Thursday, December 13, 2007

How the Sun Works

Today we are going to talk about how the Sun works, and how it adheres to the previously discussed three forces designated under the names centrifugal (Siva), centripital (Vishnu) and revolving (Brahma).

First of all the Sun revolves around its own axis in approximately 11 Earth days. This is the mostly invisible third force. After the Big Bang (which was neither big, because it originated from a singularity -- called the bindu in Sanskrit, and it was not a bang because there was no atmosphere to carry sound), the explosion of the universe into existence was under the purview of the centrifugal force, of Siva the creator and destroyer. At the beginning the universe was almost entirely hydrogen, with a small amount of helium and lithium in it. Then under the purview of the centripetal force under the auspices of Vishnu the preserver, matter coalesced through gravity, which is a form of love, in to what are called second-order Suns according to the nominclature of Gurdjieff.

These Suns then began squeezing together the hydrogen. This squeezing causes friction which creates heat, or tapas, which is also known as ardor -- another form of love. Eventually the immense pressure of the centripetal force raised the temperature of the atoms until they danced apart into the state known as plasma. Depending upon the size of the Sun it could arrive at a tipping point when it begins to glow hot. Jupiter is a sun which is not large enough to pass this tipping point, but it's still radiates enough energy to be detected and has small amount of its own light -- unlike smaller planets.

Our Sun is a yellow star -- medium-sized. Hotter Suns burn towards the blue spectrum and smaller Suns towards the red. Anyway, the centripetal force of gravity squeezes the hydrogen nuclei and free-floating electrons of which the plasma consists, tighter and tighter together, until at the center of the Sun the pressures are so enormous that the hydrogen nuclei are forced by fusion into an isotope of helium. A very small part of this matter simply cannot take the pressure. It surrenders its existence, like a man who has reached his breaking point and cries out "I can't take it anymore. I give up." This leads to either utter defeat or ego deflation and a spiritual conversion. Such a man may find religion, where as before he thought he ran the ship.

In any case, in the center of the Sun it is extraordinarily dense and under unbelievable pressure causes the fusion of the hydrogen into helium. But the small amount of matter which simply cannot take it anymore surrenders its existence as a matter and is transubstantiated into radiance, or "energy." It then begins its long journey towards the outside surface of the sun. Because the inner core of the Sun is so dense, the radiant energy ping-pongs around in a kind of Brownian motion for something like a million years until it reaches the less dense outer layers of the Sun, whereupon it begins moving outwards past the surface of the sun and it emerges at all times in all directions unceasingly in something like 80 octaves of radiant energy. Now it operates under the purview of the centrifugal force.

So, half of the earth faces the Sun at any given moment as it rotates on its axis once every Earth Day. How much of the radiant energy given off by the Sun reaches the Earth? Science has calculated that the Earth receives one 200th of one million of 1% of the radiant energy given off by the Sun. That is a staggeringly small percentage, and yet a man standing at the equator will get a sunburn and die of dehydration in very short order. So when we talk about the radiant energy continuously and uninterruptedly being released by the Sun through the centripetal forces which convert hydrogen alchemically into helium by fusion and then radiating outwards through the centrifugal force, we are talking about an amount of energy which is unfathomable by the ordinary mind, and more importantly, it is entirely the result of such pressure as results in the surrender of matter into energy.

How does this apply to us as human beings?

First of all, ordinary human beings are opaque and covered with a shell of personality and of instinctual defense mechanisms which cause impressions received from the outside to do one of two things: either they bounce off and are reflected back or they are received and acted upon by an instinctual knee-jerk reaction, completely mechanical -- just like when a doctor strikes you with a rubber mallet underneath your patella (kneecap) and your leg twitches. This activity of human beings of either being covered in a shell which rejects the impressions or acting by reflex is completely useless. For a man of either sex become a Man in the sense of the "True Man," it is required that he becomes "larger" so that he can reach the tipping point and become a sun. To do this he needs to work on himself. Such work is difficult, sublime, elusive and hard to find. But if he finds such a work his opaqueness will begin to disintegrate. This is a dangerous undertaking, because influences from the outside which otherwise would have bounced off now begin to be received, and the influences which are stored within him will begin to be revealed. This is a terrible moment, and a man will do almost anything to avoid it, because he will begin to be seen as he actually is. This creates more pressure and his inner temperature will begin to rise. This is part of the alchemical work and the beginning of the creation of the alchemical vessel as well as slowly turning the entire world and its contents into an alchemical laboratory.

Supposing that a man reaches this stage and gets past it, he then will become translucent. It is still not reached 100°C in which there is an actual change in state, but inside he will begin to simmer and the lid on the pot of himself will begin to quiver and shake. Then an ordinary man will leak, acting out on his inner impulses which are now under greater pressure. This is called "falling victim of the Makara, or Dragon" who guards the treasure and the entrance to the subconscious and unconscious regions of a man.

Then the man suffers. His suffering may become unbearable, in which case he will fall back to his ordinary state. But if he is given guidance either by seen or unseen hands, he will begin to understand that this suffering is his entering Purgatory while on earth alive. If it seals up the leaks and continues in his understanding he will begin to boil. If he is clever, he will add salt to the wounds which will raise the boiling point. This is the beginning of what is called "intentional suffering" by Mr. Gurdjieff. Mr. Gurdjieff aligns it with the concept of "conscious labors," and in such a case a man will place himself in conditions that will create even more and greater suffering for himself. He may even go the way of the Malamat, which is the "way of blame" Jesus himself went the way of the malamat, being a man despised of men and well acquainted with sorrows. There was a famous Sufi who said the following: "I wished to enter heaven so I followed the way of virtue, but when I reached the gates of heaven there was a huge crowd and I couldn't get in, so I went around looking for another entrance; I tried humility, but again, on reaching its gate I found a large crowd gathered and awaiting entrance; finally I went around the back and saw a gate marked "the way of blame." There was no one there, so I practiced making myself the object of derision and scorn, and I was able to enter heaven quite easily."

