What Determines Our Level of Being?

May 21, 2019
What Determines Our Level of Being?


The Awareness School has recently been studying like and dislike which brought us to the subject of Being, what it is, and how to measure that within ourselves.

The Fourthway uses this term in a specific way and one can count on the writings of John G. Bennett to expound on its true meaning.

Being, if looked at in the triad of Function, Being and Will serves as the container for higher energies. It is the vessel for the Will and must be developed in us. It is not the sum total of our body, our feelings and our thoughts as many might believe. Integrating those functions is crucial to “growing” our Being, but our ability to intentionally work on our inner state, our reactions, and our like and dislike forms the “something” that develops our Being.

I have always taught that Being is determined by what one can bear in every sense of the word from bearing the unpleasant manifestations of others to the inner struggle within ourselves.

To bear is to not just to “put up with” but it is to accept or allow oneself to be subjected to something without giving way. It is a term meaning to endure as well as to support.

It is what Jesus meant by turning the other cheek.

When we bear something, we intentionally struggle.

This kind of “suffering” will produce tangible results, and in the case of bearing the unpleasant manifestations of others, we come to appreciate them or at the least, come to accept who they are without taking anything personally.

One can discover that our likes and dislikes play into bearing these “unpleasant” manifestations and one can realize why it is unpleasant. It almost always has nothing to do with their behavior but of our opinion of it. That realization allows us to bear more and accept what someone else does whether we agree with it or not.

I have recently been in group situations where I did not particularly agree with the methods of a fellow facilitator. In fact, some of the methods seemed dangerous and manipulative based on my own experience and my experience with students. I have the power to discriminate for myself because of that experience with those methods. Without this discrimination, I would be left to follow the method and find out. I do not seek to control or change the situation, but try to watch any kind of judgment going on within myself and put it in check immediately.

I have the power to disagree or even not participate if I feel it is not right for me. I can watch as a bystander and try to empathize with why and how everything is being done. Their methods are not my methods, and I may not agree with what is being extolled, but I must bear it, in order to understand any judgment that is forming on my part. I am able to accept someone’s actions when it has nothing to do with me or my opinions.

In the said circumstances, I don’t have to fix or change anything about the situation. I must accept what is and decide what is right for me.

Another measurement of Being is how well one is able to follow through with aim.

When we procrastinate, we are highly influenced by what we like or don’t like. It is easy enough to say that I can get it done tomorrow. Gurdjieff called this the disease of tomorrow.

There are many factors at play when one can’t discipline oneself to practice or consistently move toward a goal. We may put things off out of fear or insecurity. Whatever the reason, it appears as doing only what we like doing or not doing what we don’t like. We simply may not realize the underlying identified state that is hidden behind these likes and dislikes.

The ability to follow through with an aim is the ability to intentionally struggle. There will inevitably be times when we don’t feel like doing something, but we must push against that. It is not even a matter of willpower. It is a matter of seeing the many “I”s in conflict within us. This is a matter of learning “to see” within; a capacity that grows our Being which in turn develops the capacity to discriminate and to do.

Once we have developed more unification of these “I”s, more integration of self, it becomes easier to push against the part of us that wants to procrastinate. Our likes and dislikes come to have less meaning and less power. We become familiar with the dislikes within us and we have more strength to ignore them. Eventually, if our work is efficient we are able to decide and then manifest.

Finally, our level of patience measures Being.

We must remember that Being is not our thoughts, our feelings, our body or even the combination of all of those things. It is something over and above that.

Looking at the previous two measurements, one can see that patience is developed. When we bear the unpleasant manifestations of someone else, we learn to have empathy. We put our opinions aside and accept even if that person’s actions are horrendous.

If we can understand children’s perspective or stage of development, we are able to have more patience with them when they don’t do what we want them to do.

When we accept that others will not always agree with us, we allow patience for ourselves and others. Not having the same viewpoint does not mean we are more or less powerful, intelligent, close-minded or anything of the sort. Anyone who tries to make us feel less for not following their agenda is playing the game of manipulation.

When we stop taking things personally, things lose their charge and we see more clearly where someone else is coming from. We become patient with their impoliteness. We don’t react to their microaggression. We maintain clear boundaries in the face of intrusion instead of fighting back. We walk away and patiently wait for someone to “cool down.”

Gandhi, Jesus, Mother Teresa, and saints exemplify enormous Being. Their main qualities are patience, acceptance, and empathy. They show us the way of non-reaction and strength. This is not strength of character, but strength of Being.

If we can struggle inwardly in the patience department, we gain the necessary energy to feed our Being. Even the initial effort to curb reaction and empathize will commence something real in us, even if we fail to uphold that.  Eventually, we are able to detach from our need to be right or to be accepted.

We are able to see another for who they are regardless of how we see things. 


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