GURDJIEFF INTERNET GUIDE

Home | Articles | Books | Languages | Contact | About Us


Bookmark and Share


Buzzell, Keith A.
If you are of this persuasion, you are damned--an interview with Keith Buzzell

Back to Articles Home

Buzzell, Keith A.
Dr. Keith Buzzell was born in 1932, in Boston, Massachusetts. He studied music at Bowdoin College and Boston University, and received his medical doctorate in 1960 at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. For the past 35 years, he has been a rural family physician in Fryeburg, Maine, a staff member of Bridgton Hospital and currently holds the position of medical director at the Fryeburg Health Care Center. Dr. Buzzell has also served as a professor of osteopathic medicine, a hospital medical director and founder of a rural hospice program.

Keith A. Buzzell and his wife Marlena, met Irmis Popoff, a student of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky and founder of the Pinnacle Group in Sea Cliff, Long Island, New York. From 1971 until the mid-1980’s they formed work groups under Irmis Popoff’s supervision. In 1988 Dr. Buzzell met Annie Lou Staveley, founder of the Two Rivers Farm in Oregon and maintained a Work relationship with her up to her death. Dr. Buzzell lives and continues group Work in Bridgton, Maine.

Other written work by Keith A. Buzzell

The Children of Cyclops: The Influences of Television Watching on the
Developing Human Brain. Fair Oaks, Association of Waldorf Schools
of North America, 1998