So in the alchemical work, which is called the great work and which is the transubstantiation of man into Man, we begin opaque. After the first stage of the work we begin to enter the realm of translucence, where light travels through us. This is a true change of state, and we can then become conduits through which the true light can reach the world and where our own selves are revealed and naked. But we do not as yet create our own light. We have not reached the stage of radiance.

In order to reach the stage of radiance we need even greater pressure and ardor in the Work. As a diamond is nothing but coal which has been crushed into the state of a gem by the forces of pressure within the Earth, so we too need to increase the pressure which is upon ourselves by "conscious labors and intentional suffering." To reach translucence we have allowed what suffering we are heir to to become voluntary. But we have not engaged in intentional suffering -- greater pressure and suffering induced by our own hand. Now we begin to do this, and there are several methods. The first and the one I have already mentioned to place ourselves in situation in which we are ridiculed or shamed or misunderstood, while we hold fast to our understanding that this is our work. In certain conditions, groups of people may be brought together, each of whom has agreed to undertake this Work. In understanding that they are to work on themselves as well as to assist each other, they might act in a fashion which otherwise would be importune, that is, they may act consciously negative or pugnacious; argumentative and contentious. But this can only be done in special conditions where each person understands that they are being allowed to work on themselves as well as helping each other through this unseemly friction. This requires persons of enormous understanding, otherwise the enterprise fails.

Another method is to take on the suffering of others, as saints do, but this also carries grave danger, as instead of creating pressure and heat in the alchemical vessel, the vessel may burst through pride or hubris, where the ego forms a bubble on the surface of the vessel and herniates outward like an aneurysm in a blood vessel. This can destroy everything and render the work useless. But taking on the sufferings of others such as nurses or hospice workers do, can create the great pressure needed in the trans-formation of the self and the transubstantiation of the being from translucence to radiance.

Radiance is the goal. To become a third order Sun. To bathe the earth in the True Man's warmth, and to illuminate the way for those who are still under the "magic spell" of the Chthonic evil demi-urges which hypnotize mankind for their own purposes. To become like the Sun, which uses the three forces to transubstantiate matter into energy and life, this is the alchemists aim. This is what is meant by having Gold.

What is it that needs to surrender? What is it in us that needs to be sacrificed in order to achieve Radiance? It is certainly not the ego. The id, ego and superego are the necessary three parts of the personality, which is a mask -- a sheath which is needed in the world. No, it is not the ego, but something much deeper which needs to surrender its material existence in order for a man to become Radiant. I have given many clues. Perhaps too many, but those who have ears will hear, and those who have eyes will open them and cease from blinking. The others, ordinary man, will continue on his way as lemmings to the cliff.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Three Gunas, Part Two

Now that we have talked about the three forces and began to understand how they operate, we're going to anthropomorphize certain objective phenomenon and we are going to use adjectives and descriptive terms to deepen our understanding of how the cosmos runs.

Remember that we had seen that the three forces can be thought of as centrifugal, centripetal or revolving. For anything to exist, these three forces must be present, although they are always shifting in their balance amongst the three, so that one may be seen to have the upper hand at various times.

Now I'm going to give the three forces new names. You will know these words and you will think you have an understanding of what they mean. There are ordinary words which are used far too much. And I can assure you that you do not know what they mean. Just please indulge me -- pretend you do not really know what the following words mean. That will allow me to help you to come to a deeper understanding.

The centrifugal force we are going to call Love.

The centripetal force we are going to call Peace.

The revolving force we are going to call Prosperity.

I am going to declare that these are the only three forces operating in the universe. Now you are supposed to object! You say that it cannot be possible for the universe to be run with nothing but these three, and I am saying that it can. Please bear with me while I sort through the reasoning and sort it out for you:

Love ought to be only going outwards -- it should be entirely centrifugal.

Peace ought to be going inwards -- it is meant to be centripetal.

Prosperity is the revolving force. Prosperity has much movement in it -- in fact, it is responsible for all movement whatsoever. Period.

Now let me make an audacious statement, and then we will examine it. We will turn it and look at it as if it were a precious gemstone, and we will turn it over like a child turns over rock to see what creepy crawler worms might be under it. Here is the statement:

War is defined as the rapid movement of prosperity. I will say that again, louder:


Now, war is also emotional. It happens when men's instinctual center is threatened and sets into a course of action designed to protect the organism and to improve its status with respect to prosperity. Remember that when we talked about the emotional center we said that it was connected to the atmosphere and subject to weather. While here we have something of the same thing: prosperity is like the atmosphere in that it is subject to weather. One guy is rich and one guy is poor, and the next day something happens and there is a reversal of fortune and the rich guy loses all of his loot and the poor guy suddenly gets an inheritance, and all that has happened balls under the purview of prosperity. Prosperity moves. It never stands still.

War is the leading-edge or storm surge of a hurricane or tornado within prosperity. There can be no loss of prosperity, because nothing ever disappears completely off the face of the earth, and according to Isaac Newton and his wonderful laws which still stand as true even though people would like to think that Einstein has supplanted him. I wag my finger and I say no no no. Tis not true. Anyway that's irrelevant or nearly so to the subject we have at hand. Have you ever seen the pictures of (why, of course you have) tornado damage or hurricane damage? This is identical to the damage seen in war. Exactly the same. Remember that the emotional center is subject to weather. So this is exactly that -- on a big scale.

