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Starting Over

The triangle repeats
The web repeats
The circle repeats
(image of enneagram with points numbered)

The enneagram itself shows us the recurring nature of a cosmos. The circle begins at point 0 and ends at point 9—which is again point 0. The inner web is the repeating sequence 1428571..., and the triangle is 0-3-6-9/0... Completion is a starting over, a new beginning.

I find it important and probably essential that I start over in my work on the fourth way as often as possible. Every day I begin again, begin to exercise the basic ideas, try to understand them for the first time. I try to remember myself for the first time, for the first time sustain this self-remembering, for the first time actually realize the profundity of divided attention. For the first time, decide once and for all: Do I want to pursue this? Why?

The master is the one beginning anew each moment, open to possibilities. The fool and the charlatan rest on their laurels and are certain. The rest of us are somewhere in-between.

This is a life's work: The further you get, the further you see to go.

I realized, in writing that last sentence, that I've gone through a lot of changes since I first became acquainted with these ideas. The way I think, my attitudes, how I feel, react emotionally, have all changed significantly. I realize this now because I was wondering what it would have been like to have read that sentence back then, when I was sorting through different attractions of the magnetic center, searching for the miraculous. I think that the sentence would have struck me as depressingly empty, as if all one could hope for in this way was to lose everything and arrive at nothing.

Today, though, I see that sentence as the way, the life, and anything that does not exist in just that way as quite dead. Nor do I see beginning continually as some sort of limitation of possibilities. No one has ever, or will ever, go anywhere of value that does not begin in this moment. Any other "attainment" is illusory, ephemeral, "an insubstantial pageant faded" immediately. We can bring more and more to this moment, but we gain nothing by chasing after next moments. But it requires this continual return, this continual new beginning.

Another way to view this is that we can not build up and save things in time. What we truly gain is being, and that is with us each moment. Any real attainment is eternal, out of time. In other words, this continuous restarting is a means by which we dismiss all those ephemeral achievements and build on what is real. And if, by starting again, we should attain anything in this living moment that is of value, it becomes part of our being, hence available to us each moment, and it behooves us to continually "clear away the dross", or "separate the wheat from the chaff", so that our existence becomes increasingly grounded in our actual being and, given right effort, ever richer.

"Be clever: Remember yourself."
P. D. Ouspensky

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