Community at Claymont

We are here at Claymont among other things in order to learn to see reality. Reality includes the fact that we are each small parts of a larger whole, both at the micro and macro levels. Yet, we are here, both on earth and at Claymont, for a reason and have a part to play and a purpose to fulfill in being incarnate. In order to fully serve our purpose, we have to see ourselves in the context of the whole. Living in community is the perfect training ground for this if we choose to make use of the opportunity. On the one hand, we each have something to contribute, and on the other hand, none of us is important at the expense of the whole. Our highest contributions must come from our higher selves, not from our egos, which generally get in the way of this process, although they serve survival functions for us.

Our egos represent a necessary animal part of ourselves, especially in terms of our ability to have evolved as a species, but they include aspects such as blind competitiveness, fighting for dominance, and all lower emotions, that do not serve our spiritual growth individually or collectively. They also support the illusion of our own wants and needs being more important than those of others, and of ourselves as totally separate from others and from the larger whole. Gurdjieff talks at great length about the illusions of egoism and the problems they create. Unbridled egos are extremely destructive in any community context, and at odds with the basic purposes of a spiritual community of any sort. Egoism is in direct opposition to developing the lovingness that helps bind a community together and that is an important part of our spiritual development.

Therefore, central to our spiritual lives, either individually or as a school for spiritual growth is an understanding of how ego operates, problems it can cause, and the collective understanding of it. To be part of this community there needs to be a commitment to working to transcend it, not by trying to kill it, but by getting it to serve only its proper functions (actual physical survival, acquiring and using knowledge of the world, interpersonal communication in the context of society), not the maintenance of our illusions about ourselves and our importance as personalities.