Remember when Gurdjieff said "war or no war, we always turn a profit." Well, this is common sense. If there is a strong movement of prosperity -- something like a barometric pressure change -- storm clouds ahead, then there is an enormous chance for benefiting from that energetic change. That's one of the reasons why Mr. Gurdjieff always headed towards places of greatest conflict. The Chinese, who practice Qigong, say that the two times of the day which are best to practice in our when the dew which has condensed upon the ground overnight gets lifted back into the atmosphere by the warmth of the sun and the opposite time when the dew falls.

OK kids (I am not being condescending or patronizing -- I am a child too). That's it for this time. There's a lot to think about. I don't want to overload you. If you happen to find me either on the web or in person, please feel free to discuss these ideas with me. It's really a lot of fun.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Peace, and other things

We're going back to chemistry just for a moment. It is thought that only three elements are created in the Big Bang -- hydrogen, helium and lithium. All the other elements were created as things cooled off from this unimaginable explosion. Hydrogen, helium and a tiny amount of lithium -- perhaps 1%.

Lithium has three electrons. This replicates the three forces and as a result, lithium has an unusual property -- I'm going to make another one of those ridiculous proclamations:

Most people know lithium as a medication used on manic depressives -- otherwise known as bipolar illness. It has an interesting history. In 1949 an Australian doctor (John Cade) injected some guinea pigs with a solution of lithium salt and noted that they got docile. Dr. Cade gave lithium to his most troubled patient (he worked in a mental hospital) and within three days the man was able to be transferred to an open ward and a couple months later he went home and got a job. Thus was lithium born as a medication for severely roller coaster mental patients. It evens everything out. With three electrons we have a perfect atomic replica of the three forces. Therefore it is peaceable -- and we don't need very much. Around 1% of the matter of the universe is plenty. After all, the universe is not very peaceable. There's a lot of action. And a lot of deep space.

Let's talk about deep space. What are its characteristics? It is cold, quiet, still, empty, and certainly undisturbed. I am going to venture that it is also male, using the Shiva/Shakti model where Shiva is the unmoving decider and Shakti is his power, energy, -- everything else.

Let's talk about the Earth. What are its characteristics, aside from the fact that it has little critters crawling all over it? It's easy to get fooled because of the superthin cooled shell that we walk around on -- which protects us from what the Earth really is. You want to know what the Earth really is? Look straight down into an active volcano. The Earth is a hot thing. If the earth was a girl she would be too hot to touch. One of the biggest problems in mining is air-conditioning. At a mile and a half down, the rock itself is about 110°F. That's hot enough to burn the skin with a couple of minutes exposure. Think about the hottest day of the summer. Down below us, it is awfully hot. And at the center of this little planet of ours, there is a ball of molten iron and nickel. By the way, it's a magnet.

So what do we have? I am going to say that we have outer space: Space. Empty. Cold. Still. Empty. Male. The God Shiva as an ascetic in meditation.

Then, underneath us, we have the Earth: Hot. Solid. Fecund. Feminine. Shakti in her guise of the various feminine goddesses: Aphrodite, Ishtar, Sarasvati, Kali.

Now Mr. Gurdjieff talks about three centers -- mental, emotional and physical. I am going to attach two of them to the above:

The Mind belongs to space. The mental body (not the thinking apparatus, which Mr. Gurdjieff calls the "formatory center.") It has an umbilical cord which is attached to deep outer space. There are no emotions which belong to the mental body or center.

The Body belongs to The Earth. Every aspect of the body belongs to the Earth. It will return to the earth upon the first death. It is made out of food, and is capable of becoming food. In fact it will become food no matter how you'd like to think differently. A tiger could eat you, and would, if you let it get too close and it was hungry. So there is some principle of animation which has entered the body and is running the show -- continuing the combustion which provides animation to the "mannequin." The physical body. What Mr. Gurdjieff called the planetary body, and which more properly should be called the Earth body. It has an umbilical cord which goes down into the earth. More deeply in some than others, which is why some people are attuned to spirits etc., like Rudolf Steiner.

But we have left out one center -- the emotional body. To what is the emotional body attached? Where is it's umbilical cord?

What is between the Earth, to which the Physical Body belongs, and deep outer space, to which the Mind belongs?

The Atmosphere. The Atmosphere. The Atmosphere.

I am not kidding you when I say that the Emotional Body is attached by it's umbilical cord to the atmosphere. Now, bear with me. I am asking a lot of rhetorical questions which I am then answering. This is a method of teaching.

What is it that happens in the atmosphere that does not happen in deep outer space nor in the Earth (except in the case of the Earth, which has various, very slow movements)?


We are almost there. Weather is the clue. Because it is the Emotional Center that has weather in it. Sometimes stormy, sometimes a sunny day.


Now the three centers ought to be completely separated. The Mind, which belongs to deep outer space and which is Male, ought not to have any emotions whatsoever. Cold. Still. Empty. Powerful.

The Body, must respond to the commands of the emotional center -- after all, that's what e -- motion means. Otherwise the Body just sits. It has no past; it has no future, only a permanent NOW. So either the the Mind tells the Body what to do, or the Emotional Body, or center, tells the body what to do. And this means that there are significant possibilities for problems if the emotional center has gotten screwed up.

