligolnian striving, Chapter 27 in Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson

In the defibrillation of the Nine Theses on the Path of the Heart, I have made claims about the central importance of Aim. But what exactly is Aim?

The above quote from the Gurdjieff classic is at the core of this question. Each of us has needs dictated to us by our bodies, needs that have to be answered if we desire to stay alive and in good health. The functionality of this meat-and-bone machine is vital in the very sense of the word. Its needs are also instinctive, though on a different level from what the Beelzebub’s Tales imply.

Besides the needs of the body, there are needs coming from the social matrix and our preconditioned thought/emotion -centers. What makes these similar to the needs of the body is that they, too, are mechanical in their nature. They relate to things that happen to us, things over which we have little real understanding, let alone control.

But beyond these mechanical needs, there are needs that have a different nature altogether. I would call them the needs of the Being. This means that at the very core of the experience of “who and what I am”, there is something that pulls us to directions that we truly feel most in resonance with. Sometimes this sensation is very confusing and even terrifying. It can be at odds with what you think you ought to be doing in your life, and almost certainly at odds with what others expect you to be doing. But once acted upon, you will find your life gaining new meaning.

Most people seem to experience this at least to some extent, but very few are actually able to cultivate a proper understanding of what these needs are, let alone begin to shape their lives according to them. The last lot are those who can be called Initiates.

What they follow is their Aim. The English language fails us here, for unlike something like the aim in the archery, one cannot have a clear vision of what it exactly is one is Aiming at. This is why the Beelzebub’s Tales refers to an “instinctive need”. It is a sensation present as much in the body as in the mind, a gut-feeling rather than a clear and precise thought.

Besides providing a sense of this need, the Aim ties also to the process by which the need reshapes itself as the Being unfolds and takes shape in the Initiate. The Aim itself transforms: it is in a dynamic relationship to the Work that brings it to life. The more one understands of her Aim, the further the boundaries of the Aim are actually pushed. In this the Aim manifests the Aeonic Word of Runa1.

Sensitivity to one’s Aim is the key to fulfilling and long-lasting refinement of the Being, or as it goes in the terminology of the Temple of Set, to the process of Xeper and Remanifest.

[1] See Runarmal I by Stephen Flowers.