Back to Articles Home
Two Direct Ways of Penetrating the Subconsciousness
“These ponderings of His then first of all fully convinced Him that though it were indeed possible to save them by means of the data which survived in their common presences for engendering this sacred being-impulse, nevertheless, it would only be possible if the manifestations of these data which survived in their subconsciousness were to participate without fail in the functioning of that consciousness of theirs, under the direction of which their daily-waking existence flows, and furthermore if this being-impulse were to be manifested over a long period through every aspect of this consciousness of theirs.”
Convinced as I am that penetration of the subconsciousness in order to retrieve the data necessary for engendering in us the Divine impulse of objective conscience is the essence of the Teaching of Mr. Gurdjieff (see my short article “The Spirit of Christmas and the Teaching of Gurdjieff” in this same website), I began to wonder how to find ways to penetrate this undiscovered and fertile region of our being. In this article I describe two direct ways that everybody can have access to. The only requirements are good disposition, good attention, and good feeling.
The first of these two ways I found it accidentally. I had bought three CDs with the music of Gurdjieff/de Hartman. I began to play it while driving to work. At first, I listened to it the way I am used to listen to music in this kind of situation, just as a way of killing time while driving alone. One day, however, I noticed that after having listened to a particular composition not one mental image had crossed my mind during the process of listening. And yet I had not experienced emptiness because some form of feeling that I could not verbalize had arisen in me. I found this fact very interesting because of my innate tendency to analyze and mentalize everything. Stimulated by this realization I decided to take the three CDs home and listen to them with both more intention and more attention.
At home I began to listen to the music during my free time. Instead of watching television or read books and newspapers, I listened to the music. In the beginning it was difficult to concentrate because of the interference of my mind. But I tried and tried again. The key is to make an effort to listen to the music and let the music do the rest. We have to let the music break our resistances. Little by little I began to notice that each composition had a particular resonance in me in the form of a concrete feeling. Feelings of joy, of sadness, of religiousness, of crying, of elevation to higher levels, and others were arising in me in response to the music. And these feelings were always accompanied by quietness and tranquility.
I do not want to share specific experiences in order not to take pleasure of experiencing the feeling away from the reader. But there are two specific experiences that I want to share because they arose from my very first attempts to listen to the music. One composition I love is the one with the name “On Leaving for Cannes.” Every time I listen to this composition I experience the feeling of joy I always experienced in my childhood whenever I was about to leave for a trip. But the most interesting aspect of the experience is the fact that every time the joy comes alive anew; it is not the result of remembering the joy I had experienced in a previous listening. It is obvious that this joy is there in my subconsciousness waiting for the moment to come alive and the music brings it alive. The other experience may not be shared by everybody. It has to do with the composition with the name “For Mr. Gurdjieff’s Wife.” Every time I listen to this composition a renew feeling towards my own wife arises in me.
One thing I have to say. I did not have a real experience of the Three Holy Forces until I listened several times to the composition “Holy Affirming, Holy Denying, Holy Reconciling.”
I thought about the whole phenomenon I was experiencing. There is no question in my mind that Mr. Gurdjieff objectively composed this music to help us to penetrate our subconsciousness. Since the being-impulse of conscience is a function of feeling, the aim of the music is to bring from our subconsciousness those feelings stored in that region of our being in such a way that the Divine impulse of Conscience begins to manifest in us.
In one of the CDs Thomas de Hartmann makes some remarks. He says, among other things:
“Here we understand why Gurgivantch (Mr. Gurdjieff) put always a great weight on music; he himself played it and he also composed it. If we compare with the music of all the religions we can see that music plays a great role, a great part, in so to say religious service. But after the work of Gurgivantch we can understand it more, we can understand it better, that music helps to concentrate oneself, to bring oneself to an inner state when we can assume with greatest possible emanations. That is why music is just the thing which helps you to see higher.”
Thomas de Hartmann is right. Here higher also means lower because “as above, so below.”
The second way I describe in this article I found it more intentionally, although the final answer came to me unexpectedly. This way has to do with one of the most guarded secrets in Beelzebub’s Tales. The essence-loving Ashiata Shiemash gathers His Great Initiates and explains to them the nature of the Divine impulse of Conscience:
“The factors for the being-impulse conscience arise in the presences of the three-brained beings from the localization of the particles of the ‘emanation-of-the-sorrow’ of OUR OMNI-LOVING AND LONG-SUFFERING-ENDLESS-CREATOR; that is why the source of the manifestation of genuine conscience in three-centered beings is sometimes called the REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CREATOR.” (B.T. p. 372)
I knew this statement almost by heart. I had read it many times and I had quoted it in some of my writings. Every time I had come across it I had been intrigued by this “emanation-of-the-sorrow.” This time I asked the question more seriously. I asked myself, what is it, this “emanation-of-the-sorrow?” Right away I knew that with my ordinary mind I was not going to answer my question. I knew that with my ordinary mind I could not understand this “emanation-of-the-sorrow.” There had to be another way. And the only way was to have a direct experience of this “emanation-of-the-sorrow.” I said to myself that given the fact that the data for engendering in us the being-impulse of conscience is stored in my subconsciousness, it is there where I had to go in search of a direct experience of this “emanation-of-the-sorrow.”
I tried to go into myself; but it was of no avail. All I could experience was a background mental noise: my noisy and treacherous mind attempting to fabricate a ready made experience of this “emanation-of-the sorrow.” I kept thinking about my question but also began to accept the idea that maybe it was not for me to experience this “emanation-of-the-sorrow.”
One day I was holding in my hands my copy of “Beelzebub’s Tales,” the one published by Two Rivers Press, Aurora, Oregon. On the back of the jacket there is this picture of Mr. Gurdjieff sitting on a sidewalk bench in some street of Paris, probably during the war. I had seen this picture many times before and it had always impressed me. But this time, the moment I looked at the picture, in a flash, I saw the “emanation-of-the-sorrow” of OUR OMNI-LOVING AND LONG-SUFFERING-ENDLESS-CREATOR. Well, I better put it in another way because we do not want end up saying that Mr. Gurdjieff is God. I saw a particle of the “emanation-of-the-sorrow” of OUR OMNI-LOVING AND LONG-SUFFERING-ENDLESS-CREATOR. And the moment I saw it I also saw this particle of sorrow that is also inside of me. I looked at the picture again and again, until I became saturated by it, and the more I looked at it the more I realized that the entire picture represents a “body of sorrow.” Every fiber of Mr. Gurdjieff’s being emanates sorrow.
Mr. Gurdjieff in 1949
I want to make one final remark. I am now convinced that with his picture Mr. Gurdjieff left us who were never in his physical presence the opportunity to experience the “Sacred Aieioiuoa” or “Remorse:”
“And this cosmic law is, that there proceeds within every arising large and small, when in direct touch with the emanations either of the Sun Absolute itself or of any other sun, what is called ‘Remorse,’ that is a process, when every part that has arisen from the results of any one Holy Source of the Sacred Triamazikamno, as it were, ‘revolts,’ and ‘criticizes’ the former unbecoming perceptions and the manifestations at the moment, of another part of its whole –a part obtained from the results of another Holy Source of the same fundamental sacred Cosmic Law of Triamazikamno.” (B.T., p. 141).