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Reijo Oksanen was born in Helsinki 1942, heard of Gurdjieff and also the Orthodox Way in 1962 and came to London to join the Work in 1967. He moved back to Finland in 1971 and joined the Orthodox Church. In 1990 Oksanen moved to Denmark and in 2004 to Switzerland. After a long career in textiles, clothing and furniture industries, he set his mind into putting Gurdjieff properly into the internet.
From 2004 Reijo Oksanen is actively engaged in the activities of ars sacra Life Workshop.
Getting the Best out of Gurdjieff
In an earlier article I wrote:
"Some months ago I found out that fairly often when I had read a sentence only halfway I involuntarily finished it and started to read a new sentence. This happened particularly when I was tired and was no doubt connected with it.
In other words the sentences were finished for me. Still another way of saying this is: "'it' finished the sentences for me". Reading on was not always understandable and that helped me to 'find myself out'."
(I made this point on my article called Comments on Beelzebub's Tales, which was further inspired by a discussion with Will Mesa and Guy Hoffman.)
What is so remarkable about this? Is it not simply an example in real life of how I am in the grips of 'the consequences of the organ Kundabuffer'. What has Kundabuffer with this situation to do? Have I not seen the reality topsy-turvy? What does Gurdjieff's friendly advice in the beginning of the book really mean?
...,I find it necessary on the first page of this book, now ready for publication, to give the following advice "Read each of my written expositions thrice
First—at least as you have already become mechanized to read all your contemporary books and newspapers,
Second—as if you were reading aloud to another person,
And only third—try to fathom the gist of my writings.
Only then will you be able to count upon forming your own impartial judgment, proper to yourself alone, on my writings. And only then can my hope be actualized that according to your understanding you will obtain the specific benefit for yourself which I anticipate, and which I wish for you with all my being.
This is how things go! 45 years ago I read Beelzebub's Tales for the first time - and I did not even understand what he says on the first page - in the friendly advice!
Let us be reminded of what Gurdjieff writes about subconscious in the chapter 'The Terror of the Situation' in telling about The Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash:
"This pondering of his definitely convinced him that it would indeed be possible to save them by means of the data in their common presence for engendering this sacred being-impulse [conscience], but only if the manifestations of these data surviving in the subconscious were without fail to participate in the functioning of the consciousness under whose direction their daily waking existence flows, and furthermore, only if this being-impulse were to be manifested over a long period through every aspect of this consciousness of theirs."
In this little sample there is the key to all of Gurdjieff's writings - and not only that, but also a clear statement of the reasons for the problem of understanding what we read. I do not want to take the pleasure of making the discoveries away from the reader and, as it says in a Sufi story, offer you only the banana skins after I have eaten the fruit; therefore just the following questions:
- What does Gurdjieff mean by 'subconscious'? (I prefer to call it 'unconscious' as my unconscious has elements both from above and below.)
- What is my 'waking consciousness' and what is for me 'subconscious'?
- Do I do anything in an awaken state or does everything take place while I am asleep and think that I am awake?
- Does 'to awake' mean 'to be conscious of the subconscious activity'?
- Is there any point in reading aloud if 'the other' is not listening?
- Who is the other person?
© Reijo Oksanen 2006
Please read/review John Henderson's book
The above mentioned book was first published nearly three years ago and I am surprised that it has not attracted a lot more attention, both here on your site & the Amazon sites.
If what JH claims is true in this book, (I suspect it is) then it is nothing short of the KEY to the total being-understanding of all of Gurdjieff's writings (picture-form language) ie. the language of 'mentation of thought by form' [essence]. The opposite of our domineering personality/personalities.
http://www.gurdjieffsburieddog.com/ This is JH's web-page ; hope you interview him soon on your site. Tried starting a blog on Amazon US/UK but no response yet.
All the best to all of you....
Andrew Whitehouse, United Kingdom
Hidden meanings and picture-form language in the writings of G.I. Gurdjieff: excavations of the buried dog - John Henderson
I have just discovered John Henderson's book and was looking for discussions about it when I came across Andrew's comment. As we try to fathom the gist of Gurdjieff's writings perhaps we should all read "The Purloined Letter" by Poe. Nil sapientiae odiosius acumine nimio.
Tom Bowling, United Kingdom
i have just finished henderson's work...and feel the same as andrew. i can find no other person who seems aware of this work of henderson's...or where i do see someone mention it they seem to favor their own "wiseacring". i am somewhat perplexed...but suspect many have become invested in their own interpretations of gurdjieff and the phrase "4th way". i still have work to do to verify what henderson has presented...but his case seems airtight. i would also be interested to see an interview with john henderson as he seems to now buried himself.
i am a member of a few groups on facebook and have had many conversations about the 4th way. but after henderson i find i am unable to "play" along with what does not seem to "match".
mark frazer, United States
Please review John Henderson's book.
I agree that this book is a vitally important, even revelatory, insight into the real intent of Mr Gurdjieff, who seems to have been perfectly aware that the "System Salzmanino" would prove a poor caretaker of his work as it was intended to proceed, and would cause a deviation and incompleteness; and took steps to ensure that eventually his originally intended sequence of books could be seen to be complete from "clues" in the texts. The "third series" according to Henderson consists of "Herald", BT "The Arousing of Thought" and the "Holy Planet Purgatory" and the present so-called "third series", which may have been edited/ revised. Its easy to understand that people's "authority" as "leaders of the Work" is compromised by their failure to examine the text (especially of Beelzebub's Tales) with the proper consciousness that it is Gurdjieff who is the "Spiritual Master", and Madame de Salzmann and Ouspensky et al are not. A certain "Hal" ... "spiritual state" is easily reached, a charismatic or glowing presence. This does not mean someone is anything like a complete human being or remotely qualified to teach anyone anything.
Azim Looker, United Kingdom
Henderson's book is a solid contribution on the writings, and should be more widely read simply to jostle the crystallized mainstream ideas. Once we say NO to a new and radical interpretation, we are certainly in galoshes up to the eyebrows, crystallized in our thinking, already fully shaped and cooked with our 'truths''. God Bless someone who can deliver some well needed shocks. If one can simply agree, for the length of the book, to flow with Henderson's presentation, it HAS TO raise some questions. It does not matter if it is ALL TRUE or PARTIALLY TRUE, what matters is to THINK in a different way and consider possibilities. The Gurdjieff writings have been altered and we do not know to what degree. There may very well be material that we will never see. I consider anyone who dares to write something this outrageous a hero to the Work.
Personally, I embrace courage and the willingness to have tomatoes thrown at you. That alone makes Henderson special.
Judy Holt, United States
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