Friday, May 29, 2009

apologies are in order

For readers of this blog, I apologize that there has been so little activity, but I have been very busy within the current of outer life, and will return to posting as soon as is feasible. So sorry to leave you wonderful people waiting. But the wait will be worth it I can promise, because I have been 'working on myself".

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Crushing Weight of Law

We're going to follow Mr. Gurdjieff's descending table of hydrogens -- that is, his concept of atoms of varying densities. This has nothing to do with the periodic table, so it is best to leave ordinary chemistry behind. This is more of a cosmogony, that is, how the universe is organized in terms of its material and energy. Practically everyone thinks they understand the formula E=MC2, which states that matter and energy are the same thing -- that matter is congealed energy, and that energy is extremely thin matter, but the two are interchangeable.

Mr. Gurdjieff called himself a materialist -- meaning that his view was that everything is material, even thoughts; even angels, archangels and God himself.

At the top is the unity -- unknowable by human senses or standards, but that this unity is also a Trinity -- The Father Son and Holy Ghost, or in Hinduism the Trimurti, murti meeting face, so that this word means the three faces of God -- Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. They have three attributes which are called Satchitananda. This is a compound word of three separate words meaning Sat=reality, Chit=awareness and Ananda= bliss. So the three attributes are reality, consciousness and bliss. These three are considered as one -- imagine a mind with no obstruction. Anything this mind thinks would have as much reality as reality itself, because it has no obstacles and nothing to argue against it. Then it would also be completely aware, and because it has no obstacl it lives in bliss. This is how the ancients thought of God, as three in one. So the first atom would be three in one. This would be world one.

Then we would come to world three, where the three attributes would become the three Gunas -- in other words they would separate so that now we have three laws.

Next we would come to world six, because every new world has three new laws, of its own, plus any laws from above -- so this world would have three new laws as well as the three laws from world three. That leaves six

The next world would be world 12, because it would have three new laws, plus six laws from world six plus three laws from world 3 -- add them together and you get 12: three plus six plus three equals 12

The next world would be world 24, because we have three new laws plus 12 laws from the preceding world, six laws from the world above that and three laws from the world above that. The arithmetic is simple: three plus 12 plus six plus three equals 24

The next world would be constrained by 48 laws -- 3 of its own plus the cumulative effects of all the laws which exists above it: three plus 24 plus 12 plus six plus three equals 48.

The next world would be world 96 -- 3 laws of its own, plus 48, plus 24, plus 12, plus six, plus three equals 96.

This is as far as we need to go right now. Each of these world are like Russian dolls -- they live inside one another. Mr. Gurdjieff says that the first world or the highest world we can know is world three, and its laws travel through the entire system but seem to get further and further entrapped inside of the other laws. Each world's only three laws are stronger and closer to it than the above laws.

World three would be the world of all galaxies.

World six would be the world of the Milky Way

World 12 would be the world of the Sun

World 24 would be the world of the entire solar system including the planets

World 48 would be the world of the earth

World 96 would be the world of the moon

That's as far as we need to go, because that is as far as the Ray of Creation goes, on our particular ray. There may be myriad rays, but we only live on one of them -- our own particular ray of creation, and the moon is the endpoint. If you use the analogy of a tree, the moon is the endpoint or bud of our particular branch.

Each world would contain atoms which correspond to each world's weight. So the higher up the scale, the less dense and more ethereal the atoms get. And as we go down the ray the heavier and more gross and material the atoms get.

So we live on the earth, which is under 48 laws, or 48 jurisdictions -- 48 sets of laws. What they are is not told us. We know that the first three are reality, consciousness and bliss, and we know that they extend all the way down to the end of the ray, but they are contained inside "walls" or coatings of denser laws, so that by the time we get to law 48, we are under an immense load of laws. The moon is even under twice as many laws. Try to ponder this, and we will continue next time.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What Does Not Matter

What does not matter is whether anyone actually reads this blog today or tomorrow or in eternity, or in infinity. What matters is that I write this blog, and that my words have myself behind them, that my words are not shallow like a small creek, but deep and wide like an extraordinary poem.

