Member of the Irish Group
I Have You in my Files 04/16/09 05:17 AM
The files I keep on everyone are in my mind, in the totally automated part that I call 'the office'.
The secretary who runs this office has no time for or interest in compiling bulky files. Each is the slimmest of volumes, rarely containing more than a single page, more often a scrap of paper. The information thereon is minimal, characterised by indifference, judgement, tolerance, or, on the other hand, hostility.
Some contain a single word, such as 'sly', 'underhand' or 'unreliable'. These dismissive epithets are reserved for people considered unimportant.
For friends, or more especially, enemies, there are delightful epigraphs. Typical ones would be 'Charming. Promises the world. Never delivers.' Another would be 'Ambitious. Devious. A real opportunist. Never trust.'
Other observations take the form of comments, such as 'What a load of sentimental claptrap - she'd sell her grandmother to further her ambition.' These comments are activated on sight of the subject.
Member of the Irish Group
Sunday Mass 04/16/09 12:21 PM
At the top of the order of the service sheet is an emblem with standing Christ in the centre of a radiant vesica pisces. His arms are outstretched in the shape of a cross. He has a halo. He is emerging from the vesica pisces of the birth canal into the light and from the light. He is the light.
On either side of him is a lamb and a lion, the lamb is on his right and the lion on his left. They are each enclosed by a circle. The lamb has a halo. The lion has a halo.
Yesterday my cat gave birth and I have myself given birth and so sat beside her watching, seeing the force passing through her, overwhelming her. I saw her lay her head on the floor in submission to the force as the contractions passed through her. I saw after she had given birth the licking, the caressing, the purring of the mammal 'love' that I share with her for my children.
I saw in her the instinctive function working independently of her, independently of the cat and its behaviours that I am familiar with. I saw in me the instinctive function as a separate life in me, with its own intelligence. This life in me knows when to release an egg, when and how hard to contract the womb, when to bear down, how to produce milk, how to care for my young. I saw this lion in me, this separate entity, which can either rule over me or be placed, trough my continuous Work, in its rightful place and so become haloed.
In the sermon, I heard the priest in passing say that the lamb shall look after the sheep. This drifted into my sub-conscious mind, which should rightfully be my conscious mind, but in my upside down self it is submerged like Atlantis. I saw the lamb in me, the higher emotional function, the intelligence of the heart, that can be born of the sheep, my mammal nature, 'love'. When this lamb is present in me it is haloed.
The right and definite separation of these two parts of me gives birth to Christ, emerging from the vesica pisces of the birth canal. The lion, my lower nature, blending with the lamb, my higher nature, actualising Christ, the middle, in me.
The Blogs Are Online 04/23/09 08:12 AM
This Blogs are getting their form and now public. To be able to post articles and comments you need to register.
There is a small "Nucleus" that will be editing, monitoring and building up GIG on a new basis for new life! There are half a dozen of people in various places on the globe and in various stages of the Work who are taking part in the project.
Welcome to read/comment and also take part in our Blogs!
Spiritual Archaeology 05/22/09 09:07 AM
Spiritual Archaeology is a study of the following items newly discovered and expressed in the language of today:
It is sometimes astounding to see the discoveries archeologists are making in our days, whether digging in the Gobi desert and finding remnants of apparently western civilization or in places where culture has existed for thousands of years - as an example of this can be mentioned the Nag Hammadi library - but have only been unearthed in our time.
Often these are explained to be remnants of a cult or sect and also as places of ritual worship of unknown Gods . Spiritual Archaeology goes further and tries to find out the meaning of the findings and verifying the truths found.
In addition to discoveries in the outside world the Spiritual Archaeology that I suggest further studies
in the way they were defined in the work of C. G. Jung; in other words this is also an inner study of the unconscious, which according to G. I. Gurdjieff should take part in our normal state, the waking consciousness.
The spiritual traditions contain amazing treasures of knowledge. What has been left behind in pictures and stories refer often to the same essential truths. To open the treasure chests it is necessary that we understand the language of these pictures. To tell stories is a practical way of transmitting knowledge as one does not need any extra medium for it; the same stories were repeated on and on again and in this way they stayed alive, particularly when cosmic connections were included in them. Stories that had no cosmic reality in them could perhaps survive one or two generations and was then forgotten.
This applies also to the Greek mythology. The great figures, Gods, heroes and heroines relate to reality and to the truths of existence. The singular happenings and states are personified and related to different happenings. In our time, beginning with Sigmund Freud, these mythological stories have been interpreted psychologically , in the first place related to pathological psychic states.
One of the best examples of this is the myth of Oedipus. Oedipus is a story of a human being as a cosmic being. We will talk more over him later in these talks. In the interpretations by Freud this story is totally misunderstood and degenerated. The myth were born from great knowledge by people who knew the ins and outs of the human life. Christianity has had the same fate with the stories contained in it; no orientation has been given on them to help us to understand the pictures told.
Spiritual Archeology means the clarity of the inner knowledge discovered anew in the old myths and stories; it is not the interpretation, but the decoding of the myths. Decoding means to find the original meaning that was given to these stories. It means the giving of hints on how to get in contact with the original message.
In the subjects of the Spiritual Archeology there are real treasures. The real task is to bring these treasures in contact with our individual experiences. The question is: how to bring the concepts in us to a new level through the study of Spiritual Archeology?
Talks with Agi 04/24/09 08:02 AM
This is an introduction to a series of Talks with Agi between Agnes Hidveghy and Reijo Oksanen. The idea is to go deeper into the Spiritual Archeology. I will try to explain what I mean and why we are talking. You, the reader, are invited to comment!
Just over five years ago Agi and I met for the first time (in 2004) in Bognor Regis, UK. We were there to take part in an All & Everything Conference to deliver talks on Art, more particularly on what Gurdjieff called Objective Art - an expression that is an essential part of the Spiritual Archeology as we see it. Since those times we have written more on the subject; these writings can be found in the following websites:
We feel now that it is time to concentrate on the Spiritual Archeology as there are new discoveries made in these five years. There are also many discoveries made already a long time ago, mainly by Agi.
About the Background
To go back to the beginning of how the world of pictures opened to Agi we have to start from the end of the fifties, early sixties. Agi had by then managed to escape from Budapest, Hungary, to Switzerland, where she arrived in 1957 with her husband, one year old baby daughter and her brother. The family settled in the Zurich area.
One of the neighbors was an elderly grandmother, who was looking after her grandchild, just a few months old baby, and they met each other in the park. Eventually it turned out that Mrs Reichstein, the grandmother, had a close contact with C. G. Jung and his longtime secretary Marie Louise Von Franz. Von Franz founded the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich. Without asking for it Agi was offered an analysis with Frau Reichstein, under the scrutiny of Miss M. L. Von Franz.
This was very lucky, as the young family from Hungary did not have much money and moreover the family was growing this year with another child. C. G. Jung was not very active any more and died in the Summer of 1961. Agi had the opportunity to go through the analysis. She also had a chance to listen to Miss M. L. Von Franz (1915-1998) at her lectures. To the lectures Von Franz came every time with her dog, dressed in what one could call a teacher's uniform. She was obviously lesbian with a strong Animus (masculine inner personality) and with a very fine intellect. I am here reminded how G. I. Gurdjieff had a lesbian group which he called The Rope (1935-1939 in Paris) consisting of intellectual and artistic women.
My interest in the Analytical Psychology of C. G. Jung has long, but very thin roots; I only read some of the books about Jung at the time Agi had her analysis. This eventually led to recently discovered books. Writing this I feel how right the Sufis are when they say, in the words of Ibn Arabi: ..the carrier of a knowledge is not an expert in it - rather, it is left in trust with him so that he is led to something else, 'like the donkey who carries sacred books' (Quran 62:5). The quote is from Ibn Arabi's first book Contemplation of the Holy Mysteries .
The book that gave me the final push to start working with dreams and Active Imagination was Robert A. Johnson's Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth
Having a Choice 04/25/09 01:46 PM
I am interested in this idea of having choices from the standpoint of the Gurdjieff work. Such as, I am typing into this entry but at the same time, I have set an aim, to sense my hands. But, of course, there are other things going on within me. Such as, there are these thoughts, there is music playing in my head, there is some irritation, and so on. And things come and go; it is dynamic. And my attention is pulled towards one thing or it is more global, aware of more things.
What is my relationship to this aim that I set and the other things going on within me? Of course, a part of me wants to be able to do and to keep my aim but that seems egotistical or at least it seems like there is identification there or something forced.
I am not really looking for answers. I am just trying to get to a place in myself where I can see these things and where there is a sense of freedom to be able to choose. And so, I suppose some patience is needed.
04/27/09 01:25 PM Having a Choice Part 2
In addition to patience, very closely related to that, I think what is needed is a feeling of appreciation. In developing my will, my being, my ability to stay here for a short while at a time, I need help from my functions especially my feelings.
Obviously, I need my mind to come up with things to try like having aims and along with that, associated ideas. And obviously, or perhaps not, I need my body to serve as the conduit in which the aim is kept, such as in the case of sensing of limbs, like that of my hands. The body is the bedrock, it is the basis for my work on myself.
But, it is becoming clearer to me, that what had been missing from my attempts before is the heart. By being appreciative of the body and its ability to take in impressions, both the outer such as that of the outside scenery that I see through a nearby window and inner such as that of the sensations from my body, this action has an incredible affect on my inner work.
I have no answers. I am not looking for answers. But by having the three centers (the mind, the body, and the heart) working together, in unison, towards a common goal, of keeping my aim in a moment, I get to stay longer (if I may be bold enough to say that) in the moment, seeing the choices in front of me, to be a witness.
Shadow by Hans Christian Andersen 04/28/09 05:48 AM
Hans Christian Andersen (1847)
In very hot climates, where the heat of the sun has great power, people are usually as brown as mahogany; and in the hottest countries they are negroes, with black skins. A learned man once travelled into one of these warm climates, from the cold regions of the north, and thought he would roam about as he did at home; but he soon had to change his opinion. He found that, like all sensible people, he must remain in the house during the whole day, with every window and door closed, so that it looked as if all in the house were asleep or absent. The houses of the narrow street in which he lived were so lofty that the sun shone upon them from morning till evening, and it became quite unbearable. This learned man from the cold regions was young as well as clever; but it seemed to him as if he were sitting in an oven, and he became quite exhausted and weak, and grew so thin that his shadow shrivelled up, and became much smaller than it had been at home. The sun took away even what was left of it, and he saw nothing of it till the evening, after sunset. It was really a pleasure, as soon as the lights were brought into the room, to see the shadow stretch itself against the wall, even to the ceiling, so tall was it; and it really wanted a good stretch to recover its strength. The learned man would sometimes go out into the balcony to stretch himself also; and as soon as the stars came forth in the clear, beautiful sky, he felt revived. People at this hour began to make their appearance in all the balconies in the street; for in warm climates every window has a balcony, in which they can breathe the fresh evening air, which is very necessary, even to those who are used to a heat that makes them as brown as mahogany; so that the street presented a very lively appearance. Here were shoemakers, and tailors, and all sorts of people sitting. In the street beneath, they brought out tables and chairs, lighted candles by hundreds, talked and sang, and were very merry. There were people walking, carriages driving, and mules trotting along, with their bells on the harness, “tingle, tingle,” as they went. Then the dead were carried to the grave with the sound of solemn music, and the tolling of the church bells. It was indeed a scene of varied life in the street. One house only, which was just opposite to the one in which the foreign learned man lived, formed a contrast to all this, for it was quite still; and yet somebody dwelt there, for flowers stood in the balcony, blooming beautifully in the hot sun; and this could not have been unless they had been watered carefully. Therefore some one must be in the house to do this. The doors leading to the balcony were half opened in the evening; and although in the front room all was dark, music could be heard from the interior of the house. The foreign learned man considered this music very delightful; but perhaps he fancied it; for everything in these warm countries pleased him, excepting the heat of the sun. The foreign landlord said he did not know who had taken the opposite house—nobody was to be seen there; and as to the music, he thought it seemed very tedious, to him most uncommonly so.
“It is just as if some one was practising a piece that he could not manage; it is always the same piece. He thinks, I suppose, that he will be able to manage it at last; but I do not think so, however long he may play it.”
Once the foreigner woke in the night. He slept with the door open which led to the balcony; the wind had raised the curtain before it, and there appeared a wonderful brightness over all in the balcony of the opposite house. The flowers seemed like flames of the most gorgeous colors, and among the flowers stood a beautiful slender maiden. It was to him as if light streamed from her, and dazzled his eyes; but then he had only just opened them, as he awoke from his sleep. With one spring he was out of bed, and crept softly behind the curtain. But she was gone—the brightness had disappeared; the flowers no longer appeared like flames, although still as beautiful as ever. The door stood ajar, and from an inner room sounded music so sweet and so lovely, that it produced the most enchanting thoughts, and acted on the senses with magic power. Who could live there? Where was the real entrance? for, both in the street and in the lane at the side, the whole ground floor was a continuation of shops; and people could not always be passing through them.
One evening the foreigner sat in the balcony. A light was burning in his own room, just behind him. It was quite natural, therefore, that his shadow should fall on the wall of the opposite house; so that, as he sat amongst the flowers on his balcony, when he moved, his shadow moved also.
“I think my shadow is the only living thing to be seen opposite,” said the learned man; “see how pleasantly it sits among the flowers. The door is only ajar; the shadow ought to be clever enough to step in and look about him, and then to come back and tell me what he has seen. You could make yourself useful in this way,” said he, jokingly; “be so good as to step in now, will you?” and then he nodded to the shadow, and the shadow nodded in return. “Now go, but don't stay away altogether.”
Then the foreigner stood up, and the shadow on the opposite balcony stood up also; the foreigner turned round, the shadow turned; and if any one had observed, they might have seen it go straight into the half-opened door of the opposite balcony, as the learned man re-entered his own room, and let the curtain fall. The next morning he went out to take his coffee and read the newspapers.
“How is this?” he exclaimed, as he stood in the sunshine. “I have lost my shadow. So it really did go away yesterday evening, and it has not returned. This is very annoying.”
And it certainly did vex him, not so much because the shadow was gone, but because he knew there was a story of a man without a shadow. All the people at home, in his country, knew this story; and when he returned, and related his own adventures, they would say it was only an imitation; and he had no desire for such things to be said of him. So he decided not to speak of it at all, which was a very sensible determination.
In the evening he went out again on his balcony, taking care to place the light behind him; for he knew that a shadow always wants his master for a screen; but he could not entice him out. He made himself little, and he made himself tall; but there was no shadow, and no shadow came. He said, “Hem, a-hem;” but it was all useless. That was very vexatious; but in warm countries everything grows very quickly; and, after a week had passed, he saw, to his great joy, that a new shadow was growing from his feet, when he walked in the sunshine; so that the root must have remained. After three weeks, he had quite a respectable shadow, which, during his return journey to northern lands, continued to grow, and became at last so large that he might very well have spared half of it. When this learned man arrived at home, he wrote books about the true, the good, and the beautiful, which are to be found in this world; and so days and years passed—many, many years.
One evening, as he sat in his study, a very gentle tap was heard at the door. “Come in,” said he; but no one came. He opened the door, and there stood before him a man so remarkably thin that he felt seriously troubled at his appearance. He was, however, very well dressed, and looked like a gentleman. “To whom have I the honor of speaking?” said he.
“Ah, I hoped you would recognize me,” said the elegant stranger; “I have gained so much that I have a body of flesh, and clothes to wear. You never expected to see me in such a condition. Do you not recognize your old shadow? Ah, you never expected that I should return to you again. All has been prosperous with me since I was with you last; I have become rich in every way, and, were I inclined to purchase my freedom from service, I could easily do so.” And as he spoke he rattled between his fingers a number of costly trinkets which hung to a thick gold watch-chain he wore round his neck. Diamond rings sparkled on his fingers, and it was all real.
“I cannot recover from my astonishment,” said the learned man. “What does all this mean?”
“Something rather unusual,” said the shadow; “but you are yourself an uncommon man, and you know very well that I have followed in your footsteps ever since your childhood. As soon as you found that I have travelled enough to be trusted alone, I went my own way, and I am now in the most brilliant circumstances. But I felt a kind of longing to see you once more before you die, and I wanted to see this place again, for there is always a clinging to the land of one's birth. I know that you have now another shadow; do I owe you anything? If so, have the goodness to say what it is.”
“No! Is it really you?” said the learned man. “Well, this is most remarkable; I never supposed it possible that a man's old shadow could become a human being.”
“Just tell me what I owe you,” said the shadow, “for I do not like to be in debt to any man.”
“How can you talk in that manner?” said the learned man. “What question of debt can there be between us? You are as free as any one. I rejoice exceedingly to hear of your good fortune. Sit down, old friend, and tell me a little of how it happened, and what you saw in the house opposite to me while we were in those hot climates.”
“Yes, I will tell you all about it,” said the shadow, sitting down; “but then you must promise me never to tell in this city, wherever you may meet me, that I have been your shadow. I am thinking of being married, for I have more than sufficient to support a family.”
“Make yourself quite easy,” said the learned man; “I will tell no one who you really are. Here is my hand,—I promise, and a word is sufficient between man and man.”
“Between man and a shadow,” said the shadow; for he could not help saying so.
It was really most remarkable how very much he had become a man in appearance. He was dressed in a suit of the very finest black cloth, polished boots, and an opera crush hat, which could be folded together so that nothing could be seen but the crown and the rim, besides the trinkets, the gold chain, and the diamond rings already spoken of. The shadow was, in fact, very well dressed, and this made a man of him. “Now I will relate to you what you wish to know,” said the shadow, placing his foot with the polished leather boot as firmly as possible on the arm of the new shadow of the learned man, which lay at his feet like a poodle dog. This was done, it might be from pride, or perhaps that the new shadow might cling to him, but the prostrate shadow remained quite quiet and at rest, in order that it might listen, for it wanted to know how a shadow could be sent away by its master, and become a man itself. “Do you know,” said the shadow, “that in the house opposite to you lived the most glorious creature in the world? It was poetry. I remained there three weeks, and it was more like three thousand years, for I read all that has ever been written in poetry or prose; and I may say, in truth, that I saw and learnt everything.”
“Poetry!” exclaimed the learned man. “Yes, she lives as a hermit in great cities. Poetry! Well, I saw her once for a very short moment, while sleep weighed down my eyelids. She flashed upon me from the balcony like the radiant aurora borealis, surrounded with flowers like flames of fire. Tell me, you were on the balcony that evening; you went through the door, and what did you see?”
“I found myself in an ante-room,” said the shadow. “You still sat opposite to me, looking into the room. There was no light, or at least it seemed in partial darkness, for the door of a whole suite of rooms stood open, and they were brilliantly lighted. The blaze of light would have killed me, had I approached too near the maiden myself, but I was cautious, and took time, which is what every one ought to do.”
“And what didst thou see?” asked the learned man.
“I saw everything, as you shall hear. But—it really is not pride on my part, as a free man and possessing the knowledge that I do, besides my position, not to speak of my wealth—I wish you would say you to me instead of thou.”
“I beg your pardon,” said the learned man; “it is an old habit, which it is difficult to break. You are quite right; I will try to think of it. But now tell me everything that you saw.”
“Everything,” said the shadow; “for I saw and know everything.”
“What was the appearance of the inner rooms?” asked the scholar. “Was it there like a cool grove, or like a holy temple? Were the chambers like a starry sky seen from the top of a high mountain?”
“It was all that you describe,” said the shadow; “but I did not go quite in—I remained in the twilight of the ante-room—but I was in a very good position,—I could see and hear all that was going on in the court of poetry.”
“But what did you see? Did the gods of ancient times pass through the rooms? Did old heroes fight their battles over again? Were there lovely children at play, who related their dreams?”
“I tell you I have been there, and therefore you may be sure that I saw everything that was to be seen. If you had gone there, you would not have remained a human being, whereas I became one; and at the same moment I became aware of my inner being, my inborn affinity to the nature of poetry. It is true I did not think much about it while I was with you, but you will remember that I was always much larger at sunrise and sunset, and in the moonlight even more visible than yourself, but I did not then understand my inner existence. In the ante-room it was revealed to me. I became a man; I came out in full maturity. But you had left the warm countries. As a man, I felt ashamed to go about without boots or clothes, and that exterior finish by which man is known. So I went my own way; I can tell you, for you will not put it in a book. I hid myself under the cloak of a cake woman, but she little thought who she concealed. It was not till evening that I ventured out. I ran about the streets in the moonlight. I drew myself up to my full height upon the walls, which tickled my back very pleasantly. I ran here and there, looked through the highest windows into the rooms, and over the roofs. I looked in, and saw what nobody else could see, or indeed ought to see; in fact, it is a bad world, and I would not care to be a man, but that men are of some importance. I saw the most miserable things going on between husbands and wives, parents and children,—sweet, incomparable children. I have seen what no human being has the power of knowing, although they would all be very glad to know—the evil conduct of their neighbors. Had I written a newspaper, how eagerly it would have been read! Instead of which, I wrote directly to the persons themselves, and great alarm arose in all the town I visited. They had so much fear of me, and yet how dearly they loved me. The professor made me a professor. The tailor gave me new clothes; I am well provided for in that way. The overseer of the mint struck coins for me. The women declared that I was handsome, and so I became the man you now see me. And now I must say adieu. Here is my card. I live on the sunny side of the street, and always stay at home in rainy weather.” And the shadow departed.
“This is all very remarkable,” said the learned man.
Years passed, days and years went by, and the shadow came again. “How are you going on now?” he asked.
“Ah!” said the learned man; “I am writing about the true, the beautiful, and the good; but no one cares to hear anything about it. I am quite in despair, for I take it to heart very much.”
“That is what I never do,” said the shadow; “I am growing quite fat and stout, which every one ought to be. You do not understand the world; you will make yourself ill about it; you ought to travel; I am going on a journey in the summer, will you go with me? I should like a travelling companion; will you travel with me as my shadow? It would give me great pleasure, and I will pay all expenses.”
“Are you going to travel far?” asked the learned man.
“That is a matter of opinion,” replied the shadow. “At all events, a journey will do you good, and if you will be my shadow, then all your journey shall be paid.”
“It appears to me very absurd,” said the learned man.
“But it is the way of the world,” replied the shadow, “and always will be.” Then he went away.
Everything went wrong with the learned man. Sorrow and trouble pursued him, and what he said about the good, the beautiful, and the true, was of as much value to most people as a nutmeg would be to a cow. At length he fell ill. “You really look like a shadow,” people said to him, and then a cold shudder would pass over him, for he had his own thoughts on the subject.
“You really ought to go to some watering-place,” said the shadow on his next visit. “There is no other chance for you. I will take you with me, for the sake of old acquaintance. I will pay the expenses of your journey, and you shall write a description of it to amuse us by the way. I should like to go to a watering-place; my beard does not grow as it ought, which is from weakness, and I must have a beard. Now do be sensible and accept my proposal; we shall travel as intimate friends.”
And at last they started together. The shadow was master now, and the master became the shadow. They drove together, and rode and walked in company with each other, side by side, or one in front and the other behind, according to the position of the sun. The shadow always knew when to take the place of honor, but the learned man took no notice of it, for he had a good heart, and was exceedingly mild and friendly.
One day the master said to the shadow, “We have grown up together from our childhood, and now that we have become travelling companions, shall we not drink to our good fellowship, and say thee and thou to each other?”
“What you say is very straightforward and kindly meant,” said the shadow, who was now really master. “I will be equally kind and straightforward. You are a learned man, and know how wonderful human nature is. There are some men who cannot endure the smell of brown paper; it makes them ill. Others will feel a shuddering sensation to their very marrow, if a nail is scratched on a pane of glass. I myself have a similar kind of feeling when I hear any one say thou to me. I feel crushed by it, as I used to feel in my former position with you. You will perceive that this is a matter of feeling, not pride. I cannot allow you to say thouthou. / to me; I will gladly say it to you, and therefore your wish will be half fulfilled.” Then the shadow addressed his former master as
“It is going rather too far,” said the latter, “that I am to say you when I speak to him, and he is to say thou to me.” However, he was obliged to submit.
They arrived at length at the baths, where there were many strangers, and among them a beautiful princess, whose real disease consisted in being too sharp-sighted, which made every one very uneasy. She saw at once that the new comer was very different to every one else. “They say he is here to make his beard grow,” she thought; “but I know the real cause, he is unable to cast a shadow.” Then she became very curious on the matter, and one day, while on the promenade, she entered into conversation with the strange gentleman. Being a princess, she was not obliged to stand upon much ceremony, so she said to him without hesitation, “Your illness consists in not being able to cast a shadow.”
“Your royal highness must be on the high road to recovery from your illness,” said he. “I know your complaint arose from being too sharp-sighted, and in this case it has entirely failed. I happen to have a most unusual shadow. Have you not seen a person who is always at my side? Persons often give their servants finer cloth for their liveries than for their own clothes, and so I have dressed out my shadow like a man; nay, you may observe that I have even given him a shadow of his own; it is rather expensive, but I like to have things about me that are peculiar.”
“How is this?” thought the princess; “am I really cured? This must be the best watering-place in existence. Water in our times has certainly wonderful power. But I will not leave this place yet, just as it begins to be amusing. This foreign prince—for he must be a prince—pleases me above all things. I only hope his beard won't grow, or he will leave at once.”
In the evening, the princess and the shadow danced together in the large assembly rooms. She was light, but he was lighter still; she had never seen such a dancer before. She told him from what country she had come, and found he knew it and had been there, but not while she was at home. He had looked into the windows of her father's palace, both the upper and the lower windows; he had seen many things, and could therefore answer the princess, and make allusions which quite astonished her. She thought he must be the cleverest man in all the world, and felt the greatest respect for his knowledge. When she danced with him again she fell in love with him, which the shadow quickly discovered, for she had with her eyes looked him through and through. They danced once more, and she was nearly telling him, but she had some discretion; she thought of her country, her kingdom, and the number of people over whom she would one day have to rule. “He is a clever man,” she thought to herself, “which is a good thing, and he dances admirably, which is also good. But has he well-grounded knowledge? that is an important question, and I must try him.” Then she asked him a most difficult question, she herself could not have answered it, and the shadow made a most unaccountable grimace.
“You cannot answer that,” said the princess.
“I learnt something about it in my childhood,” he replied; “and believe that even my very shadow, standing over there by the door, could answer it.”
“Your shadow,” said the princess; “indeed that would be very remarkable.”
“I do not say so positively,” observed the shadow; “but I am inclined to believe that he can do so. He has followed me for so many years, and has heard so much from me, that I think it is very likely. But your royal highness must allow me to observe, that he is very proud of being considered a man, and to put him in a good humor, so that he may answer correctly, he must be treated as a man.”
“I shall be very pleased to do so,” said the princess. So she walked up to the learned man, who stood in the doorway, and spoke to him of the sun, and the moon, of the green forests, and of people near home and far off; and the learned man conversed with her pleasantly and sensibly.
“What a wonderful man he must be, to have such a clever shadow!” thought she. “If I were to choose him it would be a real blessing to my country and my subjects, and I will do it.” So the princess and the shadow were soon engaged to each other, but no one was to be told a word about it, till she returned to her kingdom.
“No one shall know,” said the shadow; “not even my own shadow;” and he had very particular reasons for saying so.
After a time, the princess returned to the land over which she reigned, and the shadow accompanied her.
“Listen my friend,” said the shadow to the learned man; “now that I am as fortunate and as powerful as any man can be, I will do something unusually good for you. You shall live in my palace, drive with me in the royal carriage, and have a hundred thousand dollars a year; but you must allow every one to call you a shadow, and never venture to say that you have been a man. And once a year, when I sit in my balcony in the sunshine, you must lie at my feet as becomes a shadow to do; for I must tell you I am going to marry the princess, and our wedding will take place this evening.”
“Now, really, this is too ridiculous,” said the learned man. “I cannot, and will not, submit to such folly. It would be cheating the whole country, and the princess also. I will disclose everything, and say that I am the man, and that you are only a shadow dressed up in men's clothes.”
“No one would beleive you,” said the shadow; “be reasonable, now, or I will call the guards.”
“I will go straight to the princess,” said the learned man.
“But I shall be there first,” replied the shadow, “and you will be sent to prison.” And so it turned out, for the guards readily obeyed him, as they knew he was going to marry the king's daughter.
“You tremble,” said the princess, when the shadow appeared before her. “Has anything happened? You must not be ill to-day, for this evening our wedding will take place.”
“I have gone through the most terrible affair that could possibly happen,” said the shadow; “only imagine, my shadow has gone mad; I suppose such a poor, shallow brain, could not bear much; he fancies that he has become a real man, and that I am his shadow.”
“How very terrible,” cried the princess; “is he locked up?”
“Oh yes, certainly; for I fear he will never recover.”
“Poor shadow!” said the princess; “it is very unfortunate for him; it would really be a good deed to free him from his frail existence; and, indeed, when I think how often people take the part of the lower class against the higher, in these days, it would be policy to put him out of the way quietly.”
“It is certainly rather hard upon him, for he was a faithful servant,” said the shadow; and he pretended to sigh.
“Yours is a noble character,” said the princess, and bowed herself before him.
In the evening the whole town was illuminated, and cannons fired “boom,” and the soldiers presented arms. It was indeed a grand wedding. The princess and the shadow stepped out on the balcony to show themselves, and to receive one cheer more. But the learned man heard nothing of all these festivities, for he had already been executed.
Having a Choice Part 3 04/28/09 12:00 PM
Let's go back to the beginning. What does it mean to have a choice? Well, simply put, it means being in a state in which the impressions are in front of me and I am aware of them. And further, it means (I think) that I have decided on a course of action (of paying attention to one or more of these impressions) but have not yet acted on it. And why is this important, to discuss what having a choice means?
I think it is important because generally (most of the time), there is no place in me for making a choice. I simply react; I act on an impulse or I don't like something and I become negative. Or I have associative thinking in my head. And without this stepping back to a less reactive place in me, it is difficult to be “awake” to the present moment.
Inner Work as a Business 05/05/09 01:44 PM
I have been interested lately in this idea of working on myself just like a business. And I am interested in this idea because lately it seems that my life has become more complicated due to external pressures and external obligations; and it seems that I needed to become more organized in order to get things done in life as well as to have some inner space and inner freedom for my own self to exist. Basically, I just felt a lot of pressure from external sources and I needed to deal with it in an efficient manner; and yet I wanted to have some inner freedom at the same time.