Let's just imagine for a moment a being with these three bodies somewhat like an ant -- you know, with the body in three segments connected by a thin inter-spatial connector. There ought to be a connection between the three bodies, or centers. But the connections should be clean, and be free of debris. Having bad connections between the centers would be like having arterial sclerosis.
Now Mr. Gurdjieff talks about the mad elephant (which is the emotional center suffering extremes of weather and the fact that the connection between the centers is all messed up) and he says that the only way to calm down and tame a mad elephant is to sandwich it between two sane elephants. The two sane elephants are the mind (the real mind -- not the thinking apparatus) and the body. The mad elephant is the emotional center. Therefore, the best action possible for settling down the mad elephant (and in India, elephants really do still go mad and trample through villages killing people and generally acting berserk -- it happens from time to time, and nobody knows the clause of it), is connecting the mind with the body and letting the emotions settle down on their own.

Now it is enormously interesting to me that this is a virtual spitting image of the action indicated in both Chinese alchemical arts and in yoga. In the Chinese Alchemical model, the mind is fire which tends upwards and the body is water which tends down, and when they separate, death. One of the goals then, is to put the water in a pot or alchemical vessel, and reverse the order so that the fire is under the water rather than over it, which then boils the water and the water starts on a journey through the body which replicates the weather cycle to a tee.

The water (the energies of the body) are placed in an alchemical vessel in the lower abdomen. The fire, which is usually at the solar plexus, is brought underneath. The mystical alchemical soup boils. The steam rises. This is like the dew rising up off the grass when the sunlight warms it. It then forms clouds, just like in real life. It travels out to the limbs. In the weather cycle the clouds meet the mountains and because they are stopped they release their water as rain. In the alchemical cycle that we are talking about the clouds enter the bones (which are the mountains of the body anyway) and the alchemical formula falls as rain into the bone marrow.

Medically speaking, the bone marrow is responsible for creating the blood -- at least 90% of the blood cells are manufactured inside the bone marrow. Your bones are busy. They're not just structural skyscraper girders -- they are an actual organ, just like the heart or the spleen. In Chinese medical thinking they are part of the brain, or rather perhaps, the brain is part of the bone marrow. Either way same result.

In Yoga, one of the significant implications for the inversions such as headstand and shoulder-stand is to physically do the same thing I was just talking about, with one significant difference. In the Yogic philosophy and practice, the medical arm of which is known as Ayurveda, significant cause of disease is called Amma -- it might as well be called gunk -- that would be a very good translation. Anyway, let's just consider a headstand for the time being. It turns the physical body upside down so that now the gunk which has sunk down into the first couple of chakras (another word or phrase I have to define and translate? I give up. I am tired.)

Having stood on your head, now the gunk can drip down into the fire of the solar plexus and get burned up. Hey, you're very own incinerator!

We'll have to continue later. Thank you for tuning in. We'll talk about dropping out and all that other stuff another time.

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Three Forces

The Three Forces

Every authentic spiritual transmission has as one of its principal understandings that the universe contains and is run with only three forces, which braid together in more and more complex levels to create the phenomenological universe.

In Sanskrit these are called the Gunas -- a word which can be translated pretty well as "tendencies." In the Christian faith, this same idea as formulated as The Holy Trinity.

In the Chinese model, there appear at first glance to be only Yin and Yang, the pair of opposites, but they too understand fully about the three forces. The third force is called the great ultimate limit or Tai Ji, and it appears as the backwards S in the famous yin yang symbol which is also called the symbol of the fishes.

In each of these formulations, it is easy to see the pair of opposites, and the other force is much more difficult to see. As Mr. Gurdjieff put it, we are third force blind.

Let's look at the Christian model: no one knows where the concept of the Holy Trinity came from or where it started, but seemed to arrive full grown. And I'm going to tell you plain and simple that the Christian Trinity came from the Egyptian understanding. After all, they built a lot of things with triangles -- I think they are called pyramids?

In the Trinity we have Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The Father is the unknowable Lord of all -- the Creator. The Son represents the creation -- the manifest universe, and the Holy Ghost represents the love that exists between them. It's not hard to see that in a relationship between two, the love that exists between them is pretty damn invisible to the naked eye.

The most important model of the three forces is the one contained in the Hindu branch of knowledge -- more specifically in the philosophical viewpoint known as the Samkya, a word meaning enumeration.

The Tantras (a word the root of which means warp and woof -- the weave of the universe --also a series of writings containing details about tantric practices and thinkings) say that the root of error is the number 1 -- that one is the number of delusion. This doesn't make for a very good prognosis on monotheism and monotheistic religions, but try to follow the logic:

The Creator is primordial, being before number.
One cannot know itself; it therefore has to create a second. Then the two can know each other, and this knowledge forms a third element. It stands between them but is completely separate (and completely invisible); therefore the first number is three.

Mr. Gurdjieff calls these three forces or tendencies by multiple names, but the gist remains the same, and it is the same gist as in the Samkya. It is so crystal clear that Mr. Gurdjieff is teaching the Samkya, that by the time we are finished, you will understand exactly what I mean by that.

Mr. Gurdjieff calls these three forces active, passive and neutralizing. Sometimes he prefers to call them active, resisting and reconciling. In Sanskrit they are called Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. I'd better explain these terms. In an ordinary explanation -- something like a grade school version of a subject which could be a doctorate dissertation, Rajas and Tamas could be considered as the pair of opposites; Rajas stands for activity and Tamas stands for inertia. Sattva is the balance point between them and is considered luminescent.

In the kindergarten version of the Gunas which most people follow, Sattva is more highly valued than either Rajas or Tamas. This is idiotic. One needs both activity as well as resistance. If one had no Tamas, matter would have no mass, and if you had no Rajas, everything would be dead and unmoving. In either condition you would have no Sattva, because Sattva is the balance between Rajas and Tamas. In fact, you can't have one without having all three. That's the whole idea, and there is no third created by the other two -- all three have equal stature. For any of them to exist, they all exist.