I have learned how small I am, and I have seen how large the difficulties are. My own work is invisible in any scale beyond that of my own little hamster run. I am crucified to my life and I cannot escape the cross. This I have tried many times, bloodying my wrists and feet struggling against the bonds which hold me. But there are Roman soldiers at the foot of my cross, just as there were when our Lord was crucified. Luckily they play dice, and fall asleep during their watch. If I can stand the pain -- the extraordinary sensations, I can open up the wounds which they have inflicted upon me so that they are large enough to slip off the head of the nails.

But still I must bide my time. They know that I will struggle against the crucifixion -- that I will sweat both water and blood, salt and urine and feces, along with my drool and the running of my nostrils and the tears of my eyes. Every orifice is open in this crucifixion, so they expect me to struggle. And if I struggle with intelligence, I can open my wounds large enough to escape.

I must let them gamble away my belongings. They would link me to them anyway and help the dogs to find me. I want my escape to be genuine. The suffering is almost unbearable -- beyond my own ken, but if I remain open there is a help which comes to me, which bears my strength and my weaknesses and which fills me with a higher impulse, one that is stronger than death.

Now I cry out in thirst. All the fluids are leaving me, and they offer me gall and vinegar, which I refuse -- they have placed droplets of poison on the sponge -- not to kill but to decrease the consciousness so that the pain can be endured. This is not what I wish for. I wish for more suffering, a deeper suffering -- a suffering beyond that of a single man. I wish to suffer for these men who stand below me playing games and laughing. They see me suffer and struggle but they cannot see my laughter, because it is deep within me. I recognize them -- they are children at play, and they play soldier. At a certain point they become exhausted with my moaning and my crying out. They do not know that I have been opening my wounds with a purpose, and that my crying out has not been my suffering but theirs. Finally they are asleep, and supported by the guest I release first one arm and then the other. I keep my wrists wrapped around the T bar of the cross, so that I might release my feet, which are pointed sideways and through which the nail has pinned both heel bones. But as it seemed to them that I pushed myself up to breathe, I was also grinding the bone in a strange circle so that when I was ready, my feet would release themselves. Now I do this, and with the outer foot free, I begin to turn my knees forward and release the other foot. After this, I do not leave the cross. It has been my home, and its wood knows my suffering. All trees henceforth will pass this tale from generation to generation.

Below me at a distance are my friends, they are wept out and also sleep. Only one is remained awake, so that when I fling myself off of the cross he catches me. Nicodemus. In the meantime Joseph of Arimathea has gone to Pilate to ask for the body. The soldiers have woken up now but do not wish to lose their salaries, so they simply ask "how did he get off the cross?". The answer was given we took him down according to our traditions so that he could be buried before Sunset. Then one of the Roman soldiers took his spear and jabbed it into my side and saw the water and blood gush, and assumed that I was dead. But he missed my heart, which I had stopped from beating.

I was lain in a tomb and ministered to whilst the tomb was sealed with a Rolling Stone. The Romans followed and stood guard, but in the three days wherein I recovered they fell asleep several times and so I left and left them my peace.

On the third morning the women came to minister unto me but I was in disguise. They fell, astonished at the empty tomb, but the work had been done. Except for the ratification, which took mystically 40 days, during which my disciples scattered until their bravery came back and they gathered together. I then sent the Spirit to alight upon each one of them -- and teach them how to communicate with all manner of persons, the good news of my work. I then took my leave. I then took my leave. I then took my leave.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I have been all over the world, as a musician, but haven't until last week stepped foot on the continent of Africa. I read anthropology and all manner of disciplines, and it is said that Africa was the birthplace of mankind.

But it was hearsay and I am a skeptic. Then I came to south Africa, and as I stepped off the plane and my feet found the ground I KNEW. The impressions have been SO deep that I spent the first entire week weeping at the brotherhood of Man. Here, as opposed to the United states where I live and where I have called New york City my home for 50 years, I came in contact with a different reality. I cannot describe the impressions except to say that I am irrevocably changed. I have been eating such rich food of these impressions that I am staggered by the depth of them, and the new understandings that they have given me. My compassion has been increased twenty fold, and I now say (striking my chest), "I Man", (Striking gently the chest of another man black or white) and saying "You Man", and I then say "Human" as I pass my arm across the horizon, to suggest that we are ALL on the same level.