But I think this idea also works when I do actually have free time as well because I generally waste it on my habits such as surfing the Internet for current events or sports or something like that. And unless it is really necessary, I am not trying to maximize my time. I am just trying to use this idea of running my inner world as a business to help me to work on myself. Such as, I ask myself whether it is useful to surf the Internet. And I look inwardly. What are the choices in front of me? Can I choose to not surf the Internet? And I don't need to stop myself from surfing the Internet but I wish to have a pause in the moment; to see that I have choices.
Or if I am involved with my life related tasks such as in my office, can I be more collected inwardly at the same time? Such as, I just printed something to my printer, and I am about to walk to retrieve it; I see there is music playing in my head. Can I be more still in my head? Do I see that I have a choice?
Again, I am not trying to be an efficient expert; I am not trying to fix myself nor to be critical of myself or judge myself if it doesn't work. That is, although I could be wrong, I envision efficient experts as people who are identified with being efficient. That is, there is nothing in them that is separated from this process. I am just trying to use this idea of being efficient as a way to see myself; for it to be alive for me as an idea - as an alarm clock - to see what is possible and what is actually my situation. And if I do become more efficient in the process such as by becoming more still inwardly or by getting more things done in life, all the better!
Not Throwing Out the Baby With Bathwater 05/12/09 12:32 PM
I would like to talk about the phrase, not throwing out the baby with the bathwater. What does the phrase mean, in the Gurdjieff sense? From an on-line dictionary, the commonly accepted definition is something like, not discarding what is useful when discarding waste. From the Gurdjieff sense, I think the term refers to an emotional attitude in which whatever I am experiencing is not judged, rejected, denied, criticized, and so forth.
The funny thing is, it felt like I was straining (just a short while ago), in trying to figure out what to write for this blog. It just felt like I was trying too hard. And then right after that, it just felt like, something dropped and I felt more free. And I was more aware of my environment, sitting in my cubicle, in my office, as I was typing into this keyboard.
Then, does this phrase, not throwing out the baby with the bathwater have something to do with trying too hard? I think so. I think it is connected with the previous ideas that I have talked about, such as about this idea of having a choice. I think that if I can get to this place in myself in which I am freer, then I am able to appreciate whatever I find in myself; instead of being too hard on myself.
I think the difference between working on myself and not working myself is very slight. Just a short while ago, there was music playing in my head and there was an irritation at it. And something tried to stop it - forcefully. And that felt like this idea of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Just a short while later after this experiencing, there was a change in attitude. I think it was helped by an idea that it is okay not to know. That is, I don't know what is useful and what will work and what will not. And actually, not knowing is a great state to be in because most of the time, I convince myself that I know what I am doing; when in reality, I probably don't. And so, why not take advantage of that? Why not accept the fact that I don't know? Why do I need to rush to get to someplace?
Touching Negative and Other Emotions 05/14/09 11:18 AM
Today I started to talk; I have been having a cold, the first one for almost three years - I thought something was wrong with me, but I feel OK now, the proof of it is that I still get colds just as before! It has been and continues to be a strong cleaning process, most of it happening on the inside of my body, including work on myself.
Reijo: I have a strong suspicion that Ouspensky put into Gurdjieff's mouth many things that he never said or did not mean in the way they are written in In Search . One of them is the expression of negative emotions. I know it says in the book that self-observation and self-study must be accompanied by the struggle against the expression of negative emotions. For me this does not look at all right today.
Agi: You are partly right; it is so that in the beginning, without experience of working on oneself, to enable us to see emotions working in us it is a help when one tries not to express them.
Reijo: The other day we talked about emotions and I came with the observation that my emotions are very much connected and tied up with the body, they seem to work very closely together. Not a very novel idea when I remember that the carriage is tied to the horse. You then...
Agi: Yes, come and see (showing me the first wall of the fresco in Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii) - this is how it is shown 2000 years ago. Just as you said the body and emotions are closely connected to each other. It is only much later when some transformation has taken place that we can see them as separate, when emotions have become independent from the body. This can happen when instead of the body the emotions are joined with knowledge Then we are no longer compelled to use the energy of anger, which is originally pure, in its transformed form when it changes to aggression.
Tsögyam Trungpa expressed this in a very clear way in saying how emotions are pure at origin; they only become problematic when they are misused and become secondary emotions by getting mixed up with other, negative (habitual) emotions, which act like parasites. Then the energy is often used in a way that has nothing to do with the original emotion; this is generally what happens. Reijo: It is often said in psychological texts that the essence of a human being is emotional. The higher animals have also their emotions. As long as our emotions are tied up with the body we are like the animals. Agi: This is very exactly expressed in the frescos, how the result of the process is that emotions are shown separate from the body. This is possible after the new body has been built. This body can survive the death of the physical body. Reijo: I was a bit in pain recently (i.e. I sensed the pain in my body) and I could see clearly that when I can bear the pain in the body and keep my emotions out of it then the pain is fairly easy to bear. But if I start promoting my feelings about the pain it becomes soon unbearable. Agi: That is it - you see, intentional suffering would also become impossible if the suffering emotions would be attached to the body - we would become ill at any suffering. Without some substance it will not succeed. What did Gurdjieff say: To know you will have to suffer, you will have to suffer for a million Francs. But as you are you can not suffer enough for one Franc.
Not Throwing Out the Baby With the Bathwater Part 2 05/15/09 03:41 PM
I read an interesting quote from the Franklin Planner yesterday. It goes, Happiness is always a by-product... But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness. -Robertson Davies
I am reminded of Kristina's article on Easter Sunday Mass in which she talked about the lion, the lamb, and Christ. For me, these days, I see sometimes that the loud parts of me predominate and they drown out the part of me that I want to be here. For me, the essential part of my work on myself is to try to be inwardly quiet so that this part of me which is the part that is witnessing can appear. It seems that this part that is witnessing appears when there is relative calm in me. I suppose it is like the lamb in that the slightest disturbance by the noisy parts in me, just like the lion, seems to drive it away. Even as I am typing this, somebody walks past me, by my desk, and this part of me disappears. It is very shy. Somebody just talked to me about something related to my job and this part disappeared and I became the personality, the lion.
What is my responsibility in all of this? What is my role, the part that is between the lower, the lion, and the higher, the lamb? I see my situation, sometimes more clearly and most of the time, just vaguely, but still aware, or at least theoretically. Obviously, I need patience. I need to forgive myself because I judge myself too harshly and unfairly. I need to appreciate the efforts I make even if they seem miniscule. And if I am more clear-headed, I see that my situation is like that of not throwing out the baby with the bathwater. There is something valuable there even if it mostly seems like a situation in which I have no control, in which I seem to be reacting to life, in which my habits like my impulses seem to dictate everything. What is valuable in all of this? Is there, as the quote by Robertson Davies suggests, some kind of treasure from my brand of unhappiness? Is it a matter of seeing the glass as being half full rather than half empty? Does my attitude matter? I am reminded of a quote from Christ, which goes something like, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
The Squirrel 05/15/09 03:09 AM
We have had the company of one to three squirrels visiting our terrace over the past winter. They have specialized in stealing the food we put out for the small birds. Agi has been very tough with them and chased them away; I thought it would have been interesting to see if they can become so tame that they would eat from our hands, like the squirrels in many parks do. However, these are wild animals with special characteristics and they will not tame easy.
Reijo: This morning waking up I saw a picture, not a dream, just a picture of a cat playing with a squirrel and killing it.
Agi: What was the cat like?
Reijo: It looked quite non-violent, not to say peaceful. In fact not unlike Perseus in the statue of Benvenuto Cellini holding the head of Medusa in his hand. I wonder why you placed this picture on your bookshelf?
Agi: I will tell you more about Cellini in a moment, because I like this statue. It is about to be in service, to be able to fulfill a task without being involved in it. It is human strength in beauty!
My experience this morning is related to your picture of the cat and the squirrel. When I got up I realized something about you. As you recall we talked yesterday about emotions (see block entry Touching Negative and Other Emotions ): I saw this morning what your genuine pure emotion is often like. It is an expression of the denying force: a pure no . Let us say as an example that you are working on something that you want to do, like editing a web site, and you happen to push the wrong button. This causes an emotion to rise in you and the most typical one is no! I will not have this! What really happens then?
The squirrel enters between the first force (I want...) and the second force (no!). It becomes the third force! It climbs from down below to your head. The result of this is that your thinking takes over the feeling and starts use its energy: shouting, running away, surfing on the internet. In other words you are then running around and up and down like a squirrel totally identified with it! You should become the third force and not the squirrel!
Reijo: How can my emotion be so negative! I have also other genuine and pure emotions!
Agi: Yes of course you have; I am talking of your negative emotions that you are so alive with, but do not see it yourself. For us all emotions are what make us alive . When we are experiencing an emotion we are truly living ! You have an aim and in your male fashion you go towards it like a ray of light, your affirming force. You then hit the wall and end up in the denying emotion. Just remember that if you can not recognize the Holy Denying force it will turn into a dragon with a thousand heads .
This brings me back to the story of Perseus and Cellini. You know he was active in Florence, but he also had an amazing life with travels and plots to poison him etc. (I can recommend his autobiography for interesting reading.) He was a remarkable man!
Perseus can be said to have been his masterpiece. In 1545 the Duke of Florence, Cosimo I, said that he wanted as Cellini's first work for him. Cellini was sure he could do a better statue than most, perhaps even better than Donatello or Michelangelo. Cellini made a model and set to work. When in the end all was set to pour the bronze into the mould he found out that there was not at all enough bronze for the whole statue! He then commanded all the bronze items in his workshop to be melted together and in this way, in spite of the different mixtures, the statue was set. (The final work and the small model can be seen today in Bargello Museum
When I saw this statue for the first time it hit me. The beauty, the strength, the dignity, without emotions! Medusa represents the emotions. Look at the face of Perseus - it shows perfect tranquillity, even humility at the execution of his task of beheading Medusa. To be able to do it he had been given the polished shield of Pallas Athene, in which he could see the Gorgon, as looking at her directly would have made him loose himself. The Gods were on his side - he got away with the winged sandals of Hermes.
He raises the head of Medusa with his strong left arm well above his head, showing respect. The negative female energy is recognized by him; the sarifice is made visible!
Perhaps I should add that Perseus (human) is the incarnation of Mercury (God). The female aspect of Mercury is Pallas Athene (also God). All these three are in charge of communication.
P.S. We are next talking about Perseus without the squirrel! Meanwhile here is a reference to a short capture of the story:PerseusEncyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online.
Not Throwing Out the Baby With the Bathwater Part 3 05/18/09 11:55 AM
I feel a little sluggish right now (sitting in my cubicle, in my office, entering into the computer), right now being a Monday morning, and my body not being used to the weekday routine yet; and so I write, to try to wake myself up. And it is amazing to me, with this mindset, of committing myself to waking up, how I view my negativities and frictions. Now, I view them as my friends, as something that I need. I need my negativities and my frictions. I need them to help me to wake up.
And while I struggle with the lethargy in my body this Monday morning, I would like to talk about the body and sensations. I had a talk with my friends yesterday and one of them mentioned the apparent paradox about overcoming the body, in terms of its inertia such as wishing to sleep (in the first state) in the morning, and yet, we need the body, as an ally, in terms of providing us with the stable support, such as the impressions of the body - the sensations.
I think the sensations of the body, such as the tingling sensations of my fingers as I type into the keyboard, just like other things that I notice, are useful only if I have an intention of working on myself. If I don't have any intention, then the sensations of my body are not meaningful.
But going back to sensations, there is a big difference between the tingling sensations of my fingers or my facial muscles and of the other things I notice such as music playing in my head. And really the big difference to me, as I think it is mentioned in the book, Toward Awakening by Jean Vaysee, is that generally these sensations are neutral. That is, when I hear music playing in my head, such as I am hearing this music from a movie I saw recently, called Yes Man (which by the way is a great title and certainly touches on an important aspect of work on oneself - being active as contrasted to being passive or reactive - but the movie is not really that), some parts of me naturally get irritated by that, and I suppose other parts actually like it. And so, I react to some impressions and to others, I don't really have an opinion on, such as impressions of my body, like the sensations. And because I am neutral, in the sense of not reacting to these impressions (unless I am at a dentist's and my mouth is hurting - or at least the sensation is quite intense - or my body is ill from a cold or a flu), I can use my body for work; for me, mainly to set an aim, such as to sense my feet for a specific time, such as for 5 minutes.
Anyway, going back to the idea of not throwing out the baby with the bathwater; with the help of something stable and neutral, like the sensation of my feet (in that specific moment), I am grateful for the irritations in my life, such as that of the negative reactions from the music playing in my head. The sensations, by my trying to keep my aim, help me to separate from the not-so-neutral impressions and help me to stay in the moment.
I wish to write my post without thinking too much about it. That is, I wish to be spontaneous and write what is on my mind in a given moment. I find that if I think too much about it, it seems stale and too conjured up. And it loses its freshness as well as its meaning. And I am in an interesting place in myself; I am not sure what to write about. And so, I suppose in a Zen sort of way, I write about what is happening to me right now, and that is, I don't know what to write about.
I have run out of ideas to write about and yet, taking this blog-writing seriously, I wish to treat this state that I am in, as far as not having ideas, respectfully. And so, I wish to write about myself, in my frame of mind, in this instance, of what is happening to me, now. I am sitting down in my dining room, typing into my laptop, with my eyes aware of the room and the scenery outside my windows, of parked cars and of passing cars and people.
Who is writing this blog? Who am I? And who is writing this blog the same as I ? I think that is why I need to write in order to get to these types of questions which seem the simplest and yet, perhaps the most difficult to answer. In a way, it seems like the blog-writing has a life of its own, and I am here to fulfill a role, as a writer. And so, in fulflling this role as a writer, I wish to do it as well as I could, with respect for the task. But after that, do I personally get anything out of it? And, of course, for possible readers, do they get anything out reading it?
05/24/09 02:17 AM
Bird's Nest 05/24/09 02:45 AM
These two past weeks or so, some small birds in my neighborhood have been trying to build a nest next to the patio light next to my backyard door (please see the pictures below). At first, I wasn't sure what the birds were trying to do because at the beginning, it seemed like when I came home from work, there would be some clumps of grass and twigs lodged next to the patio light. And I would dutifully remove these materials from the patio light. But the birds were very persistent and everytime I would remove them, they were back at it the following day and would continue with their work, undeterred by my meddling.
Finally, after a week or more of this back-and-forth contest between me and the birds, I just gave up. I let them build their nest by the patio light. And a few days ago, when I opened the backyard door to go to work, I was greeted by these birds next to the nest and they were startled and they were flying close to me, as a warning, it seemed. They were not happy with the disturbance. However, although I felt somewhat guilty with the intrusion, it seemed that there was nothing I nor my family could do about the situation. And I think it was two days ago that my wife told me that before she went to work, it appeared to her that there were a whole bunch of small birds around the bird's nest and the two principle birds, the male and the female, seemed happy.
However, when I came home that day, there were no birds around the bird's nest. I looked at the area carefully and I saw that there was one broken bird's egg by the ground next to the door. I figured that the birds left because the egg had broken - perhaps due to the precariousness of the bird's nest - or the poor location - by the patio light (due to people going in and out). Anyway, today, my wife asked me to change the light because it had gone out. And I had to remove the bird's nest and it didn't bother me because the birds had left. When I removed the bird's nest, I found one egg left there and so, I took a picture. I suppose because of the location with people coming in and out, the birds were disturbed, and left.
It is amazing to me that nature is such that the animals, like us, human beings, have this ritual of building a home and providing for the young; to continue the propogation of the species. And as human beings, we share this instinct with the other animals, given to us by Great Nature.
Birth of 'I' 05/24/09 04:43 AM
If I look at birth with my ordinary mind, looking back at my own births, I could say that it was unbearably painful and massively exhausting. But my ordinary mind sees only dully, coldly and puts nothing in its proper context, where it is the rightful part of a much bigger whole. So it is with birthing. What actually happened during my births could be observed from outside as a woman in increasing pain and labour, sweating, being sick, defecating and eventually pushing out a healthy baby.
But there is a whole other side to the experience which I wish to address, the inner experience which has the potential to affect me in a way so fundamental that my life can be transformed by it. In comparison to this inner revelation that is possible during birth, the outer, bodily experiences wither. The “pain” is not experienced as “pain” because it is possible to be taken out of my normal state, the state where I experience pain as discomfort. It is possible to become temporarily free from being only the sum total of the experiences of my physical body. My physical body does its work and experiences certain responses to stimuli, but I am not as attached to it as usual. The experience then becomes one of overwhelming force, rather than pain. The “effort” is not really effort, because I am taken out of my usual state where I wish to avoid effort. This is possible during birth and is one of the sacred initiation experiences possible for all women.
Our abnormal living conditions mean that this no longer happens naturally, by itself. It requires preparation.
If I remain as I am, my real self covered in the stuff I have learned since childhood about what the body is and how to relate to it, if I believe that birth is painful, bloody and a necessary evil, then that is what it will be. The potential birthing experience is truly great, a time out of time when a woman's body is allowed to become a vessel for forces infinitely greater than her and the veil is lifted so that she may see, for a moment, the mysteries beyond time, death and birth.
This is not something that I can just expect to happen by itself. We are the product of conditioning, upbringing and education and our experiences will be accordingly: according to what we expect. What I can do is to prepare my body and psyche for experiencing something beyond my unstated expectations, the invisible assumptions through which my experience flows and finds its channels in the old well-worn grooves. Then, after I have mapped what I am now, perhaps, something new and infinitely greater may enter my world.
Human Experience of Everyday Living 06/25/09 02:37 PM
What does it mean to be a human being? What does it mean to feel what we experience on a daily basis as well as on special occasions such as one's marriage, birth of one's children, one's graduation, and so forth? But mostly, what I would like to know is what it means to experience the same feelings over and over again on a daily basis for seemingly forever and ever; to have the same reactions over and over again to the same circumstances in my life or to the same manifestations in me. Does it mean anything? Or is it just noise that signifies nothing? Do these repeated experiences mean anything? Or do even the special circumstances like that of one's marriage mean anything?
And I am not looking for answers. But if there are answers, I think the direction of approach, of enquiry would be towards appreciating these experiences, even if they seem awfully tedious or meaningless. Because my life goes by too fast. I am approaching 50 years of age and what does it mean? In a way, our life, from birth to death, goes in a flash, and it is over. What does it mean? And I don't mean in a religious sense. I mean more in an existential sense. And so, with my life going by so fast, and seemingly faster and faster as I age, can I embrace my experiences?
Mostly, I pick and choose. I like some experiences like that of going on vacations - and even there, only a small portion. And mostly, I reject or discard most experiences as being dull or repulsive or irritating or insignificant. And in the meantime, I look towards the future when I might get a lightning bolt of some confirmation of some meaning in my life. John Lennon wrote, “Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans.” I agree with that.
And so, can these dull or irritating experiences like the music playing in my head or standing in a checkout line at a grocery store or being stuck in traffic or feeling annoyed with one's spouse or with one's children be used for something? How do I appreciate these moments?
The Inner Octave 05/29/09 01:11 PM
I would like to say before I talk about this topic that I feel fortunate to have concepts like the inner octave available to me and that I don't really know much about it but I will try my best to talk about it. This idea like other ideas, as mentioned in a book like In Search of the Miraculous, is like a pointer, pointing in a certain direction, and not really intended to result in an answer.
The idea of the inner octave feels like an experiential quality rather than something intellectual to me, right now. It feels like it is connected with the experience of time and of experiencing freedom. It is connected with the idea of having choices and the idea of not throwing out the baby with the bathwater. It feels like finding something small in me that can penetrate the large objects, both external and internal in me. And it is being so small that nothing external nor internal can bother me. It feels like being deep in the ocean where it is very calm even while the surface is agitated by a storm.
Perhaps some practical examples might help. Music is playing in my head. But I don't need to become agitated about this because between the notes, there is a vast space, a vast stillness, and I am just there. Or, I am about to eat a candy. There is a slight disturbance at that in me because eating candy is not healthy. But I find something quiet in me and from there, I feel a vastness of space and time. Between holding the candy in my fingers and puttting it in my mouth, there is a vast amount of time. And so, there is a feeling of freedom; and the feeling of guilt is not there. And I put the candy in my mouth.
And in between writing these ideas down into this blog, while these thoughts are churning in my head, I pause, and I am here, in this moment, in this stillness, with my body, in this room, and the sounds of the air circulating in the room.
And I am not interested in finding answers because if I find an answer, I will be satisfied with that and I'll be stuck there, fossilized. If anything, I am looking to experience reality, to penetrate deeper into the present moment, and to become smaller, to escape the entrapment of my mind and of my feelings. And for that, I need my body, I need the sensations from my body, to balance myself out.
And I need the distractions like music playing, the thoughts in my head, the daydreaming, the impulses from my body, and the feelings that are circulating in me because otherwise there would be no wish in me to look for this quiet place in me or to become so small that things don't bother me. There would be no wish in me to realize that I am not these things.
Weakening Emotional Patterns of the Past 06/03/09 09:47 AM
Reijo: I was wondering what really happens within when I get carried away inside. For example: recently the German finance minister Herr Steinbruch has mixed very much of his emotions to the message he is delivering to his colleagues in the EU in relation to the bank secrecy in Switzerland. He has called the Swiss red Indians and behaved in a manner unbecoming to a man in his position; I have nicknamed him a cowboy and although I am not Swiss I get quite excited and this goes on in me. I sometimes muse with the idea what I could do to attack this man in the public, perhaps by writing to a newspaper or something similar. In other words I get carried away and criticise him although there is no reason for me acting like this. Why does this happen to me and why do I like getting involved in these emotions? Why do I react?
Agi: It is a very profound question because behind it is the situation that our life is much more reaction than action. We react: if someone is nice towards us then we are also nice and if somebody is not so, but is crazy or stupid, has no understanding or respect towards us and is not kind, then we react immediately at the same level with the same vibrations as the opponent . We take over the energy of the other, positive or negative. We learn this way of behavior already as a child and react with these emotional patterns. This way of emotional functioning becomes chrystallised in us.
Agi on the boat from Londe towards the island of Porquerolles
What is chrystallised is so powerful that it demands more and more food for itself. This is your beautiful story that you like so much by H. C. Andersen called the Shadow . The meaning of the story about the shadow is exactly this: how the unreal shadow can take over the main role in our life and live our life instead of ourselves!
This beautiful story shows one aspect of our inner situation. We need to see what is happening in us every moment with new eyes. The idea is not to find new things and see them with the old eyes. Otherwise we never get out of the things we have only half understood.
What we could do instead is what the Japanese Martial Art uses: to take the energy of the opposition and use it for our own benefit. In other words not to go against something, but use the force directed to us and and then give it back in its transformed form. This is the meaning of turning the other cheek - one should not show the same cheek, but another face. To show the same cheek is to give back the way we received, i.e. to react; someone shouts and I start shouting back.
Reijo: That is interesting; what is in the New Testament is to turn the other cheek . To return another face has a lot more meaning. I have also thought that it means to let the other person hit once more, but on the other cheek. I wonder what the original Greek expression is?
Agi: Anyway it makes no sense that the other side of your face should also get a slap and that is why you should turn it towards the opposition. To me it looks like a misunderstanding.
It is the same as what we were reading half an hour ago from Jilani (The Secret of Secrets) that the Holy Scriptures can be interpreted at ten different levels. The most common level is not the highest one.
Reijo: I am now wondering how not to react, how to get out of this? My standard answer is to stay apart with the help of silencing myself, by breathing, sensation and not going with the thoughts and the emotions when they appear. Even in circumstances where the reaction normally takes place in me, if I am able to be on the breath or silent instead of reacting, this is transformation.
Agi: We have to go one step back. You can not stop the reaction when the channel is already open. As the German finance man would perhaps say when it is already in die Hose gegangen . Re - action is really a re action, acting again, a thing from the past. You can no longer be silent when it reacts . It is the chrystallised pattern that reacts, because it has the power, the substance, your substance. When you go with the impulse of reaction then this pattern is fed again. The important thing is to weaken this pattern. To weaken it is not to give it any more food.
This was beautifully expressed by Karlfriedrich von Durkheim. He said: when the devil is knocking at your door, do not resist. It is stronger. If you run away from it, it will catch you. It runs quicker than you. If you begin to argue or to justify or to try to win with intellectual arguments, you will find that it is more intelligent and you loose in this way as well. What is the essence behind all this? It is attention. Attention is energy. What Durckheim concluded with was: just recognize the devil , but do not give him your attention; attention is the only thing he wants and he will do all he can to get it.
Whatever gets attention is strengthened. It happens when I give attention to something, in whatever way I do, for example by denying it. The wrongly crystallized patterns in us are strengthened; they want our interest. The only thing to do is to let them starve; to weaken them means not to give them our attention; not to give them any importance. Our attention must be directed towards what we would like to become.
Reijo: In other words to act like we do in our morning practise of silence when we do not go with our thoughts but let them just go past and not give them any attention. However, in life circumstance the situation is very different; in the practise strong emotions do not arise and I only have to deal with thoughts - and this is a lot easier.
Agi: Yes, in life it is more difficult. In life there is an exchange, the crystallized patterns of emotional re-actions are awakened continuously by the outside world. You can get excited about everything. A mosquito can drive you crazy! The physical sound of the mosquito can become an emotional reaction in you - this is unnecessary suffering and giving energy away.
Reijo: To me it sounds as if we are talking about the Sufi concept of to die before you die and as the Christian Desert Fathers expressed it: a saint dies hundreds of times a day . It is all a question of identity and what we identify with.
Agi: That is it! You come to where the desert Fathers lived, the dry desert; we have to dry out to get through the desert, between Egypt and the Promised Land. There is no other way.
Reijo: It is interesting how things gather around something where we have our attention. We talked about this earlier. Then we read about it in Jilani. Following night I had a dream where my former father in law was walking with a child in his lap down a frozen hillside, how he fell down, but I could take care of the baby and I knew it was my child. Although he must have been hurt, he went back up the hill as if nothing had happened.
I remember him in one meeting in the company where he was the director/owner and how the foreman, with a team of his men supporting him, accused him of different mistakes. He was almost as if he had not heard anything (perhaps he didn't). It is the only example from my professional life where I was taken by seeing total detachment to what was being said. He did not even wink, but went on with his own program. How could he stay away from it with the enormous force the message was delivered to him? It was not possible for me to understand it.
Agi: He must have learned something or it was in connection with his psychic structure, with his type.
Reijo: It is useless to speculate; he could also be very upset of the smallest thing he could not separate from. He had all the weaknesses and all the strengths, but he could use them for some life purposes only.
Agi: Nevertheless you have this picture in you of him with a strong intention, knowing what he wants and will not be disturbed by anything or anyone. We have a raw example from yesterday from your driving. How you got excited when a British woman was driving in front of us very insecurely and very slowly on a road where overtaking was impossible. Such a situation is not an emotional matter, it is simply a fact. Reacting and getting emotionally involved can bring you and me into a dangerous situation.
Reijo: The technique not to be involved and not to react is always the same; to breath, to sense...
Agi: Hold on Reijo; you became emotional again! The easiest way out of this is what the parents use when a small child of one or two years gets stuck in a reaction, starts crying and can not get out of it. It wants something so much - there is nothing else in the world it wants, but it does not get it. Talking nicely and trying to calm the child is of no help. But if the parents say: Look! Do you see that small bird! Look at it! The child can immediately stop crying. The attention is taken away from the object that it wants. This has helped the child to become free.
Reijo: But there is no father or mother to tell me this!
Agi: There is the big brother who can call little Reijo and tell him something like this: the British woman in the car registered in Great Britain surely has great difficulties even in driving on the right side of the road! If the only thing for you is not just to drive faster, but see more, you would see that this is a woman in difficulties, who has to be careful and who needs consideration from other drivers. She needs support and not pressure.
Reijo: It feels like it is an injustice to drive behind a car at 35 km an hour at 50 km limit and 55 km at 70 km speed limit.
Agi: That's it! That is what it means being stuck and only reacting from a narrow egoistic view. You perhaps have to drive the whole of a five km stretch slower than the speed limits allow you. This is the same as the being stuck of the little child. You do not see the sun, the beautiful landscape, the sea, the warmth, The whole situation is perfect, apart from your re-actions. This little driving story is a very clear sample of what it is all about; all of your attention was concentrated on just one aspect. Your driving is not a holy cow (they belong to India)! In the same way, right now, it is not your re-action of dislike on what I am saying that should get all your attention!
Reijo: You are right! To go back to what started to happen with Jilani, my former father in law and that we yesterday went to the Monastery of La Verne, near Collobrières (an hours drive from Pramousquier where we are staying). This visit confirmed already what we are talking about today: one of the traditional ways to keep the attention directed is to remember God continuously, or to put it in another way: to have the question what is God? alive. This will hold the attention and not let it go astray.
Agi:Yes, it is really all about defining what is my aim, my intention. I should put my attention into what I want to strengthen in me; what I want to become. What is my intention? This if very well put in the eight rules of the Quadjagan: Do not forget your intention for one single breath . Keep your intention in your mind with every breath. You can do anything as long as you keep your intention clear in your mind.
If Unity is your aim and your intention is to bridge multiplicity and Unity then you become the bridge whatever you are doing; cooking, watering the plants, feeding the baby, praying or driving the car. This is meant in the expression of barzark, as Ibn Arabi calls it or this is man as the third force in Cosmos, as Gurdjieff formulated it. This is also the meaning of sacrifice: the Hebrew word for it, korban , means to bring near . Things we sacrifice are put on a high place or even brought up to a mountain, the highest point. We can not bring it further than that. To bring our life nearer to God, to Unity, that is the meaning.
Our ultimate task as human beings is to become a bridge between multiplicity and Unity.
The Monastery of La Verne is rebuilt during the last tens of years to quite near to what it was in its original form in the 12th century. It was, like most monasteries burnt and destroyed many times in its over 800 years of existence, by fires and by violence. It had been a Cartesian Monastery. From 1983 a 99 year lease was signed between the French government and the congregation of the nuns of Bethlehem, of the Assumption of the Virgin and of St Bruno . There are now 20 - 25 nuns living in this Monastery.
Monastery of La Verne
Picture taken on the 28th of May from the hills surrounding the buildings. The Monastery is surrounded with fast forests with many huge chestnut trees as the picture below shows.
On our visit we drove through the Capital of the Maures , a little town called Collobrières. From there an approximately 10 km narrow winding mountain road leads to La Verne. There are no other buildings in sight on the last five km on this road. The spirit of the place can be felt in driving through the chestnut, pinja and oak forrest.
Looking down upon the Monastery of La Verne.