Man: a Three-brained Being. Maine, Wyllaned, 1997

Presentations at All and Everything International Humanities Conference 1995

Articles for Stopinder Journal 2000-2003
 

Loading
Share
Printer friendly format

If you are of this persuasion, you are damned--an interview with Keith Buzzell

Q: In the simplest of lay terms, what did Mr. Gurdjieff have in mind for this Work that we are doing, what is the intent of this whole big thing, this whole collection of exercises and writings and so on. What’s the goal? And why have you spent the last 50 years pursuing it? Why do you think that goal is worth devoting so much of your attention and energy to?
A: It’s difficult to put that in a few words. But I think the overriding singularity is the pursuit of a change in consciousness. That involves consciousness as we ordinarily think of it, which seems then to be a thinking sort of thing, a mind sort of thing. But it also involves consciousness in, or with respect to, our emotional part, and with respect to our physical part. Further than that, it is a balancing, or blending of the three parts into one. So that, consciousness is a simple way of expressing that, but it becomes a variegated, multi-leveled kind of adventure.
Q: When you talk about consciousness, I think of it as one thing, one field. What I hear you saying is that consciousness is not one, but rather, at least three. That there are maybe red, blue and green consciousnesses. Is that what you’re saying?
A: Well, let me go at it from a slightly different direction, to try and make it more clear. Gurdjieff talks about four levels of consciousness, the first being sleep, where we are a minimally conscious, we cannot say we are not conscious at all, we have an experiential aspect to the dream-world. We also have responses on the part of the body. So the body is aware of things, like when you get your toes get tangled up in the sheets, or it’s suddenly cold because there is a breeze, or something. So that it is not that we are not at all conscious, but we are minimally and totally passive without awareness or consciousness. The second stage, if you will, or level of consciousness in Gurdjieff’s terms, has to do with our day-to-day existence when we are “awake.” He often called this waking consciousness, or half-sleep. In other words, when we are in our ordinary state, as beings living on the planet Earth, when we think and we write and we do things and we make love and we raise our children, that there is a consciousness expressed in doing all those things, that Gurdjieff would refer to as half-sleep. Or the second state of consciousness. There is, above that, a level of consciousness that has to do with being aware that we are aware. As we function. Such that we are aware that we are present in our physical body, in our emotional body, if you will, and in our thinking, or intellectual body. That would be the complete state, what he would call self-remembering, in a completed sense. In a whole sense. I would understand that state of self-remembering as a very distant aim, in the complete sense. That means that there are stages or steps or entries or cracks into many, many different kinds of effort that all have, as their aim, the establishment of the accessibility of this state of consciousness that is now not half-asleep but fully awake. Awake to itself, in all of its parts. Many of the exercises and methods aim to introduce one to aspects of that larger consciousness.
Q: What you’re calling self-remembering?
A: Yes, what he referred to as the state of self-remembering.
Q: I’m going to just pick up the language a little bit. He worked with language of very great deal. To remember is taking from the past, to reconstruct to re-member, to re-put together. I’d like to go back if you don’t mind, and then to wrap up the self-remembering thing. But the issue I’d like to have some clarity on, when I think of self-remembering, of remembering the past. Proprioception is present moment. Proprioception, to me, when I think of that wakeful state, I think of it more in a proprioceptive sense, rather than a re-membering of something. So I’m just curious.
A: I’m sure that Gurdjieff struggled with many alternative ways of approaching this enormously complex, subtle, difficult issue, and why he decided on a specific terminology of self-remembering. Obviously, I don’t know. But part of what I think we can understand is that this may be a grand metaphor. This self-remembering can be understood as putting the self back together again. It can be seen in that sense. So the three parts that we mentioned earlier, or three centers as he called them, or three brains in another context. That the process of re-membering those, putting them back together again, is reminiscent of the ancient Greek mythologies. Where the god is dismembered, and then one of the tasks of the wife is to re-member the body so it can be understood in that metaphorical sense. It can also be understood, as you pointed to, that it may have a great deal to do with memory, with so improving the level of awareness into memory that one remembers. Not re-members, or puts together again, but one actually in memory remembers. Some of the astonishing stories about Gurdjieff’s memory are helpful in that context. Because it is said that he almost never, or no-one could recall when he, did not remember somebody’s name. Even though he hadn’t seen them in years and he had seen thousands of people in between. He had this incredible memory for that kind of thing. Also in his music, for instance. Many of those, he stated, were songs and other kinds of musical expression that he’d heard during his travels. His travels had been years earlier. But in a colossally short period of time, there is this gigantic musical output of hundreds of hundreds, hundreds of pieces. Remarkable memory if that represents something that was real. So that gives you some notion of what the re-membering may have to do with. For me, the more important one as a struggle, is the first. The first I spoke of. The putting back together again. Because one of the most obvious things when I try to be aware of my inner world and my outer world is how dismembered I am. And many of the points, the fundamental points that Gurdjieff makes in terms of ideas, and many of the practices, many of the methods, many of the practices, especially regarding movements and sacred dances are all help-mates, are all pointers, are all enjoiners of experiences of that process of re-membering, of putting back together again. And they are quite astonishing in the subjective individual sense when it occurs. So one gets a taste of what that state of being would be if it were permanent. Does that help?