The time is different here also. Now does not mean the now of New York. There are three nows here. "Right Now" is the closest to the "now" of NY, but not quite, because the "Now" of NY is an hour ago. "Now-Now" is "shortly" and "Just Now" means anytime in the future, but it will be done. A little like Jamaica, where "soon come-little while" means what "Just now" means here, but not quite. There is an irrepressible natural buoyant joy here, both in the blacks and in the whites, many of who feel a deep guilt from Apartheid, but it is SO much more respectful than the racial issues which exist in the US. The shame many whites feel here is nothing like the resentful false crap of the rainbow political farce that exists in America.

Another man said to me that this is the home of rhythm, and it is true beyond experience. When I told him that I felt the natural joy in even those with nothing he said that the best music was born of oppression, and I said instead, the music is in SPITE of oppression. Unlike mathematics, where a negative number times a negative number equals a positive number; a negative emotion does not negate another negative but multiplies the negative.

I have come to see that negative against negative is like a knot in a rope; pulling on the ends of the rope in the attempt to undo the knot seems to make it smaller, but only tightens it and makes it harder to untie, where the action required is to push the ends together and take the small fingers of the child inside the knot and loosen it. Then and only then can it really be undone. We cannot add anything in the Work, only remove the filth and untie the knots.

In Yoga there are three Granthis (knots) which bind the sense of identity (Ahamkara) to the worldly figure, and these three knots need to be undone before freedom can be achieved. The first Granthi is with the physical body; the second with the E-motional body, and the third with the Mental body.

When these identifications are cut or untied; there arises a natural freedom -- the lesser and greater freedom. The bodies do not die but then live not as slaves but as free men -- the "Three Brothers" Mr. Gurdjieff wrote about and then burned in 1934, when he had a bonfire built and burned all of his papers -- to the tears of Olgivana deHartmann and Madame deSalzmann. Oh, what we may have lost. The library at Alexandria perhaps?

All I know is that I am in Africa, and spend my time in two places, two worlds...outer and inner richness I cannot explain or describe. And there are two places in the studio building where I am working right next to each other -- the studio where we are making music, and next to it, an anechoic room where it is silent and dark so that it makes no difference whether your eyes are open or closed. I have spent much time there alone, and like Napoleon after he slept in the great Pyramid at Giza, and came out white as a ghost and never told what he experienced till his dying day, when he was asked, "Now that you are dying, would you like to tell us about your experience in the Pyramid?" and he began to say "Yes... but oh never mind, you would not believe me", and then he died...

Something has died in me, and I do not miss it one iota.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

I am going to begin posting some of the material from elsewhere that deserves to be here, by moving it onto this blog. Here is an essay on the Yoga Sutras of Classical yoga, as collated by Patanjali. Enjoy:

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are one of the world's great spiritual treasures. It is a collation of pithy statements containing no grammar -- they were meant to be recited and still are passed orally from teacher to student. Scholarly opinion attributes the writing anywhere between 200 B.C. and 400 A.D.. This is well after the life of the Buddha, Gautama Siddhartha. Scholars are divided as to whether some of the sutras have been added in direct defense against Buddhist philosophy, especially in Pada 2, or Chapter 2 -- the word Pada means foot and there are 4 feet in the sutras.

I have given seminars on the sutras which have lasted six to nine months. When my students ask me the meaning of the entire text I tell them that it is contained within the first word, Atha. Many scriptures begin with this word and end with the word Om. They are so to say, the alpha and omega of Sanskrit. The word Atha doesn't translate well into English because of its emphatic nature. The closest single word in English would be now, but more like NOW!!!

All impressions are shocks, some delicate, some strong. Some impressions do not rise to the level of introduction into consciousness, and remain recorded on the unconscious and subconscious rolls. But the word Atha is to be said forcefully, almost as if one would shout Eureka or HA!.