It turned out that this congregation is a relatively new, now international, movement within the Catholic Church. It started by a gathering in a talk held by the Pope Pius XII on the first of November in 1950 in Rome. Among the hundreds of thousands of people gathered seven of the pilgrims present with a Dominican priest, Father Ceslas Minguet, were struck by God's mysterious plan. As it is said in a brochure: These seven pilgrims perceived in their hearts the relationship between the mystery of the Assumption, that is Mary's presence with her Son in the Father's Glory, and the Divine Plan concerning all men and women of good will throughout the ages. With Jesus and Mary, all persons are called to stand in the Father's presence, holy and immaculate in Love, on earth as in heaven, for all Eternity.
Pentecostal Fire 06/03/2009
At the end of this Talk with Agi Reijo said: I like it the way you start talking every time with freshness as if you had forgotten all the reactive ways of expression and can start anew from the beginning. Agi: I only prepare myself and through that I get a theme, but I do not work it out in any way. It is formulated in me out of the present moment; what I express comes to me when we start talking.
Agi: What is the meaning of the Pentecost? What is the picture and what does the traditional iconography say of the Pentecost in the New Testament when the Holy Spirit descends? This takes place at this time of the year, 40 days after Easter, death and resurrection of the Christ. 40 denotes a complete cycle in time, also used in the Old Testament, a completion of a period of time. At the Pentecost the Holy Spirit descends on the community. The deciples were again twelve; in the inner world it means that all the parts were together. When all are together the time is completed.
What do we understand about the Holy Spirit? It is said that it is the third person in the Holy Trinity besides the Father and the Son. It is said that at Pentecost He descended like fire upon every head. From then on all of the disciples could understand and speak the language of everyone else and even understand foreign languages, and also speak them. Of course this is not to be taken as a historical happening, but an inner event.
It is very difficult for us to understand the Holy Spirit and it was not easier before.
Reijo: It was also the Holy Spirit who came to the Mother of God at the Annunciation and had contact with her through Archangel Gabriel, an angelic messenger. Nine months later Jesus was born through the action of the Holy Spirit. (Link to further information.)
Agi: This third aspect of the Unity, called the Holy Spirit, acting on the pure soul, the Virgin soul of Mary, can become a reality in us all. What takes place at the Pentecost, what is given at this time, is the ability to be in contact. Today we call it relationship. For this to know each other's language is necessary. We do not understand everything in the same way or we use different expressions for the same thing. If we remain only in our own concepts there are all the possibilities for misunderstandings to arise. The relationship is not only towards other human beings, but also towards creation, to our own inner world and last but not least towards Unity.
The Holy Spirit comes so to say in our heart at Pentecost and we can understand the language of others and also speak their language. We can express ourselves so that others can understand it. This is the ability that is missing so much in our time. Earlier we called it simply Love. It is about relationship; we do not need to be what the other is, but we can be in a relationship, open for understanding and also respect, knowing that the other person is not the same as I am, does not think or see things in the same way.
Reijo: Respect instead of comparison. Do you mean not to compare, but to find similarities and what is connecting us?
Agi: What is in between me and another person is often comparisons and imagination related to what I know about him or her. I do not see him right now; he is not today what he was yesterday or ten years ago. To see is respect (Latin: respectare - to look again); I see this person right now as he or she is, not with my old eyes, but with a fresh look, with respect. I can get out of my egotistic world. Love can only take place in the present. This means that a relationship and an exchange becomes possible. This applies also to our inner life.
We understand love on the emotional level; we are conditioned to understand love manifested in emotional life and sentiments. This can be love, but at a lower level, a very natural level, but Love can not be limited to this! The cat does not like the dog, but they can have a friendship when they come close to each other; I would rather call this like and dislike.
It is important to understand what Love is; it is not simply being lovely or being nice! This can also be fine, but Love can be so much more! However, when Love is expressed in some other way then we do not normally sense it as being Love.
Reijo: There are so many fine words that start with the prefix re! Respond, respect, remember, remind, repeat... It is important how we respond, what we remember, what we are reminded of, what we repeat and what we respect. All of these are about re-lationships and at any time this can go the wrong way. (By the way I love these words like re-birth, re-ijo...)
Agi: What prevents us from real Love? There are a few things that are like veils. Some of the strongest of these are the emotions. When I like somebody it is an emotion and then I say I love this person. If this person says something that I do not like then I immediately do not like this person. Where has the love gone? Emotional love is very nice for some time; it can nourish us, it can give us something, it can heal. But it is not enough if it remains just emotional; through a small thing it can become even hate or rejection, or change to something else. Have you noticed that we ended up again with the emotions?
Reijo: Two questions:
Agi: I discovered that the four human races are dealing in general with the four elements: earth, water, air and fire. Each of the races has a definite task, its own sphere. The black race has the strongest connection to element earth , that is importance of the body, working with it and alive in the body. They are home in the body; their way, life and development is through the body.
The red Indians have their point of gravity in the element fire; they are at home in this element, in magic and have power upon nature. They know how to control matter on every level. Their way is the way of the Shaman.
The yellow race are related to element air, that is to the intellectual life of the human being. They have a clarity of mind. Their task is connected with philosophical understanding.
Of course all the four races have the four elements in them, but the predominant one is what I am talking about. The way the elements are mixed in the different races is what makes the varieties.
The significance of the white race is the strong emotional life. No other race has the continuous changes in the facial expressions, which are mainly due to the changing emotions. We are ruled by the emotions and have the cosmic task to work with them; this can become our inner way!
About your question of how to deal with the emotions there is a beautiful story in the New Testament. It is a theme that we do not often think about. The reason is that it is not so easy to understand. Here again I would like to emphasize how important it is to see through different traditions with their different pictures and to find out about the different aspects of a definite theme.
Here is the quote from the New International Versijon of John 5: Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda[a] and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie;the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.[b] One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, Do you want to get well?
Sir, the invalid replied, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.
Then Jesus said to him, Get up! Pick up your mat and walk. At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
justify; What was the man really speaking about? You mentioned in our earlier talk that it is easier to be calm and not be effected with the emotions when we are doing our morning preparation (present moment practice or meditation), because mainly only thoughts come and go; there are no impulses from the outer world, which would move our emotions. Water in all the Holy Scriptures means emotions. It is interesting to read some of the stories in the New Testament about water knowing that water is about emotions; to know it becomes a key. For example Peter could not walk on the water because he had no faith.
What does it mean in us if some impulse comes and moves the water, emotional reactions, in such a way that we can not get there first? When we get a strong feeling, it can happen that we are paralyzed and caught by the emotion. Others go to the water: our pride, fear, complexes or vanity get there first, but I am left behind. These others use the energies of the moving water and we can not be healed. This is why it is so important to get through to the pure increasing emotional energy. If we reject our emotions then the water in us is not moved. When it happens then it is vital that I go to the moving water to be healed, to become whole, to become holy; not to be separated from the flow, the energy of the moving water.
Reijo: You were saying that the four races have their different ways of functioning; physical, intuitive, intellectual and emotional and that these are a result of the elements mixed in us human beings collectively in four different ways. This makes it difficult for people to understand each other; this is simply in their make-up, both at the race and the individual level. The Pentecost through the Holy Spirit takes away the walls of separation and makes communication possible. What is this action?
Agi: The Sufis say that the fire of Love burns everything that is not Love so that only Love remains. This is the fire of Love; there are no different fires, like the fire of hell and the fire of Love. We project the fire of Love down to the fire of Hell, the fire which we suffer from. There is only one fire and it is the fire of Love. This fire of Love can burn and hurt in a way we do not like. After all who likes it that the identifications and illusions are destroyed and our identity dies with them?
Reijo: This is the identity that we like so much.
Agi: Yes, we are totally identified with the parts in us. These part have to melt together. When we have come so far that we understand that what we are suffering from is the fire of Love then we are already in the Purgatory; then the suffering has the effect of purifying us even if we do not understand the full meaning of it.
Reijo: In the Christian teachings there are two Baptisms. The first is the Baptism by water and the second the Baptism by fire. So the Baptism by fire is the Baptism by Love. Of this fire Jesus said that he baptizes by the Holy Spirit. Quotation!
Agi: We do not want to be burned. Only this fire can cause the ultimate transformation in us to produce the substance of existence. In this process the energy in us is released, like in the burning of a piece of wood. The fire of Love frees the energy from the matter, where it was caught up. The soul becomes free.
What is Attention? 06/05/09 03:37 PM
What is attention? This is a huge subject for discussion and I would like to examine it, not systematically, but just like with other topics that I have posted, somewhat informally - to take advantage of the nature and the structure of the blog which allows for this freedom and flexibility. And, with other topics, one of my purposes in writing (as an external aim) is not to result in answers but perhaps to raise questions by probing the subject along a certain line of thought. Also, I would like to say that I don't know what attention actually is. I can try to describe its characteristics and that will get the ball rolling, in examining it further.
Attention requires an object, or at least, for me, that is how I know that I have attention in that moment. Such as, I set an aim to pay attention to my hands, right now. That is, I don't know what attention is but I know that if I notice the sensation of my hands, then I know that I have attention, for that time being. And mostly, through my past experiences, I know that I don't have attention because I can't keep my aim; that is, my attention wanders or wavers. I get distracted easily.
And perhaps the most important aspect of having attention is that it leads me back to my self. Such as, when I sense my hands, for example, sometimes, this effort of paying attention leads to the source of that which is paying the attention, to the witness or to my self. To who I am. And that is what is referred to as divided attention in the book, In Search of the Miraculous. And one of my friends has stated it as, the attention is the fuel and the consciousness is the light.
I would like to say at the beginning of my post here that what I am writing is of an informal nature and that it is not something that I have put much effort into (or at least not much as if I were to write an article). And also, I would like to say that I don't take these ideas seriously, at least in the sense of whether they are true or not. To me the main thing is that these ideas are useful for my inner work.
Lately, I have been working with trying to find a small space, a quiet place within myself. And of course, in the process of being inwardly still, I find things which are not that. And then, there are the usual reactions like self-analysis and feelings of like and dislike. And so, a question arose, which was something like, am I really working on myself?
Working on Myself 06/16/09 04:18 PM
I would like to talk about the business aspect of this blog writing before I get into the main topic. I had set an informal aim with myself to post a blog at this website at least once per week and I see that I haven't kept that aim recently. Anyway, I'll try to keep to that aim, as much as possible, in the future. Also, I have written materials in the past that I intended to make public but somehow, I can't seem to finish these materials when I get to them later on. And so, it appears that the only time that I can actually post something is right then and there, in that specific time, like now. And the reason I think that I can't return to the topics that I left off earlier is that I am constantly changing and what interested me before or what I was working on before does not interest me later on. And I expect that the readers will find that to be the case as well in the sense that some ideas and experiences written here will make sense and some others will not. And so, all of us are changing. Or, as Mr. Gurdjieff might say, there is a change of I .
Given that I am always changing or the I is changing, how do I go about working on myself, in order to create something more permanent? I think I need to find something more permanent inside of myself, as an anchor, in the midst of the inner chaos in myself during my daily life. The thoughts and the feelings are fleeting or are too reactive, too personal, to form the anchor. The body, with its structure of the sensations, the posture, the breathing, the heart beating, the muscles, and so forth, generally, is quite stable and neutral, in the sense that I am neither attracted to it nor repelled by it. And so, by paying attention to the body and the sensations, I am connected to something more stable in me.
But of course, it is easy to say on paper (or on computer) but quite a different matter when trying to practice it in life. For me, the key, at least these past few days, has been to take advantage of my instability, of my fleeting thoughts, impulses, and feelings. Such as, I find myself again and again, lost in thoughts or attached to feelings, away from the present moment. And in these situations, once in a while anyway, I can pay attention to my body and the sensations instead of being identified with the disparaging thoughts or self-doubting feelings. And so, I find myself lost over and over again. But finding myself lost could serve as an alarm clock and that could be a time when I find myself awake as well. And so, the point of view or attitude is very important and practical as well.
A common thought that comes up is that these efforts to pay attention to the sensations of the body or to try to wake up is not enough or that it is too late, that I have been asleep too long. But in a way, the exact opposite is true. That is, it is not too late because the only time that I can access is right now, in this moment. And it is not too little because this work is miraculous and what I am working for is something beyond the level of the ordinary existence. And so, I need to be patient. I need to work at it step by step, valuing each small effort, one at a time. And it is difficult because I am trying to create something new, something that does not exist now.
The Cosmic Task of Being Born as Man or as Woman (Part 1) 06/28/09 04:08 AM
Lecture in Helsinki on the 27th of June 2009 - Part One
After the thanks and greetings the lecture began with an introduction. Reijo and I have been travelling together now for five years on this jewel of a planet called Earth - now we arrived in Helsinki to give a lecture in English with Finnish translation by Reijo.All of us have been put here to be together at the same place and time today - in the present moment. It is a grace to have the possibility to come together in the same spirit. We should remember all those who do not have this possibility; we are connected to all living beings on the planet. We are connected with all those who are suffering and fighting for their survival and who are leaving this planet. The energy they leave behind is available for us - we are responsible for what we use it for. We are not here only for our own sake. When we can find a common platform here during these three hours then we can also receive something for the whole planet. Let us give this meeting the value it has.
To create a platform we use the breath. Through breathing an exchange takes place between us. To breath together is the quickest way to create a common platform; every molecule we breath out is programmed with information. We take in what others breath out with this information. A direct exchange takes place - without our thinking-apparatus in between, in silence.
I would like to suggest now the following: do not move, do not change your position, but stay in the position you now have. Look from the inside of your body with the help of sensation, go through it and notice what you see. Do you find some tensions? Is there a need for a change? Do you need to relax somewhere or straighten up your spine? Only after this conscious check-up change your position and relax what needs to be relaxed; smooth and without compulsion.
Now watch how the body is breathing in and out. You can have your eyes closed or open as you prefer. Let the body breath. Do not change anything by will. Have the intention to let the breath come and go like a pendulum. Like the movement of the pendulum takes place in the same rhythm and it stays still for a moment at both ends, have a silent moment between breathing in and out and out and in. Keep this intention in your mind and let the body breath. Watch it, be aware of it without any comments; simply be aware of it. It does not matter if your breathing is slow or short.
Those of you who are more experienced in breathing exercises or practices can breath in through the solar plexus and breath out through the heart. You can all try, but do not try too hard! For this practice willpower is not the right tool. Let your feelings and thoughts come and go without giving them any nourishment by feeding them with attention. They will try to take you away from your breathing but you can simply come back to the breath.. We are aware of our place in the room and the place of the others. We sense the floor under our feet. We are aware of the earth carrying us and that we are held upright by the heaven. We ask to be able to receive what we get.
Now we breath like this for five minutes without trying to get anywhere or to reach anything; simply to be.
There is one other point in the preparation. It is about time. We did not really learn in our education how we can best make use of time. We make now an exercise together and begin with the time that is given to us and fill it with quality. We started at 18:00; we visualize this time in either an analog form clock or in the digital form. We finish at 21:00 and the time is now 18:26. We visualize these three times with our eyes closed. When we can see them, we take a deep breath and hold the breath for a short time with the visualized times together and then we breath out and let the images go.
We are living in a very special time. There is a change taking place in the energies of the planet. The ruling background energy on earth for the past two thousand years was the energy of Pisces, which is now fading. We are now in a new so called world month in the energy field of Aquarius, in its early phase but already with all the strong manifestations of it. This means that the forms of the age of Pisces are dissolving; they are destroyed and they do not carry us any longer. They do not give us any longer orientation through the established traditions and the new age is not yet fully born; its collective pattern of tradition is not yet crystallized. This makes our inner orientation difficult. We need a new kind of orientation for our time. To find this orientation enormous efforts are required from each and everyone. The generations living in our time have the task to work out this orientation. It is up to us to find a new orientation to replace the worn out forms of the past and to build up a tradition for the coming generations.
According to my understanding the collective orientation will soon start to crystallize. My generation and a few generations coming after it have the responsibility of what will crystallize for the next 700 years (a third of every Platonic month, which lasts about 2100 years (more about it in www.arssacra.org ). We have a demanding task. It is important that you do not underestimate yourselves! My teacher Reshad Feild was repeating this again and again through the nine years training when I was taking part in his Living School.
Finding this orientation begins with the knowledge about the nature of human beings out of a cosmic view. Spiritual traditions teach that our inheritance is of two different sources. From the mother´s side we are products of the evolution. Since Big Bang the universe developed so far, that it is able to create the complexity of a creature which is an animal plus intellect. On our father´s side the inheritance comes directly from the Creator - often called God. In every human being, man and woman, these two, in a way opposite, aspects of Unity meet and come together.
Only two poles that are different from and opposite to each other can create the energy needed for life. These two poles can be called male and female What is really meant with these? We use these terms as if they would be absolute; we hardly ever see that these poles express a relationship. I would like to give an example of what I mean.
Think of a stone. A sculptor works on the stone with a chisel. The chisel is active, male, in connection to the stone, which is passive, female. However, the chisel can only do to the stone what the mallet makes it to do. The chisel is passive in relation to the mallet, but the mallet again is passive in connection to the hand giving the movement to the mallet; so in this relationship the hand becomes active. The hand does what is in the mind of the artist - the mind of the artist is active towards the hand. The mind is passive towards what the idea of the whole work of art is.
We can see that in itself nothing is male or female; they become active or passive only in connection with something else, within a relationship.
There is another point of view to be considered in connection with the male and the female. This can be illustrated with an example of a dog and its owner.
The dog is playing around in a park. I sit on a bench and call the dog. The dog runs towards me. The dog looks very active, but in our relationship, I am the active one and the dog is passively obeying my call, reacting to it. The movement of the dog is only a reaction to my action.
In these two examples there is a lot of information.
I will continue with the idea from where everything began for us here on earth. It does not matter if you are Christian or not; the important matter is the picture. It is not about God and what or who God is and it is not of an historic time when Adam and Eve were created. What happens takes place right now and every moment anew.
Most of us know this sentence from Genesis I:27:
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him.
The sentence quoted above is well known, but the sentence following it is rarely quoted
Male and female he created them.
What does it mean that God´s image is in the man, in his male body and also in woman in the female body? Man represents God´s male aspect. Woman represents the female aspect of God. Do we understand what it means? I often hear a man say of themselves that they are also very female. Women often say that they are male, that they have a male part in them. We are of course all human beings, with a male and female component in the image of God .
The male aspect of God is being. All those religions and spiritual traditions which are oriented on the male aspect of God, are denying the necessity of an inner way - and with it everything transient, including body and emotions. They ask: What are you looking for? Where do you want to go? Everything is here - open your heart and everything is OK. You do not need to make exercises and efforts. Be aware of your Godly nature and you have arrived. How can that be possible? This is my question as a woman. Just do it if you can!
The female aspect of God is the process in time. The eternally new, the virginal of every moment. Time is an aspect of eternity, like a straight is part of the three dimensional space. We have come down from eternity into time; we did not fall down, we came down. We have been sent down here on the earth. We have been given a possibility of transformation. The female aspect of God carries us through time.
There is a beautiful picture in the Old Testament about this in the form of the staff of Aaron. The Creator had an idea of what a human being is. An idea is like a ray of light which touches the earth. We can see the lowest part of it; it looks like a staff which we can touch and take hold of. In other words we can recognise and formulate it and therefore hold on to it. But an idea is not alive. An idea is beautiful, but what can one do with it in practice? Moses threw Aaron´s staff from the vertical position to the ground into the horizontal and it became alive and moved like a snake. At the same time it lost the connection to the vertical, to the source. This is the reason why the picture of a snake can be found in so many teachings. It is the living process. In paradise it was also the snake that took us from the state of being in which we were in contact with God, into a process in time. The vertical is being, male, and the horizontal is becoming, female.
There are some pictures used in Christianity where the snake is on the Cross shown in the vertical direction. In these pictures the horizontal living process is connected to the vertical dimension, the idea. Here the two aspects are connected: it is the BECOMING OF BEING.
In another picture of the New Testament there is a sick man, lame and lying on a bed. He was brought to Jesus carried by four other men. Jesus said stand up and go! (He always says: and go! ). The message is to bring your horizontal daily life in contact with the vertical. Don´t remain stuck, become alive, but remember: you are! This is the meaning of the Cross; the male aspect of creation is getting in touch with the earth. The female in the process of change and transformation is the horizontal bulk in the Cross. The most important thing in inner work is to be on the crossing point of the Cross. To be in the present moment means to be aware of the process in time and eternity at the same time. This means: to bring the male and the female aspect of Unity together again.
Man, as a representant of the male aspect of Unity (God) carries the memory of eternity in him. But loosing this eternal dimension of now he understands eternity as endlessness, which goes on and on and on towards an aim. This flight ends up often against a wall. This is the male way of orientation towards aim.
Women are space orientated. It can happen, that I go down to the cellar to fetch an onion and I see that a flower needs some water and I remember, I should ring my mother, and then I run back to the kitchen, because the potatoes are already overcooked - but where is the onion? This is the female; we see everything that needs to be done, but we forget our aim, our intention.
Boredom 07/06/09 02:34 PM
I am going to write about a topic, that of boredom, that is rather ordinary but I think something that is important nevertheless. And actually I feel bored right now and so, it is a good time to write about it; to write about it, on the spot, sort of speak. And, oddly, or perhaps not so oddly, I feel a certain excitement or enthusiasm, enter into me, as I write about the topic of boredom, but I'll try to describe it and its significance, in terms of my work on myself.
What is the significance of boredom? I think boredom or the state of boredom is significant because it occupies a large portion of my day. Of course, the other part, that of rushing about or the state of rushing also occupies a large part. Because it takes up a lot of my time and my life, and I assume for other people as well, I think that it is a good subject to study.
The interesting thing to me about boredom or the state of boredom is that there is a part of me (or parts of me) that doesn't like it. It is like, there is this attitude that I should be spending my time in a better way or that things should be more interesting or that I am wasting my time, and so on. But that is the point, in a way, because the outside world hasn't changed; it is too big and its time frame is much bigger than mine. It is me that experiences the world or my life as being boring. And so, it is an interesting study about myself. But the bottom line, I think, at least for this discussion, is that there is nothing wrong with experiencing boredom. That is because, I am not interested in changing myself. Or rather, before I can change myself, or hope to change myself, I need to see myself. And so, I am interested in seeing myself as I am. I would like to accept myself as I am, and appreciate myself, no matter what I see about myself. Of course, it is easier said than done, because naturally there are some things I like and some things I dislike about myself. And so, there is a lot of work to be done; at least, a work of a different kind.
Also, another interesting thing about boredom is that it is very close to the state of being present. That is, I find that it is easier for me to remember myself or be present to this moment when things are less hectic. And so, it seems to me that it is just a matter of appreciating this state of boredom, when seemingly nothing is happening. Of course, it is easier said than done, regarding changing the attitude to appreciating what is going on in me, no matter what it is. Also, I believe that I can appreciate any situation, whatever it is, provided that I am present to it, because self-remembering brings valuation to the moment. And I think this is a key for me; if I can be present to this moment, no matter what I am doing or what my life situation is, these things are important. Also, these things can be alarm clocks or reminders for me to try to wake up, such as when music is playing in my head. And so, there is no need to be upset about them.
What is natural birth? 07/07/09 09:50 AM
What is interference with natural birth? Is emotional, psychological and physical support interference? Is medical intervention in an emergency interference? How do I define interference and what are the implications, for me?
For me, interference can be defined as something that is done to the birthing mother that she does not fully understand or even want while being otherwise healthy. For example, using medical expertise which the mother is said not to possess in order to justify a surgical procedure or the administration of pharmaceuticals.
A natural birth allows the instinctive processes to take their rightful course. Instinctive function is much more sophisticated, and faster, than the intellectual (my head brain) when it comes to running the chemical factory that I term the body. Instinctive function operates at an unimaginable speed compared to thinking faculty. The secretion of hormones, the circulation of the blood, the process of digestion, the repair of damaged tissue, the generation of bone marrow, the transmission of nerve impulses: all this goes on right under my own nose, in a fraction of the time it takes to formulate this sentence with my intellect.
Induced childbirth can be violent and painful. Administering artificial oxytocin in a drip in the arm is crude and blunt, however finely calibrated by medical expertise, compared to the delicate release and response system of instinctive function. With regard to birth, the natural course of events can be seen as that which is unravelled, unaided and unhindered, by the centre of instinctive functioning.
Natural birth may involve pain, complications and death. Natural birth allows the forces of nature and something higher to work through woman, one coming from below, the other from above, with the birthing woman actualising the middle. Unencumbered by drugs, equipment and the restrictions of mechanical procedures, the experience of childbirth can become a point of connection with a reality that lies beyond time and matter.
Not Being Afraid to Get My Hands Dirty 07/21/09 05:41 PM
I have been thinking lately about this idea that the inner work is not something precise. Such as, typically, I might set an aim to sense my hands or my feet (along with other aims) a few times throughout the day. But, as often happens, something else appears such as music playing in my head or some other distractions like some thoughts or some feelings or some bodily movements or impulses. And I think this is the crux of the matter, in terms of what I find when I try to work on myself; the distractions and my apparent inability to keep aims. In other words, I find myself in life, engaged in life. So what do I do, in these all-too-common situations?
Also, generally when I find myself (when I am relatively collected in myself and am interested in this inner work), it is much later, in a day. And, sometimes it is quite difficult to face the situation, that I have been taken away, that I have been identified with life, that I have been asleep, that I have not been able to keep my aim.
And so, the challenge, I think, at this point is to be brave enough to face the situation and set another aim, to try to work again, such as by trying to pay attention to the sensation of my body. And I say brave because at this point, because I experience something like suffering, disappointment, self-judgment, resentment, irritation, self-pity, and so forth; and generally, I would prefer not to face these feelings because I react to them all too easily.
And so, the point about not being afraid to get my hands dirty means to be able to face this suffering and other reactions in me and just keep going, just keep trying to work, no matter what. But I would say that this point about not being afraid to get my hands dirty is not that of a brute-force method in which I blindly charge ahead because that approach seems futile; it might lead to more frustrations.
Certainly what is needed in these situations, I think, is some lightness, some creativity, a change in my attitudes, a new idea, a new approach, and so forth. One of the main things that have helped me is the attitude of appreciating my efforts. I think that this inner work, this work on myself, is a huge undertaking, and any effort made is huge. And also, another attitude that has helped me is to lower my expectations of myself. Such as, if I can sense my feet for a second at a time, in a given moment, I would take that as a success.
Stopping on a Dime 08/10/09 05:40 PM
This is a topic that I have been thinking about, once in a while, for some time now. I remember I saw, many years ago, a TV commercial for a tire company where the phrase, stopping on a dime, was used. And I would like to explore the usage of this term, in relation to the inner work on myself.
How does this term relate to the inner work? Well, I think the first thing that I think about is the ability to stop my mechanical momentums, my impulses, my identifications, my day-dreaming, my worrying, and so forth. And the second thing that I think about is the preciseness of this stopping. That is, is it possible to stop these things in me without much of a reaction, a repercussion, unnecessary struggling, and so on?
And so, I have come up with two things to think about. The first is regarding being able to stop whatever I am doing and the second is regarding the effectiveness or the preciseness of this stopping. But before I talk about these two things, I would like to say that lately I have come to understand better that I need to make stops in myself. It just seems nearly everything in me has its own agenda and cares only for that; whatever it is identified with. And I am in this state of identification throughout the whole day.
And so, there is a need to put on the brakes in myself once in a while. Otherwise, there is nobody in charge, running the show. Or, at least, it is my experience that by creating a pause, something more intelligent arises in me. And so, I go with the assumption that there is something inherently intelligent in me that can arise when there is inner quietness.
But it is also my experience that this stopping of my mechanical momentums is not so easy. After all, why would these things, or me, when I am identified with these things, simply let go? It is like, in my experience, there is something emotional connected to these identifications. And so, one thing needed, I think, is something like a sacrifice. I need to let go even though parts of me don't want to. Something that helps here, I think, is attitudes. Such as, one idea that has helped me is that of making a very small sacrifice. That is, generally when I think of making efforts or of making sacrifices, I think of something big, but that seems to result in stiff opposition, and I wind up not being able to do these things.
And so, I think that is where the idea of stopping on a dime comes in. If, instead of trying something big, like making a big sacrifice, I make a small sacrifice, like being inwardly quiet or stopping my external bodily movements for a second, that would be like stopping on a dime, I think. There would be less opposition or protest to making a small stop. But I think there is a catch to this kind of an effort. And that is, I (parts of me) may not value it. It may be so small a stop that it hardly registers in me. And so, I need to work on appreciating these small efforts. And also, I need to figure out a way to make a lot of these small efforts throughout the day because I am constantly going to forget and go back to my usual ways of doing things; I need reminders, I need ideas, and I need to have the right attitude. And I need to actually practice stopping on a dime right now, in this moment, because otherwise it is just another dream.
The Cosmic Task of Being Born as Man or as Woman (Part 2) 08/12/09 11:56 AM
I would like to give you some new impulses so that you can put them together yourselves and use them to enrich your own world; what you can not use you can throw away.//span style= font-size: small;
In the terms of Taoism it is said that human beings are between the Tao and earth. In other words between heaven and earth there is man. The human being is a bridge between heaven and earth. One can say that heaven is a picture of the world of ideas, or eternity; the greater dimension we come from. Instead of Tao and the world or heaven and the earth we can also say the dimension of the creative world and the created world.
The real world, where creation happens needs a world of realization . The active male aspect of Unity needs the receptive aspect of Unity - they are dependent of each other. And they need human beings as the bridge to be connected with each other.
As man and woman are created in the image of God , they represent these two aspects of Unity on the human level - which is a cosmic task.
Drawing of heaven and earth with man and woman in between.
Man and woman have the same value - shown as the same size in this drawing, but they are put in two different places. Man is nearer to heaven and woman is nearer to the earth. They have different cosmic functions. According to their functions they have got different bodily and psychic structures.
Man does not know the lower part of woman neither does he understand it. The problems with daily tasks, with most of the different demands of daily life man can also do, on and off, and once in a while he also does it well. To do it every day and many times a day, cooking, setting the table and so on, even three or four times a day, seven days a week, all the year through and through his life - this is beyond him, it is different from what he understands with his nature.
As a consequence the woman does not feel that she has been understood; the man has not seen her. When the female is not seen then she turns into the devil. What is the devil ? It is the woman - or the female in man - who has not been recognized.
In man the soul is female. When it is not seen then it becomes the devil. It is always the female that has to develop. It is the soul in us that is going a WAY, not our spirit. The soul is on the way and it is not perfect. If we criticize or deny what is not yet complete in us it is like we would take hold of a plant and pull it to make it grow. We destroy in this way its roots and its development with it and in the worst case it dies.