Now, in addition to these descriptions I am going to add a more unusual one: we are going to call these three forces by the following names. It doesn't matter which force gets attached to which name. I doubt that you knew the names a half an hour ago so what difference does it make what we call them now?

We are going to call them centrifugal, centripetal and revolving. All three forces we are going to associate with the names of the three Hindu gods. I could attach them to the Christian Trinity but the Hindu application, which is not really Hindu anyway but quite a bit more ancient -- the famous perennial wisdom which is called the Sanatana Dharma, is more fun.

The centrifugal force, that is, the force which acted during the explosion which we call the Big Bang, and which tends to make things disintegrate, we will call Shiva -- God of creation and destruction, life and death.

The centripetal force, that is, the force which tends to make things coalesce and become what they are, and that which helps things to stay what they are, we will call by the name Vishnu.

Between these two forces, one pushing out and one pulling in, somehow somewhere, there was introduced a little spin, which turned into the third force, which is the source of all action, and which is a revolving force in the dance between the two other forces. Although it is invisible, it is responsible for all action, movement, change; because otherwise the two other forces of centripetal and centrifugal would cancel each other out. This force we will call Brahma.

Now, it is really important to see that these three forces or tendencies are real; that they act in the real world of phenomenon and that they effect us all the time without us noticing it.

I will give you an example of how I am under the influence of the three forces:

My name is Richard. I have a personality constellation and behavior and behavioral patterns and I have some bad habits I would like to change, but for whatever reason, I don't seem to be able to change these bad habits. This means that I am under the centripetal influence called Vishnu, who in his coalescing and stabilizing role, acts like gravity to keep me as I am. Let's be plain about this. These forces are as real as gravity, and when you know where to look for them you can see their actions quite easily. So I wish to change but the power of stability -- of centripetal force, of Vishnu, works to keep me as I am.

As I go through time, I find forces in my way which demand that I change. I would rather stay as I am -- it is more comfortable and I find change to be unpleasant. But there is a force which is as real as any other force which is making demands on me to change. It is a centrifugal force which at some time in the future will act strongly enough that I will so to say, come apart at the seams. That will be called the physical death of the organism, or a least of the food sheath section -- what Gurdjieff calls the planetary body (perhaps ought to be better known as the Earth body -- because there can be another body which would be more properly known as the Planetary body). This force we will call Shiva.

Then there is an invisible force -- a third force. It is called Brahma. It is the revolving force. The one that makes things have space and time -- that makes things change but remain the same -- like the Earth which has a new day every time it turns but guess what? Every day is the same day. There is no "more than one day." There is no time and there is no space. But we think that there is. That's the action of the third force called the Brahma -- to make us think that we are going in a straight line when we are not. This is the reason why we are said to be "third force blind."

You may find it interesting that in Hinduism there are devotees of Shiva and there are devotees of Vishnu, and they like to fight amongst themselves as to who has the better God, but there are no devotees of Brahma. No devotees of Brahma. As you should be able to see from above, the revolving force is invisible and it requires training to recognize it.

I hope you've enjoyed this refreshing break from chemistry. We will return to chemistry, and we will be touching on many other subjects, because Mr. Gurdjieff said the following, and I agree with him:

"In order to know everything, a man needs to know very little, but in order to know that very little, he needs to know a great deal."

For fear of boring you I will apologize first, and then I'm going to repeat myself:

This teaching -- this exposition -- this explication of ideas, is practical. It is not philosophical theory. Let's review the only two concepts which we have so far presented.

One: Everything you look at, touch, hear, see, taste, smell or otherwise experience might as well be called Hydrogen, since hydrogen amounts for 88% of the universe. Start calling everything you look at, smell, and taste, hear or feel, a Hydrogen. No matter what it is -- it is a Hydrogen.

Two: There are Three Forces at the bottom of everything, working at every level of the universe, and these three forces account for every law that you are under, all the way from gravity to getting a parking ticket. Start looking for these three forces in everything that happens to you or that you see. These three forces are:

Centripetal: things are trying to stay as they are.

Centrifugal: things are trying to change

Revolving: there is the experience of time and space.