It is a shock meant to wake one up, and it is followed by the phrase rendered into English as NOW, the exposition of Yoga. Yoga is a word that has about 28 meanings, perhaps even more but the meaning we are interested in is exactly the same as in the word religion, which comes from the Latin and means to attach again (re-ligare). In our interest in Yoga we are interested in reconnecting with the Self with a capital S..

Each word in the yoga sutras is extremely important, and the word sutras is where we get the word suture which we use in surgery -- it means the finest thread upon which an idea can be strung, so the yoga sutras are pithy, and usually require explanation by the teacher, and there are many famous commentaries upon this work of Scripture.

Below I have rendered in English translation of the first four sutras: NOW, the explanation of yoga. Yoga is a restriction or a cessation of whirlpools in the consciousness. When these whirlpools (Vrttis) are made to stand still, then the Self radiates forth in its August Majesty. At all other times the self ( with a small s) mis-identifies itself with the movements within consciousness -- that is, with the vrttis or whirlpools in the consciousness.

The rest of chapter 1 is irrelevant at the moment. For those who know, this has been enough. And the rest of the chapter explains some of the workings of discrimination and consciousness. Now we come to chapter 2, or the second foot -- which is called Sadhana Pada, or chapter of practices.

The first sutra proclaims that through a burning desire and an ascetic devotion; self study and reflection of one's own self, profound religious meditation upon one's personal God are considered the yoga of action. A very interesting section is from this chapter, which delineates the eightfold limbs usually called Ashtanga, which means literally eight limbs. Some people consider them as a ladder or staircase, where one must do the first one first followed by the second, etc., but the actual sutras described them as the eight limbs of a single being. They are in the following order:

One: the restraints or vows which are fivefold: harmlessness, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity, and a rejection of gifts coupled with self-restraint.

Two: the fixed rules or precepts: cleanliness or purity (this conforms to the first striving), contentment, religious fervor or a burning desire, study which leads to the knowledge of the self, surrender to God and making God the target of concentration and all other established observances.

Three: the learning of Asana, which oddly enough comes from the same root as the word for your behind upon which you sit, the ass. This seated posture should be firm fixed steady steadfast and lasting, bringing happiness and delight. This then includes all of the Hatha yoga postures, each of which is designed to show a different potential which is man's natural birthright, and each of which brings with it certain powers called Siddhis, which translates pretty well into English as perfections. But the main goal of this third limb of yoga is to put the body in a position to be able to sit for a long time in order to do the essential work, which is a strong activity within silence.

Four: Pranayama. This is very widely misunderstood. Prana is the life force within the body, something like Qi in Chinese alchemical medicine, or Rauch to the Jewish, or Pneuma to the Greek. And the term yama here has a double meaning, not just control or restriction but actually expansion into the entire physical body as well as second and third bodies. The physical gross breath is just a handle, like the handle on a hammer or screwdriver. Hatha yoga specifically uses the body because it is easiest to grasp and utilize hydraulically. The real aim is much more sublime. This is one of the reasons why Mr. Gurdjieff spoke so poorly of those fashionable exercises from books, which can do more harm than good. One of the greatest Yocic Scriptures is called the Hatha Yoga Pradikipa by Svatmarama, written in the 15th century CE. When he talks of pranayama he declares the following: the breath should be tamed as if it were a lion or Tiger -- slowly, and with great caution, lest it rend the practitioner and kill him (or her). It then describes various forms of practice along with the results.

Five: withdrawal of the sense organs from their contact with the external objects, and drawing them inwards towards the self. This is usually described as the action of a tortoise, who pulls his head and limbs into the shell. It is also what is referenced as "Turning the light around" in the Secret of the Golden Flower. One can separate each sense into three parts, the organ of sense, the object of its attention, and the invisible secret tether between those two. Drawing the sense organs back is the act of Pratyahara, the fifth step of classical Yoga.