This is not just a matter between a man and a woman, but in every human being. The cosmic pattern is the same. The relationship between the male and the female can be recognized as well in the relationship between a man and a woman as in the inner world of every human being.
On the other hand the higher part in men is not seen by women. Women say that the man is in the clouds and wonder why he does not realize what he knows. He does not do it because this lower part is missing in him. He is not able to live what he knows. This is what women do not understand. The woman says that she can do it so he should also be able to do it.
In the picture here there is the common part; in this area men and women can have an exchange. This makes possible that a woman can grow upwards and a man can come down into incarnation, he can get nearer to the earth. In any case both together are bigger than man and woman individually. Through the continuous exchange an inner process of growth becomes possible for both.
Only the higher can see the lower. Only the male in each of us is able to see our soul, the female part in us. This is the reason that man can also see the woman better than she can herself. On the other hand woman can make real, realize better; her problem is that she does not know what to realize.
The aim for both is growth - to become a realized human being and as such to bridge heaven and earth. It is important for men not to loose their connection to heaven, that they do not let themselves be dragged down to the world of women. The soft men who do it, taking care of the household or children, without contact to heaven, can become agreeable companions, however they are usually not interesting for women as men.
When women rise up like a balloon towards heaven, they loose their female energy and are no longer interesting for men. This happens through a misunderstood emancipation. We need to grow like trees; deeper and deeper into the earth and higher and higher towards heaven. This is one of the meanings of the picture of the tree as inner growth of the human being.
Female spirituality is an important great theme in itself. Throughout time women have had the problem that spiritual traditions are made by men, for men and represented also by men. We women need something else. I can give you an example.
Reshad Feild who represents the Mevlevi Sufi tradition in essence, was teaching the turning in practice. This turning of the Mevlevis has through centuries been practiced only by men. In Europe and the U.S. from the seventies women were for the first time allowed to take part in the Mevlevi turning. I also took part in the training of turning. One day the question was awaken in me: do I need it? The answer was very clear: there was no need for me to turn. The question is not about allowing the women to turn like men, but what does the woman need to fulfill her function and to grow herself through it.
It is difficult to find spiritual practices for women. Some of the positive examples are breathing therapies, like the method of Middendorf or Rosen, both of course women. Women are orientating themselves like men, but they do not notice it themselves. In the last tens of years the emancipation of women was to discover and to prove how women have the same possibilities as men. The female was not seen and not given the value it deserves. I ask who should see the value of the female if not women themselves? Are the women waiting for the men to see it? What is the value of the female?
In our heads we have the concept of the female that it is melting, flowing, being soft and pleasing for everybody. But the pure female pole is resistance. That is the purest form of the female we can recognize. Only the resistance of a woman can help the man to conquer his own resistance. The other way round: only the man's sunny nature can help woman to get rid of her earthly, heavy weight.
Another aspect in relationship between man and woman. C. G. Jung used the concept of anima and animus. Animus is the male inside the woman and anima is the female inside of man.
Only a woman can give birth for a man - not only as a mother. In German it has been expressed can bring a man into the world , into incarnation. This is not an easy task. Women either carry a man endless and this way make him into a giant baby or pull him down, alternatively let him fall, let him go. We are not aware of our task. A man knows that he has to be carried until he has landed, descended on the earth. Women are longing to be saved by man. Unfortunately the man can not save us women as long he needs to be carried and we women are not able to carry man as long as we are not saved. It seems to be an impossible situation!
When I was young I had an intensive connection with Yoga. I read that the task of a woman is to bring the man to Unity, to realization. This annoyed me. Only later I understood that if a woman can achieve this then she has arrived herself to where she is heading.
The graphic is very simple. A woman is receptive to the world in her femininity; her body is the basis of it. Towards the inside she is male. The man is active towards the world and in his inside he is receptive. Here comes the necessity of differentiation. The woman is driven by a wild male force, because animus is not yet civilized and connected within her. In the Jungian psychology there is an expression for a women who is possessed by the animus: she is animus-obsessed. There are more and more such women around in our time in particular in the western world. A significant feature in these women is that they are intelligent, clear in mind and they are always right!
When I was about 40 an elderly male teacher in the Gurdjieff group told me that your problem is not that you think that you are right; your real problem is that you are almost always right. I could not understand what he meant - it took a long time to find out that in life it is not a question of being right or wrong. Love begins where being right ends.
Anima, the inner female in man, imprisons the male energy in him. He is then stuck to structures, he gets a military mind or he is caught in his emotions with strong overreactions in daily life.
Will is a male way to move. It is best expressed by a ray of light; there is nothing faster than it, and a ray of light does not change - does not change its direction nor its energy. It has to go all the way through space and time into nowhere.. If there is nothing to stop it will go on and on away from its source and can not turn.
There is a beautiful story, a fairytale about the male and the female energy in a fairytale: in Hansel and Gretel. Gretel has to serve the witch and work hard while Hansel was caught in a cage. This picture entails a cosmic truth and that is why it has survived through the centuries. Only when the time is right Hänsel and Gretel come together and get away from the spells of the witch. She is pushed into the oven by the two. This means that the energy is transformed by the fire. The witch was put into an oven and burned. Burning is transformation. If we call it the fire of hell or the fire of love it is in both cases fire.
What happens in a relationship between a man and a woman when they are in love with each other? According to C. G. Jung only when all four meet it is a full relationship. That is: not only the bodily and outer features attract each other, but also the inner features: I am in love as well with the female soul of the man and the man loves my male soul. In this way these four can have a deep relationship with each other.
It can also happen that the male animus is in relationship with man. This results in continuous fighting between two male poles. Alternatively the two female sides of both, the anima of the man and the woman, can have a beautiful relationship, but this kind of relationship can become a bore.
However, this model can be used to see what is happening in a relationship in a very concrete way.
Objective Art According to the Works of the Club-of-Adherents-of-Legominism 08/26/09 08:19 PM
The chapter on Art of Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson (BTTHG) is centered on the works of the “Club-of-Adherents-of-Legominism.” This Club was formed by a group of initiates that stayed in Babylon after many learned beings have been brought to that city by a Persian King who was very anxious to know the secret of how to make gold from the transmutation of any metal. Eventually the King lost interest in finding the secret and most of the learned being returned to where they had been brought from; however, some stayed in Babylon and among them was the great initiate Pythagoras who became co-founder of the Club. At the time of the formation of the Club Beelzebub was in Babylon and became a member of the Club. This is the only instance in BTTHG when Beelzebub actively takes part of a group or organization on Earth.
This by itself is a clear indication of the importance Mr. Gurdjieff gives to the initiate current that has contributed to the maintenance on Earth of an underground stream of planetary consciousness.
The principal aim of the members of the “Club-of-Adherents-of-Legominism” was to find ways to transmit to posterity the knowledge they and other initiates from more remote times had found during their initiate works. This is the aim of all initiates on Earth: To maintain alive the stream of planetary consciousness with the Knowledge derived from their work or from what in BTTHG is known as “conscious labors” and “intentional suffering.”After many deliberations and ponderings, the founding members arrived at a way of attaining their aim: They would use several forms of cultural expressions found in the lives of people and they would make use of the Law of Sevenfoldness to transmit this knowledge. They reasoned that this form of communal expression would always be present during the process of common-shared existence and that knowledge of the operation of the cosmic Law of Sevenfoldness would always be part of the common knowledge among people of Earth. In this way the transmission of initiate knowledge to posterity would be insured. As co-founder of the Club, Pythagoras already had great knowledge of the Law of Sevenfoldness or Sacred Heptaparaparshinokh as it is obvious from his works with the musical scale and on numerology in general.
But how to make sure that the knowledge to be transmitting to posterity would not be lost and that people from future generations could rediscover it? It is here that the members of the “Club-of-Adherents-of-Legominism” found a very ingenious way of doing things. They would put the knowledge not in places we would expect the knowledge to be but rather in places where would have never expected it to be. And this places they called inexactitudes according to law. That is to say, they would place intentional inexactitudes in all the several forms of cultural expressions they would use and in these inexactitudes they would place the knowledge they wanted to convey. They also called these intentional inexactitudes lawful “otherwises.” What is a lawful “otherwise”? It is a moment or an event in the Law when some form of knowledge or understanding is given to us. We all have had these moments when we understand something knew and we know that is real understanding because it moves us in a certain direction, maybe even a totally new direction. We must pay attention to these moments because they are very important in our work on ourselves. These moments or events in the Law exist inside of us and outside of us. Everything is according to Law or law-conformable, said Mr. Gurdjieff. One has to acknowledge the ingenuity of these initiates from remote times.
For the purpose of experimenting with their ideas, the members of the “Club-of-Adherents-of-Legominism” decided to select seven forms of cultural expressions which we now call Art forms and experiment on them by assigning each day of the week to each one of the seven forms. They structured their experimental work on the basis of the Law of Sevenfoldness and for this purpose here is how they structured their work days:
Mondays -Day of religious and civil ceremonies.
Tuesdays—Day of Architecture
Wednesday—Day of painting
Thursday - Day of Religious and Popular Dances
Fridays -Day of Sculpture
Saturday -Day of Theater
Sundays—Day of Music and Song
If one looks very carefully to the distribution of their work one can see reflections of the operational characteristics of the Sacred Heptaparaparshinokh. For instance, Monday is the beginning of the octave, the note DO in the octave if we use the musical scale as point of reference, and what a better idea than to begin the octave with religious and civil ceremonies. This is the best time of the week to impulse in us both our divine and terrestrial devotions as citizens of Heaven and Earth. Right between Wednesday and Thursday we need help from outside and Above in order to cross the MI-FA interval in the Law of Sevenfoldness. What better help than that which comes from outside through a work of painting and that moves us into s spirit of religious and popular dances. Here again we find a way to give a boost to the week by engendering in us an impulse for the divine (religious dances) and for the earthly (popular dances). Friday was a very important day because it corresponds to the Fifth of the Law, the note SOL. Since this is the moment in the Law when different forms may appear then it is a sound idea to dedicate this day to sculptures which represents the many forms Art gives us. Saturday is the sixth day and the moment in the Law of Sevenfoldness when we receive Revelation from Above or point 6 in the enneagram. Close examination of the enneagram reveals that in the inner triad point 6 is connected to point 9 above and that point 6 corresponds to that moment when we receive knowledge and understanding about the nature of the shock we must generate to cross the SI-DO interval of the Law. What a better way than to pronounce this day as the “Day of Mysteries or Theater” because the Babylonian Theater and later the Greek Theater were all about mysteries, something that was completely lost with the so-called Shakespearian theater, where the whole idea of mystery became blood (Romeo and Juliette replacing Dante and Beatrice). Sunday corresponds to the last point in the octave, the note SI. This is the point of rest or return when we prepare ourselves for a new beginning, for Monday where a new cycle of the Law begins. And what a better idea than to rest on this day with a “Day of Music and Song.” The basic idea is to rest and to prepare for the new day. This is exactly what the myth of Creation in six days with the seventh day for rest, the day our CREATOR rested. We must do exactly that, we should rest on Sunday, at least as we have been taught by our Christian tradition. In any case, and in relation to the seven Art forms selected by the wise members of the Club-of-Adherents-of-Legominism, it is worthwhile noticing that literature was not among the them and it would be a good thinking exercise to ask why it was such given that literature is one of the most important Art forms in contemporary civilization.
In each one of these Art forms the members of the “Club-of-Adherents-of-Legominism” experimented by placing inexactitudes that would call the attention of the people observing or being exposed to these Art forms. And in these inexactitudes or lawful “otherwises” they placed the knowledge they wanted to transmit to posterity. This is the key of their works. In the chapter on Art of BTTHG we are given examples of the kind of intentional inexactitudes placed on each of the seven Art forms above mentioned.
One may ask the question, why these initiate Art forms are not longer among us? The answer to this question is found on Chapter 40 of BTTHG: “Beelzebub Tells How People Learned and Again Forgot about the Fundamental Law of Heptapapaparshinokh.” In simple words, our great- great-great- grandfathers forgot all about the Law of Sevenfoldness. But some initiates from recent times through their “conscious labors” and “intentional sufferings” have found fragments the lost knowledge. One very specific initiate mentioned in BTTHG is Leonardo da Vinci.
Mani Gerlach and I have been working on how to interpret some famous painting of Western Art using the works of the “Club-of-Adherents-of-Legominism.” I recently suggested to Mani the idea of starting a blog on Objective Art following the ideas that Mr. Gurdjieff brought to us and that he formulated primarily on the chapter Art of BTTHG and I suggested doing it in Reijo's upgraded Gurdjieff-Internet-Guide (GIG). Not only Reijo was the pioneer in bringing Mr. Gurdjieff into the Internet, something that has now become very popular among the followers of his teaching, but he has labored relentless to improve the presentation of the teaching, as it is shown in the improvements he has recently introduced in GIG. The idea is to initiate a blog on Objective Art that eventually could become sort of an opening into a future “Club-of-Adherent-of-Legominism.” What we hope is to bring other people into this collective work so that the teaching of Mr. Gurdjieff on Objective Art as it has been exposed in BTTHG will find its way into humanity as our Teacher wished with his Being.
By Will Mesa
The Cosmic Task of Being Born as Man or as Woman (Part 3) 08/31/2009
Lecture in Helsinki 27th of June 2009 Part Three
After a breathing exercise a possibility for questions.
Question: I would like to ask about what you write at the end of the brochure: what is faithfulness? Do you mean the faithfulness of the heart?
Agi: I thought this question would come. Faithfulness, as we understand it, is a question invented by men. A man has to learn to be committed, because otherwise he escapes all the time when challenges arise and he can just “go away”. He has to learn to be committed. That is the realization of eternity retransformed down in time. Eternity becomes endlessness and in its positive aspect it is the commitment; go for the fulfillment of a task - to the end of its time.
Women have to learn to be faithfull to the present moment. Every moment is new and we have to learn to be alert to the present. Man does not understand this in woman and we can not expect him to understand it. This does not mean that a woman should follow every mood; we have to learn to distinguish between the changing moods and the needs and possibilities of the present moment. This is the faithfulness to the female aspect of unity: the ever new. The realization of the uniqueness of the living, virginal moment of creation, right now.
In fact this is a good example of how different men and women are. A strong woman rooted in her female origin knows and feels this clearly and lives accordingly - independently if she is understood or not.
Question: are you faithful when you live with someone and your heart is with someone else?
Agi: Nobody can say if you are; it is ones individual responsibility. What is right for one is wrong for another. What was right yesterday is wrong today. This is what I mean to be faithful to the present moment, faithful to one´s heart. To take responsibility for what is in your heart and listening to it is what it entails. (There is a beautiful movie about this theme: “The Bridges of Madison County”, directed by Clint Eastwood, with Meryl Streep)
The weakness of women is that they are waiting for the man to say: yes, you are right. But this is the way of a little girl in us waiting for dad to accept the little girl in us. Women are alone with this responsibility. When they can become responsible then they are getting very strong. A man can never be as strong as a woman. On the other hand a woman can never be as sensitive as a man. The problem with the sensitivity of men is that their sensitivity is directed entirely to defending themselves, their identity defined by the structures of the past. The man has to turn this sensitivity towards his partner and children, toward the world.
However, the woman should not expect to be understood by a man. I was once attending a lecture by professor Leboyer (Ref. 2), who helped women to become aware of many things in connection with childbirth.
In the frame of an international congress there was a small group gathered in a room with professor Leboyer. A young man expressed his thanks for the method of Leboyer as the birth of his first child was prepared in accordance with his method and he himself had been there at the event of the birth. He said that after this he understands his wife much better.
The professor, who is a short tiny man, with an incredible presence, attacked like a hawk the poor man and said: “Young man! You are a man. You will never have the possibility to understand a woman!”
I can say the same for women; we are different from man. Women do not know what it feels to be a man. Reijo says sometimes: “it is difficult to be me”. We can only meet when we have respect of each other. Do not think that this is necessarily based on understanding. It is very important that we do not start to compare man to woman. They live in different inner worlds, with different psychic structures and different functions.
Question: I do not quite get your definition of the “soft man” who looses the touch with heaven. What does it really mean?
Agi: When a man begins to see himself from the point of view of the woman then he looses his anchor to heaven. There is a book in German called “Männer lassen lieben. Die Sucht nach der Frau“ written by Wilfried Wieck. The subject of the book is that men want to be loved and let women love them, but they themselves are not capable of loving; they are not active in their love. The book is a confession of the lack of the Godlike quality in man, who has lost the connection towards heaven.
In Switzerland most of the fathers are very active in the family. That is necessary in a way, but the result is that the child has two mothers and no father. The role of the father is different from the mother's role. These types of men rarely understand what the role of the father is.
Question: What is the role of the father?
Agi: The mother understands the child at all times. She protects the child whatever happens. The father knows what has to be done so that the child can grow up and become independent. I will give an example of what I saw one day in winter with a family of father, mother and a small child. The child was standing on skis perhaps for the first time in his life. He tried to take one movement with the skis, but fell down. The mother helped him up and the child kept falling and the mother picking him up perhaps as many as ten times. When he again fell down, the father took the mother away from the child; he should learn to get up himself.
The child should not expect the father to be nice to him in this kind of situation. Perhaps at the age of 50 or 60 the child can understand what the father has been able to do for him. Most men are not aware of the necessity of this role and not strong enough for it - and women do not like the way a real father acts. The way women treat a son will never make a man of him. A mother can do whatever she wants, but she can not make a ”man” of his son. He needs both of the parents.
Like we have our father in heaven and our mother earth. Both women and men have to become aware of their own role. One role of a man is to be a father and for a woman to be a mother.
Question: How about a daughter who has no father?
Agi: For a girl the mother is more important. Through her mother is she growing into the role of a woman.
Question: What happens if woman looses the touch with the earth - what happens then to the roles?
Agi: In this situation woman is in the role of the man with knowledge, intellect etc. She sees mainly the shortcomings of others and is therefore in difficulties in the relationship with man. She has lost the contact to earth, to the living reality.
There is a beautiful film called “Ladyhawke” (a DVD can be bought from the Amazon shops in the U.S. and U.K. http://www.gurdjieff-internet.com/book_details.php>authID=269&BID=665&lang=English). The film is based on a 700 years old fairytale about man and woman, a beautiful story, full of sense. During the day the woman is charmed into a hawk, having lost her touch with the earth, and during the night the man is charmed into a wolf, having lost the contact with heaven. This is why they can not come in touch with each other. The story is about how they break the spell. (The film was launched in 1985. The director Richard Donner is well known of his films like Superman and the series of four films called Lethal Weapon with Mel Gibson.) I often show this film in my seminars.
Question: Should all women be a Spirit of the House at home taking care of the children and making food then I am in trouble, because I do not like peeling potatoes, it takes me two hours every day.
Agi: What from does it take the time? We would like to save time and we loose life with it. (See the genius book written by Michael Ende called Momo.)
Today there is a great change in the role of the woman. It is a cosmic change relating to what I was talking about in the beginning. During the age of Pisces over the past 2000 years the female had the opposite sign of the Pisces, the Virgo. Virgo is the servant; the sign has at its basis the principle and the energy of serving, on every level. In this way the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, gave birth to “God's Son” to serve the purpose of a cosmic human task.
The opposite energy of the new Age of Aquarius is Leo. According to this energy women are getting more and more power. This is not the serving Virgo that is being nourished by the cosmic energy of the past. The new cosmic energy supports the aspect of being that could be called the „Queen of the Heaven” in every woman. This applies on every level and this Queen of Heaven feeling is being felt and manifested. The future is in the hands of women and mankind depends on the maturity of them. Power alone can be very dangerous without understanding. The task is; how can women become queens when the pattern they inherited is the pattern of the little servant maid?
At lower levels of consciousness this is a problem in the whole world. If the power of women is not nourished at the same time with knowledge and love the situation becomes dangerous. In the past men pushed women down and now we have the danger that women push men down. We are so far now that we do not even need men to get children. Why should woman take the difficulties with a male partner when there is no more need for it? It is a great challenge for women to get more power.
Question: I have something that relates to both of these questions. If the problem is that men are becoming feminine and see the world through the feminine principle then I feel that a bigger problem is that women are becoming too male. Now for example the children are brought up in a way that a boy or a girl can do anything and the woman is no more protecting and prohibiting the child. Is this also your view that the women are seeing the world more through the eyes of man?
Agi: Yes. The orientation of women is also in the depth of the psyche male. Through the more female manifestations in man women are dragged more in a male role. It is an interaction in this process, which works in both directions.
It does not really matter that the mother is more father like and the father is more like the mother. The roles can be the other way round. That is better for a child than to have two mothers or two fathers.
Question: Is it not a problem that there are two fathers?
Agi: The problem is that today according to the collective understanding man and woman are the same, they can do the same things and function in the same way. We do not see the differences between the two. The “children of the Age of Aquarius” are angel like; without sense for the sexes, this is a result of the new cosmic energy.
For example in sports activities women act these days as if they never have heard of their periods and do not consider them. The time - and through it and the way of life - of the male of the species is continuous, linear. The time of the female is cyclic. If woman is not aware of it and do not understand the sense of it then woman loose their feminine orientation. : The understanding, that life itself is cyclic, that the rhythm of life gives the only possibility for renewal.
With these impulses I wanted to show, that our daily life problems in the relationship have their origin in both sides of Unity. The patterns are laid down on an universal dimension and our nature entails those patterns on the human level. Our personal themes in life are in their roots universal. If we are able to understand this, we can see the challenge in them and we do not need to let them become dramatic problems or tragedies.
I wish you can all find your male and female identity; the world needs it. The identity, which is rooted in God's nature. We are creating a new world, and this needs a clear understanding. It will become a tradition in which next generations will be born into.
There are many questions that remain open. I hope anyway, you go out into life with more questions than you came in with!
Questions are also welcome by email when you get them. This lecture is available in mp3 format in English with its Finnish translation. It can be ordered by email.
Dr. Frederick Leboyer was the first physician to challenge society's deeply held beliefs about awareness in the newborn. His pioneering works on birthing, including “Birth Without Violence”, have forever revolutionized the course of prenatal care and the way babies are introduced to the world. He also pioneered introducing infant massage to the Western world.
in 1959 and spent two months of every year there in the following two decades. He developed a keen interest in yoga and its applications for pregnant women and new mothers, particularly the use of breathing and sound.
Kittens and grief 09/04/09
My cat recently had kittens. When she was giving birth I saw and felt that her experience was the same as mine when giving birth to my children. The waves that pass through her are the waves that pass through me in the moment of birth. She succumbed wholly, completely, to the force that passed through her, and I recognised in her the natural, normal way to give birth. Without tension, resistance, attempting to control. She, the cat, is nature, and obeys its laws. She manifests its laws. I, the woman, am separated from nature by Kundabuffer and separated from the Above by Kundabuffer. I am in Limbo.
If I can /be helped to see this, I can begin to become nature, see how I and the cat are the same, what we share. We are both mammals. We are instinctive-moving-sex function and emotional function.
When I can see this I can begin to distinguish what differentiates me from the cat, my intellect, my thinking function, and what this might mean for my potential ascension up the ladder.
When the kittens left yesterday, to their new home with a good family in the village, the cat ran around the house looking for, calling for, her kittens. I tried as best I could, without words, to transmit what had happened. Either she gave up looking or she 'heard' me, because she stopped and gave me the deepest, most despairing, yet accepting look as the full truth became apparent to her. She knew her kittens were gone forever, lost, and she had her experience fully, not discoloured by anger, panic or 'explaining'. In this she is my superior.
About three hours later she came to my bed, lay next to me and purred. She had accepted her fate and moved on. In this too, she is my superior.
The cat showed me what is normal for a mammal, like her, like me.
Will Mesa and Mani Gerlach
The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp (Rembrandt van Rijn) 09/04/2009
Will and I started our work at paintings in September 2008. I had never worked with Objective Art before. The process of working with Objective Art has external and internal effects. Externally to find and to understand the specific meaning of the painting and internally the inner process of coming closer to objective truth, which supports the development of a deeper understanding of individual life aspects and of life processes in general.
The dialogue between two persons working and sharing is in this process of searching and understanding an important aspect, because it intensifies the inner process and the external results as well. This dialogue is also an expression of how two persons work according to the Law of Three as manifested in the inner triad shown in the Enneagram. The Anatomy Lesson is one of our first paintings we worked at in October 2008 by an exchange with emails.
Will: Try to find the notes, the inexactitude, the knowledge placed in this inexactitude. This is a difficult one but it will help you with a new beginning in your life.
Mani: DO -It was very difficult for me to decide, where to start. I have chosen the light on the body of the dead man. It is the separation of body and life (or the vibration of understanding). Also the arm, the doctor shows, explaining the function of movement, shows the difference between the muscle itself and the movement of the muscle.
RE- The man at the right with the paper in the hand tries to understand, he seems to think about it. He looks at us (not to the dead body, not to the book and not to the doctor), maybe he still does not know how to find out, but he wants it. The face is in the shadow. His back is to the ascending movement.
MI- The man a little bit closer to the dead man, left of the doctor, he is looking at the big book in the right corner. Maybe this shows the change from subjective knowledge to objective knowledge (paper of Re and the big book). He tries to understand (the face is partly in the light and partly in the shadow).
Interval - This could be the book (it could be an inexactitude because it is in proportion to the men to large). But it could be also the instrument of the doctor, because in the anatomy of the arm there is also an inexactitude shown. I choose the book. The knowledge of the book could be an external help to increase the knowledge.
FA - The man in the middle looks concentrated and also with passion to the muscle shown by the doctor. He has much light on his forehead and at his clothes. He is interested after the external help to find out about the details. Maybe it is connected with the question of doing.
SOL - The man left of FA. His position is different to the others. He is aside of the dead man, hand close to the hand of the dead man. His direction seems quite open to different directions. He is looking to the book. The distance to FA is relatively large. Maybe it is the process of understanding - coming from the details to a broader sense. It depends on him to transfer the knowledge of the details to higher understanding and also to transfer the higher understand in a deeper understanding of the details. He can get lost in details.
LA - The man in the middle on top of FA. He is looking on the arm of the dead man. He looks quite settled and concentrated.
SI - I am not sure (is it the man above or the doctor itself?) - I have chosen the doctor. He is the only one who is looking to the left (next octave?). He is able to do. The interval is shown by the man on top showing with his finger down. As described in you papers, there must be a certain suffering. Is it the compassion for the process of life and death, of understanding and ignorance, and that this laws can not be changed?
I had no idea about the person at the left side. He looks very different, very vague and no emotions. He is looking at the doctor. Is this the witness?
Will: The seven notes of the lower octave are the seven men attending the lesson. The first interval is the book, as you said. It represents the knowledge needed to pass from MI to FA. The body on the table is the body of Christ. It is from this body that the New Man, the higher octave will be obtained. Christ is the Higher Witness. The doctor teaching the lesson is the DO of the new octave. See how he dresses different than the others learning from the Lesson. He is higher. The second interval is what you have to determine as well as the inexactitude and what is the objective knowledge contained in this inexactitude. This is the key to the whole thing because it is here that we get the possibility to move to a higher octave whose DO is the Doctor. I let you work on this.
Mani: Can you please say a bit about the men in process, especially who is SOL (5th) and what is the temptation?
Will: The man of temptation is the one holding the piece of paper or page in his hands. He represents the Fifth of the Law. His temptation is that he feels desire to leave the room. If he does, the whole octave is impaired because in that piece of paper he holds in his hands is the secret of the nature of the shock between SI and DO of the higher octave. That piece of paper is point 6 in the inner triad, while point 3 is the Knowledge derived from the book and place of the first shock or first interval. What you have to find is exactly what the second interval is, what the inexactitude is, and what the place of this inexactitude is. A Hint: The inexactitude in this case is just between SI and DO of the next octave. But the most difficult and rewarding knowledge is precisely the Knowledge placed in the inexactitude. What is the temptation of your life?
Mani: Concerning the second inexactitude - is this the shadow on the head of the dead man? Should it represent the death which has to be for finishing the octave? And the man who points down with his finger, he knows it?
Will: The thing about the book is the transition to a New Octave representing by the doctor. All those seven observers belong to an old octave. The Doctor is the New Octave. How are we born into a new Octave? We need a shock between SI and DO of the new octave. In that second interval we can place an inexactitude and in that inexactitude we place knowledge as to how cross the second interval. Actually, the Nature of this knowledge is already revealed at point 6 and it comes from point 9 Above. What is the inexactitude here? If you remember that the body on the table is in reality the body of Christ, then you are on the way.
Mani: Today I went in the books for checking up the function and the appearance of the M. flexor digitorum superficialis. The inexactitude is that the muscle is shown at the painting is much too long, normally it ends at the elbow - approximate at the position of the clipper.
The Anatomist raises this muscle and didn't hurt the body at the typical way in cutting up the abdomen. I think the raising is the important aspect. SI is looking to the left hand of the Anatomist explaining the function of the muscle, he does not see the raising-aspect. Maybe in the book we find the knowledge of mankind and mortality, but on the paper of the man is the knowledge of god and immortality.
If it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to b e pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep - 1 Corinthians 15:12-20 (NRSV)
Will: Yes, you got the answer to the inexactitude and the knowledge placed in the inexactitude. One more additional bit of information: The anatomy lesson is performed on the left arm of Christ instead of the right one because it is closer to the Heart of Christ and it is through the Heart of Christ that we are resurrected. The doctor represents the DO of a New Octave, the Octave of Resurrection and Life. And yes, in the paper in the hands of SOL is all that we have to know about the Nature of the second interval, how we are Resurrected and how we are born into a New Life, through the Suffering and the Heart of Christ. That is why he did not abandon the Anatomy Lesson. There must be suffering and suffering is of essence and not of personality. Suffering of personality is mechanical and leads no where. It is food for the Moon, not only the outer Moon but our inner Moon as well. But suffering of essence takes us to the subconscious where the data for the Divine Impulse of Objective Conscience is buried. By placing the inexactitude on the left arm of Christ, Rembrandt is telling us that it is through the left side of Christ, that is through His Heart that we are transformed because the Heart of Christ is both Suffering (His Passion) and it is Love (His Resplendence Love). This is well illustrated in Beelzebub's Tales where it is said that Love is the end of Suffering (p. 357, Original 1950 Edition).
What I find interesting in a work of Objective Art is that it is never addressed to feeling as it is the case with subjective art. Mr. Gurdjieff said that even Sacred Dances are for the mind and not for feeling. In this painting we see that nothing is missing and nothing is added. Everything in the painting is what it is necessary for the understanding of the operation of the two fundamental laws in the process of moving from a lower octave to a higher octave. If you look at the painting with feeling then you will see many different possible interpretations. But when we look with understanding then we see one interpretation. This is the main characteristic of Objective Art, to induce one and the same understanding or to bring to us one very specific piece of knowledge and for this to happen we need inexactitudes. That is the way Objective Art is approached in the chapter on Art of Beelzebub's Tales.