It really couldn't be any more simple. Enjoy your study. I'll talk to you soon.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Here are a couple of more facts: the universe consists of about 88% Hydrogen, 11% Helium and for all the other elements combined in toto, about 1%.
Is it any wonder why Gurdjieff would have used the word hydrogen to speak of matter?
I want you to get this simple fact into your head -- a "hydrogen" is the word for a matter, period. I am looking at one of the speakers on my computer stereo. That speaker is a hydrogen.
I am considering my right foot -- in fact, my entire body. My right foot and my whole body are both hydrogens. Everything and anything I can think of is a hydrogen. That's the first part of Mr. Gurdjieff's alchemy -- a chemistry which is objective.
Now we go on to the second element which is Helium. It has an atomic number of two. Helium is the second-most abundant element in the universe. Although in terms of numbers there are about eight times as many hydrogen atoms as helium atoms, helium and hydrogen together account for 99% of the observed matter in the universe.
To me, this is as strange an idea as the one Mr. Gurdjieff postulates about the Moon -- more about that later, but that what I look at, touch, smell, hear, taste or intuit is 99% hydrogen and helium is pretty damn amazing.
Mr. Gurdjieff is silent on helium. His approach to alchemy (a term which I will use as shorthand for the more proper phrase objective alchemical chemistry) only uses four elements -- hydrogen, and three others that we will be getting to shortly.
I am going to take a wild and audacious path. I am going to speak about matters upon which Mr. Gurdjieff remained silent. For those who are followers of Mr. Gurdjieff's work, this audaciousness may seem ill advised, even sacrilegious -- to have the nerve to think that I can add anything to or explicate facts about objective reality and authentic objective chemistry which Mr. Gurdjieff left unsaid; and yet I have no choice, as the mandate to teach for the benefit of all mankind, and to help Mr. Gurdjieff, as he is no longer here to speak for himself, has ripened and is poised to fall from the tree.
Hydrogen is atomic number one. It is matter.
Helium is atomic number two. It is the appearance of the opposites. Since the Tantras (the body of sacred writings connected with the other teaching I follow -- the Shaivite) proclaim that three is the first number (and this brings us closer to the beginning of the discussion of the three forces or Gunas), the appearance of opposites did not need to be spoken of, when Mr. Gurdjieff first outlined his teaching in 1914 and 1915, but now it does need to be spoken of.
Here is the beginning of the book of Genesis:
The Beginning:
In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth (opposites already). Now the Earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the Waters.
And God said "let there be Light," and there was Light. God saw that the Light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day" and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning -- the first day.
So out of One is created Two. Helium was one of the elements produced by the Big Bang, along with hydrogen and lithium. And stars like the Sun produce helium by the fusion of hydrogen nuclei. In doing so by the fusion of hydrogen nuclei, massive amounts of energy are released. Later we'll talk about a lovely anthropomorphic way of looking at how the Sun works, but for now we return to Helium. I am going to make a Proclamation. You should not believe me. You should take it for what it is -- an outrageous statement which makes no sense except that the more you think about it the more sense it makes, because it takes information that is Objectively True, and it presents it to you in a way that ( I am doing my very best to attenuate and minimize cognitive dissonance in you, my esteemed reader) you should have very little trouble understanding, even if you aren't a chemist, and even if you are a fabulously intelligent chemist -- you are going to find the following proclamation to be ridiculous:


That's why Mr. Gurdjieff was silent upon it. Some of you may be familiar with the Chinese spiritual classic which has been translated into more languages more often than any other book except for the Judeo Christian Bible, and which is called the Dao De Ching. The Dao de Ching is one of the most sublime statements of "seeing reality" and it's deepest laws that has ever been written, and it is written in only 5000 Chinese characters. For those of you who are editors, to imagine a book still selling like hotcakes 2500 years later and which is written with only 5000 words, would be publishing house heaven.
One of the chapters (you can find it for yourself -- I am not big on "pp" or on locating quotes or providing footnotes -- I speak on my own authority. I do not need a Dao de Ching -- but you do) says the following (OK, Chapter 42 -- OK? Now get off my back!! (:-->)):
The Dao bear one; one bear two; two bare three; three bear 10,000 thing. 10,000 thing carry Yin and embrace Yang; mix force to serve -- as Harmony...
That was a word by word translation from the Chinese ideograms and pictograms which serve as "words" (they are not in fact, "words," but rather richly valenced conceptual symbols, so much so that there is a "well-known" phrase among scholars of classical Chinese writing which says: "To know what the first word in a book of classical Chinese writing means, you have to have read the whole book!" What this means is that the ideograms and pictograms contain all possible meanings all at once when they are written down. The following ideograms or pictograms serve to narrow the "meaning" of the first Chinese character. By the time you read a sentence or two, the original first word would have been narrowed and delineated in its meaning so that you would have a pretty good idea what it meant. (The idea that you need to have read the whole book is designed as a shock, to remind the scholar of classical Chinese writing of the extraordinarily multi-valenced properties of these ancient Chinese characters -- by the way, modern Chinese writing has lost much of this significance -- being practically an entirely different language)
Now here is a more user friendly reading of the same chapter 42 of the Dao de Ching, and please forgive me and indulge me in my previous lengthy detour and aside from the point I am trying to get across. Trust me only and as far as to believe that I still know exactly what I want to say and that after I'm finished you will have a document which will help you and in fact, if you are of reasonable intelligence and you read it with attentiveness, I can warranty and guarantee that you will know exactly what I want you to know about the matters of which we are speaking, with the hope that the "knowing" will percolate into a kind of gnosis, ultimately reaching your deepest and most important interior parts all the way down to your bone marrow. One of my personal aims in writing this blog is that by following it and participating in it, you will be gently assisted in a restructuring of your entire organism, so that ultimately, you may become a Real Man or Woman -- what the Chinese call the True Man, and what Mr. Gurdjieff called a Man without quotation marks.

Dao De Ching, Chapter 42:

The Path of the Dao traces a single line (the "tai ji") and gives birth to One. --------------;

One gives Birth to Two;

Two gives Birth to Three;

Three gives Birth to the 10,000 things

(a phrase which means simply a colloquialism or idiomatic speech meaning the multiplicity of "things", in other words, the 10,000 things is a phrase that stands for everything.

All things carry Yin and embrace Yang; (we have not explained Yin and Yang yet -- we will get to it)

All things mix these Forces together to create Harmony.

Translation by the author. (rlnyc)

There we are again, back to music. After all, what does the word Harmony imply?

I was an only child, until my half brother was born but I was already 13, so you might as well say that I am an only child. Only children tend to be more intelligent -- they get more attention from their parents and their left more time to ponder. In my case, trust me a little, I have been pondering from the very first moment -- right out of the womb, and I remember it and I trust my memories. I have tried everything under the sun to go to the brink of consciousness and unconsciousness and for those Gurdjieffian's who don't like to talk about or feel threatened by drug use or the use of intoxicants as sacred tools, I would point them in the direction of Rene Daumal, who wrote Mount Analog and who is considered to be a highly honored member of the Work, his personal teachers being Madame De Saltzman and Mr. Gurdjieff himself. He spent his youth getting so stoned that he would knock himself out, all for the purpose of finding out where the brink of consciousness was, and if he could stay conscious while being knocked unconscious. I consider Rene Daumal an essence friend, even though he died in 1944 from tuberculosis.