Q: It’s certainly fertile ground for me. All I’m trying to do is find some coherence for my references, between what I’ve experienced, and so on. All I’m doing right now is building a common framework between the references of the words of the language of what I would use for some of these things, and just to move closer together to shared meaning in a sense. If we are self-remembering, in the state of self-remembering, where we have re-integrated these often-fragmented pieces of consciousness back into a whole. From what you’re describing, there would be an exponential and synergistic quality. Bigger, wholer, more, much more, not just a little bit more, but much more, if we re-put these together you would have qualitatively a different, consciousness would be fundamentally different from that our normal fragmented…you know, like looking through the tube, myopic kind of thing. It will be grander, much more whole, much more encompassing, much more subtlety.
A: In all dimensions. For instance, one could take just a physical dimension of our senses, that efforts in this direction, through methods and exercises that Gurdjieff has made available, lead one towards being in the back state, to whatever degree. And there are so many approaches to it. As Henri Tracol said, the entries into the effort to self-remember are infinite. Any effort to be more conscious in a sense, then, becomes an entry point into this new state. But staying with the senses, for instance, one then experiences with often, an incredible clarity, the physical structure of the world. The colors, the nuances, of shadow, of combinations of…that one never paid any attention to before. One did not see before in that sense. The same is true of hearing, where one begins to hear subtleties and nuances that one never really appreciated before and so one could go through all of the senses in that way. And say that in many of the exercises, many of the efforts that are made, that sense of clarity, of inclusiveness, of wholeness grows, grows over time. The first experience of it is only the beginning. And over time, over the years, the sense of the aliveness of the world around you and of its incredible nuance and subtlety and drama, just leaps out at you. More. The same is true in the emotional world. One begins to appreciate, for instance, as Gurdjieff pointed out, we begin to learn about the inner world of other as well as ourselves, by seeing the nuance of facial expression, gesture, tone of voice, vocalization, postures and so forth. And we begin to read in that sense can begin to really see the external expression of an inner state on the part of other. So we become more appreciative and aware of how dynamic this level of human relationship really is, and that we are all the time talking to each other, we are all the time communicating things about our inner state with great clarity. So at the emotional level. And of course, in the physical world, the same thing could be appreciated. And in the intellectual world, one begins to see the inner connections between ideas, and that an idea as it may be presented is so foreshortened of fundamentals, that it’s a useless idea, it goes nowhere. Or you can see the process of thinking, you begin to appreciate the process of your own mechanical associative activity because you are standing aside from it, as I think was entertained in what you said, that the thrust toward that, or the effort toward that, remaining in that state of the observer, if you will, or something that is aware, and present too, but not involved in. It begins to see the process of thought, as it begins to see the process of emotion, the rising of certain levels of irritability or suspicion, or joy or whatever. One sees that that also is a process, and that it is not something that simply appears like Athena, you know, full-grown. It is something that has a process to it. And this becomes extremely important in the study of oneself. When you begin to see more clearly the steps, some of the steps in that process. Because, it isn’t everywhere that we can change, or alter those states, say of mechanical emotional expression or negativity, or whatever. But if we discover and see more clearly the early stages of it, then there may be things that we can do. There may be exercises we can do, efforts we can make, to nullify that process, to stop it, to change it. So that we become, over time. There is a least a hope that our being in that emotional sense becomes different.
Q: This is, as you can tell, not particularly structured. I’m just going to move with this, but I’ll be happy to go to back and deal with suggestions from other people. One issue that comes to mind is this sense of this clarity, or this altered, or enhanced, expanded consciousness. Whatever words we want to use, grows over time with effort. That you are expanding the capacity for this clarity so that it becomes more a part of…shall we say, dullness is where we began as our normal everyday state, and through effort and practice and what we do, we build up this muscle, almost like going to the gym and getting a bigger bicep. We build up the capacity for expanded clarity in all these dimensions through time.
A: Yes. As [someone else] mentioned, it is really very, almost totally, a result in the process of increasing the specificity of our attention or our directed attention. Attention is another whole arena, which much, much time could be spent on. But I think the characteristic of these levels of consciousness is, as we started to elaborate on earlier, is, you can also see this as reflecting levels of attention. When we are asleep, the attention is purely instinctive, motor. To changes of temperature, physical changes and so forth. When we are half-awake, or in our ‘usual’ state of consciousness, then our attention is often, most often, being pulled. It is as Maurice Nichol said, emotional attention. Being attracted to something. So our attention gets pulled here and there and so forth. And it is not truly ours, it is not directed from within. And then there is directed attention. Directed attention is the only thing that is worth anything. Because without that, we are machines. It is interesting that in the earlier versions of Beelzebub’s Tables, over the early years, when he would write and then have it read, then he would study people’s response to what they read, and how they seemed either to get it, or not get it. And if they got it too soon, then he would in his terms, he would ‘bury the dog’, not the bone, deeper. Because he would want people to make effort to struggle to come to an understanding of something. So that was the directed attention, and it is the only thing that is worthwhile. Everything else, the man-machine thing, is a terminology that are used in the earlier version of Beelzebub’s Tales, very frequently. Very frequently this is also reflected in Ouspensky’s work as well. Where that terminology of the man-machine is used. He dropped this in the end version of Beelzebub’s Tales, for whatever reason. One has opinions about that, but that’s all they are. But the point he was trying to get across that without directed attention, we are a machine. However complicated we are, we are reflexive in that sense. We just react