‘Why are you so tragic?’ asked a friend of Maurice Nicoll. ‘Why do you speak so tragically?’
This upset Maurice. He didn’t think he did speak tragically.
‘Yes, you do,’ said his friend. ‘You just don’t see it yet. You will come to see it.’
Maurice at the time felt only surprise and resentment. But over the years, he began to appreciate the truth of the comments.
We speak tragically, he says, when we have not got what we want; it is an act of self-pity. We wish for something, it doesn’t occur and with our vanity hurt, we buckle into a sense of tragedy about ourselves and our life.
So it’s worth contemplating to triad of transactions taking place here.
If we wish for something, that is the first or active force in the triad. It sets the ball rolling. But there will always be a second or opposing force we must then contend with.
We need to understand this, especially if our internal resources are slight. We need to see the second force coming, to be clever with it.
If we are not, and we allow ourselves to be kidnapped by the difficulty, the opposing force will take over and become the active force.
So now, instead of being driven by our wish, we are being driven by our despair, our tragedy. We become shaped by our sense of tragedy, rather than by our positive wish.
And it can be difficult to move people from this space.
So now we reach the 3rd force in this triad of transaction. This is the reconciling force, which holds both the positive wish and the kick-back resistance which can appear to destroy everything.
As we allow this third force, a third way arises, something more peaceable and possible.
Gurdjieff said ‘Patience is the mother of will.’ That is, will, passing through patience as the 3rd force, attains what it wants. But not necessarily what it started out
It is good to wish for things, to bring active hope and positivity to the world; and good also to know that resistance will follow.
If we are clever with it, we’ll move through self-pity and reach deeper inside ourselves. We’ll allow the 3rd force of this blessed triad into play, neutralising, reversing, reconciling, freeing, making possible.
‘Why are you so tragic?’ was the question we started with.
Has the opposing force sometimes left you buckled?