So an only child has no one to play with. That's hydrogen. 1 electron. Atomic weight 1.00794
and atomic number one.

Helium is atomic number two -- 2 electrons, with an atomic weight of 4.002602.

Now the electrons have someone to play with. They are happy and they laugh. Not only that, but with two electrons they can now play the game of opposites, which is the first GAME of the universe. Or perhaps I should be more accurate and say that in the Shivaite tradition which I follow and two vehicles in which I ride (Yoga and Samkya), this game which the universe plays (or one could say is the enjoyment of the Creator), is born of the separation of opposites. Remember Genesis -- God separated the light from the darkness -- the white marbles from the black marbles. And then he separated the other opposites for more fun.

WITH THE TWO ELECTRONS STANDING FOR THE PLAY OF OPPOSITES, AND WHIRLING AROUND DOING THEIR THING, HELIUM IS PERMANENTLY HAPPY -- SECOND CHILD OF THE UNIVERSE. AFTER THE PRIMORDIAL CREATOR SAID "LET THERE BE NUMBER AND RATIO, " HYDROGEN AND HELIUM ARE THE RESULT -- THE OCTAVE OF HYDROGEN, IN A RATIO OF 1:2. (actually it would be two octaves up, being a ratio in atomic weight of: 1.00794/4.002602. Since the human vocal folds are about double the length in a male as in a female voice - which is why women have higher voices than men), it would be reasonable to say that the second born child Helium is a girl. Perhaps SHE IS ALSO KNOWN BY THOSE WHO KNOW AS SHAKTI.

Friday, April 20, 2007

an aside

A brief respite from the elegant line of reasoning being presented on music and chemistry... but not unrelated.

Giant Pipe Organ In The Solar Atmosphere

Science Daily Astronomers have found that the atmosphere of the Sun plays a kind of heavenly music. The magnetic field in the outer regions (the corona) of our nearest star forms loops that carry waves and behave rather like a musical instrument.

The acoustic waves can be extremely powerful and reach amplitudes of tens of kilometres per second. Professor von Fay-Siebenburgen adds, “we found that the waves are often generated at the base of the magnetic pipes by enormous explosions known as micro-flares. These release energy equivalent to millions of hydrogen bombs. After each micro-flare, sound booms are rapidly excited inside the magnetic pipes before decaying in less than an hour and dissipating in the very hot solar corona.”

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sacred Alchemy -- Real Chemistry

Today we are going to begin to unravel and talk about sacred chemistry. And we are going to talk about Mr. Gurdjieff's exposition of chemistry in a way that will allow you to understand more about everything.

The first element in the periodic table in any chemistry textbook is Hydrogen.

Mr. Gurdjieff had a special Alchemy, where he used the terms Hydrogen, Oxygen, Carbon and Nitrogen to stand for the three forces or Trimurti (three aspects of God known as Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma -- also known as the holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit -- also known as the three forces or Gunas; which Gurdjieff variously called active, passive and reconciling or neutralizing, or sometimes various other wordings).

The term Hydrogen he used to indicate a Matter when it was being talked about simply as a matter without regard to which of the three forces was running through it.

We are going to investigate this special chemistry, this "alchemy" and its terminology -- we are going to explain in simple terms what many long-time practitioners of the "Work" do not understand, because they have followed the line of tradition and of the practice of the Work without understanding some of its most precious and profound concepts which form its so to say, backbone. Without this backbone, men stay only chronologically in the Work, and their movement qualitatively towards their aim is glacially slow. As Mr. Gurdjieff would put it, you can work for 300 years in this way and get nowhere but walking in circles with a circumference of 11 miles. Just long enough for you do not know that you are turning, because no one has two legs of equal length -- that means that when you walk straight you turn on your shorter leg -- clockwise or counterclockwise it doesn't matter. That crap about clockwise on the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise on the southern hemisphere is baloney. The fact that your legs are not equal in length accounts for the strange turning in the woods that fascinates so many storytellers when they talk about finding a path and holy crap, it's their own footsteps from hours ago.

So back to our study:


Hydrogen has one electron. We will talk about its nucleus later. Right now all that matters is the fact that it has so to say, one nucleus and one electron. It can't get any more simple.

HYDROGEN FORMS 88% OF ALL OF THE MATTER IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE, MOSTLY AS SINGLE BACHELORS -- in other words, Hydrogen was the first element of Creation.

It is the most abundant element in the Universe; it is the element that fuels the Sun and other stars; as a gas, it is the lightest of all gases, and it bonds to other elements in its own unique fashion.

Hydrogen really likes oxygen. Hydrogen really digs oxygen. Hydrogen is really into oxygen, and oxygen is into hydrogen right back. They like to hook up. When they hook up, they hook up usually as a threesome. It's OK, think sexually (or sensually, if you prefer)

An aside -- chemistry is sex; valence is sexual proclivity; atoms bond into families called molecules.

Hydrogen is named because it likes oxygen so much. The name is derived from the Greek words Hydro meaning water, and genes, meaning "forming". Hydrogen and oxygen get along so nicely as a trio that formula for water is H2O. Two hydrogen atoms bond through electron valence bonding with one oxygen atom and they form water.