because of all the stuff that has been put into us since the moment of our conception. So we are not truly ourselves, we are not self-directed relative to what is going on inside or outside. So directed attention becomes the absolute key. And of course, that becomes immediately related to the state of self-remembering. It is also useful to point out that any terminology, and Gurdjieff as you pointed out earlier, was very interested in language, and felt that we had to have a language in Work. Or as we confuse each other and we don’t help each other. There are so many languages out there, of other kinds of spiritual disciplines, and so forth. But I think it’s not difficult to appreciate how we can really scramble each other’s brains, when we start using terms without really understanding, for each other, exactly what we mean by them. So Gurdjieff spends a good deal of time in his early work with groups in Moscow and St Petersburg talking about the absolute essentiality of language. He got so irritated over the years with self-remembering and how people were talking about it, and how he could clearly see that they did not really understand it that he started to call it ‘red pepper.’ The effort, they had to go at it from a different direction to try and get across the essence of what it was that he was trying to communicate to them. And I believe he did this with many, many things. The legomonistic terms, what he called legomonistic terms, new words, coined words, coined expressions that abound in Beelzebub’s Tales, are efforts in that direction to say, if I used a word that you already had a whole bunch of associated stuff already connected to from your past. Well, since you are from Russia, and you are from France, and you are from America, and so forth, we will not understand each other. So he invented, with respect to many, many important philosophical concepts, many important inner world concerts, he would invent words. And then, in context, he would tell stories about it. He would reflect through myth, through metaphor and so forth, to try to get you to grasp something of what he was driving at, that was not contaminated by all of the other usages of words that all of us have. So, that’s why I stumbled around directed attention, and yet at the same time there is this direct connection to self-remembering.
Q: Wow! What a guy! I mean, when you think of the effort that he had to go through understanding all the mechanical filters that are built into our conditioned state and the triggers and all of that stuff that are going on, for him to have worked so hard, it must have been a lot of work on his part in order to have to anticipate all the blocks and barriers, and then construct models and examples, and shall we say, exercises to overcome the blindness. What a nice guy! Because I have to say that I have this image of him with his cigars and this cantankerous trickster, kind of those stereotypes, but when you go deeper in what you explained about use of language and making up words and so on.
A: Can I talk about that, just a bit? Because there is this image. And I think there is more than sufficient evidence to say without much qualification that Gurdjieff created this image very intentionally. That he was so selfless in the sense of ego, that it was very important that his ideas, and that is teaching, and we’ll go into that and its connections with other teachings, because I think that is a very, very essential thing to talk about. He would create an impression of being outrageous. And of playing a role under certain conditions that was offensive or direct and so insulting, and yet all of it was intentional. I believe a large part of that intention was to separate himself as a three-brained being, as an ordinary being on the planet Earth, from his teaching, from what he was trying to get a touch. I do not think that Gurdjieff 100 years from now, has any interest in anyone remembering what his name was. But what he tried to share, and what he tried to bring into manifestation as a whole teaching, that was what was important. So much of the outrageousness, you can almost see, now in the film clips. You can see, that he’s posing! You can see him, you can see him take his hat off, you can see him go through these various things, smoking his cigarettes and so forth. He’s on stage. And he was rarely off stage when people were around, because he had to play not one, but many, many different roles for people. Because the question, for every one of those events, I believe for Gurdjieff was: what would be most helpful to wake up this person? But the dimensions of the events were totally unimportant. They could be drinking tea, they could be cleaning the floor. It made no difference, every event had the possibility of a higher state of awareness, or a higher state of consciousness, and what could he do to assist this other person. Not assist himself, not serve himself, not make himself seen as something other.
Q: Implicit in all of this imposition this is a deep and pervasive understanding that were always falling asleep. That this necessity to give energy and attention to being awake is not automatic. Wakefulness is not automatic. We assume that it is. We assume that we wake up and were awake and that’s all there is and we go along in this half-asleep stupor thinking they were awake, but it takes something else, it takes another force, another quality of energy to go from 40 Watts to 60 Watts, if I could use that. And I don’t even think that we’re even mindful or awake in the general population that is even remotely cognizant of this fact that we are asleep, that we are always falling asleep. Therefore the need to always wake up is ever present.
A: And this is lawful in Gurdjieff’s terms. One of the fundamental notions that he tried to get across to people early on, is that this work, that this way of working at trying to attain other levels of consciousness and being is not for everyone. One who is not interested, is not interested. You can’t make them be interested mechanically, it just doesn’t…so there is this rather mysterious state, or at least I’ve experienced it all of my life as a mysterious state, not knowing how in the world it ever occurred to me. And how it happens to ordinary people in everyday life. Where they feel a lack, or a need or that they are dissatisfied. Or they know that they are asleep or that they begin to see that there are these aspects of their mechanicalness and habitual things and so forth that are prisons. And that the vast majority of people, and by that I mean the vast majority, simply don’t see it that way. They don’t experience that. They don’t have those questions. And Gurdjieff said, yes, that is the law, that is the way we are. If you are of this persuasion, and you have these kinds of questions, then in a sense, you are almost damned. Because there’s no way out of it. You can’t consciously fall back asleep. You are caught up with this question for the rest of your life. And I believe that’s true. If we try to forget, and I think I’ve met a number of people who had acquaintance with this work or with other spiritual traditions, and then reached the point where they were either totally discouraged or they had an express that they thought was so insulting to their individuality, blah blah blah, that they did not have want to have anything more to do with it. And I believe that every person in that circumstance that I have had any acquaintance with, is miserable, they are always in reflecting on that quandary inside of themselves.