Now we reach a real turning point. All of the previous steps have been outward -- working on do's and don'ts, the physical body and the life force represented by the breath. Now with step five we begin what are called the Antara sadhana, or inner practice -- I suppose you could say that from now on our yoga conforms to what is called the "quiet work" in the Work -- conforming to the sittings and the other inner exercises given by Mr. Gurdjieff and his earliest followers.

Six: and now we have even come to the end of that previous chapter and move to chapter 3 which is called Vibhudi Pada, and we begin with developing the concentration. This is called Dharana, or "concentration". Mr. Gurdjieff speaks of three qualities of concentration or attention; free or unfettered attention, which is our enemy, because it wanders all over the place with no self-control. Then there is attracted attention, such as when we read a good book or go watch an interesting movie -- the object of the senses hold us in thrall. This is also half harmful and half beneficial. Finally we have directed attention, which requires effort -- the kind of attention we utilize when we are studying or trying to solve a problem.

Now with this sixth step we begin the inward limbs of yoga -- this can be with seed (kalpa) or without seed, that is, we may have an object of contemplation -- it might be the candle, or an Apple, or our preferred deity. No matter what the subject matter, this is called samkalpa, that is, with seed. Concentration on its own at this point is almost out of the question -- but it would be called Nirkalpa, without seed. Sometimes at the very beginning of the Work, a man or woman is told to simply sit and experience the current of life which attempts to pull them out of the chair, in order for them to "do something". So in the beginning, not doing is the most powerful and only doing that we can actually accomplish, at least for a couple of moments. It is heartily recommended. Now this concentration is likened unto water being poured onto an object -- whatever is being contemplated. If you pour water on to something you will notice that it breaks into small pieces as the water falls. This is the initial stage of concentration, which will be interrupted, and which like a small child who has wandered off, should be brought back to the object of concentration with great gentleness, compassion and love. There is absolutely no need to scold the attention which up until now has been pretty much given free reign.

Seven: now we come to what is called meditation proper, and the word for it is dhyana. This is defined as a steady, continuous flow of attentive awareness direct it towards the same point or region. This is likened to the pouring of oil on the object, which because of its viscosity, pours upon the object without breaking up as did the water. This is meditation and the difference between the previous step and this one is quite powerful. This step actually begins a process concerned with the elimination of fluctuating thought waves in order to achieve a single pointed concentration. Now we establish the maintenance of a single steady and profound contemplative observation. This brings in its wake profound knowledge of those objects being contemplated, and if one maintains this meditative practice one moves automatically to the eighth step, which I will describe next.

Eight: The Sanskrit term for this step is Samadhi, a compound word meaning more or less, "together with" or "simultaneous existence". In this step there is a merging of the consciousness with the object under scrutiny. The consciousness of the meditator appears to be dissolved into the object of its contemplation. Now we have reached a point where the consciousness has become like a laser. In its ordinary state it is like a candle or light bulb, with the lights going out in all directions. After Pratyahara, the removal of the sense organs from their normal objects of desire or a version, the next three steps, concentration, meditation and merging, have one word for the aggregate effects of these 3 -- called Samyama, or as best as it can be described in English, "together with convergence".

Now the third book of the Yoga Sutras includes a mighty list of what are called the Siddhis, or perfections. They read like an unbelievable and absurd set of superpowers, but in fact they are the natural result of Samyama. As an example, if you perform Samyama on an Apple, you then know everything that the Apple knows -- a true gnosis.

There are eight famous Siddhis:

One= to become as minute as an atom
Two= to wax in magnitude ( to become as large as one likes)
Three= to become light (as opposed to heavy)
Four= to become heavy
Five= the power to dominate and obtain what one wants
Six= the freedom of will and attainment of wishes
Seven= supremacy over all
Eight= the power to subjugate anyone or anything

