Journey to Essence
If Nothing Changes ... Nothing Changes
"What is happening in our world is nothing less than the disintegration of conventional culture, a process that is irreversible and one that constitutes humanity's moment of truth. We grow dizzy from an avalanche of change, and risk losing our way in history because we remain unclear about the underlying dynamic of history and oblivious of its determining forces.
Unless we better understand what is happening to us, we will continue to be buffeted by wave after wave of this disintegration, reluctant to recognize its scope, unable to appreciate its spiritual meaning, and unprepared to meet its historical challenges. Coming to grips with the depth of the crisis is a daunting task but it is also one that is full of promise, and the price to be paid by shrinking from it is too horrendous to contemplate."
— Rene Girard —
Has it ever occurred to you to question why you do a certain thing? I spent some time pondering this question as it relates to what I share in these newsletters. Is it to look good or to appear like I'm some kind of "teacher" or someone who thinks he knows or understands more than you? I don't believe this is the case. I say this because I know I don't fully understand much of what I share. I do feel, however, that what I share is trustworthy, that the ideas are worth considering, especially for those seeking greater understanding of themselves and the world in which we find ourselves. The material is something I sense I can trust as a guide on my journey of discovering who and what "I" might become, and for creating a meaningful purpose in living. I hope these teachings will do the same for you.
I cannot tell you what God is or what consciousness is. There is a striving within me; it's a tremendous emotional struggle, it's a desire to know "God", to know "Truth", and to understand this "self" that is beating my heart, seeing with my eyes, and observing my thoughts. I want to understand something higher, something more enjoyable than myself. I want to alter the experience of myself and to rid myself of negative emotions which block my ability to love, to feel beauty, joy and compassion.
At times I am unable to stop the stream of thoughts associated with these negative states. I begin writing on my computer and things begin to calm down yet I sense those feelings of anxiety about the world just under the surface. I try to make sense of the calm as I write, and observe that my attention is not identified with those negative thoughts at the moment. Is this the "key" to experiencing peace, joy and happiness?
I study a lot trying to understand what transformation of consciousness is, what the Work means, what God-consciousness is, and the meaning of the Gospels. Am I hoping that I will come across some idea or thought, and "Eureka, I've found the key to eternal happiness, and have had an encounter with God!" Or, am I simply asleep, deluded by my imagination? I am seeking from others, from God, and from the Work the keys to experiencing happiness, to fulfillment, joy, and love.
What am I doing? It seems that reading offers me little more than thought structures, "filters" through which to interpret my reality. What am I looking for? What is truth, and would I even recognize it if I came across it? What in me recognizes truth? Do I think that I'm going to find God, and if I do come into contact with the God within, the God that is beating my heart, seeing with my eyes, hearing with my ears, thinking my thoughts, what then? I want to feel truth, to feel love, to feel secure, and to feel happiness. So, how is one to create that? Certainly these states are more than verbal constructs created in the mind.
When we look to others for answers, we must realize that they are just that—their answers—verbalized mental constructs attempting to describe their inner world, descriptions of their psychological and emotional states, what they experience of "God", of "Truth", thoughts about the nature of consciousness, or points of view about the Work. It's as if we're looking into their mind and into their consciousness, attempting to—or expecting to—experience life as they do. But this is impossible because only you can experience your own consciousness, your own inner states. You can never know the inner world of another or experience the world of impressions as they do.
What can I tell you about the path? It's difficult, confusing and deeply troubling at times, but you already know that. How is one to put an end to all of this? How does one go beyond the mind and embrace something higher, something more satisfying, that "something" that "other world" so often spoken about by the prophets and teachers of so many spiritual traditions? We study this Work, we practice self-observation so that we can remember ourselves...our real selves.
Why Don't You Change?
