Obligolnian Strivings: Week Three of Inner Task Series by Heather Ruce

This week our theme will be the second striving: to have a constant and unflagging instinctive need to perfect oneself in the sense of Being. Jeanne De Salzmann, in her book The Reality of Being speaks of our work with this striving. “I begin to see that I live torn between two realities. On the one hand, there is the reality of my existence on the earth, which limits me in time and space, with all its threats and opportunities for satisfaction. On the other hand, there is a reality of being that is beyond this exis­tence, a reality for which I have a nostalgia. It calls to our conscious­ness, across all the disappointments and misfortunes, to lead us to serve Being, to serve the “divine” in ourselves. If my life is lived only to subsist, the essential being is veiled, obscured. Even if I subsist in an intelligent, reasonable way, I do not see the true sense of my life—I have no direction. I am entirely drawn toward outer existence and thus prevented from becoming conscious of my authentic being. On the other hand, if I feel another reality, under the force of this impression I forget my life and withdraw into isolation. Thus the world claims me without caring about inner life, and my being calls me without caring about the demands of worldly existence. These are two poles of one larger Self, one same Being. I need to find a state in which I am more and more open and obedient [listening] to an essential force in me, and at the same time able to express this force and let it do its work in the world.“ (p.135-136)

There are many many ways we address that we live with these two realities of our existence on earth and of our being that is beyond this existence. Often we suppose we are one inside, unable to recognize these two realities within, or we suppose these two realities have harmonized and we have developed Being when in fact we have not, or we suppose these realities are at odds with one another and causing us to be at a stand still, or we suppose any number of things. . . Start by observing how it is you relate to these two realities within yourself and question whether how you habitually relate to these two realities is beneficial. From a place of openness and curiosity, begin to sense and feel how each of these two realities lives in you. Let them be in relationship to one another inside of you and rather than be completely drawn toward outer existence or withdrawn into isolation, listen to that essential force inside. Listen, really listen. . . listen for how this force may yearning to be expressed and do its work in the world.