Author/Artist: Jeanne de Salzmann
Publisher: Shambhala Publications
First published: 2010
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A wonderful book for starting to live in a real way. Thank you for your review, Reijo.
Marcela Sury, Argentina
This also remains me of a Movements class about five years ago in which a man of my age, then 63, taking part first time in a Movements seminar, in the middle of the class took his clothes (which were on the floor) and started throwing them furiously around the studio.
I managed to abstain from throwing the book and could later go on reading without any such nonsense.
I am not sure of the others, but my "reaction that happened only in imagination" seems to have been to the continuous repetitive form that the book has. I agree also to the advice of the www.therealityofbeing.com advice to read slowly, in small pieces, as the ideas are concentrated and not easily digested.
Having written all that I will hasten to claim that this book really is "The Relaunch of the Gurdjieff Work" for our time!
It does have hardly any of the "toys" that were given to us by Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. Instead, it is about being, "I am", Reality, the two states (higher and lower), consciousness, sleep etc.
So one may ask: what is new?
There really is nothing new under the sun! However, some things are repeated so many times, on and on, that they actually get through!
To take some sentences out of their context would not give the right picture of the book. It is a whole, and in my view should be treated and read as a whole.
Reijo Oksanen, Switzerland
Amparo Ibarra, Mexico
beautiful n useful
Madame de Salzmann was an extraordinary influence, never failing to inspire others by her unceasing work and the quality of her presence. She could transmit more in a few moments of relationship with a student than an ordinary man or woman experienced in the Gurdjieff work could share in a lifetime. That is the reality of Being.
The new book, The Reality of Being: The Fourth Way of Gurdjieff, Shambhala (to be released July 27, 2010) is produced out of a compilation of notes Madame de Salzmann wrote from time to time expressing her own questions and her own vision in the life and movement of the Gurdjieff work.
In connection with the book’s preparation, various group activities were conducted within the Gurdjieff community, including weekly meetings of reading groups where people listened to the material and worked with it together. Also as a help to the editing team, larger groups of people having some measure of experience with Madame de Salzmann gathered periodically for extended sessions to work under the guidance of this written material as a support for inner work, regrouping at various intervals each day to re-read selected passages and exchange impressions. In concentrated efforts of self study such as these, with the use of the written material and with the added influence at times of a shared energy produced by work together, one could sometimes approach a deeper understanding - something that becomes more likely when a sufficient number of those who gather for this purpose have understood that the real substance of this kind of knowledge cannot be printed on paper. Books and writings can give hints and sometimes serve as a starting point for a real search. Gurdjieff’s own writings are an exceptional category.
Unedited, Madame de Salzmann was one of a very small circle of leaders in the Gurdjieff work who could actually, by her being, transmit substantially on the process which brings one in contact with another reality and illumines the darkness of the lower nature that must be confronted on the path to liberation. Whereas in life she was able to bring a special light to her oral transmissions by her capacity to conduct energy from a world above us, the reading of this book produced from her notes is quite different. As secondary beneficiaries of the energy Madame de Salzmann was able to bring to an assembly of people we could sometimes experience something truly out of the ordinary. Under her influence one could even feel, prematurely, a new understanding opening up in the body and in the feeling but longer experience taught that one could not understand the nature of this energy simply by being in the sphere of another who conducts it, much less by reading about it. One begins to have one’s own real impressions of the nature of this energy only at moments when one begins to open to direct contact with a higher level within oneself and begins to face the question of how to serve and allow something of this to be shared with others, as she did. Even if one did not understand anything, under her influence people specially benefited in a way that no book could ever simulate. The book’s title may be slightly overstated in that regard. More modestly, what the book gives are faint echoes of the reality of Being.
That the original notes were her questions and her vision rather than an intellectual rehash of ideas produced by others is an important lesson. Union with higher consciousness within oneself inevitably produces original vision influenced by the real tradition in which one grows and develops. Because of the rarity of such content, the material in this book is an important contribution.
As Gurdjieff mentioned, “every stick has two ends.” Because of the advanced nature of the material, if one is satisfied to accumulate intellectual knowledge alone and is not called within to suffer the reality of our lack of being and pay the higher price of real understanding, there is the risk that one may only increase misunderstanding, thinking that one comprehends. A deeper understanding of this material begins in the realm of living experience, beyond the conceptual mind. Hopefully the benefit this book will bring to the Gurdjieff work will be seen in a response given by some of its readers, those who can hear the echo of real being and feel called to join the search for what is most precious and most missing in our lives.
Tom Schultz, United States