"Why don't you change? What prevents you? If each one of us asked that question, not verbally or merely intellectually as an entertainment, but asked that question most seriously and deeply, what's your answer? What's your answer to this problem that human beings have lived this way for millennia upon millennia? Why haven't they changed? Why haven't you changed? If you don't change what are the consequences? You'll be nationalistic; you'll be tribal, insular, isolated. And therefore, having no relationship globally, always fighting, fighting, fighting, building up more and more armaments to destroy each other. Now, why don't you, if you are at all serious in this matter, ask yourself that question?
Why am I, a human being who has been through all of this, why haven't I changed? What would be your answer? Either, you are not serious and want to live a very superficial life, and that superficiality temporarily satisfies you, or you really don't care. As long as your immediate pleasures are satisfied, you really don't care. You don't care for your children, if they are murdered, if you really have no deep love and affection for them. If you had, you'd prevent all wars. So, apparently, none of these things really mean anything at all to you. Or probably, you're so deeply conditioned psychologically and not aware of it—and unless there is freedom from that conditioning—you'll go on this way.
After all, life is what? It is one global unity movement. In the same way our consciousness is common to all mankind. If I radically change, surely to fix the rest of the consciousness of man, why don't you change?"
On A, B and C Influences
Maurice Nicoll from Psychological Commentaries
"There are two, quite different kinds of influences existing in life entitled respectively "A" and "B" influences in this system. "A" influences arise within the life of mechanical humanity from the interests of business, money-making, science, sport, politics, from the interest of conquest, intrigue, crime, power, from the interests of wealth, position, display and possessions, and from all the necessary interests of food, clothing, housing, law, order, and so on.
But there exist also in life influences of a quite different kind, called in this system "B" influences. These do not arise from life. Their source of origin is different. They come from outside the circle of mechanical life. In all ages, and at all times, we can find evidence of their existence in a certain class of literature, in certain religious ideas, in many ancient writings, and in teachings that have been preserved to us. The system we are studying is something that was long ago understood, and long ago taught about man and his inner possibilities."
Thou All and the Allness of my Wholeness
G. I. Gurdjieff from Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson
"The sole means now of saving the beings of the planet Earth would be to implant in their presence a new organ having such properties that everyone of these unfortunates during the process of his existence should constantly sense and be aware of the inevitability of his own death as well as of the death of everyone upon whom his eyes or attention rests.
Only such a sensation and such an awareness could destroy the egoism now so completely crystallized in them that it has swallowed up the whole of their essence. And, at the same time, uproot that tendency to hate others which flows from it—the tendency that engenders those mutual relationships which are the chief cause of all their abnormalities unbecoming to three-brained beings—and maleficent for them and the whole of the Universe."
The Heart and Soul of Maurice Nicoll
"It has been said that to remember oneself one must have a sense of something superior to oneself. Self-Remembering is a lifting up of oneself to another set of influences."
G. I. Gurdjieff
"Someone said, "I wish for self-mastery." Gurdjieff said at once that this was a real aim."
Are You a Thinker or a Seeker?
Do you seek, or do you think and search for sensations?
"You have worked and suffered all these years, but you never knew how to work, never knew how to let the desire of your mind become the desire of your heart."
"Who are you? How do you know me so well?"
"Does it really matter who I am or what I am? Isn't your curiosity one of the chief reasons that your life has come to nothing? Is it still so strong that even now all you want is an explanation of who I am and how I know you?"
"Yes, you are right. I have seen many miracles and tried to explain them but it has brought me no real understanding. Yes, I am empty, it is too late."
"Perhaps it is not yet too late. If you feel with all your being that you really are empty then I advise you to try once more. If you agree to one condition I will help you. The condition is to die consciously to the life you have led unto now."
From Meetings with Remarkable Men. Click here to see the video.
The Gurdjieff Work
"In most major cities of the Western world men and women are now trying to live Gurdjieff's teaching. It is not too soon, therefore, to consider what this teaching has brought or can bring to the world. As human life in our era spirals downward toward dissolution in violence and illusion, one central question rises up before us in the shadow of which all teachings, including the Gurdjieff work, must now be measured: How can humanity reverse the process leading to its seemingly inevitable self-destruction?
In the face of this question, the heart is restless, but the mind soon falls silent. It is as though the unprecedented crisis of our modern world confounds and all but refutes thousands of years of religious doctrine and centuries of scientific progress. Who now dreams of turning to religion for the answer when it is religion itself that lies so close to the root of war and barbarism? Who dares turn to science for the answer when it is advancing technology, the very fruit of scientific progress, that has so amplified the destructive powers of human egoism? And who imagines that new theories of society, new social programs, or new ideologies can do anything more than wrap the falling earth in dreams of flying?
Gurdjieff's fundamental aim was to help human beings awaken to the meaning of our existence and to the efforts we must make to realize that meaning in the midst of the life we have been given. As with every messenger of the spirit, Gurdjieff's fundamental intention was ultimately for the sake of others, never only for himself. But when we first encounter the figure of Gurdjieff, this central aspect of his life is often missed. Faced with the depth of his ideas and the inner demands he placed upon himself and upon those who were drawn to him, and becoming aware of the uniquely effective forms of inner work he created, we may initially be struck mainly by the vastness of his knowledge and the strength of his being. But sooner or later what may begin to touch us is the unique quality of selflessness in his actions, the sacrifices he made both for those who came to him, and for all of humanity. We begin to understand that his life was a work of love; and at the same time that word, 'love,' begins to take on entirely new dimensions of meaning, inconceivable in the state of what Gurdjieff called 'waking sleep'."
We Are Philosophers
"We are philosophers. We are seekers of wisdom and lovers of truth. I have been reading many blogs, forums and group postings recently and have found that many angles go on and on for thousands of words in a very intellectual manner. In this way are we not inadvertently obfuscating the truth? Truth for me has always been at its heart, very simple. The most useful wisdom is that which is easy to remember—it is concise—like a great quote. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he said simply, "Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself." This simple quote contains great wisdom which we can ponder again and again over our lives. Complex angles usually contain diamonds of truth but they are buried under a mountain of unnecessary talk. So the question is this: When do we over-philosophize or over-intellectualize?
What I Call Self-Remembering
"There is an awareness that is looking through my eyes, sensing through my other senses, feeling my emotions and thinking my thoughts. What I call self-remembering is noticing that awareness. When I notice that awareness, through self-remembering or any other mindfulness technique, something in me realizes that I am in contact with the greatest of miracles. Awakening is apparently when my separate sense of self is not active and pure awareness is then able to observe everything that is happening now, directly, including my ego."
What is Self-Observation?
What in us is doing the self-observation?
"Let us begin by taking this idea that is taught us in the Work that Higher Centers are always speaking to us and telling us what we should do but we cannot hear them. We may be quite sure that, since the object of the Work is to connect us with Higher Centers and their messages, one of the first things we are taught—namely, to observe ourselves—must have connection with ultimately getting into contact with these Higher Centers in us which are fully formed but which we cannot hear. I mean, that there must be some reason for self-observation, and I think that it is right to say that if we simply try to observe ourselves merely because we have been told to do so we will not be observing ourselves in the right way. We will not understand why we should, or what deeper meaning lies in this practice. We shall be inclined to say: 'Why on earth should I observe myself, with what object, and for what reason?'"
What is Self-Remembering?
G. I. Gurdjieff
Gurdjieff gave the name of 'self-remembering' to the central state of conscious attention in which the higher force that is available within the human structure makes contact with the functions of thought, feeling and body. The individual 'remembers', as it were, who and what he really is and is meant to be, over and above his ordinary sense of identity. This conscious attention is not a function of the mind but is the active conscious force which all our functions of thought, feeling and movement can begin to obey as the 'inner master.'"
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I trust that your journey through the GurdjieffWork.com website will lead you back to your Essence...back to your 'Real I'.
The beginning of spiritual transformation is to observe your own psychology in action.
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