We extend sincere thanks to Agnes Hidveghy for providing the initial impulse for the work we have been engaged on Objective Art. During a seminar Agnes gave on The Altar of Isenheim on the Spring of 2008 in Littlehampton, England, which Will attended, Agnes also introduced her works on some of Rembrandt's paintings. It was her initial work on the Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp that inspired the work we have presented here. Agnes has been engaged in an extensive and unique work on the relationship between Art and the Soul. At least three of her books are to appear in German in the next months. A few of her works can be found in English at
Living in the Present 09/06/2009
This morning while having a coffee break I understood Agi to say: "Right now I have realised something. The reason a man can not get on with his own development is that he can not understand the female in life and himself. The female is forever new. This lack of understanding keeps man acting from the past in everything he does. This is true also for the woman when her attitude to life is that of a man. A real woman, and a real man acts from the 'virgin womb of the moment', as also Reshad Feild used to say."
This triggers a resonance in me: I am touched by this view of reality expressed so simply - it looks to me to be a view of the Real World!
This year I was on my customary visit to the Finnish Valaam Monastery. I stayed there for four weeks, a long enough time for something new to become possible. What do I mean by something new? Is it not more or less what I just wrote above as something Agi talked about this morning? I could say: the ever present new.
I discovered some age old truths related to myself.
Normally I go to the church over there once a day for one to two hours. My aim has been to go in and to be 'there', to be present. In other words I enter the church sitting down for a few minutes and go through the exercises of 'sensing the body' and 'conscious breathing' to tune into what is going on in me and in the church - to enable me to have these connections inside and outside. I am reminded that this practise in the Gurdjieff Work was earlier called the 'morning preparation', now often just 'sitting' and that the same practise is called the 'present moment exercise' by Reshad.
Before I go further I need to write about my mother. She passed away about 25 years ago. We were close and she looked after me the best way she could until I was 20; I would like to add that we also shared a quest for a deeper meaning in life.
emIt is now seven years ago when at a silent moment I became aware of her presence; I felt her tenderness and care to be within me. Three years later I dreamt visiting a new house by my grandparents and in the corridor I saw her sitting on a long bench. I sat on the opposite bench a couple of meters away and watched her. She was totally unemotional and did not in any way show that she had recognised me. I was feeling rather sad about it until... A tear fell down her right cheek, still without any emotion showing, but I new there was a recognition of our contact. She had changed and was a most beautiful woman; in fact she looked like a Madonna, meaning: the Virgin, Mother of God would look like.///em
What was being shown to me through this action of the unconscious in me? The conscious mind had nothing to do with it, but had the difficult task of remembering what happened after the experiences had gone. My ordinary consciousness had no relationship to these happening, but they were some of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced.
Back in Finland: I found out that when I enter the Church the whole act of being there is both symbolic and real. However, these two things, so different from each other, but somehow deeply connected, are not present if “I am” not present.
I know that entering the Church from the West, a symbol for this world we live in, the manifestation, I go on towards East, the sun, the Altar and Heaven. This walk towards the Heaven is a symbol of the Way of a Christian, whether we know it or are aware of it or not!
I encountered a problem: however much I tried to be aware of this Way as my Way, I was surprised to find, often after I had already left the Church, that I had not been there at all! I could not approach simultaneously the symbolism of the Way and “to be”; I was somewhere else when I was there, or at least desperately missing something.
Moreover I found out that the Way towards Heaven goes first to the Analogue Table (in all Orthodox Churches). Analogue is an interesting word in itself as it is also related to symbolism; on the Analogue Table there is usually an Icon, with which an Orthodox person is attempting to get in contact with by reverence; Crossing himself and kissing the Icon. The Icon can be of Christ or one or another Saint and it lies on the Analogue Table.
The Analogue Table is where one comes to first on ones Way. To my amazement I found out that the Table itself is a symbol of the New Jerusalem and further that the New Jerusalem is the Mother of God, Virgin Mary. In other words: when we come to the Church and go to this table we are coming the the Mother of God, who receives us. She is symbolically present in the Church and in the now she is present in me.
Can I enter a Church consciously aware of the whole of me, all my unconscious parts as well, or am I doomed to live in “separation”, which is the meaning of the opposite of the word symbolic, i.e. diabolic?
I am now, right now, convinced that Virgin Mary did not only live about 2000 years ago. She is needed right now, in this moment, so that the Christ can be born. The 'virgin womb of the moment' is ever present as a possibility. The question becomes what is the 'virgin' of the moment; she represents purity. It is said that she was a virgin before, during and after the birth. In this purity there can not be any trace of the dirt from the past or fantasy about the future!
The only time I can be pure is right now!
To add a little detail to it: I do not have to go to a church to be present; it can take place anywhere. I go through my days seeing things and hearing things only occasionally and this applies also in going to the church. What is inside is Holy.
Having a Choice Revisited 09/08/2009 2:25:27 PM
I would like to revisit this idea of having a choice which I wrote a few months back. And instead of re-inventing the wheel, as the saying goes, I would like to cover some things that have not yet been mentioned related to this idea of having a choice. To me, this idea is related to another idea (or the task) about keeping the inner work fresh, of keeping it alive in me. An idea, in order for it to be useful, must mean something more than just thoughts in me. It needs to point to something else, something deeper.
What does it mean to have a choice? It means being open to my world, both the external and the internal. It means to have an attitude of appreciating these things so that nothing is rejected because otherwise, I am closed off to them, because otherwise, I react to them, I am identified with them. But at the same time, it is knowing what things or impressions are useful and what are not, what things I can go with or decide to choose to follow, such as in sensing my body.
But why not simply empty the mind, to have an inner silence? I think that there is inner silence that arises naturally while engaged in the inner work. However, I notice that there is a tendency in me to use the tool of stopping thoughts to try to stop the thoughts, music playing, feelings, desires, impulses, things that annoy or irritate me. But that seems to be in the realm of reacting. Perhaps it is necessary to try to stop these things. And then perhaps it is necessary to separate from this activity; to use it as an alarm clock. Things can get complicated. But what I would like to emphasize is the attitude of acceptance or that of appreciation; simply accepting what is without wanting to change anything in myself. And what helps me is to make the inner work fun, to keep it alive, to keep it fresh.
A Practical Lesson Derived from The Anatomy Lesson (Rembrandt) 09/19/2009
Do not love art with your feelings (Aphorism inscribed above the walls of the Study House at the Prieure)
Objective Art is not a mind game. If it were Mr. Gurdjieff would have not dedicated an entire chapter of Beelzebub's Tales (BTTHG) to Art and Objective Art. The importance of Objective Art in the Teaching of Mr. Gurdjieff is reflected in the fact that he makes Beelzebub to be part of the Club-of-Adherents-of-Legominism.” This is the only instance in BTTHG that Beelzebub becomes part of a terrestrial organization or group.
1. To be an instrument for the transmission to posterity of initiate knowledge.
2. To be an instrument for deeper understanding of the two fundamental cosmic laws. If we look at the transcription of the Five Strivings of Objective Morality. The third striving reads:
The third: the conscious striving to know ever more and more about the laws of World-creation and World-maintenance.”
One important observation immediately arises: Why to know ever more and more? Why not just to know? I think the reason is that our understanding of the laws can deepen and deepen as we are exposed to them. In any case, this third striving is located at a critical position in scale of the five strivings: It is right at the middle. This is an indication of the importance of this striving. This striving is the bridge connecting the firs two and the last two strivings. The first two refers to our individual lives here on Earth. The last two refer to our individual lives in connection with the Cosmos. The first two strivings, we may say are psychological while the last two are cosmic. The third striving makes the bridge between psychology and cosmology. We are connected to the Whole or God through an understanding of the laws and what it is even more important this must be a Being-understanding as follows from the second striving. Psychology alone cannot connect us with God. That is the great failure of psychoanalysis and all the psychological views of the Teaching of Mr. Gurdjieff. We need Cosmology too. Psychology is necessary but not sufficient. The necessary and sufficient condition is Psycho-Cosmology. The third striving fills this necessary and sufficient condition. Hence, the importance for us in the Work of having a Being-understanding of the two fundamental cosmic laws.
Objective Art helps us to acquire this Being-understanding of the two fundamental cosmic laws..
How can the painting The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp help us in this striving to understand ever more and more the laws of world creation and world maintenance? That is the question I would like to address here. In order to do it I will now highlight the most important points in the work Mani and I have conducted in relation this painting and that is the topic of our previous post in our blog on Objective Art here in the Gurdjieff-Internet-Guide.
1. The octave or law of seven governing the lower octave begins with the man at the far left. He is DO. He is not very much into the octave yet. This is our situation in life whenever we begin an enterprise. We are not into the thing yet, we may say.
2. The octave developed to MI. This is the man right in front of the most elevated men in the lower octave. As shown in the Pythagoras photo (made by Harold Good), this man is looking straight to the book located outside the enneagram.
The book outside the enneagram represents the first interval between MI and FA. It is outside but at the same time, as clearly indicated by the inner triad the shock at this interval descends from Above, from point 9 Above. This shock is both external and from Above. This is the point all or many enneagram builders, beginning with Ouspensky, have missed. If In this particular work of art the fact that the shock comes from a book is an indication that it comes from Above because the book is a symbol of higher knowledge. The octave now can move to man FA represented by the man at the highest elevation in the octave. This position indicates that we are now going in to the final development of the octave. What is our situation in life with respect to this external shock? We need help from outside. We cannot do the work by ourselves. At one point someone or some event from Nature or from Life has to come and we must submit ourselves to this event or shock from outside. The best and optimum condition for us is that the help comes from a Teacher. Then we know that the help is conscious and comes from Above. In BTTHG this help is known as Djartklom: It is shock from outside that causes a separation in our brains or centers and makes possible the process Remorse. The very important point here is that we cannot go through MI-FA by our own efforts. WE NEED HELP!!.
4. Then we come from man SOL. This is the man holding piece of paper or a page in his hands. He is the most critical man in the octave. He represents the Fifth of the law. He is at the place of temptation. One pert of him (the right side) is almost out of the octave while another part (the left side is in the octave). He can go or he can stay. If he goes then the octave is impaired, it involves back to the initial DO and nothing is accomplished. This is exactly our situation in life. We begin something and because of our being-wish we receive help from outside between MI and FA but ten we come to SOL and here is where we are tempted to abandon ship. This is the Temptation and it must happen because it is an intrinsic part of the Search: The temptations are generated by the Search itself. We cannot avoid them. And if there is no Search there are no temptations. What temptation could ever exist in the life of a person who is searching for nothing? And even more important, if there is no temptation there is no fall. A man in search of nothing will never experience fall. Here is where we have to be firm in our Search or we fail. As a concrete example here we can look at the life of a man trying to get rid of an addiction strongly crystallized in him (or a woman for that matter). The man decides to work on himself to get rid of his addiction and because of his strong wish he receives help from outside (MI-FA). But the the temptation comes at SOL. If the man (or Woman) is not strong enough he (she) falls into temptation, has another drink, and he goes back to DO. He (she) involves back. He did not overcome the Fifth of his own law. He has to start again. But the number if Fifths are finite. He (or she) may not find more help from outside.
5. Now we come to point 6. This is the point of the great secret. It is at this point where we are given the key to the nature of the shock that comes at the second interval. And this secret can come only from Above, from point 9 in the inner triad. This all indicated in the saying: “All possibilities for man come from Above.” What is this secret? Each seeker must find it for himself/herself. But from BTTHG we know that the Nature of the secret is always in some form of intentional suffering. Each one of us will have to find out what is the form of intentional suffering he/she will have to go through. Here is where the Work becomes individual and it is no longer collective or group form. A group, no matter how advanced or develop is, cannot provide this secret. It is precisely with respect to this point hat all enneagram builders have made a mistake. One can look at one of the most famous enneagrams ever developed, the so call enneagram of a kitchen at work, presented by Bennett in his book Enneagram Studies. I invite the reader to take a careful look at what he says about point 6 in his enneagram and check if this point is at all connected to indications from Above, which in his enneagram is Life. If one follows his enneagram then the secret for the shock between SI-DO must come from Life but it does not, as you can verify by yourself. He says that point 6 is the community but if one reads further one finds that the community is isolated from Life when only Life (Above) can provide the guide needed for the eating of the meal (point 8) to move to another higher octave, which is Life. That is why is so important to bring our Work into Life instead of bringing Life into the Work. We can have the strongest group, the greatest Foundation, but if the Works is not brought into Life then the Five Strivings of Objective Morality are emptied of content. In the Anatomy Lesson the secret comes from the piece of paper the man at SOL holds in his hands. This is an indication that the secret comes from Above. I signify this secret in terms of feeling coming form the Christ's Solar Plexus, what we may call the center of gravity of the Higher Feeling Center.
6. Now we come to the final point in the octave. We are now at the point of the second interval. We need a shock here. In BTTHG this interval or Stopinder is known as the “intentionally-actualized-Mdnel-In.” The name itself is an indication that at this point we need some effort coming from us, from our own making. We now have to rely on our own efforts. We already received help from outside and we made it through the Fifth of the Law. Now, it is our being-efforts that count. Fortunately, tow factor are helping us here. One is the fact that this Stopinder is the shortest one of the two shock-intervals. This means that our efforts are helped by the short prolongation of this Stopinder. So, when we need help we get a long interval and we have to do it ourselves we get a short interval. Our COMMON FATHER ETERNAL CREATOR wants to help us because it was HE who decided to review and change the laws.
Well, I think this illustrate how the knowledge derived from the Anatomy Lesson can help us to understand how the two fundamental laws operate in our lives.
I will end with one question: Is this knowledge of the operation of the laws indispensable to our Search? No. The answer is No. We can do the work on ourselves without a deep knowledge and understanding of the two fundamental laws and other laws. What this knowledge an understanding do is that they help make the Search more conscious and speedier. In order to call the attention to this fact I will close my blog with what I consider to be one of the most difficult paragraphs, probably the most difficult one, in BTTHG. This paragraph is so difficult that the revisionists of BTTHG, members of The New York Foundation, unable to understand it, they decided to break the paragraph into two paragraphs, and in this way the whole meaning was lost. Here is the paragraph (see if you can decode it):
“I repeat, my boy: Try very hard to understand everything that will relate to both of these fundamental cosmic sacred laws, since knowledge of these sacred laws, particularly knowledge relating to the particularities of the sacred Heptaparaparshinokh, will help you in the future to understand very easily and very well all the second-grade and third-grade laws of World-creation and World-existence. Likewise, an all-round awareness of everything concerning these sacred laws also conduces, in general, to this, that three-brained beings irrespective of the form of their exterior coating, by becoming capable in the presence of all cosmic factors not depending on them and arising round them -both the personally favorable as well as the unfavorable- of pondering on the sense of existence, acquire data for the elucidation and reconciliation in themselves of that, what is called, 'individual collision' which often arises, in general, in three-brained beings from the contradiction between the concrete results flowing from the process of all cosmic laws and the results presupposed and even quite surely expected by their what is called 'sane-logic'; and thus, correctly evaluating the essential significance of their own presence, they become capable of becoming aware of the genuine corresponding place for themselves in these common-cosmic actualizations” (B.T., p. 755).
Acknowledgement: We thank our friend Harold Good for his contribution to the paper with his two geometrical analysis The Anatomy Lesson shown here. Harold now is producing a series of videos about Beelzebub's Tales that can be watched at YouTube. His first video on the Chapter Beelzebub in America can be seen at :
By Will Mesa
Member of the Irish Group
Two Voices 09/20/09 01:30:45 PM
Three generations of my family were to have the annual holiday in the sun together, and it overlapped our September 'work weekend'. I had decided that I would simply come home early. Neither holiday nor weekend needed to be sacrificed.
Driving from the airport to that 'weekend', I immediately became aware that something in me was distinctly unhappy. It was a classic case of one 'I' making a decision, another 'I' - which had not been consulted - having to carry it out.
The whole way from the airport to the venue, the currently incumbent 'I' bitched and complained. I was trying at the same time to somehow prepare for the weekend as I drove, to bring head and body together. Sensation as a result grew stronger, the head gradually quieter, but the complaining voice in the background grew louder, a veritable crescendo.
I ceased all effort, stopped off for a coffee, then sat quietly for a while in the car. I did this because I had become aware of another voice within, at first hardly audible. It was a much quieter voice, lighter, more intelligent. I knew and trusted this voice. Its message was clear. A decision had been made, in connection with my / our aim. That was what was to be obeyed.
I started the car. Everywhere along the road, the complaining voice intervened. It grew even louder. I was tired, I was hungry, not really rested by my truncated holiday. I began to see the justice of the complaining 'I's position. A real struggle ensued, the complainant louder, the second voice consistent and insistent in counterpoint.
As I drove in through the gates of the venue, I caught a glimpse of the others still at dinner within.
Despite the late hour, I sat in the car digesting a realisation that brought with it a strange calm and confidence. It was the conviction that I had known all along that it was the second voice I would listen to in the end.
Member of the Irish Group
Member of the Irish Group
The Innocent Machine 09/20/09 01:34:17 PM
All morning as I worked, clipping the hedge, I found that it was possible to 'work'. Sensation was strong, head silent. I felt that efforts of the previous week and my struggle of the day before were helping me.
kept happening. On four separate occasions, certain individuals came to talk to me, on matters to do with the group which they clearly considered to be important.
Three of these conversations were quite long. My experiences of all three conversations were strangely similar. I had a familiar, strong feeling with the first conversation that I was about to see something of 'what I am'. But nothing was seen, or was it?
The subject matter of all three conversations was, frankly, the political dynamic within the group. I saw in fact that such conversations automatically switch off the 'work person'. During the first conversation however, I saw that a strong sensation of my body remained, the mind was quiet, and something hovered in watchfulness. Attention was no between me and my interlocutor.
Following the 'switching off', I clearly witnessed something else 'switching on' automatically. This was my 'talking machine'. It already knew exactly what to say. It required no effort on my part, no attention whatsoever. The most curious aspect however, was that although we were discussing matters to do with the group, this 'talking machine' had absolutely no interest in the subject it spoke about with such apparent engagement. Why? Simply because it was a mine.
But there was a ghost in this machine, which hovered within, or observed from without, not being subject to the laws which govern machines.
I was truly surprised and interested to discover yet another piece of 'what I am', this vast, undiscovered country.
There was no judgment whatsoever, only witnessing, accepting, and a new feeling of gratitude.
As Robert later commented; how could there be judgment? A machine is a machine. It is innocent.
Member of the Irish Group
Member of the Irish Group
Love at Second Sight 09/20/09 01:36:05 PM
In the deep quiet of the morning, in the silence inside, I saw something I had never seen before.
It was that the mind, the body and the emotional centre clearly live separate lives. I focused on the head and body. It was immediately apparent that their energies were different, as were their speeds or 'vibrations'.
Gently, tentatively, I began the process of bringing them together. In that process, the mind became progressively quieter, the sensation of the body more alive.
There came a point at which their speeds or vibrations were somehow equalised, their energies more compatible.
There followed a moment of mutual recognition, then a realisation of their mutual attraction. The head, the active, male principle, took the initiative. The body, the passive, female principle, responded. They became one, their energies blending.
Somewhere in the remote, hitherto barren womb of the solar plexus, a spinning planet is impregnated. It seems to kindle slowly, then burn with a bright, warm light. It was a new, firstborn feeling.
Quietly, sitting there in meditation, I realised that what had simply been an idea, an incomprehensible mystery to the ordinary mind, had become crystal clear and comprehensible to direct experience.
Member of the Irish Group
Member of the Irish Group
Talking Like Alice 09/23/09 06:35:16 AM
Last night, the wind blew a plastic flowerpot across the gravel and I was instantly awake, on full alert. The normal farm noises around us - cattle in slatted sheds, a querulous dog, the early morning milk truck - can't do that.
They are reassuring notes in the dream sequence. It was a bit like that at breakfast. Sunday morning music had lulled me into a pleasant mood. My wife arrived, wanting to hear the news headlines whilst I downed a second cup of coffee. News over, something went on full alert inside. I noticed I was talking too much. Was it the coffee or the news, or both?
I remembered the first time I met my wife's friend, Alice, who seemed capable of unstoppable chatter whilst hardly drawing breath. Alice later remarked to my wife that I seemed to be the 'strong silent type'. I almost smirked inwardly with self-satisfaction, as this comment fitted perfectly with my own self-image.
Now at breakfast I had received a little shock. I was suddenly uncomfortably aware that I was talking like Alice. It clashed with the image. The Critic emerged to do his thing and hot on his heels came Mr. Fix-it. Both were ready to clean up my act and close the door on this regrettable aberration. No! another voice instructed. Keep this door open! Everything inside obeys. Now bring some attention to your legs, it said. Immediately I could sense my legs, still feeling the discomfort. Now the arms, the spine, the breathing, the head!
Now I was at home, I existed, listening to this talking machine with growing interest, as if watching someone else. I realised that I was no longer judging, that I was observing, that I had the freedom to let this machine run until I had seen all I wished.
I wish to see what I am. From there, I wish to enter into the mystery of who I am.
Member of the Irish Group
Member of the Irish Group
Cavan Celebrations 2008 09/23/09 07:46:59 AM
From Friday night on, I had sought to bring head and sensation together. They flanked me, like two elephants, as in the Indian analogy. But what was the horse doing?
He suddenly appeared, around 3 o'clock on Saturday afternoon, shaking with cold fury. Someone was obstructing the execution of my plan.
The voice of my mother, long dead, repeats the assertion that none of my plans will ever come to anything. The horse is rearing, ready to smash down the door, to scatter every restraint and be free.
The elephants move into position and I tense in anticipation of a mighty internal struggle.
By this time, the whole group is assembled, in a circle, looking at me expectantly. I begin to speak, but pride/anger is choking me.
The furious horse, with its peculiar logic, seems to answer my mother's voice. He's saying: 'If failure is what you want or expect, then failure, in spades, is what you're going to get!'
The elephants are curiously impersonal, containing the horse, but in no way influencing his disposition.
In this, my hour of need, I ask for help, and something more intelligent appears.
The horse is shown a vision, in which he sees that he will suffer too.
Suddenly, all is calm, and I realise that this something 'more intelligent' is speaking for me.
I am free to watch. I leave everything to this newcomer. I bow to his authority. No effort whatsoever is required.
If he needs a word, a memory, an inspiration, it is simply there. Unobtrusive servants are everywhere, poised and ready to carry out his slightest wish.
I realise he is standing behind me, or is it above me, or in me?
He is strange, and new, yet familiar, because he can effortlessly observe everything that is going on inside, and everything outside, knowing with certainty always what to do.
When the moment arrives to end the proceedings, he does precisely that.
Member of the Irish Group
Member of the Irish Group
An Oil Change 09/23/09 08:05:08 AM
I felt the anger rising in me, old, dirty anger, like engine oil that badly needed to be changed.
The temperature in the car was plus 25 degrees Celsius and my body felt awful. I knew this anger belonged to my old self and the old wineskin that contained it was bursting at the seams.
Two voices spoke within, in counterpoint. The second voice was lighter, much more intelligent. And even if I bitched and groaned about what was required of me that afternoon, I knew I was listening to that second voice. I had known all along which I would listen to and obey.
In the car, in the heat, in spite of my body and my bitching, the driving force of my ego helped me work. I sensed my right arm. Even as I spoke to my wife I sensed my right leg. I listened to what she said and sensed my left leg. By the time we were pulling up at the wrought iron gates in the leafy suburb, I had reached my head. Standing in front of the door, having rung the bell, I pronounced the words 'I am' silently within.
Through the cool interior we went, exchanging cheerful greetings with our hosts. Out onto the patio, down to the suntrap at the end of the garden, under a tree.
I knew the time was right to let go of all my trying. This something more intelligent took over, as I had every confidence it would, having learned at last to let go and trust it.
I watched my social mechanism click smoothly into motion. Did they want charm? I could supply charm. Humour? Stories anyone? Out it all flowed, effortlessly.
After all these years, my wife no longer comments on these sudden 'conversions' of mine.
The horse is shown a vision, in which he sees that he will suffer too.
Suddenly, all is calm, and I realise that this something 'more intelligent' is speaking for me. I am free to watch. I leave everything to this newcomer. I bow to his authority. No effort whatsoever is required.
If he needs a word, a memory, an inspiration, it is simply there. Unobtrusive servants are everywhere, poised and ready to carry out his slightest wish.
I realise he is standing behind me, or is it above me, or in me?
He is strange, and new, yet familiar, because he can effortlessly observe everything that is going on inside, and everything outside, knowing with certainty always what to do.
When the moment arrives to end the proceedings, he does precisely that.
Member of the Irish Group
Having Fun 09/23/09 2:18:37 PM
I am currently sitting in a large room, filled with people, who are here, like me, for jury duty. And I have brought my laptop computer with me so that I can spend my time more productively, hopefully, utilizing my mind, instead of being bored or being occupied with things like reading a newspaper or books (or surfing the Internet) like so many people here. I don't know the relationship between myself and the GIG Blog and the possible readers out there. I feel a certain responsibility to maintain my blog and to write into it, once in a while. And I want to say that having this blog on the Internet (as compared to writing something just for myself and for my own viewing) is providing me something , something like a third force, I suppose.
And so, with this introduction of where I am (externally and internally) right now, out of the way, I would like to talk about this idea of having fun. Of course, this idea has to be considered in the context of being in good householder, that is, I must make sure to take care of things in my life that need to be taken care of. But after that, when I have free time and even when I am doing these things, I can enjoy myself and have fun. What does it mean to have fun? I would say it would be utilizing my creativity such as to see things in a new way or to see things that I have not noticed before. I think it would mean to have a sense of freedom, a sense that I am not stuck in a rut, that I can do things like move around or walk (such as if I were at my job or in a jury assembly room). And along with that, I think it would mean not to feel victimized, to feel that I have no choice, to feel that I am stuck, helpless, and so forth.
And so, it seems to me the main aspect of having fun (that I can think of now) is my attitude. I would like to have an attitude that I have some control over my life (even if it is not much), that I can do some things. And also, it is to appreciate these small things that I can do, such as in typing into this blog right now, because they could be an indicator of something bigger, such as, by typing into the blog right now, I feel more alive, I feel more confident of myself, and I have more energy.
Member of the Irish Group
How I see Things Now 09/27/09 03:46:32 PM
It became clear last week what the Work means to me now. We were on holiday in Italy. On the first day we were both violently ill; the 'vacation' became an 'evacuation', not only of body waste, but of emotional toxins, old turning thoughts, and every expectation.
New impressions flooded in and 'acceptance' became the only game in town.
Day two began suddenly at 6.00am as the Sirocco banged shutters, excited dogs, and carried noises up from the port. I felt a strong need to sit. The bathroom seemed the only place where I could be alone. The machinery of habit immediately became vocal. There was only a plastic stool to sit on, not the right height. It would be hot and airless in there with the windows shut....Stop! a voice seemed to say. Sit. Be still. Listen. And I obey.
Silence, which often takes so long to come, was immediately there. Noise, without and within, had receded like a tide. A prayer from childhood, meaningless then, came to me as it often has in recent times: Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof. Say but the word and my soul shall be healed. I was a child again, and the Lord was a small flame above the back of my head from which a white incandescent light began to flow down in a warm stream to fill my whole being with new life.
From that cold, almost dead planet in the solar plexus region there begins to glow a strange fire. Sometimes it seems like gratitude, sometimes like peace. The silence seems to vibrate, a kind of harmony of which I am a part. There is a deep wish to remain there forever, but a moment comes when it is clear it must end. I come back gradually to a noisy, sunny, windy world, viewed with a kind of innocent curiosity from the midst of a completely still body that is clearly an 'earthly coating'. How could I possibly live now without continuing to feed that life within?
Member of the Irish Group
Member of the Irish Group
Lord, I am not worthy 09/27/09 03:51:04 PM
I had an experience recently, which, though I am not 'religious', recalled these words from childhood, meaningless to me then:
'Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof. Say but the word and my soul shall be healed'.
I was 'sitting' in the morning, experiencing a sense of abandonment, because contact with the 'finer energy' had been lost. I recognised that, as I was, it could not 'descend'. Out of this feeling of helplessness, like a child, I ask the 'Lord' to do what my usual self cannot do - to open the way.
With humility at first, then a kind of subtle joy, I witness this being 'done unto me'. It is a 'surrender' of my usual self to this something higher that I call the 'Spirit'.
My whole body seemed filled with light, and silence, and stillness.
An image presents itself: In this inner space where I am, there is a shape or mould, which constitutes the 'original form'. It is coated with an earthly body, the abnormal tension of which distorts and blocks the mould, making it impossible for the finer energy to move freely, whither it will, to the remotest corner of this micro-universe. Without this complete freedom of movement, the finer energy cannot fill the mould, cannot fulfil its destiny, which is to generate life in this other, more spiritualised body. So, it cannot stay. It cannot abide with me.
The mould is ready, the body is not. The body is impure with the vapours of dreaming, with the heavy, toxic waste of negativity. Besides, it is dismembered, its head cut from the trunk, its limbs adrift. It needs to be re-membered and purified.
That was the 'image' or 'vision', which seemed like a message or explanation.
A Member of the Irish Group
Member of the Irish Group
When a Culture is Lost or Destroyed 10/1/09
According to Ananda Coomeraswami, writing during the 1940s, so-called education and culture usually destroy an oral tradition, sometimes with amazing rapidity. He was referring of course to modern times. In ancient Ireland, things were different.
The first voice to speak to us from that particular oral tradition is Fintan the Seer, telling the story of Ireland from a time before Noah's Flood.
The Christian monks who arrived in the 5th century were by the 7th century writing down for the first time the myths, legends and stories that made up the oral tradition. That is as far as the process went. These two traditions, oral and written, then continued to develop separately.
Again according to Coomeraswami, the quality of oral literature is essentially poetical, its content essentially mythical, and its preoccupation with the spiritual adventures of heroes. The quality of originally written literature is essentially prosaic, its content literal, and its preoccupation with secular events, and with personalities.
According to Gurdjieff, however, 'myths' were destined for the higher emotional centre ('In Search of the Miraculous' p.279). Therein lies the true meaning and value of this particular constituent of an oral tradition.
The oral tradition of Ireland was so strong, so much an integral part of the cultural fabric, that it survived undiluted and thriving until the 17th century. Then disaster struck.