Q: Just to expand on that, from my experience with the Krishnamurti group, and also the self-realization fellowship, and those are two disciplines I have fairly close familiarity with. A great deal of unhappiness (cynicism) because they have tried, they’ve given it their best, and somehow they still feel as if they are all where they started and all that kind of stuff. And also a lot of false images about who they are where they started and who the teacher was…so these spiritual practices of fraught with a sense of failure and dissatisfaction.
A: Yes. And part of that is the time that we are living in. I think this might be a reasonable linkage to what I mentioned about seeing Gurdjieff’s relationship to the traditions. To other spiritual disciplines that have been present in the life of the earth. Because Gurdjieff stated again and again that at their origin, but only at their origin, there have been many entries into the life of man, that were genuinely attempting the same thing that he was attempting to bring. But because we are so persistently mechanical and asleep, that within a very short time, he says by the second generation, already distortions begin to enter whatever the teaching is. And he speaks of this in terms of the Buddha, in terms of the early teachings in Hinduism, Islam of Christianity or Judaism, all of them. That at to their origin, they were a genuine expression of this same impulse towards increasing consciousness, coming to real being, with all of the qualities and attributes that would accompany that. So he’s not at all separating himself off from that tradition. But in any large-scale sense, we could conclude that the last large representation of this came with Islam in 600. So we’ve been 1,400 years under the impact of essentially degenerated forms. And Gurdjieff is not kind when it comes to this. He’s very specific. I believe in ways very similar to Krishnamurti, who would have nothing whatsoever to do with that. And yet at the same time, Gurdjieff is immensely respectful of the origin of each of those, and of the good behaviors and customs that entered into the life of mankind, and however they became mechanical, that was not the point. The point is that behaviorally, it was a help. It kept us from being more insane that we are. From being even more even more malevolent to each other then we are able to be. And we’ve seen this colossal breakdown. This eroding of, even the influences of these good customs and traditions. I think especially since the time of the Renaissance, with the birth of the scientific method, and the appearance of the mechanization of Western society, of all the technology, I really believe these are totally new. I don’t agree with some of what was said over the last three days about the growth of science and it’s something that comes from the East. No, not really. This is something that appeared…there is a uniqueness at the time of Galileo at the beginning. There’s a uniqueness here. You cannot say this is dependent on other things. In any case, my point is by the time we get into the latter part of the 19th century, we are approaching a colossal conflict. Within humanity. That is going to bring, and has brought, untold suffering and immensely difficult questions to try and find a way out of. We could point to all kinds of things that were happening at the same time in the latter part of the 19th century. Spiritually, psychologically, in terms of the insights that began to appear about the inner world of man. About the nature of the physical man, in the early discoveries that led to relativity, quantum mechanics. We see this in poetry, we see it in music, we see it in so many different directions. That’s some something of colossal significance is showing this dismemberment of the world. I believe that’s part of Gurdjieff’s mission in that sense. That he came to be, a manifester, not of something new, and yet something new. Because the circumstances are new. So we can’t have simply have, in his terms I would understand, we can’t have a restatement of the traditions. We cannot take them the form in which they are presented because they are all degenerated as they have come to us. And parts of its true, parts of it have great value and have singularly influenced the lives of thousands of people in a positive direction. But in the main, it has also led to the terrible circumstances we have now. With the Inquisition, and with our present, impossible circumstances regarding fundamentalism of the Christian variety, of the Jewish variety, the Islamic variety, it makes no difference.
Q: I want to go back before we go to too much further. This impression that I got from what you’re talking about these traditions, and again, as above so below, and all that kind of stuff. You have a genuine waking up. In the state of wakefulness. Anyway there’s a waking up. So when we talk about the origin of these traditions, there is a waking up from whatever the previous condition was. So there’s a spark of wakefulness. And then it goes to sleep. The forms become mechanical. The form no longer wakes people up, but actually becomes part of the half-awake and half-awake state. But better than it was before. (The A, B, or C influences.) What I’m trying to probe towards is the implicit degeneration, almost inevitable degeneration of these forms. You have this light that comes on, and then the forms become mechanical, and they’re no longer enlighten but they are just a new part of the dream. Even though that mechanically you’re a little bit ‘nicer.’ But still mechanical.
[OTHER VOICES SPEAK]
Q: Even if you come to the Gurdjieff stuff, you’re going to come to it pretty soon. That you are going to go back asleep. I am always falling asleep works at a personal level, a mental level and so on and so forth. That’s all I’m trying to say.