Hydrogen bonds influence the structure of all living things because the double helix of DNA is held together by hydrogen bonds. The same is true of the structure of all the protein in our body. We will stop there with the chemical trivia facts. They are all confirmable by any chemistry textbook. We will work slowly. When I read an excellent book I read very slowly. Perhaps I might read a sentence a day, or a paragraph or I might read the same book extra fast all day long. It is just like eating food. In fact it is eating food. It's just that the food is in the form of meme's -- that is, ideas. I eat until I am full and then I digest. If I catch myself reading over and my attention has wandered or slipped away, I do one of several things: I go back to the place where my attention wandered and I bring it back; I close the book for the day, or at least for the time being; I try to remember where my attention lost the track and why. The answer can be anything -- maybe I am hungry.

We will continue later. You have lots to think about. Please, as they say in the racing business: "gentlemen, start your engines." Please feel free to join me at any time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Welcome to Sol

Lee and I (rlnyc) have decided to continue the work of do re mi shock by moving to the next Tetrachord, which I will oversee and moderate.

In order to help you to understand what the Do Re Mi shock and Sol La Si shock have to do with one another, I will explain some technical things having to do with Music in a way that anyone should be able to understand. There is a series of musical notes that is considered to be so important that it had its own instrument built just to emphasize it and allow people to see it clearly easily and quickly (the piano -- forte) -- The Major Scale.

The major scale is a series of seven notes selected out of the 12 possible notes (leaving five rejects -- the black keys on a piano) and having a formula in Italian from the Latin which is called the Solfege -- that is, Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si, Do from octave to octave. The word Major in the term Major Scale has nothing to do with the emotional quality of the music -- that is, the word Major does not mean major as opposed to minor scale (which is a sadder scale) but rather it is the first definition in any dictionary -- greater in importance, more significant, greater in stature.

So the Major Scale of do re mi fa sol la si do is the "important" scale. All other scales, in fact all aspects of Western music fall under its purview: chords on a guitar, melodies on a flute, every instrument in the symphony is tuned to the major scale. All other scales are modifications of the Major Scale. Now let's look at the word scale for a moment.

To scale the heights. That's the closest in meaning that I can give you for what happens with a scale. You climb it like a ladder. You scale it like a mountain. In fact, all of the degree tones are called degrees in exactly the same manner that degrees exist in a thermometer. How far above the one (or sea level) are you? Now in the scale, it follows another formula which is so important that it will put you to sleep if you repeat it over and over quicker than counting sheep. Remember that it is not the notes themselves but the distances between the degrees that the formula obtains. We already named the notes, but they are not all the same distance from one another. The Major Scale is a diatonic scale; that is to say, it has two types of intervals or sizes of intervals might be a better way of saying it. This is the same thing as me saying that water is dihydrogen oxide, H2O; the prefix DI tells me that there are two hydrogens who have hooked up with an oxygen atom -- hey, it sounds like a three-some -- let me in the hot tub!

OK, you've been waiting long enough. Here's the formula, which is based upon the fact that the distance between the main notes is 2 half steps -- that's called a whole step. Half of that is called a half step. Whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half. It's better if you look at it:


Now you can see better. The distance between the 1 and the 2 is called a whole step. The distance between the 3 and the 4 is called a half step. Now the formula again:

Whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half

That's the formula taught to every beginning music student. If there is a finer and more magnificent way of turning off a young brain than having him recite that formula, I don't know of it. I tell my students that if they want to fall asleep they should count out that formula as though it were branded on the side of the sheep that they are counting and that the fences that the sheep jump over are of two different heights, a whole step and a half step. Later, to their benefit we switch the heights of the two different sized intervals and we make the whole step fence easy to leap and the half step more difficult. There would be reasons for my doing this with my own students which you will understand later, if you choose to follow me on this pathway through a labyrinth of concepts and ideas.

If you are into the Gurdjieff work, or any other spiritual discipline, ultimately you need to know this knowledge as it forms an inner body of understanding which then allows you to understand far more abstruse concepts and ideas.

So now we have a formula of whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half. What are we going to do with it? We are going to apply it to the solfege in something called tetrachords, that is groups of 4 -- this has nothing to do with chords played on an instrument. We have two identical tetrachords:

1-2-34 (do re mi/fa) and

5-6-71 (sol la si/do)

You see that they are identical in their structure -- both being whole whole half. This is important. That's why this blog is called Sol La Si Do, because Sol is the fifth note in the scale and has a special name musically it is called the Dominant.

So this becomes:

Doremishock and Solasishock. Forget about Fa for the time being. We'll get to it, and everything else besides.

So we are going to be talking about things on another level. In some ways, more demanding. In some ways more enriching and most definitely interconnected, so that do re mi shock and sol la si shock have an intimate relationship with one another; they are both part of the same musical scale, and more importantly, they form a relationship between them which is called Harmony.

I hope you'll join me in this exploration, this course of study which has no curriculum except to seek ways of seeing which serve the active participation of Man in what is one of his principal duties -- to continually work his brain and all the parts of it so that he works towards an understanding of the universe and his place in it and his relationship to it and all other relationships.

I have a saying, and I abide by it:

"They never have and they never will find a limit to the storage capacity of the human brain. There is nothing that in order to learn you have to forfeit or forget anything else."

And Alchemy has a saying, and I abide by it:

"One book opens another."

And Mr. Gurdjieff has a saying, which also I abide by:

"War, or no war, it makes no difference. We always turn a profit. "

Please join me. Consider this blog a kind of savings bank where you can put ideas in and take ideas out and they will always earn a profit by being placed in this bank. I myself rlnyc, will work hard with you at you through you because of you and on your behalf so that this warranty of profitability obtains at all times and thoroughly.

Be well. I look forward to hearing from you.