Thursday, December 13, 2007

How the Sun Works

Today we are going to talk about how the Sun works, and how it adheres to the previously discussed three forces designated under the names centrifugal (Siva), centripital (Vishnu) and revolving (Brahma).

First of all the Sun revolves around its own axis in approximately 11 Earth days. This is the mostly invisible third force. After the Big Bang (which was neither big, because it originated from a singularity -- called the bindu in Sanskrit, and it was not a bang because there was no atmosphere to carry sound), the explosion of the universe into existence was under the purview of the centrifugal force, of Siva the creator and destroyer. At the beginning the universe was almost entirely hydrogen, with a small amount of helium and lithium in it. Then under the purview of the centripetal force under the auspices of Vishnu the preserver, matter coalesced through gravity, which is a form of love, in to what are called second-order Suns according to the nominclature of Gurdjieff.

These Suns then began squeezing together the hydrogen. This squeezing causes friction which creates heat, or tapas, which is also known as ardor -- another form of love. Eventually the immense pressure of the centripetal force raised the temperature of the atoms until they danced apart into the state known as plasma. Depending upon the size of the Sun it could arrive at a tipping point when it begins to glow hot. Jupiter is a sun which is not large enough to pass this tipping point, but it's still radiates enough energy to be detected and has small amount of its own light -- unlike smaller planets.

Our Sun is a yellow star -- medium-sized. Hotter Suns burn towards the blue spectrum and smaller Suns towards the red. Anyway, the centripetal force of gravity squeezes the hydrogen nuclei and free-floating electrons of which the plasma consists, tighter and tighter together, until at the center of the Sun the pressures are so enormous that the hydrogen nuclei are forced by fusion into an isotope of helium. A very small part of this matter simply cannot take the pressure. It surrenders its existence, like a man who has reached his breaking point and cries out "I can't take it anymore. I give up." This leads to either utter defeat or ego deflation and a spiritual conversion. Such a man may find religion, where as before he thought he ran the ship.

In any case, in the center of the Sun it is extraordinarily dense and under unbelievable pressure causes the fusion of the hydrogen into helium. But the small amount of matter which simply cannot take it anymore surrenders its existence as a matter and is transubstantiated into radiance, or "energy." It then begins its long journey towards the outside surface of the sun. Because the inner core of the Sun is so dense, the radiant energy ping-pongs around in a kind of Brownian motion for something like a million years until it reaches the less dense outer layers of the Sun, whereupon it begins moving outwards past the surface of the sun and it emerges at all times in all directions unceasingly in something like 80 octaves of radiant energy. Now it operates under the purview of the centrifugal force.

So, half of the earth faces the Sun at any given moment as it rotates on its axis once every Earth Day. How much of the radiant energy given off by the Sun reaches the Earth? Science has calculated that the Earth receives one 200th of one million of 1% of the radiant energy given off by the Sun. That is a staggeringly small percentage, and yet a man standing at the equator will get a sunburn and die of dehydration in very short order. So when we talk about the radiant energy continuously and uninterruptedly being released by the Sun through the centripetal forces which convert hydrogen alchemically into helium by fusion and then radiating outwards through the centrifugal force, we are talking about an amount of energy which is unfathomable by the ordinary mind, and more importantly, it is entirely the result of such pressure as results in the surrender of matter into energy.

How does this apply to us as human beings?

First of all, ordinary human beings are opaque and covered with a shell of personality and of instinctual defense mechanisms which cause impressions received from the outside to do one of two things: either they bounce off and are reflected back or they are received and acted upon by an instinctual knee-jerk reaction, completely mechanical -- just like when a doctor strikes you with a rubber mallet underneath your patella (kneecap) and your leg twitches. This activity of human beings of either being covered in a shell which rejects the impressions or acting by reflex is completely useless. For a man of either sex become a Man in the sense of the "True Man," it is required that he becomes "larger" so that he can reach the tipping point and become a sun. To do this he needs to work on himself. Such work is difficult, sublime, elusive and hard to find. But if he finds such a work his opaqueness will begin to disintegrate. This is a dangerous undertaking, because influences from the outside which otherwise would have bounced off now begin to be received, and the influences which are stored within him will begin to be revealed. This is a terrible moment, and a man will do almost anything to avoid it, because he will begin to be seen as he actually is. This creates more pressure and his inner temperature will begin to rise. This is part of the alchemical work and the beginning of the creation of the alchemical vessel as well as slowly turning the entire world and its contents into an alchemical laboratory.