A: Gurdjieff put this, and again it’s a grand metaphor, he conceived of Kundabuffer. And this, over a lot of years now, the notion of what he was really encompassing with the term Kundabuffer has grown, and I hope, has gained some degree of subtlety. It comes close to anything that stands in your way of becoming more conscious. Part of it is the way we are raised, part of it is in DNA, part of it is the extra extremely evil behavior on behalf or other people towards us. We can have so many arenas that simply buffer the possibility of waking up. And while it’s in place, and he gives it this historical sense that there was a time when Kundabuffer was not in place, and then it was. For cosmic reasons, and then it was removed, and now we live with the crystallized consequences of that. And you can put that inside an individual person’s life. We are born in innocence, when our essence is more or less what we are. And then our parents come along and teach us the ways of the world. Do this, do that. Wear this, sit here, do this, believe this, obey this, etc. etc. And all of this become restrictions on our individual capacity to be responsible for our way into the world. But it has to happen. There is this interesting nuance that Gurdjieff is very careful to handle. You can’t avoid having parents who are not conscious. It doesn’t happen. So you are going to come under these influences. They are going to be restrictive in some way or another. The same with the community that we live in, the political dynasty that happens to be in power. All these things are going to be, to one degree or another, various restrictions on man’s possibility for waking up. So he has to de-crystallize those influences. And he assigns that role, in a very, very fundamental way, to all the great traditions. The reason why the Buddha came was to assist in a de-crystallization. To establish a pattern, or method of approach. And he took as his fundamental thrust, let’s say, a particular approach: through the mind. Where, as Mohammed had a particular approach that emphasized hope. That emphasized that the heart. The behavioral orientation of Moses, about right behavior and so on and so on. So each of the messengers as Gurdjieff calls them, had an aim, the common aim was the de-crystallization of the consequences of Kundabuffer. In a sense, he gets out of it that way. Now, there’s immense philosophical implications to that concept, but he did not feel that it was important, essential, for him to discuss them. We can talk about those things. Discover them, see how true they are, in a thousand different kinds of ways. How they have affected people in India, or in Bangladesh, Japan, South America etc etc. But it’s all Kundabuffer. One can look as any restriction which in its crystallized left-over form from the past, stands in the way of directed attention directed attention, of waking up.
Q: So, again, trying to be as basic as I can be, there is falling asleep and there is waking up, and you’ve described as Kundabuffer, I translate it into the process of learning, which is habituation, which is the first time you come to a new experience, you have a lot of energy and attention, that filter of Kundabuffer and conditioning is less at the beginning. Then as you build up that experience through repetition, and somewhat, it becomes mechanical, it turns over to automatic. It becomes habituation, and then you roll into that conditioning, cultural conditioning, the rolling over from generation to generation of these past habits, all of which is operating at that mechanical level. So Kundabuffer to me, I translate into conditioning and habituation. The forces of conditioning and habituation. And then you have, and you talked about it earlier, attention. The quality of one’s attention. [Joseph Chilton Pearce’s(?)] book, The Biology of Transcendence. To transcend. The energy of spirit is to Limitation and constraint. To transcend the gravity towards falling back asleep of conditioning and habituation. Spirit is this. So you are continually learning habituated and falling asleep, and that spirit is continually transcending. So those are my two images of how I translate this, duality if you will. Does that fit?
A: The only qualification that I would put on it relative to Gurdjieff’s approach is he spent a great deal of time in his writing, especially in Beelzebub’s Tales talking about three brained beings. These three brained beings of planet Earth. Work on being having these three gigantic the essential aspects. And he tries to approach them through image, through metaphor through, through stories, through as many different directions as he possibly can, I think because one particular metaphorical approach may help us, for a certain number of people. But it won’t help other people. They won’t get it. So he’ll tell another story, from a different approach, and another story. So, over time, trying to provide as many ways in which to approach types, different types of people. To create opportunities for them to see, or at least in that moment, grasp the essence of what he is trying to get at. So far as waking up is concerned. And nothing works for ever. Because, as you point out, it becomes a habit. And then, even the best of methods, which he used in some of his early groups. He used to say, “work with this for a week.” Every time this happens, make appointments with yourself, as all manner of things, you can invent things for yourself in the same way. And they work. For a while. You know, and then they become habituated, or we forget, or whatever. And then we’re back asleep again. So, the aim of these kind of approaches is not to wake up in any permanent sense, but to give us tastes, experiences that some are sometimes more than other experiences. Sometimes because they have to do with one or other aspect of the three brains, or they give us experiences with respect to those. For me, this is the Movements or sacred dances are one of those remarkable circumstances where all three brained brains can be touched and for a certain, you can’t really say a period of time, because it’s not a time kind of thing, there can be experiences of that state, where all three parts are expressing in this resonant fashion, some aspect of law and that’s just an enormously powerful experience. And then we can carry, it doesn’t just have to be a singular experience, that you say “I had this experience there.” No. It is a helpmate, because then you can go back into your daily life. You can go back to looking after your children, going back to work, painting a wall, repairing the plumbing, and there is some aspect to that attentiveness, to that direction of attention, to awareness, to efforts to self-remember and so forth that can be brought into that other experience. So this begins to dimensionalize inside of our life. So it’s not, “I’m going to go to church now.” I am not going to go for my spiritual experience. No, Gurdjieff was forever emphasizing how essential it is to bring this into your life such that your level of being becomes more and more coalesced, and more and more three-brained, so that a One, a True Will, can appear. So then you can Do. And Gurdjieff made much about this when he talked about this. Almost everybody remembers this when you’ve read Ouspensky, or anything else, because it’s such an insult. You know when he comes along and says: “Man cannot do.” Cannot do anything. But then you have to really ask yourself: “What does he mean? What does he mean by doing?” And then it becomes a much more interesting kind of pursuit.