Within the lifetime of one Englishman, William Shakespeare, this oral tradition, and the ancient Gaelic order that enshrined it, was relentlessly attacked and almost completely destroyed.
By the year 1598, just as Shakespeare was moving into the new Globe theatre, his reputation established, Queen Elizabeth 1's armies under Lord Mountjoy and others were in the midst of the most ferocious military campaign ever launched to subjugate the Irish.
By the time Queen Elizabeth died in the year 1603, the Old Gaelic Order had been brought to its knees. By the time Shakespeare died in 1616, that Gaelic Order had been utterly destroyed. Yet it is a testament to the enduring strength of the oral tradition that remnants of it survived right into the 1960s, in the Gaelic speaking parts of Ireland.
But that was not the end of the story. What finally almost completely destroyed that oral tradition, and with it the Irish or Gaelic language, was the system of education introduced by the ruling British administration during the 19th century.
One contemporary commentator, quoted by Coomeraswami, was horrified. This was Dr. Douglas Hyde, who valued the Irish oral tradition so much that he had learned to speak and write the language perfectly. He established 'Connradh na Gaeilge' (The Gaelic League) in 1893 and went on to become Ireland's first President in 1938. Here is what he had to say about the new system of education:
'In vain have disinterested visitors opened wide eyes of astonishment at schoolmasters who knew no Irish being appointed to teach pupils who knew no English. Intelligent children, endowed with a vocabulary, in every day use, of about three thousand words, enter the schools of the Chief Commissioner, to come out at the end with their natural vivacity gone, their intelligence almost completely sapped, their splendid command of their native language lost forever, and a vocabulary of five or six hundred English words, badly pronounced and barbarously employed, substituted for it.
Story, lay, poem, song, aphorism, proverb, and the unique stock in trade of an Irish speaker's mind, is gone forever, and replaced by nothing.
The children are taught, if nothing else, to be ashamed of their own parents, ashamed of their own nationality, ashamed of their own names. It is a remarkable system of 'education'...'
'Modern 'education', Coomeraswami concludes, imposed upon traditional cultures, for example Gaelic, Indian, Polynesian, American Indian, is only less deliberately, not less actually, destructive than the Nazi destruction of Polish libraries, which was intended to wipe out their racial memories.
The Germans acted consciously, but we who Anglicise or Americanise or Frenchify, are driven by a rancour that we do not recognise, and could not confess. This rancour is, in fact, our reaction to a superiority that we resent, and therefore, would like to destroy...' Strange, is it not, that no one in Ireland today seems interested in the question of what effect our history in this regard has had on the national psyche.
A member of the Irish Group
The Cities of the Soul 10/04/2009
As I was wandering in this temporal world, Allah led me to a straight path. Walking on it in a state between sleep and awakening, as if in a dream, I reached a city which was enveloped in darkness.
It was so vast, I could neither see nor conceive of its limits. This city contained everything which was created. There were people from all nations and races. So crowded were the streets that one could hardly walk, so noisy was it that one could hardly hear oneself or others. All the ugly actions of all the creatures, all the sins known and unknown to me, surrounded me. In awe and amazement I watched the strange scene.
Far in the distance, in the apparent center of this city, there was yet another city, with high walls, huge in size. What I observed all around me led me to think that never since the beginning of time, had a ray of light from the sun of truth fallen upon this city. Not only were the sky and the roads and houses of this city in total darkness, but its citizens, who were like bats, had minds and hearts as dark as night. Their nature and their behavior were like those of wild dogs growling and fighting with each other for a mouthful of food, obsessed by lust and anger, they killed and tore each other apart. Their only pleasure was in drinking and in shameless sex, without discrimination of male and female, wives and husbands or others. Lying, cheating, gossiping, slander, stealing was their custom, with total absence of concern for others, conscience or fear of Allah. Many among them called themselves Muslims. In fact, some were considered by them to be wise men - shaykhs, teachers, men of knowledge, and preachers. Some among them who became aware of Allah's commandments, of that which is right and lawful in the eyes of Allah and men, and of that which Allah forbids, tried to act upon these and found satisfaction in it and could no longer associate with the people of the city. Neither could the people of the city tolerate them. I heard they took refuge in the walled city I had seen in the center of this realm.
I stayed in this outer city for a while. At length I found someone who could hear me and understand what I said. I asked him the name of the place. He told me that it was Ammara, the imperious city, the city of freedom where everyone did what he pleased. I inquired about their state. He said that it was the city of joy, which derived from carelessness and heedlessness. In the beautiful darkness that surrounded it, each one thought that he was the only one. I asked him the name of their ruler. He informed me that he was called 'Aql al-Ma'ash, His Highness Cleverness, and that he was an astrologer, a sorcerer, an engineer who engineered things, a doctor who gave life to the ones who otherwise would die, an intelligent learned king who had no equal in this world. His advisers and ministers were called Logic, his judges depended on the ancient Law of Common Sense, his stewards were called Imagination and Daydreaming. He said that all the citizens were totally loyal to their ruler, not only respecting and appreciating him and his government but loving him, for they all felt an affinity to him in their nature, in their customs, in their behavior. I, possessing the same intelligence, and with it knowing that indeed the king of this city was the perfect master of all the sciences of this world, wished to learn these sciences in order to be rich and famous. I stayed for a while in the king's service and learned from him many clever things. I learned commerce, politics, military sciences, manufacturing arms, the law of man, and arts to glorify man. I became world-renowned. As men pointed me out with their fingers and talked about me, my ego rejoiced. Since all the parts of my being were totally under the influence of my worldly intelligence, they all found energy in the rejoicing of my ego and rushed to spend that energy in worldly delights and the pleasures of the flesh, without any consideration of whether all this hurt others, or even myself. Something inside of me at times saw that all this was wrong, but I had no strength nor ability to prevent it. That part of me which saw was pained, and wished to get out of the darkness of this city. One such day, when the pain was most acute, I went to my master the king, His Highness Cleverness, and daringly asked, “How is it that the men of knowledge of your realm never act upon their knowledge and fear Allah? How is it that none in this city fear the punishment of Allah, while they fear your punishment? How is it that there is no light here, nor outside, nor in your people's hearts? How is that your subjects appear as human beings, yet their nature is like that of wild animals and worse still?” He answered, “I - the one who can figure out how to derive personal benefit from this world, even if my benefit is their loss - am their ideal. I have an agent in each of them. They are my servants and the servants of my agents in them, but I also have a master who guides me, and that is the Devil. No one here is able to change his way, and all are content and think of themselves as better than others. None will to change, and therefore they will not change.”
When I heard that, I wished to leave that city, and intended to escape. But knowing the king's strength and control over everything, I asked his permission to leave. “O my absolute ruler,” I said, “You have done so much for this humble servant of yours and have given me all I have. What a joyful life I have led under your rule! You clothed me with rich furs, gave me companions for fun and games. Neither drunkenness nor gambling have you forbidden. I have tasted all the pleasures, and I feel I have had my share. Did you know that I came to this city as a traveler? Permit me now to go to that big castle that I see in the middle of your city.”
The king answered me, saying, “I rule over that castle also. That district is called Lawwama, Self-Reproach, but its people are not the same as we are here. In this imperious city of ours, our idol is the Devil. Neither he nor I blame anyone for what they do. Therefore, none regret what they have done for we live in imagination. In the city of Self-Reproach, imagination does not have total power. They also do what is called sin - they commit adultery, they satisfy their lust with men and women alike, they drink and gamble, steal and murder, gossip and slander as we do - but often they see what they have done, and, regret and repent.”
City of Lawwama:
As soon as I finished talking with my master, Cleverness, I rushed to the gates of the City of Self-Reproach. Over the gates was written at ta'ibu min adh dhanbi ka-man la adhnaba, “The one who has repented is like the one who has never committed a sin.” I gave the password by repenting for my sins, and entered the city. I saw that this city was considerably less crowded than the City of Darkness from which I had come. I would say that its population was half of the city I had left. After I had stayed there for a while, I found out that there was a man of knowledge who knew the Holy Qur'an and expounded upon it. I went to him and saluted him. He returned my salutation and wished Allah's peace and blessings upon me. Although I had been told by the ruler of the City of Darkness that he ruled here also, I checked with my teacher, asking him the same of their ruler. He confirmed that they were under the jurisdiction of His Highness Cleverness, but that they had their own administrators, whose name were Arrogance, Hypocrisy, Bigotry and Fanaticism. Among the population were many men of knowledge, many men who appeared to be virtuous, devout, pious and righteous. I made friend with these men and found them to be afflicted with arrogance, egotism, envy, ambition, bigotry, and in their friendship, insincerity. They were hostile to each other setting traps for each other. What I can say for the best of them is that they prayed and tried to follow Allah's commandments because they feared Allah's punishment and Hell, and hoped for an eternal pleasurable life in Paradise.
I asked one of them about the City of Darkness outside the walls, and complained about the people there. He agreed with my complaints, and said that the population of that city consisted of corrupt, seditious, murderous nonbelievers. They had no faith, nor did they ever pray. He said they were totally unconscious and heedless. But from time to time, by some mysterious guidance, they were led to the City of Self-Reproach. Then they realize what they had done and regretted, repented, and asked for forgiveness. In their city, he said, they did not know what they were doing, so it never occurred to them to regret or to ask for forgiveness. Therefore, they did not help each other, and no one interceded for them.
City of Mulhima:
When I had first come to the City of Self-Reproach, I had seen that in its center there was yet another castle. I asked the learned inhabitant about it. He said that it was called Mulhima, the City of Love and Inspiration. I asked about its ruler, and was told that he was called 'Aql al Ma'ad, His Highness Wisdom, Knower of Allah. This king, said my informant, had a prime minister whose name was Love. “If ever any one of us enters the City of Love and Inspiration,” he went on, “we don't accept him back to our city. For anyone who goes there becomes like the rest of the city's population - totally attached to that prime minister. He falls in love with him, and is ready to give up anything - all that he has, his possessions, his family and children even his life - for the sake of that prime minister called Love. Our sultan, His Highness Cleverness, finds this attributes absolutely unacceptable. He fears the influence of those who have this quality, for both their loyalty and actions seem to be illogical and are not understandable by common sense. “We hear that the people of that city call upon Allah chanting and singing, even with the accompaniment of reed flute and tambourines and drums, and that doing so they lose their senses and go into ecstasy. Our religious leaders and theologians find this unacceptable according to our orthodox rules. Therefore, none of them even dreams of setting foot in the City of Love and Inspiration.” When I heard that, I felt a terrible distaste for the City of Self-Reproach, and ran to the gates of the blessed City of Love and Inspiration. I read over the door bab ul-jannati maktub: la ilaha illa Llah. I recited aloud the sacred phrase: la ilaha illa Llah - 'There is no god but Allah” - prostrated myself, and offered my sincere thankfulness. At this, the gates opened and I entered. Soon I found a dervish lodge, where I saw the high and the lowly, the rich and the poor together, as if one single being. I saw them loving and respecting each other, serving each other with regard, reverence, and deference, in a continuous state of pure joy. They were talking, singing - their songs and their talk captivating, beautiful, always about Allah and the Hereafter, spiritual; removed from all anxiety and pain, as if living in Paradise. I did not hear or see anything that resembled dispute or quarrel, anything harmful or damaging. There was no intrigue or malice, envy or gossip. I felt immediately a peace, comfort, and joy among them. I saw a beautiful old man, consciousness and wisdom shining through him. I was attracted to him and went over and addressed him: “O my dearest, I am a poor traveler and a sick one at that, seeking a remedy for my sickness of darkness and consciousness. Is there a doctor in this City of Love and Inspiration to cure me?” He stayed silent for a while. I asked his name. He told me his name was Hidaya, Guidance. Then he said, “My nickname is Truthfulness. Since time immemorial not a single untruth passed from these lips. My duty and my charge are to show the way to the ones who sincerely seek union with the Beloved. And to you I say, And serve thy Lord until there comes to thee that which is certain. (Hijr, 99). And remember the name of thy Lord and devote thyself to Him with complete devotion. (Muzammil, 8). “You are also a sincere lover: listen to me with the ear of your heart.
There are four districts in this city of Love and Inspiration (City of Mulhima) to which you have come. These four districts are one within the other. “The outer one is called, the district of the imitators. The skillful doctor you seek to cure your ills is not within that district. Neither is the pharmacy that has medicine for the sickness of heedlessness, darkness of the heart, and hidden polytheism. Although you will find many who advertise themselves as doctors of the heart - appearing as such, dressing in robes, and wearing great turbans; declaring themselves to be wise men while trying to hide their ignorance, their depravity, their lack of character; unable to prove what they claim to be; seeking fame and ambitious for the world - they themselves are sick with the sickness of themselves. They assign partners to Allah, and are masters of only of imitation. “They hide their intrigue, duplicity, and malice well. They are intelligent, perceptive, jolly and humorous, bon vivant. Although their tongues appear to be pronouncing the prayers and the name of Allah and you find them often in the circles of dervishes, their minds, which guide them, do not lead them to see the influence and benefit of their prayers. Therefore you will not find with them the balm to soothe the pains of unconsciousness and forgetfulness. "You may as well leave this district of imitators and take refuge in the district of Mujahid, district of warriors."
I followed his advice and went on to the district of the warriors. The people I met there were weak and thin; gentle, thoughtful, thankful; devoted to praying, obeying, fasting, contemplating, and meditating. Their strength lay in living in accordance with that which they knew. I became close to them, and saw that they had left all the failures of character produced by egoism and egotism and the shadow of unconsciousness. They had formed a talent for being servants, pleased with their Lord and content with their state. I stayed in the district of the gentle warriors for many years. I acted as they acted and lived as they lived, seeing how I acted and how I lived, not letting a moment pass in heedlessness. I learned and showed patience and forbearance, and learned to be content and satisfied with my lot, and I was content and satisfied. I fought hard, day and night, with my ego but still I was left with the polytheism of many “me's” and “I's” fighting amongst themselves, even though they faced one Allah. This, my sickness of shirk khafi - setting up many “I's” as partners to Allah - cast heavy shadows over my heart, hid the truth, and kept me in heedlessness. I asked the doctors of the district, I begged them. I told them of my sickness, the hidden polytheism, the awful heedlessness, the darkness of the heart, and asked for help. They told me, “Even in this place of those who battle their egos there is no cure for your ills, for He is with you wherever you are.” (Hadid, 4)
Then they advised me to travel in the direction of the castle of Mutma'ina, the City of Peace and Tranquility. Near that city lay a district called Munajat wa Muraqaba - supplication and meditation. Perchance there, they said, there would be a doctor to cure me. When I came to the district of meditation, I saw its inhabitants, quiet and peaceful, remembering Allah inwardly, reciting His Beautiful Names. To each and every one of them a son of the heart had been born. They stood, heads bowed in the presence of their Lord, silent, melancholic, sad, in deep humility and veneration. Although their exteriors seemed annihilated, ruinous, their hearts shone and flourished. Their ways were gentle and courteous. They barely spoke with each other for fear of distracting each other's attention from the One in Whose presence they felt themselves to be, preventing each other from deep meditation. Light as feathers they were, yet they feared most to be a burden and a load on others. I spent many years in the district of meditation and contemplation. I did as they did, and indeed I thought I was finally cured of heedlessness, polytheism, and unconsciousness. But I was not cured of the hidden dualism of “I” and “He” that still cast heavy shadows upon my heart. My tears ran in torrents. Wretched and in total awe I fell into a strange state where an ocean of sadness surrounded me. I wished to drown in that sea. I found no other solution but to die. But I could not do anything, I had no will, not even to die.
As I stood there helpless, sad, in ecstasy, there appeared the beautiful teacher whom I had first met in these strange lands, the one who was called Hidaya, the Guide. He looked upon me with compassionate eyes. “O poor slave of himself, in exile in this foreign land! O wanderer away from home! O poor wretched one, you cannot find your cure in this state of spirit. Leave this place. Go to that district yonder, just next to the gate of the castle of Mutma'ina. The name of that quarter is Fana - self annihilation. There you will find doctors who have annihilated their selves, who have no being, who know the secret of fa-afnu thumma afnu thumma afnu fa-abku thumma abku thumma abku - “Be nought, be nought, be nought, so that you will be, so that you will be, so that you will be forever.”
Without delay, I went to the district of annihilation. I saw its population mute, speechless, as if dead, with no strength in them to utter a word. They had left the hope of any benefit from talk and were ready to give up their souls to the angel of death. They were totally unconcerned whether I was there or not. I saw no action among them except their performing their prayers five times a day. They had lost the concept of separation between this world and the Hereafter, forgotten it. Pain and joy were equal to them. They had no taste for either material or spiritual things. No thought preoccupied them. They did not remember anything, nor did they look forward to anything. All need and desire was strange to them. They had even stopped asking Allah for what they wanted. I stayed with them for many years. I did what they did. I did not appear other than they, but I did not know their inner state, so I could not do what they did inwardly. Even in that place, among them, I felt great pain. Yet when I wished to describe the symptoms of my ill, I couldn't find a body nor any existence, so as to say “This is my body”, or “This is me.” Then I knew that which was “me,” turned into the owner of me. Then I knew that to say “That being is mine” is a lie, and to lie is a sin for everyone. Then I knew that to ask the real owner for what was “mine” was the hidden polytheism of which I had wished to rid myself. What, then, was to be done? In awe, I saw that I was free of all my wishes, I cried and cried. In my despair, if I were to call upon Him and say, “O Lord,” then there would be two - I and He, me and the One from Whom I seek help, the will and the Willed, the desire and the Desired, the lover and the Beloved, oh so many. I knew not the remedy. The woeful wailing attracted the pity of the angel of inspiration whom His Lord had charged to teach the lovers. With the permission of his Lord, he read to me from the book of divine inspiration: “First, annihilate your actions.”
He gave that to me as gift. As I stretched my hand to receive it, I saw that there was no hand. It was a composition of water and earth and ether and fire. I had no hand to take with. I had no power to act. There is only One Who has power, the All-Powerful. Whatever action occurs through me, it belongs to the Absolute Actor. All power, all acts, I referred to Him, and I left all that had happened to me and through me in this world. I knew, as I had been taught by the angel of inspiration, what the annihilation of one's action is. And all praise is due to Allah.
The proof of the necessity of disowning one's actions in the path to truth is in the verse in the Holy Qur'an: Qul kullun min 'indilla-hi , Say, all (action) is from Allah. (An-Nisaa, 78) I am unlettered and have not been taught, yet Allah Most High in His manifestation of the Ultimate Truth has graced me with the ability and power to teach. As what is related here are occurrences that happened to me, experiences that brought a state of mind and spirit, and as it is said, al halu la yu'rafu bil-qal - “the states cannot be told by words” - and it is not possible to express such states so that others can appreciate or even imagine them. Then I wished, with the permission of Allah and with the help of the angel of inspiration, to leave my attributes - those qualities which makes one's personality. When I looked, what I saw was not mine. Neither was the content mine. Totally helpless, I was cut off from all the attributes, visible and invisible, that distinguished me, from all qualities exterior and interior that had made me “me”. With all my being and feeling and spirit, I supposed myself a pure essence. Then I sensed that even this was duality. What do I have to do, what relation do I have, with something that does not belong to me? I was helpless again. Then even my essence was taken away from me. Still I wished and longed for Him. I felt the meaning of wa talibu 'ayni 'abdi - The one who longs for Me is My true servant. Woe to this me in me, I know not what to do. Helpless, I hope for union.
Wa Llahu bi kulli shay'in muhit,
Allah Who encompass all things,
huwal-awwalu wal-akhiru waz-zahiru wal-batinu wa huwa bi kulli shay'in 'alim,
Who is before the before, and after the after, and all that is evident and all that is hidden, and He is the knower of all things became manifest in the secret of my heart. Even then I wished that the secret of mutu qabla an tamutu , “to die before dying” be actualized in me. O woe, again this hidden duality of I and the One I long for. This, too, cannot be the truth. What ill is this that give pangs of pain when I move, when I wish, when I long, when I ask for help, when I pray and beg? What strange state have I fallen into, difficult to resolve?
Castle of Mutmai'na:
Helpless, I gave all these to their Owner and waited at the gate of acquiescence in agony of death, senseless, without thought or feeling, as if dead, expecting death to take me at every breath. I stayed in that state I know not how long. Following the advice istafid qalbaka - “Ask your heart,” I told my heart to instruct me. It said, “As long as there is a trace of you in you, you cannot hear your Lord's call irji'ee - 'Come to Me!'” If a cat fell into a salt pit and drowned, and in time its body became salt, if a single hair were left, could that salt be used as food? How often and how long do theologians debate and discuss such matters! Some say that in spite of the single hair the salt is clean, that the corpse of the cat is now the salt; and some say that the single hair is as much as the cat as was the whole body. Thus the salt is dirty and unlawful to eat. I felt the truth of it and wished that trace of me in me would die. I immersed that trace in divine beatitude. An ecstasy came, from me, to me, over which that was mine, covering it all, the taste of which is impossible to describe. Without ear, without words, without letters I heard the invitation: Irji'ee - “Come.” I tried to think, “What is this state?” My thought could not think it. I was made to know that thought cannot think about the sacred secret. Even that knowledge was taken away from me as fast as it came to me.
O seeker, what has been said here is not intended to show that I know. Therefore it will only be made known to you after I am gone from among you. It is for the benefit of the seekers of truth, for the lovers who long for the Beloved, so that it may help them to know themselves, so that they may find in which of the cities I traveled through they themselves are, and which of its citizens they befriend. When and if in sincerity they know their place, they will act accordingly, and know the direction of the gate of Allah's pleasure, and be thankful. Perchance they will remember this faqir, the writer of these words, with a little prayer. Allah's peace and blessings be upon Shaykh Muhammad Sadiq Naqshabandi Erzinjani, the original writer of these words, and the ones who read them. Al-Fatihah.
Member of the Irish Group
Fintan the Seer 10/05/09
Fintan the Seer was brought from his home at Uisneach before the king and nobles at Tara and they asked of him how the land should be governed and divided, for he was the oldest and wisest man in Ireland. They asked him first who he was, what his lineage was and how long he had lived.
He answered them: 'I am the son of Labhraidh and Bóchna. When I was fifteen years of age, I came with Cessair and Buan and fifty women to this shore, at Bun Suaine in the south. That was forty days before the deluge (Noah's Flood) and I was the only one to survive the great rains, for I hid in a cave at the mountain of Tounthinna near the Shannon.
When I came from the cave, I was the first man to see the new land with the waters gone. That is five thousand and five hundred years ago, and since then I have taken many forms.
I have been the one-eyed salmon at the falls of Assaroe, and given wisdom to those who came to me. I have talked to the hawk of Achill, who is nearly as old as myself, and heard many stories from him.
I have been a falcon, flying high over the hills where Fionn and the Fianna hunted. I have been an eagle, watching the kings and queens at Tara come to greatness, and then dying, one after the other.
I have seen forests grow up from seeds, and fall and become trackless bogs. I have seen generations cut the forests and build palaces and temples, and I have seen those houses crumble to the same dust as those who built them.
I have seen the tribes invade, and conquer those who were here before them; I have seen them be defeated by new tribes in their turn.
What all my years have taught me is that all living things change - the land, the water, the people. Even the great rocks crumble in time.
I planted one of the five great trees of Ireland - the Ash of Uisneach - and I have watched it fall and grow again from its seeds. Because I have seen so many things, I know how the land should be divided and the ways those who rule should disport themselves.
Let me tell you this, and make a record of it, so that generations to come should know it. Let there be Knowledge in the West, Battle in the North, Prosperity in the East, Music in the South, Royalty at the Centre.
The royal centre is not only here at Tara, but also at Uisneach, for at Uisneach is the Stone of Divisions that touches on every province of Ireland, and so partakes of all their virtues. Tara and Uisneach are like the two kidneys of a beast, of equal necessity for the health of the people and the land. Tara is great - it is the place of governance; but keep the knowledge of Uisneach and the harmony of the land will continue.
Let it be recorded that a ruler should have no blemish on his spirit, for is he has, the land will fail and the people go hungry. Let there be justice rather than might in ruling the land, and no bloodshed or battles in the struggle to hold it.
Treat the land as your mother, and it will continue to feed you. Treat it as a slave to be used, and it may rise up in revolt. Let the great ones keep in mind that every ruler who lives will die, and every race give way to a new one.
Thus spoke Fintan, the oldest and wisest one, as wise ones have spoken before and since. And the kings and the nobles and warriors seemed to listen, and his words were written down; though whether any of those who heard paid much heed to them is another matter entirely.
Member of the Irish Group
Member of the Irish Group
The Irish Language 10/19/09
'Celtic' is a linguistic term (pronounced with a hard 'c') which describes a group of languages nowadays represented by Irish, Scots Gaelic and Manx, which belong to the 'q' Celtic group, and Welsh, Breton and Cornish, which make up the 'p' Celtic group.
The 'q' Celts could not pronounce 'p' and so either dropped it completely ('pater' in Latin, meaning 'father', is 'athair' in modern Irish) or changed to a 'q' type sound, thus 'purpura' in Latin, meaning 'purple', is 'corcora' in Irish.
Gaelic was introduced to Scotland some time in the 5th century AD, when the Dal Riada (pronounced 'Doll ree-ada') Kings of Northern Ireland invaded.
Speakers of Irish can understand Scots Gaelic, but will not be able to understand Welsh or Breton at all, as the two groups of languages have been developing separately for over 2,000 years.
The name for the Irish Language in Gaelic is 'Gaeilge' (pronounced 'Gay'-il-gheh').
There are two main branches of this Celtic language - Goidelic (related words: Gaelic / Gallic / Galatia / Galicia) and Brythonic (Britain / Breton etc.)
The Goidelic branch is spoken in Ireland and Scotland mainly. The last native speaker of Manx died in 1974, but many are learning the language today.
At its greatest, the Celtic world stretched from Ireland in the west to Turkey in the east, leaving traces in Turkey in the province of Galatia and in Spain in the province of Galicia, where traces of a Celtic language survive today in the Gallego (pronounced 'Gall-yay-go') dialect.
Two great finds of ancient Celtic artefacts at La Téne and Hallstadt in central Europe have led to much academic speculation as to the nature and organisation of this culture.
The Brythonic branch includes Welsh (spoken mostly in northern Wales), Cornish (spoken in Cornwall until World War Two) and Breton (spoken in the region of Brittany in the north west of France.)
From about 500 BC (date the subject of academic speculation), when the Celts first arrived in Ireland, until around 1800 AD, Gaelic (Irish) was the language of the majority of people on the island of Ireland. In this period, various invaders introduced their own languages. The Vikings introduced their language, Norse, which was spoken for hundreds of years in the towns and cities they established, such as Dublin and Limerick. Later, in the same way, Norman-French was spoken in cities like Kilkenny, Waterford and Galway.
It was English, which, in the end, dominated all others. This domination began in earnest around 1800 AD, after the Act of Union, whereby Ireland and Britain became a single political and economic entity.
The Great Famine (1845-47) had an enormous effect on the Irish Language. At least one million people had died of starvation or disease. Another million emigrated, almost all to English-speaking countries, particularly the United States of America.
Subsequently, among Irish people, attitudes to the English Language changed. As most, if not all of their children would emigrate, they encouraged them to learn English, even paying teachers to help them do so. Those who could not afford this sent their children to the hated National Schools, where everything was taught through the medium of English.
By 1891, 85% of Irish people spoke English. The Irish Language continued to decline, in spite of the efforts of Irish Language organistions such as Connradh na Gaeilge (The Gaelic League), set up in 1893.
Today, a revival seems to be in progress, /thanks not to the Secondary School system but rather to the efforts of TV programmes such as TG4.
Parents (especially middle-class / Dublin) have started the fashion of sending their children to 'Naíonraí' (pronounced 'Nee-un-ree'), which are Irish-speaking créches.
This revival of interest in the language in Ireland (such as it is), is part of a general revival of their languages by ethnic groups all across Europe. It is seen as an essential element in restoring a sense of identity, in a world where economic and political considerations have dominated in recent years.
Minority languages are now increasingly seen as the keys to heritage, the past, the roots and psyche of a nation.
Whilst membership of the EU confers or reaffirms statehood, a sense of security, and protection from larger, ancient enemies, those who study history know that the tendency of the larger political entity is towards obliterating cultural and linguistic differences in the interests of administrative efficiency.
Member of The Irish Group
Member of the Irish Group
The Empty Vessel 10/23/09 07:59:51 AM
It was an unusual 'weekend' for me. Several group members had asked me, jokingly, if I had taken a vow of silence. I knew that I was in receiving mode, with no wish to project outside myself.
I felt like an empty vessel, into which poured impression after impression, until it 'runneth over'. These impressions were exclusively of the group, received with particular impact when certain members spoke.
I became aware only gradually that some kind of 'opening' was taking place in me. This seemed to be happening without any effort whatsoever on my part. But then I realised that the 'silence' and 'watchfulness' that I had reached within, during the previous few days, was producing unexpected results.
It was then that I realised at another level that this Work is not for me; that I am for the Work. That I am an empty vessel, an instrument to be used for a purpose far greater than myself.
I experienced a surge of joy and gratitude that I had a place in this scheme of things, which gave meaning to my whole existence.
Taking in Impressions 10/26/09 3:37:10 PM
Last night, Sunday night, while at my home, I was having a difficult time working on myself; being present to myself and to my external environment. I was seated by my computer table, working on some physics problems for a physics class that my older son was taking. However, at the same time, my computer was turned on, connected to the Internet, and in the next room, my younger son was alternating between watching a football game and a baseball game. And, despite my wish to not to, I was drawn into these games on TV. It just seemed that there was no attention in me, nothing of substance. And I had this attitude that I could not work on myself anymore, that the work was slipping away, and that there was nothing I could do about it.
But somehow, a thought came in and it said to try to draw some pictures. When I was young, in my teens and in my early 20's, I used to draw pictures (as well as some painting). But I haven't really drawn much these days and I haven't painted since then. But when this thought came, I immediately took it up and started to draw. Using my clipboard, I began to draw a picture of a swivel chair which was located not too far from where I was seated. And with this task of drawing, I could feel my attention returning. And it seemed to balance the attention that was being drawn out of me, such as from the excitement of the sports on TV. I just felt more balanced. And when I continued to draw a picture of this chair, I felt a relationship with this chair. It wasn't just an object but something perhaps sacred. And its form, such as its legs touching the ground through its rollers, was fascinating. Strange but when I was drawing the chair, I felt a connection and I seemed more sensitive to it. And my hand strokes became more refined and felt actually pleasurable and not really an effort. It seemed like my hand knew what to do. And I felt more alive or rather I felt alive. Before this, I felt like my life was being sucked out of me.