It is said that these powers come unbidden to the Yogi, and they are signs that one is on the right path, but they should never be used, as they are tricks utilized by Great Nature. I will describe how this works: when a man begins to work on himself, he is usually sidelined by the most ordinary things, and nothing more needs to be done. If a man continues to work on himself and begins to achieve something, Great Nature takes notice -- She may send the police, and the man may have an accident or fall prey to some negative emotion or some other such miniscule setback. This usually puts a man right back in his place. But if a man continues to work on himself with unceasing dedication, Great Nature is bent out of joint, so she might begin to entice the man with riches or power or charisma. This will usually cause a man's fall from grace and return things to normal. If however, the man is the sly man or particularly clever or particularly desperate and dedicated and does not turn back from many of these maneuvers, Great Nature begins to take extraordinary measures -- she dangles her own jewelry in front of the man, offering him powers which only Nature herself enjoys. It is a kind of wooing, because She is desperate not to lose any of the sheep. So she offers her own powers to the man. This is a sign of imminent success, but also a desperate plea and a desperate measure which usually works sooner or later when the temptation finally gets to the man's defenses, and he begins using some of these powers. If he uses them for the sake of others only, and only in the most desperate of cases, he may be safe, but if he gloats or uses them for himself, then she has him back in the soup, and he has to start all over again This is not so easy, because once gotten, Great Nature has found his Achilles' heel, and will never let it rest.

The final chapter is called Kaivalya Pada, and kaivalya is an extraordinarily difficult word to translate properly into English -- people have used "absolute and complete freedom"; "perfect aloneness", and other such phrases, but like Nirvana, it remains extraordinarily difficult for one who knows to convey its majesty. Nirvana means "without wind" -- it does not mean extinction whatsoever. What is extinguished is the desire/aversion state, so that a man is awake without the flame of desire or aversion affecting him whatsoever. He is perfectly stable. Kaivalya might be thought of as a synonym -- it literally means complete and perfect imperturbable completeness, and for he who has reached Kaivalya, it is preceded by an astonishing shower of virtue, called the Dharmameghah Samadhih, after which the three forces or Gunas actually unbraid, and he accomplished yogin has reached the end goal, and thenceforth sees reality as it is in itself.

His body will continue living its bodily life; his mind will continue living its mental life, but he leaves no traces requiring reincarnation or recurrence. The yogin is then completely and utterly free -- he may choose to return to Earth, or he may go elsewhere -- wherever he is needed. He then knows all the languages of his organs, can no longer be intoxicated by anything, and has no negative emotional center whatsoever. He can drop the body whenever and however he likes. He may choose a suffering disease or he may just tell his disciples that he will breathe his last next Tuesday at 2 p.m., so that anything they wish to ask him or tell him, they had better do it before then, because, true to his word, the following Tuesday at 2 p.m. he lays down on his mat, takes a final breath of air, sweet and delicious, and then he exhales, and passes through the precious portal of death; without fear, without apprehension, and without regret. He has completed his Work, and moves on.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Springtime The Vernal Equinox

So here we are at the beginning of a new season -- in Yoga, this is a propitious time to begin one's practice -- so let us begin. We begin by being aware that we have a body and that it belongs to the earth which now begins to sprout buds, flowers and leaves. The sun moves higher in the sky and its extraordinary radiance reaches all the way to the Earth.

In the Lord's prayer, the English translation is sometimes incorrect when viewed from the perspective of the language which Jesus spoke, which was Aramaic -- this was the father language of both Hebrew and Arabic, cousins and brethren who are now engaged in a life-and-death struggle like Cain and Abel. In any case, I went out of my way to learn the Lord's prayer in the language he spoke, so that when I said it it would contain the actual sounds that came out of his mouth -- of course I have a different vocal cords -- I am a different human being, but this brings me closer to his truth. I will give my own English rendition below:

Father/Mother/Breather of ALL;
May your name be kept secret, hidden and protected,
Come, come, your Kingdom
May your will which is done in Heaven reach all the way down to the Earth
May we be nourished at the teat of your divine breast,
And keep us from Evil,

It's that simple. The part about forgiveness and trespassing was added later. If we are conscious and in touch with our conscience and we can do no evil -- Mr. Gurdjieff declares that only mechanical evil exists.