Comments

Conscience

Although I would have to agree with Dr. Buzzell that a change of consciousness is an “overriding singularity” in the teaching Mr. Gurdjieff left us, it is my experience and understanding that the heart of his teaching is the awakening of the Divine Impulse of Objective Conscience. The, upon the awakening of the impulse Conscience, what in Beelzebub’s Tales is called real consciousness emerges. Otherwise we live our lives in the state of waking consciousness or fictitious consciousness. And it is in this state that we do all we do in our everyday ordinary state of waking sleep. That the awakening of the impulse Conscience is at the very heart of the teaching Mr. Gurdjieff brought to us in Beelzebub’s Tales, is reflected in the Legominism “The-Terror-of-the-Situation” and the five strivings of objective morality as both were given by Ashiata Shiemash, the central personage in the Book. It is unfortunate that Buzzell did not touch this very important aspect of the teaching, although everything he said about different states of consciousness and their relationship with the state of self-remembering and the balanced functioning of the three brains is an integral aspect of the teaching.

Will Mesa


, United States
willmesa@aol.com
added 2010-08-24

I believe Keith Buzzel say here two things that has to be connected:
1)" And Gurdjieff said, yes, that is the law, that is the way we are. If you are of this persuasion, and you have these kinds of questions, then in a sense, you are almost damned. Because there’s no way out of it. You can’t consciously fall back asleep. You are caught up with this question for the rest of your life.
And I believe that’s true. If we try to forget, and I think I’ve met a number of people who had acquaintance with this work or with other spiritual traditions, and then reached the point where they were either totally discouraged or they had an express that they thought was so insulting to their individuality, blah blah blah, that they did not have want to have anything more to do with it."
And
2 "But because we are so persistently mechanical and asleep, that within a very short time, he says by the second generation, already distortions begin to enter whatever the teaching is. "
It is not because we are so persistently mechanical and asleep that distortions begin to enter whatever the teaching is.
Self calming is the answer that we found because we can’t consciously fall back asleep.
The wiseacring for the people who know too much is the only possible answer to go on to sleep ,because we fear to really awake us that is a process that has to endure the suffering of remorse: so we could go on to believe us the great heirs of the
Gurdjieff work, teach it to the others too and sleep working dreams.
We are not machines: machines not know how avoid suffering, we are living beings...
so the keys of awakening are to find what is life for...

,
added 2010-08-29


Add a Comment


Name:
Country:
e-mail:
Header:
Comment: