Journey to Essence Newsletter from GurdjieffWork.com
In This Issue
"Only by beginning to remember himself does a man really awaken. And then all surrounding life acquires for him a different aspect and a different meaning."
G. I. Gurdjieff
The Mystical Teaching of Judaism and Christianity
"To 'know thyself' deeply and truly is to realize that non-dual Logos (Christos) presence of that which is the very source and nature of awareness and consciousness; the very essence and nature of mind, always already present within each human being."
"In this deeply wise and important work, Richard Smoley restores the realms of inner space to the Christian tradition.
Drawing upon a wide range of mystical and esoteric literature and practice, he shows how multi-dimensional is the Christian message, and how profound its understanding of the nature and purpose of the psyche.
In a time of so much change and confusion, this potent book serves as a source of profound guidance and gnosis."
"No problem of greater or of more moving import confronts man than that of possible awareness of his own consciousness, the deep significance of the place he occupies in the world as a whole, and of the purpose he should first discover and then pursue.
This consciousness of Self is the primal metaphysical experience, which, whilst causing one to penetrate into one's innermost being, at the same time causes one to penetrate into the Universe.
We cannot behold this Universe as we could some spectacle before our eyes, for we ourselves, are part of it; we aid in its formation. We are-as it were-fellow-actors in a kind of drama, the variations of which depend on our subjective life which expresses its manifold incidents.
Our affective states are not to be considered as mere accidents, of interest to no one but ourselves, to which the Universe remains impassive, for thereby we penetrate into its intimacy and participate in the innermost workings of its life and gain the revelation of its mystery."
Gnosis is the common Greek noun for "knowledge". In the context of the English language, gnosis generally refers to the word's meaning within the spheres of Christian Mysticism, "Mystery Religions" and Gnosticism where it signifies "spiritual knowledge" in the sense of mystical enlightenment. Gnosis is used throughout Greek philosophy as a technical term for experiential knowledge in contrast to theoretical knowledge.
The word gnosis is a standard translation of the Hebrew word "knowledge" (da`ath) in the Septuagint, thus in Proverbs 2.6 we read: "The Lord gives wisdom (sophia), from his face come knowledge (gnosis) and understanding (sunesis)". Philo also refers to the "knowledge" (gnosis) and "wisdom" (sophia) of God.
The fathers of early Christianity used the word "knowledge" (gnosis), in the New Testament, to mean spiritual knowledge, as in a specific knowledge of the Divine. Cardiognosis ("knowledge of the heart") from Eastern Christianity, related to the tradition of the staretz, and in Roman Catholic theology, is the view that only God knows the condition of one's relationship with God.
Among the Gnostics, gnosis was first and foremost a matter of self-knowledge which was considered the path leading to the goal of enlightenment as the "hidden knowledge" of the various pre-Judeo-Christian pagan Mystery-Religions; knowledge that first relieved the individual of their cultural religious indoctrination and then reconciled them to their personal deity. Through such self-knowledge and personal purification (virtuous living), the adept is led to a direct knowledge of God via themselves as inner reflection or will. Later, Valentinius, taught that gnosis was the privileged Gnosis kardias "knowledge of the heart" or "insight" about the spiritual nature of the cosmos that brought about salvation to the pneumatics-the name given to those believed to have reached the final goal of sanctity.
According to Samuel Angus, gnosis in these early sects was distinct from the secret teachings revealed to initiates once they had reached a certain level of progression akin to Arcanum. Rather, these teachings were paths to obtain gnosis, or ineffability, a quality of realization common to many, if not most, esoteric traditions. Gnosis, from this perspective, was analogous to the same meaning as the words occult and arcana. Arcanum which is knowledge akin to prognostication (divination) derived by various systems (metaphysical in nature) used to obtain foreknowledge from the Fates or fate (i.e. to tarot reading, cleromancy, magic or magical thinking.
In the formation of Christianity, various sectarian groups, labeled "gnostics" by their opponents, emphasized spiritual knowledge (gnosis) over faith (pistis) in the teachings and traditions of many communities of Christians. The Gnostics considered the most essential part of the process of salvation to be this personal knowledge, in contrast to faith as an outlook in their world view along with faith in the ecclesiastical authority. They were regarded as heretics by the Fathers of the early church due to teaching this type of authority rejection referred to as "antinomianism". The knowledge of these Christian sectarian groups is contested to orthodox Christian theology as speculative knowledge derived from religio-philosophical (metaphysical) systems rather than knowledge derived from revelation coming from faith.
Gnosis, itself, is and was obtained through understanding which one can arrive at via inner experience or contemplation such as an internal epiphany for example. For the various sectarian Gnostics, gnosis was obtained as speculative gnosis, instigated by the contemplation of their religio-philosophical (cosmological, metaphysical, salvational and rational) systems. These systems were pagan (folk) in origin and syncretic in nature.
According to Hegemonius (4th C.), Mani (3rd C.) vilified the creator God of the pagan philosophers (Plato's demiurge) and the creator God of Judeo-Christianity (creator). Gnosticism presents a distinction between the highest, unknowable God and the demiurgic "creator" of the material. Several systems of Gnostic thought present the Demiurge as antagonistic to the will of the Supreme Being: his act of creation occurs in unconscious semblance of the divine model, and thus is fundamentally flawed, or else is formed with the malevolent intention of entrapping aspects of the divine in materiality. Thus, in such systems, the Demiurge acts as a solution to the problem of evil. According to Samuel Angus the gnostic sectarians also sought to reconcile the individual to their own personal deification (henosis), making each individual God. As such the gnostic sects made a duality out of the difference between the activities of the spirit (nous), called noesis (insight), and those of faith.
During the early formation of Christianity, church authorities (Fathers of the Church) exerted considerable energy attempting to weed out what were considered to be "false doctrines" (e.g. Irenaeus' On the Detection and Overthrow of False Gnosis). The Gnostics (as one sectarian group) held views which were incompatible with the emerging Anti-Nicene community. Among Christian heresiologists, the concept of false gnosis was used to denote different Pagan, Jewish or Christian belief systems (e.g. the Eleusinian Mysteries or Glycon) and their various teachings of what was deemed religio-philosophical systems of knowledge, as opposed to authentic gnosis. The sectarians used gnosis or secret, hidden knowledge to reject the traditions of the established community or church. The authorities throughout the community criticized this anti-nomianism as inconsistent with the communitys' teachings. Hence sectarians and followers of Gnosticism were first rejected by the Jewish communities of the Mediterranean, then by the Christian communities, and finally by the late Hellenistic philosophical communities.
Though his sources on Gnosticism were secondary (the texts in the Nag Hammadi library were not yet widely available), Eric Voegelin, building on the concept of gnosis as used by Plato and the followers of Gnosticism, along with how it was defined by Hans Jonas, defined the gnosis of the followers of Gnosticism as religious philosophical teachings that are the foundations of cults. Voegelin identified a number of similarities between ancient Gnosticism and those held by a number of modernist political theories, particularly Communism and Nazism.
Gnosis, in Greek Orthodox thought, is the spiritual knowledge of a saint (one who has obtained theosis) or mystically enlightenment. Within the cultures of the term's provenance (Byzantine and Hellenic) Gnosis was a knowledge or insight into the infinite, divine and uncreated in all rather than knowledge strictly into the finite, natural or material world. Gnosis is a transcendental as well as mature understanding. It indicates direct spiritual experiential knowledge and intuitive knowledge; mystic rather than that from rational or reasoned thinking. Gnosis is obtained through understanding which one can arrive at via inner experience or contemplation, such as an internal epiphany of intuition and external epiphany such as the Theophany.
In the Eastern Orthodox Philokalia. it was emphasized that such knowledge is not secret knowledge but rather a maturing, transcendent form of knowledge derived from contemplation (theoria resulting from practice of hesychasm), since knowledge cannot truly be derived from knowledge but rather knowledge can only be derived from theoria (to witness, see (vision) or experience). Knowledge thus plays an important role in relation to theosis (deification/personal relationship with God) and theoria (revelation of the divine, vision of God). Gnosis, as the proper use of the noetic faculty, plays an important role in Eastern Orthodox theology. Its importance in the economy of salvation is discussed periodically in the Philokalia whereas direct, personal knowledge of God (noesis) is distinguished from ordinary epistemological (speculative) knowledge.
The Mystical Teaching of Judiaism and Christianity
"Something lives within you that lives longer than the suns. It resides at the place in the heart. What that subtle Being is, from which all that is arises, that is the Real, that is Spirit, that Thou art. (Tat tvam Asi)."
- Chandogya Upanishad -
Clearly, the Christian Bible, with its absence of sacred texts from the entire intertestamental period, the Old Testament Pseudepigraphas (excluded Jewish texts), the New Testament Christian Apocrapha (excluded Gospels, Acts, Letters, Apocalypses) including all Gnostic and Essene texts, has given us an extremely censored and limited view of the actual teaching of Jesus and indeed, of the entire Judeo-Christian religious tradition.
The deleted Christian Apocrypha gives us a clear picture of the life and belief of early Christendom. The magnificent nondual mystical Zohar from the Kabbalah, Hermes Trismagistus, Plotinus, Enoch, The Infancy Gospels, The Gnostic Gospels, The Essene Scriptures, The Apochraphal Acts, The Apocalypses, all were omitted for arbitrary and political reasons by the Orthodox Christian Church during the first four centuries after Jesus.
Nearly all of the interior, feminine, mystical/spiritual participatory/ experiential literature is omitted, sacrificed to the political ambitions and fears of the early Church bishops, and later, to the prevailing anti-spiritual, anti-metaphysical rationalism of the 17th century Enlightenment. This early psychological attitude still characterizes mainstream Christianity to this day. What are the causes of this Christian catastrophe?
"Only by beginning to remember himself does a man really awaken. And then all surrounding life acquires for him a different aspect and a different meaning."
- G. I. Gurdjieff -
Let us take some event in the life of humanity, for instance, war. What does it signify? It signifies that several millions of sleeping people are destroying several millions of other sleeping people. They would not do this, of course, if they were to wake up. Everything that takes place is owing to this sleep.
How many times have I been asked whether wars can be stopped? Certainly they can. For this it is only necessary that people should awake. This seems a small thing. It is, however, the most difficult thing there can be because this sleep is induced by our so-called education and maintained by the whole surrounding society.
How can one awaken? How can one escape this sleep? These questions are the most important, the most vital that can ever confront a man. But before this it is necessary to be convinced of the very fact of sleep. It is possible to become convinced of this only by trying to awaken. When a man understands that he does not remember himself and that to remember himself means to awaken to some extent, and when at the same time he sees by experience how difficult is to remember himself, he will understand that he cannot awaken simply by having the desire to do so. It can be said still more precisely that a man cannot awaken by himself, except in exceptionally rare cases, and we are not talking about those cases.
Generally speaking, what is necessary to awaken a man? A good shock is necessary. But when a man is fast asleep, only one shock is not enough. A long period of continual shocks is needed. Consequently, there must be somebody to administer these shocks. I have said before that if a man wants to awaken he must hire somebody who will keep on shaking him for a long time. But whom can he hire if everyone is asleep? A man will hire somebody to wake him up but this one also falls asleep. What is the use of such a man? And a man who can really keep awake will probably refuse to waste his time in waking others up: he may have his own much more important work to do.
Spain's police state has spiraled out of control as riot police are now running throughout the streets beating everyone in sight, men and woman, young and old.
When the people demand democracy from an oligarchy that rules their subjects trough the strong-arm of a totalitarian police state, the streets fill with the madness and mayhem seen in this video. (Click title link above.)
Since September 25th, the masses of Spain, no longer being able to feed themselves or their families, have risen up against the oligarchy to protest further budget cuts and massive tax increases, a situation so dire it threatens their very survival. While the masses suffer, the poor are being robbed yet again to bail out the rich.
The overlords have no sympathy for the less fortunate, and instead of forcing the bankers to take the loses on their investments, the ruling class remains disconnected from the reality of millions.
The unrest spans across Europe into several nations being forced to pinch out a living by globalist regulatory bodies claiming that these nations need to get their fiscal houses in order.
But as we have seen in every previous past crash, situations such as these are used as nothing more than an excuse to help the rich reduce their own tax burden and the operating costs of the corporations they run.
Yet this time around, the downward spiral only continues to self-perpetuate and deepen as the funds collected with each passing austerity cut are spent funding yet another banker bailout which acts as nothing more than a band-aid on a hemorrhaging gash of a collapsing economic system that has been struck with a self-inflicted mortal wound delivered by a trifecta of rapacious greed, rampant fraud and unbearable corruption.
Soon America will face the same fate in its own financial house, much worse than that of Spain, and instead of blaming the trillions wasted on implementing an Orwellian control totalitarian police state complete with kidnapping, tortures, assassinations and the mass murder of millions in illegal overseas wars, the bulls eye will be aimed directly at the middle class when they are already suffering through one of the worst economic crises in the history of this nation.
Our politicians seem to be so utterly incompetent that they can accomplish nothing besides lining their own pockets with money, but they are little more than world-renowned experts at kicking the can down the road. Come this January, the fiscal cliff will be staring them in the face, and they may find when they try kicking the can this time, it just won't move.
If that happens, America will face its first of several rounds of across the board austerity cuts and feel, for the first time, the pain of the bite that has bitten the people of Europe repeatedly over the last several years.
With many Americans already so-inclined to take their grievances out into the streets we will certainly do so in solidarity with our brothers and sisters overseas.
As we have seen with the Occupy Movement, even non-violent mass protests have been met with the authoritarian fist of the Oligarchy's army of mercenaries, and we can rest assured that those numbers will swell into the millions, just as they have in Spain and several other European nations. The response of the police state will be just as brutal.
Brace yourself America, as our streets may soon resemble those in Spain where a rampantly brutal and out control police state is acting swiftly to crush any popular resistance to the Global cabal.
To be free we have to revolt against all inward dependence, and we cannot revolt if we don't understand why we are dependent.
Do you know what it means to love somebody? Do you know what it means to love a tree, or a bird, or a pet animal, so that you take care of it, feed it, cherish it, though it may give you nothing in return, though it may not offer you shade, or follow you, or depend on you?
Most of us don't love in that way, we don't know what it means at all because our love is always hedged about with anxiety, jealousy, fear, which implies that we depend inwardly on another, we want to be loved. We don't just love and leave it there, but we ask something in return, and in that very asking, we become dependent.
So freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something, and it is only such love that can know freedom. But, you see, you are not educated for this. You are educated in mathematics, in chemistry, geography, history, and there it ends because your parents' only concern is to help you get a good job and be successful in life. If they have money they may send you abroad, but like the rest of the world their whole purpose is that you should be rich and have a respectable position in society. And the higher you climb, the more misery you cause for others because to get there you have to compete, be ruthless. So parents send their children to schools where there is ambition, competition, where there is no love at all, and that is why a society such as ours is continually decaying, in constant strife; and though the politicians, the judges, the so-called nobles of the land talk about peace, it does not mean a thing.
Now, you and I have to understand this whole problem of freedom. We must find out for ourselves what it means to love; because if we don't love we can never be thoughtful, attentive; we can never be considerate.
Do you know what it means to be considerate? When you see a sharp stone on a path trodden by many bare feet, you remove it, not because you have been asked, but because you feel for another; it does not matter who he is, and you may never meet him. To plant a tree and cherish it, to look at the river and enjoy the fullness of the earth, to observe a bird on the wing and see the beauty of its flight, to have sensitivity and be open to this extraordinary movement called life; for all this there must be freedom, and to be free you must love. Without love there is no freedom; without love, freedom is merely an idea which has no value at all.
So it is only for those who understand and break away from inner dependence, and who therefore know what love is, that there can be freedom; and it is they alone who will bring about a new civilization, a different world.
Please Share Journey to Essence with Friends and Family
"What is it I must try to find? The answer is so obvious. I have to find that what is not of this earth"
- William Nyland -
"The only person you have to work on is yourself."
- Maurice Nicoll -
"Here there are neither Russians nor English, Jews nor Christians, but only those who pursue one aim...to be able to be."