Language: “The Work”

Centuries of traditional religious practice have, over time, developed into “faith-based” perspectives that demand acceptance of doctrine, thus defining the spiritual relationship of adherents to something “higher” in terms of “submission,” “revelation” and an emphasis on the powerlessness and futility of human action other than prayer and good works. The terminology, “The Work” is meant to convey, quite precisely, an active balancing perspective in which human action can and does have a powerful influence on the spiritual path. The term is meant to indicate disciplined, sustained intentional effort.

Practically speaking, there is little of value in our lives that does not require that we expend energy and sustain a direction in its pursuit. We can no more sustain the physical body without expending the energy to lift the food to our mouths, chew and swallow it, than we could expect to sustain a relationship without caring, the ability to nurture, be patient and be forgiving. All represent efforts or work. We can reasonably ask how it has come about that, while in all other domains of human endeavor work and effort are a practical given, in the spiritual domain, we somehow find ourselves absolved of it.

If we believe we have a soul and that it is immortal then the onus is on God to provide for its salvation. If, alternatively, we hypothesize that a soul is not a given, neither guaranteed nor denied, then perhaps our actions, both internal and external, can take on new meaning.

Gurdjieff proposed that man is not born with a soul, but is created with the possibility of making one. The process of birthing and stabilizing that potential is part of our responsibility. How to make a Soul, is the Work.

Centuries of traditional religious practice have, over time, developed into “faith-based” perspectives that demand acceptance of doctrine, thus defining the spiritual relationship of adherents to something “higher” in terms of “submission,” “revelation” and an emphasis on the powerlessness and futility of human action other than prayer and good works. The terminology, “The Work” is meant to convey, quite precisely, an active balancing perspective in which human action can and does have a powerful influence on the spiritual path.