When preparing for running this website the issue of putting our names on the site has come up again and again.
As usual I'm convinced that I'm right and the others are not seeing the full picture. Where do I go from here?
I'm willing to mess up, to make a fool of myself, to be seen to 'get it wrong'. I want to stand up and be counted.
There is something in the process of being in the work, something strong that makes us want to put others right about the work. /I can easily see this in others. How can I see more of it in myself?
Comments I have heard about being seen in public include not wanting to draw attention to oneself, not wanting to look as if one knows something, not wanting to jeopardise ones chances of joining groups in the future.
I do know something. Is it much, is it little? Does it matter? This is where I am, this is what I am, and I wish to direct effort, attention, time, towards work.
I hope to work on my self, inwardly, and for the sake of the teaching (so that it may reach those who are seeking it), outwardly. To do this I have to work with others.
I recognise that there are many who have greater being than me, that I need to learn from. I know, and feel, that I am vain, a know-all, that I say that I will do things and then don't do them. I am not awake. I work as it is possible for me, at this time, in these conditions. So may it be for those who work alongside me.
The Story of Jumping Mouse 11/10/2009
Written by Hyemeyohsts Storm in Seven Arrows (1972 Harper & Row, New York)
Once there was a little mouse. He was a busy mouse, searching everywhere, touching his whiskers to the grass, and looking about. He was busy as all mice are, busy with mice things. But once in a while he would hear an odd sound. He would lift his head, squinting hard to see, his whiskers wiggling in the air, and he would wonder. One day he scurried up to a fellow mouse and asked him, Do you hear a roaring in your ears, my brother?
No, no, answered the other mouse, not lifting his busy nose from the ground. I hear nothing. I am busy now. Talk to me later.
He asked another mouse the same question and the mouse looked at him strangely. Are you foolish in your head? What sound? he asked and slipped into a hole in a fallen cottonwood tree.
The little mouse shrugged his whiskers and busied himself again, determined to forget the whole matter. But there was that roaring again. It was faint, very faint, but it was there! One day, he decided to investigate the sound just a little. Leaving the other busy mice, he scurried a little ways away and listened again. There it was! He was listening hard when suddenly, someone said Hello.
Hello little brother, the voice said, and Mouse almost jumped right out of his skin. He arched his back and tail and was about to run.
Hello, again said the voice. It is I, Brother Raccoon. And sure enough, it was! What are you doing here all by yourself, little brother? asked the raccoon. The mouse blushed, and put his nose almost to the ground. I hear a roaring in my ears and I am investigating it, he answered timidly.
A roaring in your ears? replied the raccoon as he sat down with him. what you hear, little brother , is the river.The river? Mouse asked curiously. What is a river?
Walk with me and I will show you the river, Raccoon said.
Little Mouse was terribly afraid, but he was determined to find out once and for all about the roaring. I can return to my work, he thought, after this thing is settled, and possibly this thing may help me in all my busy examining and collecting. And my brothers all said it was nothing. I will show them. I will ask Raccoon to return with me and I will have proof.
All right Raccoon, my brother, said Mouse. lead on to the river. I will walk with you.
Little Mouse walked with Raccoon. His little heart was pounding in his breast. The raccoon was taking him upon strange paths and little Mouse smelled the scent of many things that had gone by his way. Many times he became so frightened he almost turned back. Finally, they came to the river! It was huge and breathtaking, deep and clear in Places, and murky in others. Little Mouse was unable to see across it because it was so great. It roared, sang, cried, and thundered on its course. Little Mouse saw great and little pieces of the world carried along on its surface.
It is powerful! little Mouse said, fumbling for words.
It is a great thing, answered the Raccoon, But here, let me introduce you to a friend.
In a smoother, shallower place was a lily pad, bright and green. Sitting upon it was a frog, almost as green as the pad it sat on. The frog's white belly stood out clearly.
Hello, little brother, said the frog.
Welcome to the river.
I must leave you now, cut in Raccoon, but do not fear, little brother, for frog will care for you now. And Raccoon left, looking along the river bank for food that he might wash and eat.
Little Mouse approached the water and looked into it. He saw a frightened mouse reflected there.
Who are you? the little mouse asked the reflection. Are you not afraid of being that far out into the great river?
No, answered the frog, I am not afraid. I have been given the gift from birth to live both above and within the river. When winter man comes and freezes this medicine, I cannot be seen. But all the while thunderbird flies, I am here. To visit me, one must come when the world is green. I, my brother, am the Keeper of the Water.
Amazing! little Mouse said at last, again fumbling for words.
Would you like to have some Medicine Power? Frog asked.
Medicine Power? Me? asked little Mouse. Yes, yes! If it is possible.
Then crouch as low as you can, and then jump as high as you are able! You will have your medicine! Frog said.
Little Mouse did as he was instructed. He crouched as low as he could and jumped. And when he did, his eyes saw the Sacred Mountains.
Little Mouse could hardly believe his eyes. But there they were! But then he fell back to Earth, and he landed in the river!
Little Mouse became frightened and scrambled back to the bank. He was wet and frightened nearly to death.
You have tricked me, little Mouse screamed at the Frog!
Wait, said the Frog. You are not harmed. Do not let your fear and anger blind you. What did you see?
I, Mouse stammered, I saw the Sacred Mountains!
And you have a new name! Frog said. It is Jumping Mouse.
Thank you. Thank you, Jumping Mouse said, and thanked him again. I want to return to my people and tell them of this thing that has happened to me.
Go. Go then, Frog said. return to your people. It is easy to find them. Keep the sound of the Medicine River to the back of your head. Go opposite to the sound and you will find your Brother Mice.
Jumping Mouse returned to the world of the mice. But he found disappointment. No one would listen to him. And because he was wet, and had no way of explaining it because there had been no rain, many of the other mice were afraid of him. They believed he had been spat from the mouth of another animal that had tried to eat him. And they all knew that if he had not been food for the one who wanted him, then he must also be poison for them.
Jumping Mouse lived again among his people, but he could not forget his vision of the Sacred Mountains.
The memory burned in the mind and heart of Jumping Mouse, and one day he went to the edge of the Place of Mice and looked out onto the prairie. He looked up for eagles. The sky was full of many spots, each one an eagle. But he was determined to go to the Sacred Mountains. He gathered all of his courage and ran just as fast as he could onto the prairie. His little heart pounded with excitement and fear.
He ran until he came to a stand of sage. He was resting and trying to catch his breath when he saw an old mouse. The patch of sage Old Mouse lived in was a haven for mice, seeds and many things to be busy with.
Hello, said Old Mouse. Welcome.
Jumping Mouse was amazed. Such a place and such a mouse. You are truly a great mouse. Jumping Mouse said with all the respect that he could find. This is truly a wonderful place. And the eagles cannot see you here, either, Jumping Mouse said.
Yes, said Old Mouse, and one can see all the beings of the prairie here: the Buffalo, Antelope, Rabbit, and Coyote. One can see them all from here and know their names.
That is marvelous, Jumping Mouse said. Can you also see the river and the Great Mountains?
Yes and no, Old Mouse said with conviction. I know the Great River, but I am afraid that the Great Mountains are only a myth. Forget your passion to see them and stay here with me. There is everything you want here, and it is a good place to be.
How can he say such a thing? thought Jumping Mouse. The medicine of the Sacred Mountains is nothing one can forget.
Thank you very much for the meal you have shared with me, Old Mouse, and also for sharing your great home, Jumping Mouse said. but I must seek the mountains.
You are a foolish mouse to leave, there is danger on the prairie! Just look up there! Old Mouse said, with even more conviction. See all those spots! They are eagles, and they will catch you!
It was hard for Jumping Mouse to leave, but he gathered his determination and ran hard again.
The ground was rough. But he arched his tail and ran with all his might. He could feel the shadows of the spots upon his back as he ran. All those spots! Finally he ran into a stand of chokecherries. Jumping Mouse could hardly believe his eyes. It was cool there and very spacious. There was water, cherries, and seeds to eat, grasses to gather for nests, holes to be explored and many, many other busy things to do. And there were a great many things to gather.
He was investigating his new domain when he heard very heavy breathing. He quickly investigated the sound and discovered its source. It was a great mound of hair with black horns. It was a Great Buffalo. Jumping Mouse could hardly believe the greatness of the being he saw lying there before him. He was so large that Jumping Mouse could have crawled into one of his great horns. Such a magnificent being, Thought Jumping Mouse, and he crept closer.
Hello, my brother, said the Buffalo. Thank you for visiting me.
Hello Great Being, said Jumping Mouse. Why are you lying here?
I am sick and I am dying the Buffalo said.
And my Medicine has told me that only the eye of a mouse can heal me. But little brother, there is no such thing as a mouse.
Jumping Mouse was shocked. One of my eyes! he thought. One of my tiny eyes. He scurried back into the stand of chokecherries. But the breathing came harder and slower.
He will die thought Jumping Mouse. If I do not give him my eye. He is too great a being to let die.
He went back to where the buffalo lay and spoke. I am a mouse. he said with a shaky voice. And you, my brother, are a great being. I cannot let you die. I have two eyes, so you may have one of them.
The minute he said it, Jumping Mouse's eye flew out of his head and the buffalo was made whole. The Buffalo jumped to his feet, shaking Jumping Mouse's whole world.
Thank you, my little brother, said the Buffalo. I know of your quest for the Sacred Mountains and of your visit to the river. You have given me life so that I may give-away to the People. I will be your brother forever. Run under my belly and I will take you right to the foot of the Sacred Mountains, and you need not fear the spots. The eagles cannot see you while you run under me. All they will see will be the back of a buffalo. I am of the prairie and I will fall on you if I try to go up the mountains.
Little Mouse ran under the buffalo, secure and hidden from the spots, but with only one eye it was frightening. The buffalo's great hooves shook the whole world each time he took a step. Finally they came to a place and Buffalo stopped.
This is where I must leave you, little brother, said the buffalo.
Thank you very much, said Jumping Mouse. But you know, it was very frightening running under you with only one eye. I was constantly in fear of your great earth-shaking hooves.
Your fear was for nothing, said Buffalo, For my way of walking is the Sun Dance way, and I always know where my hooves will fall. I now must return to the prairie, my brother, you can always find me there.
Jumping Mouse immediately began to investigate his new surroundings. There were even more things here than in the other places, busier things, and an abundance of seeds and other things mice like. In his investigation of these things, suddenly he ran upon a Gray Wolf who was sitting there doing absolutely nothing.
Hello, Brother Wolf, Jumping Mouse said.
The wolf's ears came alert and his eyes shone. Wolf! Wolf! Yes, that is what I am, I am a Wolf! But then his mind dimmed again and it was not long before he Sat quietly again, completely without memory as to who he was. Each time Jumping Mouse reminded him who he was, he became excited with the news, but soon would forget again.
Such a Great Being, thought Jumping Mouse, but he has no memory.
Jumping Mouse went to the center of his new place and was quiet. He listened for a very long time to the beating of his heart. Then suddenly he made up his mind. He scurried back to where the wolf sat and he spoke.
Brother Wolf, Jumping Mouse said. ....
Wolf! Wolf, said the Wolf ....
Please Brother Wolf, said Jumping Mouse, please listen to me. I know what will heal you. It is one of my eyes. And I want to give it to you. You are a greater being than I. I am only a mouse. Please take it.
When Jumping Mouse stopped speaking his eye flew out of his head and the wolf was made whole.
Tears fell down the cheeks of the wolf, but his little brother could not see them, for now he was blind.
You are a great brother, said the Wolf, for now I have my memory. But now you are blind. I am the guide into the Sacred Mountains. I will take you there. There is a great Medicine Lake there. The most beautiful lake in the world. All the world is reflected there. The People, the lodges of the People, and all the Beings of the prairies and skies.
Please take me there, Jumping Mouse said. The wolf guided him through the pines to the Medicine Lake. Jumping Mouse drank the water from the lake. The wolf described the beauty to him.
I must leave you here, said Wolf, For I must return so that I may guide others, but I will remain with you as long as you like.
Thank you, my brother, said Jumping Mouse. But, although I am frightened to be alone, I know you must go so that you may show others the way to this place.
Jumping Mouse sat there trembling in fear. It was no use running, for he was blind, but he knew an eagle would find him here. He felt a shadow on his back and heard the sound that eagles make. He braced himself for the shock and the eagle hit! Jumping Mouse went to sleep.
Then he woke Up. The surprise of being alive was great, but now he could see!
Everything was blurry, but the colors were beautiful.
I can see! I can see! said Jumping Mouse over again and again.
A blurry shape came toward Jumping Mouse. Jumping Mouse squinted hard but the shape remained a blur.
Hello, brother, a voice said. Do you want some medicine?
Some medicine for me? asked Jumping Mouse. Yes! Yes!
Then crouch down as low as you can, the voice said, and jump as high as you can.
Jumping Mouse did as he was instructed. He crouched as low as he could and jumped! The wind caught him and carried him higher.
Do not be afraid, the voice called to him. hang on to the wind and trust!
Jumping Mouse did. He closed his eyes and hung on to the wind and it carried higher and higher. Jumping Mouse opened his eyes and they were clear, and the higher he went the clearer they became. Jumping Mouse saw his old friend upon a lily pad on the Beautiful Medicine Lake. It was the frog.
You have a new name, called the frog. You are Eagle!
Copyright Hyemeyohsts Storm
Wanting my life back 09/03/09 05:54:30 AM
Six years ago I lifted a heavy load and something went in my back. I have been in pain since then.
For the first three years everything in me screamed and kicked against this injustice. I became depressed and didn't think my life was worth living. I wanted my old life back.
I read in Jacob Needleman's 'A Sense of the Cosmos' about his experience with enduring pain and how he realised that what he wanted back was his habits. This made me see my experience in a new light. I am identified with my habits and carry the assumption that they are the status quo.
When I am forced out of my range of habits I may resist it, but it is also possible to for me to be brought out of my habits intentionally, as a result of work. If I am given an exercise, a practice, it is sometimes possible to experience my life in an entirely new way.
I have re-built my life around the axis of pain and have come to terms with it. I am happy and I have pain. It is almost like a friend.
Soon I am going in for surgery on my back. What then lies ahead?
Everything that is given to me is material for transformation, the question is, am I present to it?
Will Mesa and Mani Gerlach
La Primera (Sandro Botticelli) Part I 11/30/2009
Dear Will, thank you for inviting me to go deeper in this beautiful painting. Botticelli was strongly influenced by the ideas of the hermetic Ficino and also by the many paintings he made for Dante's “Devine Comedy”. So we can interpret the painting in different ways. I have only red a little bit about the “Devine Comedy”, but never red it. So it makes no sense to search the Law of Seven in a new painting with the help of a story I don't know. Therefore I choose the way by the hermetic symbolism, maybe you take the other way. But at the end - I hope - we will come to similar results.
"Love is the perpetual knot and link of the universe." - Marsilio Ficino
In the Renaissance the philosopher and cleric Marsilio Ficino translated the newly discovered Platonic writings. Cosimo Ficino was the fonder of the Academy of Cosimo de Medici in Florence, Botticelli was a member of this academy. Ficino explained how the dance of the three Graces symbolizes the cycle of divine love, a threefold process, flowing from God, through the world and returning to God again. Ficino's interpretation of divine love got transported by Botticelli in the Garden of Aphrodite, the Goddess of beauty, love and pleasure.
“Taken as a whole, the Primavera clearly illustrates the circle of divine love. On the right, spirit, the wind Zephyr, impregnates the earth, the nymph Chloris. Out of the union of spirit and matter emerges Flora, the creative, fertile beauty of the natural world. The elemental beauty of nature is further refined when exposed to the transformative influence of Love and the Graces, which leads to a profound awakening. As in things . In the Primavera, the philosophical spirit that has been aroused by love is symbolized by Mercury. From this perspective, it is easy to see how the Primavera embodies Ficino's threefold schema of emanation, rapture, and return. Flora is the emanation and embodiment of beauty in the physical universe. The dance of the Graces represents the rapture of initiation into the mysteries of love and culture. Finally, Mercury represents the return of the human spirit to the source of being."
Eros and the circle of divine love by David Fideler
I reflected on two different suggestions described by people who already worked at this:
First I could not imagine to integrate this holy Venus from the centre of the painting in the middle of the process. “She must be a new DO” I thought, but I felt irritated by the cupid over her head. This symbolises for me that her love is not only spiritual, her love includes all aspects. She is like all the other women on the picture pregnant. So finally I decided to choose to see her as the transforming influence (interval) between MI and FA, the structure Dorine van Oyen worked out in her article (link above). But still I feel not sure about this.
DO - Zephyr - the mediator between the terrestrial world and the underworld. God of the west wind, who enters the picture by breathing the breath of life to Cloris.
RE - Cloris - the earthnymph - unmanifested in gaze-clothing like the Graces - with loose hair, in dissonant movement - looking to Zephyr and trying to run away.
MI - Flora - the transformed Cloris, the goddess of flowers and nature, manifestation of natural creation, Demeter, earthly love. At this position the oranges or golden apples start to be seen.
“The goddess [Flora] replied to my questions, as she talks, her lips breathe spring roses: 'I was Chloris, whom am now called Flora. Latin speech corrupted a Greek letter of my name. I was Chloris, Nympha of the happy fields [Elysion], the homes of the blessed (you hear) in earlier times. To describe my beauty would mar my modesty: it found my mother a son-in law god. It was spring, I wandered; Zephyrus (the West Wind) saw me, I left. He pursues, I run: he was the stronger; and Boreas gave his brother full rights of rape by robbing Erechtheus' house of its prize [Oreithyia]. But he makes good the rape by naming me his bride, and I have no complaints about my marriage. I enjoy perpetual spring: the year always shines, trees are leafing, the soild always fodders. I have a fruitful garden in my dowered fields, fanned by breezes, fed by limpid fountains. My husband filled it with well-bred flowers, saying: 'Have jurisdiction of the flower, goddess.' I often wanted to number the colours displayed, but could not: their abundance defied measure. As soon as the dewy frost is cast from the leaves and sunbeams warm the dappled blossom, the Horae (Seasons) assemble, hitch up their coloured dresses and collect these gifts of mine in light tubs. Suddenly the Charites (Graces) burst in, and weave chaplets and crowns to entwine the hair of gods. I first scattered new seed across countless nations; earth was formerly a single colour. I first made a flower from Therapnean blood [Hyakinthos the hyacinth], and its petal still inscribes the lament. You, too, narcissus, have a name in tended gardens, unhappy in your undivided self. Why mention Crocus, Attis or Cinyras' son, from whose wounds I made a tribute soar? - Ovid, Fasti 5.193
Interval - Venus the Goddess of Love
Venus is placed in the background, silently, one hand down in the direction of Flora, the other hand up, the movement to the left side to the three Graces. Blue and red colour in her dress with Cupid (her son with Mars) above her head. She is the needed shock for the refinement, the ascending quality from earthy to heavenly love. But I feel quite unsure about having the main-figure of the painting as an interval.
FA - Grace “Beauty” - the youngest of the three graces - dancing in a very stable position - supporting Chastity.
SOL - Grace “Chastity” - Chastity is the only person showing us her back. She is connected to her sisters, but her hand do not move up like the hands of FA and SI. The arrow of the Cupid is pointed to her and she looks to Mercury. Cupid connects heaven and earth. “In many ways the Primavera tells the story of Chastity's initiation into the mysteries of love. Like the earth nymph Chloris, Chastity displays certain awkwardness. Contrasted with the vital engagement of Pleasure and the energy reflected in her streaming hair, Chastity is far more restrained in both her posture and facial expression. If Pleasure embodies surrender, Chastity embodies restraint; the tension between the two is noticeable, but mediated by the figure of Beauty. Chastity, however, is coming undone. Hovering above Aphrodite is the winged figure of Cupid (Eros). While Cupid (Eros) is blindfolded, he is nonetheless taking perfect aim at Chastity with his flaming arrow of irresistible desire. Under the spell of Cupid, she is starting to come to life; her hair is beginning to unfold, and the veil has fallen from her left shoulder. Under the influence of Cupid and the guidance of her sisters, the neophyte is beginning to awaken and participate more fully in the dance and passion of life.” “Eros and the circle of divine love” by David Fideler
LA - Grace “Pleasure” - Grace “Pleasure” looks very sensitive, full of compassion and acceptance, her left hand turning upwards. Surrendering to the process of transformation.
SI - Mercury - Distant from the situation in the picture, partly Mars (red flaming clothes and the sword) symbolizing the fire of dissolution, mainly Mercury, the movement to the heaven - by his arm and his view to heaven - in the process the philosophical spirit arises. The return of the human spirit of the source of being.
Interval - The Caduceus
An occult description of the Caduceus of Hermes (Mercury) is that the serpents may represent positive and negative kundalini as it moves through the chakras and around the spine (the staff) to the head where it communicates with MIND by intellection, the domain of Mercury.I am not sure about this interval, may the clouds or the rain coming down has also a meaning in this. I got no real idea about the symbolism of the clouds. And also the Caduceus could be interpreted differently.
DO - Cupid - the God of love Also about the special meaning of Cupid I am not yet clear about. Maybe for that we have to go deeper in the story of Cupid and psyche.
The picture expressing three movements: The emanation by Zephyr to Flora, the conversion by the dance of the three Graces and the new rise by the figure of Mercury as an expression of the vita contemplative and the vita activa - an interaction of earthy and heavenly love. The process of materializing and the process of dissolution. The centre and connected to all is the love goddess Venus.
A first step in.
I have studied Dante's Divine Comedy (DC). Together with Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel they constitute my two favourite esoteric books outside Beelzebub's Tales (BTTHG). Of course I consider BTTHG higher because while the other two books are allegories inspired on Catholicism, BTTHG is a Universal Myth. But I love Dante and DC and La Primavera and how it is inspired in the DC. I have visited Florence three times in my life and the first three things I always do when I go there is to go to the Dante Restaurant next to the house Dante was born for a good lunch. Then I walk the streets of Hell and Purgatory just to remind myself of the fact I am living in this remote lunatic corner of the Universe. Then I go to Uffizi Gallery to see La Primavera.
I liked what you wrote here and I am going to present another view taken directly from the Divine Comedy:
“Like the center panel in a triptych altarpiece, Botticelli's serene portrayal of Beatrice, Matilda, and the three Theological Virtues is flanked by two related scenes. On the far right a disheveled Eve lurches vulnerably, with a broken sprig dangling from her mouth. This depicts the lines in Canto 29 where Dante deplores Eve's primordial disobedience in the Garden: A sweet melody ran through the luminous air; and a corresponding wave of indignation caused me to condemn the recklessness of Eve, who, alone and inexperienced in this place where heaven and earth obeyed God, was unwilling to wear her veil of obedience under which, if she had been faithful, I would have enjoyed these indescribable delights far earlier and longer. (14)
Eve is being steered and perhaps propelled toward Adam by a winged Satan, who hovers in some trees with his garment curving like a large snake. Critics often identify Eve as the nymph Chloris, and Satan as Zephyr, the West Wind. Indeed, this Satan figure resembles Botticelli's West Wind in Birth of Venus; but in Primavera he is facing the opposite direction, and if he is a wind he seems to be blowing from the East. This correlates with the westward movement of the breeze in Canto 28 of Purgatory and the westward movement of the divine pageant in Canto 29. Critics all note this general sense of movement from right to left (east to west) in Primavera. (The viewer of Primavera is in the same position as Dante the pageant viewer, facing north.)”
“Spring in Purgatory: Dante, Botticelli, C. S. Lewis, and a Lost Masterpiece “by Kathryn Lindskoog
“From Purgatory to Primavera: Some Observations on Botticelli and Dante” by Max Marmor http://home.comcast.net/~mmarmor/Primavera.pdf
What I see here is the idea I have seen exposed in many writings in the sense that Eve is not responsible for her disobedience. It is the West Wind Zephyr (a man) who pushes her into disobedience. That is exactly what Mr Gurdjieff said in Beelzebub's tales, that women representing the passive principle, are not responsible for their manifestations. Allegorically, this means that the passive principle or the planetary body is not responsible for its manifestations. It is the active principle, the mind which is higher than the body, that is responsible for the manifestations of the body. It is in this sense that Mr. Gurdjieff said that the body can be drunk but that “I” must never be drunk. All this can be found on pages 691-692 Beelzebub's Tales, 1950 original edition.
Now, at a more real life level, what I also see in the painting is that even though women may nor be responsible for their manifestations in real life, they are the Source of Life. That is why each and every one of the females in the painting is pregnant. This is what Mr. Gurdjieff meant when he said: “A man does not know loneliness until his mother dies.” I know what he meant because I lost my mother when I was ten years old. But he also said: If you love your parents when they die they leave a hole in you and God comes and fills the hole. I also know because I loved my mother.
Concerning the Law of Seven and the enneagram interpretation of the painting you make reference to, the one by Dorine van Oyen, I totally disagree with it. As I see it, it misses the three most important facts in any enneagram: The meaning of the inner triad, the actualisation of the Fifth Stopinder, and the presence of inexactitudes. In my opinion, it shows the lack of understanding that Bennett and Ouspensky had of the enneagram.
Later I will give my own interpretation that takes into account these three and other important aspects.
Continued in Part II /
Will Mesa and Mani Gerlach, March 2009
Will Mesa and Mani Gerlach
La Primera (Sandro Botticelli) Part II 11/30/2009
Dear Will, thank you for these very interesting aspects. I red in the last days a lot about Dante's “Purgatory” and also in the book of Anna T. Challenger “Philosophy and Art in Gurdjieff's Beelzebub”, which is discussing the common aspects and differences of “Purgatory” in this both allegories. I tried to connect the “Primavera” to this, but it didn't found a proper workout for this. So I leave it as I already described it. /
In the last days I got a wonderful book “The secret life of paintings” by Richard Foster, I can recommend this book to all who interested in this topic (only available in antiquaries). I am trying to pick up some aspects of this book concerning Primavera and the octave (p52-54). “According to the Pythagoreans harmony was the key to the order of the cosmos. They were the first to use the word “cosmos”, bringing together in one word the concepts of beauty and orderly structure. Order was governed by harmony. Harmony was mathematical and, ultimately, numerical. Pythagoras had studied the musical scale and discovered that the differently pitched notes that sound most pleasing when played together are related to one another by simple numerical ratios. The ratio of frequencies in an octave interval is 1:2, a fifth is 2:3 and a fourth 3:4. Since the beauty of sound depended on simple numerical ratios, it seemed obvious that the cosmos too must be ruled by such mathematical harmony. Ficino uses the harmonic rations of the musical scale as a metaphor for the soul's return to the Ideal: rising form the tonic, through the discord of the second, the varying harmonics of the third, fourth, dominant fifth, and sixth, through the discord of the seventh until it comes to rest in the perfect harmony of unison. This is embodied in Botticelli's “La Primavera”. The painting can seen as being a total of nine units long, the groups divide the length of the picture in the important ratio 4:6:9.
Richard Foster: The secret life of paintings p. 53
Neo-Platonists saw one all-embracing triadic movement. Expressed as emanatio, raptio, remeatio, it represented the working of divine love. Emanatio was the outflowing form the divine. Raptio was its incarnation in earthly things, by which they were seized and changed. Remeatio was the return through that conversion to the divine. This triple rhythm was repeated endlessly, breathing divine love into the cosmos. “La Primavera” clearly expresses Ficino's Neo-Platonism both in its content and in is composition. In the musical scale of our painting the two discordant notes, the second and seventh, fall to the voluptuous Grace and poor Cloris who, turning back from Mercury to the sexual, are out of harmony with the direction of the pure intellect. ”In Ficino's cosmology the ascent is from the multiple and mutable to the One and unchanging. In our impossible procession all the action is at the back where the onrush of Zephyr causes the metamorphosis of Chloris. All the stillness is at the front with the single, stationary figure of Mercury. Between them the soul, Venus, is poised with one foot in time and one in eternity, and the Three Graces choreograph a compromise between movement and stillness in their circular dance, returning forever upon itself. Between multiplicity and unity, between movement and rest, between incarnation of the soul and its rapturous return, lies our earthly life.” Foster, p. 53
According this the interval is after Re - Chloris and after Si Pleasure, so Sol would be here Grace. I can't see in Grace a critical point according to the 5th stopinder described in BTTHG. I think although the platonic concept of the octave is very related to the concept of Mr. Gurdjieff of the Law of Seven and Three, there is a important difference, but I am not yet able to catch it.
Dear Mani, You have done a great amount of work here and I commend you for that. As Mr. Gurdjieff said to Solita Solano: “You have initiated yourself.”
I will post in two days about my take on the enneagram in the painting, the interaction of the Law of Seven and the Law of Three as presented in the chapter Purgatory of Beelzebub's Tales (BBTHG) and not in those enneagrams elaborated by Bennett and Ouspensky. Just one comment here: The Holy Purgatory of BTTHG is higher than the of Dante's Purgatory. In BTTHG, Mr. Gurdjieff elevated everything to higher levels. For instance: Objective Reason is much higher than the Reason of the philosophers and Objective Conscience is much higher than the Conscience of the Ten Commandments.
Dear Will, thank you for the flowers of Primavera! I guess I have not much in common with Solita Solano. And I did mostly long references and citations to the work others already did. But on the other hand you are right, I went deep in this painting and really red a lot. All this inspirations, the different reflections on the painting, I pondered about, I came to my own view of it. I have chosen finally that which came closest to my understanding of the painting.
I feel very connected to this painting. Beyond the interpretation of Law of Three, Law of Seven and the inexactitudes I can see aspects of myself in every person on the painting. Zephyr in his active, aggressive expression, could this be my inner Dragon? The fear of the innocent Cloris, I am not this too? Flora my body in peace. The Three Graces the upward and downward dance of my emotions - the giving and receiving. And finally Mercury, silent and distanced, the intellectual centre moving upward. An ongoing process. And mostly the Venus in the middle, the quality out of space and time, the place to return, no pain, no fear, no joy, no sensations. Silent acceptance.
It has been a rewarding and positive experience to work with you and exchange with you for the last four months on the matter of Objective Art according to the Club of Adherent to Legominism. I have always been inspired by your dedication and amount of work you always put in our exchanges. Our work together has enriched our lives and I am sure the lives of others who are familiar with our work. It is not a common experience to find friends with whom we can work together but it is possible. I value your friendship in the Work and in Life and I thank you for your presence, effort, and patience.