Supposing that a man reaches this stage and gets past it, he then will become translucent. It is still not reached 100°C in which there is an actual change in state, but inside he will begin to simmer and the lid on the pot of himself will begin to quiver and shake. Then an ordinary man will leak, acting out on his inner impulses which are now under greater pressure. This is called "falling victim of the Makara, or Dragon" who guards the treasure and the entrance to the subconscious and unconscious regions of a man.

Then the man suffers. His suffering may become unbearable, in which case he will fall back to his ordinary state. But if he is given guidance either by seen or unseen hands, he will begin to understand that this suffering is his entering Purgatory while on earth alive. If it seals up the leaks and continues in his understanding he will begin to boil. If he is clever, he will add salt to the wounds which will raise the boiling point. This is the beginning of what is called "intentional suffering" by Mr. Gurdjieff. Mr. Gurdjieff aligns it with the concept of "conscious labors," and in such a case a man will place himself in conditions that will create even more and greater suffering for himself. He may even go the way of the Malamat, which is the "way of blame" Jesus himself went the way of the malamat, being a man despised of men and well acquainted with sorrows. There was a famous Sufi who said the following: "I wished to enter heaven so I followed the way of virtue, but when I reached the gates of heaven there was a huge crowd and I couldn't get in, so I went around looking for another entrance; I tried humility, but again, on reaching its gate I found a large crowd gathered and awaiting entrance; finally I went around the back and saw a gate marked "the way of blame." There was no one there, so I practiced making myself the object of derision and scorn, and I was able to enter heaven quite easily."

So in the alchemical work, which is called the great work and which is the transubstantiation of man into Man, we begin opaque. After the first stage of the work we begin to enter the realm of translucence, where light travels through us. This is a true change of state, and we can then become conduits through which the true light can reach the world and where our own selves are revealed and naked. But we do not as yet create our own light. We have not reached the stage of radiance.

In order to reach the stage of radiance we need even greater pressure and ardor in the Work. As a diamond is nothing but coal which has been crushed into the state of a gem by the forces of pressure within the Earth, so we too need to increase the pressure which is upon ourselves by "conscious labors and intentional suffering." To reach translucence we have allowed what suffering we are heir to to become voluntary. But we have not engaged in intentional suffering -- greater pressure and suffering induced by our own hand. Now we begin to do this, and there are several methods. The first and the one I have already mentioned to place ourselves in situation in which we are ridiculed or shamed or misunderstood, while we hold fast to our understanding that this is our work. In certain conditions, groups of people may be brought together, each of whom has agreed to undertake this Work. In understanding that they are to work on themselves as well as to assist each other, they might act in a fashion which otherwise would be importune, that is, they may act consciously negative or pugnacious; argumentative and contentious. But this can only be done in special conditions where each person understands that they are being allowed to work on themselves as well as helping each other through this unseemly friction. This requires persons of enormous understanding, otherwise the enterprise fails.

Another method is to take on the suffering of others, as saints do, but this also carries grave danger, as instead of creating pressure and heat in the alchemical vessel, the vessel may burst through pride or hubris, where the ego forms a bubble on the surface of the vessel and herniates outward like an aneurysm in a blood vessel. This can destroy everything and render the work useless. But taking on the sufferings of others such as nurses or hospice workers do, can create the great pressure needed in the trans-formation of the self and the transubstantiation of the being from translucence to radiance.

Radiance is the goal. To become a third order Sun. To bathe the earth in the True Man's warmth, and to illuminate the way for those who are still under the "magic spell" of the Chthonic evil demi-urges which hypnotize mankind for their own purposes. To become like the Sun, which uses the three forces to transubstantiate matter into energy and life, this is the alchemists aim. This is what is meant by having Gold.

What is it that needs to surrender? What is it in us that needs to be sacrificed in order to achieve Radiance? It is certainly not the ego. The id, ego and superego are the necessary three parts of the personality, which is a mask -- a sheath which is needed in the world. No, it is not the ego, but something much deeper which needs to surrender its material existence in order for a man to become Radiant. I have given many clues. Perhaps too many, but those who have ears will hear, and those who have eyes will open them and cease from blinking. The others, ordinary man, will continue on his way as lemmings to the cliff.