Today I want to begin to expose my views on the complete enneagram I have been able to detect in La Primavera. I will concentrate only on the interaction of the inner triad with the motion of the Stopinders of the Law of Seven through the outer cycle of the enneagram. I will not pay attention to the movement of the Law through the inner cycle of the enneagram. If one looks very carefully to the details of the transformation of the first being-food as thoroughly presented in the chapter on Purgatory of Beelzebub's Tales (BTTHG), one can see that the inner movement is described but that the emphasis is on the outer movement. For example, the inner movement from the cerebellum or place of concentration of being-Piandjoëhary to the testicles of males and the ovaries of females and through the nerves nodes of the spine and the breast is described. However, the emphasis is placed on the fact that these being- Piandjoëhary can produce in us results that are “opposite to each other” as a consequence of the operational characteristics of the Law of Seven. So, here in this exposition I am going to concentrate on this aspect of the Law as it can help us in the understanding of the motion of our own trajectory in Life.
I will present my findings in three posts, one every two days. Today I will limit myself to a thorough understanding of the dynamics of the inner triad and its relation to the altered subjective action the three Stopinders of the Law, namely, the two “Mdnel-Ins” and the disharmony of the third one. I will today establish the basis of this understanding and then I will proceed to apply this understanding to the motion in La Primavera and in the third post I will elaborate on how the understanding derived from this study can be used for the motion of our own trajectory in the Work and in Life. I will use the notes of the musical scale as center of gravities of the Law of Seven scales in order to simplify my exposition.
The Inner Triad and Its Dynamics in Relation to the Whole.
One of the most important aspects of the enneagram that I always find missing in most enneagram studies, such as those of Bennett and Ouspensky, is the action of the inner triad. The inner connection among points 9, 3, and 6 of the inner triad is of absolute importance for an understanding of the dynamics of the enneagram and the motion of our own trajectory in the Work and in Life. Point 3 is always receiving knowledge and understanding from point 9 Above. Point 3 can do two things with this knowledge and understanding it receives from 9 Above. It can use them for its own motion through the first interval also known as the “mecahano-coinciding Mdnel-In”. At this point it is very important to understand that knowledge and understanding of how this first interval is crossed must always come from outside and from Above. There is absolutely no way we can do anything to cross this interval by ourselves. All we can do is to work up to MI and then wait and see what happens. It may be very well be that we do not receive the external help we need from outside and from Above and then we cannot continue with the octave. In my own life I have seen may instances in which the needed help did not materialize; and I have seen other instances in which it did materialize. The other thing point 3 can do is to pass part of the knowledge and understanding needed by point 6 for its passage through its own second interval also known as the “intentionally-actualized-Mdnel-In."
So, now we have point 3 getting knowledge and understanding from point 9 Above and using this knowledge and understanding to move through its own first interval and helping point 6 to achieve its second interval because point 3 and point 6 are inertly connected and this is what those so-called enneagram studies always miss. And this is precisely how two persons can work together and help each other in both the Work and Life (the laws are not limited to the Work but they also operate in Life because they are objective laws). It is very important to understand at this point that point 6 is not a shock as so many in the Work have said. Point 6 is just the point at which the secret of the Nature of the shock needed to cross between SI and DO of the next octave is revealed to us. There are only two points at which shocks are needed: between MI-FA and between SI-DO. Point 6 is the place between SOL and LA and it is a very important place because it is there that we receive the Secret Password to make it between SI and DO of the higher octave. And this Secret Password comes always from 9 Above.
In order to illustrate all I have said above I am now going to give a very concrete example.
Let's suppose that you and I decide to work together and help each other in our work. Let's further assume that in this work together you are at point 6 and I am at point 3. Above us at point 9 is the Teaching of Mr. Gurdjieff that we both have decided to use for our own work together. It is important at this point to understand that we must adhere to one Teaching and one Teaching only. This is in part what is meant by the statement that there is only one God. Of course, this Teaching could be any Teaching but it has to be One Teaching common to both of us./
Your predicament at number 6 is that of receiving the Secret Password you need to be able to make it between SI and DO of a higher octave. My predicament at point 3 is that of receiving knowledge from 9 Above telling me not only how I can go through MI-FA but how I can help you to make it through SI-DO. You at point 6 are also connected to 9 Above and while you listening to me at 3 you are also listening to 9 Above as well. It may very well be that 9 Above is telling you to listen to me at 3. In any way, by helping you I help myself. And by you helping yourself you now have the possibility of helping me tomorrow when you will be at point 3 and I will be at point 6. If I send you knowledge and understanding from point 3 you also send me something from point 6. What you send me is Hope because if you make it to a higher octave I too have the Hope to make it and maybe tomorrow you will take position 3 while I am at position 6.
Since the nature of the triad is a triad itself it is very difficult for us to understand its nature with our ordinary logic, which is binary logic. Point 9 Above makes the logic of the inner triad tertiary instead of binary and like the central mystery of the Holy Trinity its operation defies our binary logic. All we can really do is to experience its manifestation in us. Point 9 Above is really the Holy-Reconciling and we will always get the help we both need from the Holy-Reconciling, which in my example is the Teaching we have both accepted for our work together and that is always at 9 Above: “The higher vibrations of one result always give the directions to all the lower vibrations of other 'transitory-cosmic-results'” (BTTHG, p. 840). This is precisely what we all have all missed.
The example I have just given clearly shows that Real Work can only take place between tow persons and that what we call “group” work is only a preparation for the Real Work. Of course, in a real group people will always help each other in one way or another but nothing can substitute the work taking place between two people, like nothing can substitute the work of two hands washing each other and two hands is all that is needed. We do not need three hands for the two to wash themselves and yet the washing that results is the inclusion of the middle term or point 9 Above. That is why Mr. Gurdjieff insisted again and again that there are no methods. In the process of working together we will find the method we need and this method will be revealed to us from Above, from 9 Above. As the Teaching well says: “All possibilities for man come from Above.” Can the work I described above be done by one person alone? Of course it can be done and there are examples after examples in the “history of enlightening” of people who did it alone. However, this person must first find the two persons within that can work together. These two persons obviously are the male and the female we all have in us. But I think Mr. Gurdjieff told us that it is better for us to do it between two people in real life and I think that is what is meant by the Love of consciousness that evokes the same in response.
I have to say that what has been said above does not come from books. This comes from my own experience in Life, by having worked with other people in this way. I think that we only learn from what we have done in Life and not from what we have read, although what we have read help us to understand what we need to understand. But I have found verification of what I say here in BTTHG. The real work in BTTHG is between Beelzebub and Hassein. And if I take the position of Hassein the work is between Beelzebub and me. And at point 9 is the Real Source of the Teaching, the Most Great Foundation of the All-embracing of everything that exists. As it is said on page 244 of BTTHG: “This Most Great Greatness is there Above, for the convenience of the embracing of the essence of everything existing.” In all this, Ahoon, like the planetary body, learns only by imitation. Anyhow, this is my opinion.
Day after tomorrow I will address a very important point: How do we make it to point 6? This is great part of the secret and unfortunately you will not find it in any book except in Beelzebub's Tales where the secret is exposed in all its details. I will also try to relate all I have said here to La Primavera.
Dear Will, thank you, it seems that you changed you style to write a little bit, bringing it more down, more concrete and with simple examples. One question - if there is an interaction between 3 and 6 - this is not only a one-way-road or? At the example of two persons: If 6 is passive (get knowledge from 3), what 6 sends to 3? Refinement of knowledge, thankfulness, a vision for the ongoing process or nothing at all? Or have I to understand this only in a linear process (3-4-5-6)? The circulation of little moments?
Continued in Part III
Will Mesa and Mani Gerlach
La Primera (Sandro Botticelli) Part III 11/30/2009
Dear Mani, today I will continue with my exposition from Monday by addressing one of the most important questions in relation to the motion of the trajectory of our search and our work. This is the question: How do we get to point 6 in the enneagram of our lives?
Let me begin by saying that my answer to this question is a combination of what I have lived in my own life and what is I have found in Beelzebub's Tales (BTTHG). If I had not gone through the process or the motion of my own trajectory and if I had not been able to verify what I went through in BTTHG I could not be writing what I am writing here. I have to add that the knowledge and understanding I have acquired in this area are not to be found in a book such as In Search of the Miraculous (ISOM). Not entirely anyhow. In fact, it is now my understanding that it cannot be found in any of the so-called Work books because most of them are an extension of ISOM and sometimes a wrong extension. For instance, let's take Nicoll's Commentaries. This will be a good place to start. I have not read any of the six volumes of Nicoll's book but a friend in the Work sent me pieces about what his books say on the enneagram. I am now going to quote from one of these pieces and given that I do not have the books I cannot specify from which of them this quote comes from. If you have them you may verify but I do not think that is important. Here is the quote:
THE ENNEAGRAM V
As we have seen, Mechanical Man is given and made two receive the first shock at point 3. This enables him to live a physical existence. But he does not give himself the shock at point 6 or the shock at point 9. (We speak of the triangle within the Enneagram). When he begins to study the nature of the shock at point 6 and tries to give himself this shock, he makes a step in the direction of consciousness and inner evolution.”
End of quote.
There are two serious mistakes in what Nicoll says here. The first is that there is no shock at point 6. There are only two places in the Law of Seven where shocks are given and in BTTHG they are called “mechano-coinciding Mdnell-In” (point 3) and 'intentionally-actualized-Mdnel-In' (point 9). By the way, these names introduced by Mr. Gurdjieff in BTTHG are part of what he called “an exact language.” They tell us about the nature of these two shocks; the first is mechanical and comes to us from outside and from Above; the second is intentional and most come from us. If you go to BTTHG you will see that point 6 is not even mentioned although it is inferred from the Harnel-Aoot or note SOL to use the musical scale as I did in my post of last Monday. Point 6 is the point where we are revealed the kind of shock that we need between SI and DO. This is very clear from what Mr. Gurdjieff said about point 6 in ISOM and later repeated in his lecture on the ennegram while in France. Here is the exact quote of what he said:
“The apparent placing of the interval in its wrong place itself shows those who are able to read the symbol what kind of 'shock' is required for the passage of si to do” (ISOM, p. 191). (He emphasized its wrong place ). Here you have a good example of an inexactitude and how in this inexactitude exact knowledge is placed. The required 'shock' is between SI and DO. That is why in our work with the Good Samaritan you were confused because you probably have read one of the so-called Work books. The other mistake in Nicoll's exposition is that even if there were a shock at 6, as he wrongly states, man does not give himself this shock. Point 6 is connected to point 9 Above and what man gets at point 6 does not depend on himself but on what comes from 9 Above. It is very interesting to note that Nicoll makes reference to the “triangle within the Enneagram” and then he goes ahead and says “tries to give himself this shock.” This to me means that he had not understanding of what the inner triad or triangle within the enneagram really means. I say this because in my previous post I wrote: “One of the most important aspects of the enneagram that I always find missing in most enneagram studies, such as those of Bennett and Ouspensky, is the action of the inner triad.” Here we see a good example of what I said. The inner triad can be understood only when we understand this statement Mr. Gurdjieff made:”All possibilities for man come from Above.” All the Commandments come from Above, all the Messengers are sent from Above, All and Everything comes from Above: ”This original personality of mine, already “smelled out” by certain definite individuals from both choirs of the Judgment Seat Above, whence Objective justice proceeds. . .”(BTTHG, p. 27). Even the Legominism All and Everything comes from Above. The Legominism “The-Terror-of-the-Situation” comes for Above. Look how it begins: “To me, a trifling particle of the whole of the GREAT WHOLE, it was commanded from Above…” (BTTHG, p. 353). But we do not want to accept this understanding for the simple reason that we think that it comes from us. This is exactly what death of the ego means but who wants to die. The real contradiction, and the Way is full of contradictions, is that when we accept that all comes from Above then we can do. And this is so because only then we can do the Will from Above
In any case, what is really missing in Nicoll's book is how we get to point 6. Actually, Nicoll is not to be blamed nor Ouspensky either. And the reason is that how we get to point 6 is not to be found in ISOM. The thing is that Mr. Gurdjieff discovered how to get to point 6 after his accident in 1924. Then he included all this knowledge and understanding in BTTHG. But it seems that neither Nicoll nor Ousopensky ever read BTTHG and if they did they did not understand. I say this because the statement from Nicoll that I quoted above was written in 1944 and by that time there were copies of BTTHG circulating around and there is this statement from Ouspensky where he said that every time he tried to read BTTHG it stuck in his throat (“It sticks in my throat,” C.S. Nott, Further Teachings of Gurdjieff, p. 106). Now, why am I saying all this? It is not certainly to attack Nicoll ot Ouspensky who, after all, did other important things in the Work. No. The reason I am saying all this is to reinforce what I have written again and again in my papers and that I will keep writing again and again: We have to go back to the Source and the Source here is the Legominism All and Everything---which comes from Above. So, now, how do we get to point 6?
We get to point six after passing point 5: simple sequential arithmetic. So, the whole secret is how we pass point 5. And this secret can be understood only if go to BTTHG and study in great details the nature of point 5 or note SOL or, using the notation in BTTHG, the 'Harnel-Aoot” or Fifth of the Law. And then once we understand its nature after extensive efforts to understand it we have to live it in Life. There is no other way. This understanding comes from studying and listening very carefully to what is said on pages 754-755 in the chapter Purgatory of BTTHG (1950 Original Edition because if you read the revised edition made by the New York Foundation you will get nothing). Now, for the sake of this exposition let me give here the most important piece of information about this Harnel-Aoot or Fifth of the Law or fifth deflection of the law, whatever you want to call it. Here is in simple words: It can give “results not similar but 'opposite to each other” (exact quote from page 791 first paragraph from the top of BTTHG).
How did I come to that understanding? Well, first I spent seven long years studying the Laws of World Creation and World Maintenance as these laws are presented in BTTHG (third striving) and then I tested them in my life through a series of experiences that were given to me. I repeat, given to me and not fabricated by me. This is exactly what Mr. Gurdjieff meant with “All possibilities for man come from Above.” span style= mso-spacerun: yes; > /It was not me who deliberately fabricated these series of experiences. I would have never been able to create them. Only our COMMON FATHER ETERNAL CREATOR Creates. We are created beings. So, somehow these experiences were given to me so that I could test the operation of the Law in me. It may very well be that I earned the objective right to be given these experiences but about that I do not want to speculate. I leave it up to you and others here. Since I have already shared my experience of how I understood in Real Life the nature of the Fifth of the Law I can share this experience with others here and this is the way it happened:
I had made the decision to move with my family from Venezuela to the United States. It was not an easy decision because I was already 43 years old, during my 15 years in Venezuela I had built a successful profession, had made a number of friends, was part of a very interesting Gurdjieff group, and I was living a good and comfortable life. And now I had to leave all that behind and start a new life. In those days I was totally immersed in the study of the two fundamental cosmic laws; particularly the law of seven and I hoped to make use of this law to carry out my decision.
My decision finally hinged on some business affair I had to solve. For this purpose I went to consult a lawyer whose office was in the seventh floor of a building. I vividly remember that I was the only passenger in the elevator when it suddenly stopped on the fifth floor. It was not moving up or down. I rang the emergency bell and began to panic. But soon I felt calm and relaxed and I decided to sit in the floor and wait. It was then, in this strange environment and totally alone, that it came down on me that the fifth floor was an analogical representation of the fifth Stopinder of the law of seven. Furthermore, I realized that two possibilities have opened to me. One was for the elevator to move up in which case I could continue to the seventh floor or seventh Stopinder; the other was for the elevator to go down to the first floor or first Stopinder and then I would have to start a new ascent. As this experience presented itself to me at that moment, I was completely convinced that I was going through a living example of the operation of the law of seven. The elevator started to move up and I was able to complete my business affair. (Needless to say, on my way down I took the stairs. One does not fool around with the law twice on the same day!). A few months later I moved with my family to New York City.
I have to add here that right after my experience I went straight home and began to read the chapter in Beelzebub's Tales about the sacred Heptaparaparshinokh. It did not take me too long to find a theoretical confirmation of the experience I had gone through. It was in this way that I learned first hand about a very important and hidden detail of the sacred Heptaparaparshinokh. I want to quote this statement here because I consider it one of the most practical aspects of the law of seven, one that we can and we should use in our work
“It is necessary at this point in connection with the actualization of the fifth Stopinder of the sacred Hepataparaparshinokh to trace a parallel between two processes which externally have nothing in common with one another, namely: in the same manner as the first being-food cannot acquire its vivifying power until after its transformation into being-Piandjoëhary, in the same manner on this piano the vibrations of a chord do not acquire a corresponding vivifying power until they have been fused with the preceding vibrations produced, starting from the center of gravity of the totality of the vibrations of the note 'sol.” (B.T., p. 869).
So, you see, Mani, I am not talking about ideas here but about actual facts. Now, after this understanding I went through a series of Fifths of my own Law. About them I will not elaborate here because they are part of my inner experience and inner life and we do not talk about these things unless it is strictly necessary. But the whole point here is that having passed my own Fifths I was given the possibility to make it to point 6. I fact, we can call point 6 the reconciling Harnel-Aoot. It is at this point that we can reconcile the Fifth of the Law we went through. So, now we are at point 6. What happens then? What happens is that we get the Secret Password to make it across the “intentionally-actualized-Mdnel-In” or the interval between SI and DO of the next higher octave. And we get this secret from point 3 and point 3 gets it from point 9 Above. That is why I said before that Real Work is always among two persons and point 9 Above. Real work must obey the Law of Three because only the Law of Three can lead to real actualization. This means that there must be a Holy-Denying, a Holy-Affirming, and a Holy-Reconciling involved in the process. Otherwise there is not possibility for any Real Work. The inner triad is an actualization of this fact. At point 3 is the holy affirming, at point 6 is the holy denying, and at point 9 is the holy reconciling. That is the Real Inner Triad.
In your post you ask me if point 6, which is connected to point 3, communicates with point 3. Sure it does. Point 6 is the Hope of point 3. If point 6 makes it then point 3 can make it too or if point 6 makes it then point 3 can make it for others. For instance, point 3 may be a teacher and point 6 a disciple. But even the teacher at point 3 needs point 9 Above. Now the teacher sends to point 6 what point 6 must do to cross the interval SI-DO and point 9 is telling point 6 to listen to the teacher. And point 6 is telling the teacher to say what the teacher has to say because point 6 is going to listen to it. The teacher goes ahead and tells point 6 what is necessary. How could the teacher tell point 6 if point 6 does not tell the teacher of the readiness to listen to the teacher? So, all the three points in the inner triad are communicating with each other at all time. Well, this is becoming too long and I think that the main points have already been made. On Friday I will try to relate all this to La Primavera.
Dear Mani, In my third and last post on our exchanges on La Primavera, I will address the matter of the whole enneagram I found in the painting and I will put it in terms of what I have exposed in my two previous posts of Monday and Wednesday. Following my exposition I will begin by identifying the inner triad. As it is always the case in my posts I will try to relate all and everything to the Legominism All and Everything and very specifically to Beelzebub's Tales (BTTHG).
The inner triad is composed of Cupid (the god of Love) at point 9 Above, Zypherus (the West Wind) at point 3, and Mercury (the leader of the Graces) at point 6. If one looks carefully to the painting it is obvious that these three points form a triangle. The triangle is outside but this is only because aesthetics and symmetry. What is important is the inner movement and this movement is inside and connects 9, 3, and 6.
Point 9 (Cupid) is DO and it is Above all. This is true because Love is Above all. It is Love that created the Universe and Love is the binding force of the Universe. In Beelzebub's Tales we are told that once we experience the genuine impales of Love we can rest from all ours efforts for self-perfection (BTTHG, p. 357). Cupid is blindfolded implying that Love must always be impartial, as indicated on the Sphinx-emblem of the Society Akhaldan where Love is represented by the “Breasts of a virgin” and they are isolated from the rest of the Sphinx by “amber” to indicate the impartiality of Love (BBTHG, pp. 310-311). Love is and must always be Above.
Point 3 (Zypherus) is the first interval. This is very much so indicated by the fact that Zypherus represents the West Wind. As I have said before this first interval comes always from outside, it is the external-help shock that we need and it must always come form some external source, external to us: “only with the help of forces coming from outside (BTTHG, p. 788). In this particular case it comes from Nature, from wind, as in the case of the evolution of the first-being food which comes from the air. But it is very important to see the connection between point 9 Above and point 3 at the place of the first interval, the mecahon-coinciding-Mdnel-In.” Point ( Above is connected to point 3 and is telling point 3 what to do in order to bring Life into the motion of the enneagram. Only Love can give the command of bringing Life because Love is always Above and behind Life. So, Zypherus is receiving command from Cupid, the latter telling the former that it must send Flora (MI) into Life, as we will see when we get to the motion of the enneagram.
Point 6 (Mercury) is the point which I refer to the place where the Secret Password is given in order for SI to make it to DO of the next octave. But Mercury can receive the Secret Password only if it is connected to point ( Above and to point 3 at the other virtice of the inner triad. This connection is clearly indicated in the painting by the fact that the hand of Mercury as well as his view is towards heaven, that is to say, Mercury is looking to Cupid who is Above. But Mercury is also connected with Zepherus at point 3. We will next see all this more clear when we consider the motion of the enneagram.
Outer motion of the enneagram
I will now present a view of the motion of the outer cycle of enneagram in La Primavera. The inner motion is also important and maybe one day we will exchange on that. But the outer motion is the most important for our application to the motion of our own trajectory in Life. My take here corresponds in some way to what you already exposed in your Law of Seven. Like you I will use the musical scale.
DO—Cupid, as we already know, the symbol of Love, always Above and at the beginning. We must always begin something in a spirit of Love. But the nonlinear operation of the Law distorts our initial impulse, the earth-nymph, as you said. She is moving away from Zephyr who is sending her into earthly Life. But she still is not manifested, waiting for her transformation into MI. Her hair is loose and her movement is still chaotic, in the process of being born Zephyr and trying to run away.
MI—“Flora - the transformed Cloris, the goddess of flowers and nature, manifestation of natural creation, Demeter, earthly love. At this position the oranges or golden apples start to be seen.” Here I repeated exactly what you wrote in your view of the Law of Seven. Your description is very good when you wrote Flora is the transformed Cloris, the change of RE into MI. And she still represents earthly love as you said because La Primavera is still in Earthly Paradise. Look very carefully at here hands. Her right hand is on her stomach indicating the fruit that is the product of earthly love. Her left hand is on her sex indicating that earthly love is also a manifestation of Nature. It is the love of body and is based exclusively on the law of type and polarity, and this is a law of nature like the law of gravity. But we have perverted it by the stupid and insignificant subjective laws we have invented.
First Interval—Zypherus, the West Wind, as you yourself said. This is the shock that comes form outside. This shock is always a Force of Nature. A real Teacher is a Force of Nature. Who can understand a Force of Nature? Who can understand a Real Teacher? We can't do it with our insignificant subjective reason. We need another Reason. About a year ago a man in Florida, here in the USA, told his wife that he was going into the backyard to be himself with Nature. The moment he stepped into the backyard a lightening struck him and killed him instantaneously. A coincidence? Maybe no. Who is going to understand that Force of Nature.” But the interval, the Teacher at point 3, is connected to point 9 Above which represents the Teaching. The Teaching must be founded on Love because only Love can help us to escape from our prison. And the Function of the Teaching is to help us to escape from prison. There is no other Function for the Teaching and the Teacher. When we escape we can also help others to escape. The others are always at point 6.
FA- “Grace 'Beauty' - the youngest of the three graces - dancing in a very stable position - supporting Chastity.” These are your own words and I agree with you here. She is the first transformation of Flora at MI after she received the shock from the West Wind. One can say that the love of body represented by Flora has now transformed into beauty. The right hand of Beauty is moving upwards indicating that there is understanding and comprehension of the whole process. Her left hand is giving support to Purity who is at the critical note SOL.
SOL— Grace Chastity or Purity. Here I am going to repeat your own words: “Chastity is the only person showing us her back. She is connected to her sisters, but her hand does not move up like the hands of FA and SI. The arrow of the Cupid is pointed to her and she looks to Mercury. Cupid connects heaven and earth. The fifth stopinder is the critical point. “In many ways the Primavera tells the story of Chastity's initiation into the mysteries of love. Like the earth nymph Chloris, Chastity displays certain awkwardness. Contrasted with the vital engagement of Pleasure and the energy reflected in her streaming hair, Chastity is far more restrained in both her posture and facial expression. If Pleasure embodies surrender, Chastity embodies restraint; the tension between the two is noticeable, but mediated by the figure of Beauty. Chastity, however, is coming undone. Hovering above Aphrodite is the winged figure of Cupid (Eros). While Cupid (Eros) is blindfolded, he is nonetheless taking perfect aim at Chastity with his flaming arrow of irresistible desire. Under the spell of Cupid, she is starting to come to life; her hair is beginning to unfold, and the veil has fallen from her left shoulder. Under the influence of Cupid and the guidance of her sisters, the neophyte is beginning to awaken and participate more fully in the dance and passion of life.” I add to this these words of mine: Chastity or Purity is the place of temptation, the Fifth of the Law. Our purity can change into impurity and lust at any given moment and then we go back in the motion of the enneagram. That is why Purity is giving her back to us, to show us that she has another face that we usually do not see. This is the critical point as you said. In BTTHG all this is pointed out by this commandment of our “ALL_EMBRACING ENDLESSNESS: “Always guard against those perceptions as may soil the purity of your brains.” Observe that SOL is looking at point 6 (Mercury). This is so because there is a connection between SOL ( The Hranel-Aoot) and point 6 given that point 6 can only be reached after passing through SOL as I said in my previous post. Point 6 is the reconciled SOL and in the eye connecting we can see this future reconciliation.
Point 6—Mercury, the Movement to the Heavens. We already spoke about this. Point 6 is always looking to point 9 Above, as Mercury is doing. He is receiving the Secret Password from Above that SI needs in order to make it to a higher octave. And he is also connected to point 3 and the connection is very clearly indicated in the painting through the only inexactitude the painting contains. But I leave that to you to figure it out and to write about it in another post.
LA—“Grace “Pleasure” - Grace “Pleasure” looks very sensitive, full of compassion and acceptance, her left hand turning upwards. Surrendering to the process of transformation.” Here I also repeated your own words because we are in full agreement. As you well said she is in the process of transforming or becoming SI, the last note in the enneagram.
SI—Venus, the goddess of Love. She is at the point when a new beginning is possible. She has already been given the password by Mercury and she is the only one in the painting that is a in state of contemplation or what I call “intentional being contemplation.” Now she knows what she has to do in order to go to a higher octave and she is contemplating. At note SI we must contemplate in order to make the right effort to cross through the “intentionally-actualized-Mdnel-In” of the Law. What is the Secret Password? I leave that up to you but it is almost obvious from the painting; all we have to do is to look at Mercury at point 6 and what he is doing.
Second Interval--Only SI (Venus) knows about this.
All that has been said here can be applied to the motion of the trajectory of our own Life. But since that is something each one of us has to figure out by himself/herself, I will not write about it. There is in the painting one inexactitude and it points to one very important aspect in the knowledge and understanding of the living enneagram; the connection between point 6 and point 3. I leave that for you, Mani./
Dear Will, thank you very much for this enriching and intense interpretation of “La Primavera”. The inexactitude, I guess, must be the Mercury/Hermes with his untypical appearance. Mercury/Hermes has his typical symbols, the winged sandals and the Caduceus. But in this painting also the symbols of Mars are integrated, the sword and the red clothes, maybe symbolising the ending process - the fire of destruction and dissolution. Connecting with his Conductus the heaven, he is leading the direction upward and at the same time showing the downward movement of the rain/waters of the clouds. Mercury and Zephyr are in this process connected.
The secret of Hermes (Tabula Smaragdina)
1) This is true and remote from all cover of falsehood.
2) Whatever is below is similar to that which is above. Through this the marvels of the work of one thing are procured and perfected.
3) Also, as all things are made from one, by the consideration of one, so all things were made from this one, by conjunction.
4) The father of it is the sun, the mother the moon.
5) The wind bore it in the womb. Its nurse is the earth, the mother of all perfection.
6) Its power is perfected.
7) If it is turned into earth,
7) Separate the earth from the fire, the subtle and thin from the crude and coarse, prudently, with modesty and wisdom.
8) This ascends from the earth into the sky and again descends from the sky to the earth, and receives the power and efficacy of things above and of things below.
9) By this means you will acquire the glory of the whole world, and so you will drive away all shadows and blindness.
10) For this by its fortitude snatches the palm from all other fortitude and power. For it is able to penetrate and subdue everything subtle and everything crude and hard.
11) By this means the world was founded
12) And hence the marvellous conjunctions of it and admirable effects, since this is the way by which these marvels may be brought about.
13) And because of this they have called me Hermes Tristmegistus since I have the three parts of the wisdom and Philosophy of the whole universe.
14) My speech is finished which I have spoken concerning the solar work.”
Thank you very much for the work at this painting.
by Will Mesa and Mani Gerlach
Surgery and the Work 12/21/09 05:17:04 AM
Four weeks ago today I had surgery to remove a degenerated disk and have an artificial one put in.
This momentous event in my life raised my consciousness to a level where I was aware of the possibility of my own death. It made me take responsibility for my presence in the world.
I left four post-its for my husband and children, telling them my parting wish for each of them and hid them in my desk. That was all that I felt was outstanding, which surprised me.
As I was being prepared for surgery I experienced the presence of a crossroads /in my life: before surgery/after surgery. I felt the point of no return coming closer and closer and the moment I knew I had passed the crossroads, when the anaesthetic was injected into my arm, I surrendered and a prayer arose in me invoking Mr. Gurdjieff.
The surgery was a success and I wonder whether this wish contributed to the surgeons' work. Whether Mr. Gurdjieff was present in his capacity as a doctor, or my own subconscious mind helped my body respond as favourably as possible, or it was only in my imagination doesn't really matter. The outcome was beneficial.
When I awoke, I sensed the good wishes of many people around the world so clearly. These individual wishes sustained me, fed me, filled me with bliss for the first 24 hours. I was surprised at how strongly I experienced this.
The shock of the surgery to my body triggered a period, and I felt compassion and wonder towards my instinctive part, which somehow used the shock of a foreign object embedded in the spine to make a decision to expel the lining of my womb.
I would describe the experience, the trauma to the body, of surgery, as a peak experience, because it awakened my senses, awakened the connections with my instinctive functioning, awakened my emotional part and focused the rational mind, the policeman, in directing my emotional and instinctive reactions.
All I could do for the first day was lie in my hospital bed, so completed the circle of sensation. There was such delight that I could sense all my limbs, and I felt the presence of others, helping me, supporting me, as a result of their work. I was grateful for my ability to receive what was being offered.