Now we are in the spring time of the cyclical year. I went to South Africa on Ash Wednesday and went to mass in the airport. I hadn't been to a Catholic Mass in many years, although I was once a lector and taught catechism and sponsored acolytes in to Catholicism. But Ash Wednesday has stayed with me -- the palms from Palm Sunday are burned after Easter and kept the entire year until Ash Wednesday when they are dispensed on the forehead of the parishioners, and sometimes the priest utters words: my favorite are as follows:

Remember, oh Man, that thou art mortal. Ashes to ashes; dust to dust, from the Earth your body has come as a gift and you will return it soon. Remember this from Dawn till Dusk, and go in the peace and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

Actually, my favorite are a different set of word but they elude me at the moment. Soon I will talk about my time in Africa. For today this is enough. My love to you, my friends.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Just Human

I have decided to forgo my perfectionism and to write more on the blog even though it does not conform to the curriculum I intended it to. That means that I will speak extemporaneously on subjects which interest me. I hope that they interest you too, and I hope that you are able to derive benefit from them if you should happen upon these words.

Today I'm going to speak of buffers. This is a term that Mr. Gurdjieff used to describe the kind of callous or cushion or shock absorber that exists between parts of ourselves which are incompatible. I will make a very easy to understand example.

A man sets the alarm clock for 6 a.m. -- not because he has to wake up, but because he is sick of sleeping late and wishes to get some things done in the morning. But at six o'clock when the alarm clock rings a very different man begins to wake up and either hits the snooze button or turns off the alarm clock, or throws it across the room. In between these two sub personalities is a buffer -- a device so that the two sub personalities will not meet, because if they did so they would drive each other crazy. And they belong to the same body, so if all the sub personalities within a single person were to meet each other as if at a cocktail party it would simply be mayhem.

In order for a man not to be subject to being driven mad by himself, buffers are developed, which act as walls between different rooms in a man. These buffers are invisible -- they cannot be seen by the man nor should they be if a man wishes to be ordinary, and as the Lord saith: "man's name is Legion".

Even if a man begins to work on himself he cannot see these buffers, just as you cannot be in more than one room in your home at the same time. Occasionally a homeowner will have a wall broken down so that there would be one larger room, for whatever purpose, but within a man's self there are many rooms each with walls between them. Think of the trouble it takes just to knock down one wall between two rooms and then to clean up the mess and make the two rooms into one real good looking room. I mean, come on, you cannot just break down the walls and have debris all over the place -- you've got to clean up after yourself, scrape and paint what used to be the barrier between the rooms, and then you've probably got to re-furnish everything, because the two rooms may be completely different in nature -- one a living room and one a bedroom, or one a bedroom and one a sewing room or library.

That's my contribution for today -- or least for this morning.

Friday, March 20, 2009

No Longer Perfect

I am a man, a man with a blog. A man with a blog that pretended to be a man writing a blog. What I didn't know was that the blog was writing me. I pretended that I knew a lot, and that I understood even more, but I am nothing but a man. I cannot jump into the sky and reach escape velocity -- 17,500 mph. Even if I did so I would died almost immediately from my blood boiling without the 15 pounds per square inch of barometric pressure which holds me together.

I cannot reach the horizon even with outstretched arms and if I were to walk sideways forever-- like the end of a rainbow, the horizon would just continue to evade me

I cannot sink down into the earth past its thin crust and into the magma or the yoke of the earth, the sphere of iron and nickel which is at the center. I would be crushed by the pressure and cooked by the temperature.

So I am a man. I -- man; you -- man; womb -- man; human -- -- 1 level. Not two levels, not three or four, but one level. I learned this in Africa. I was there in South Africa very few days ago, and where the anthropologists and the archaeologists and all the other "gists" have said that Africa is the birthplace of man and the cradle of civilization, it has been hearsay for me until now.

When I stepped off the plane and onto African soil I knew, and I know.

One man -- human -- 1 level.

Aloneness -- the Lesser and Greater Freedoms

Again, it has been along time since I have posted. My apologies to those who have been following this blog.

The goal of Yoga is a Sanskrit word called Kaivalya; it is difficult to translate into English. It is usually translated as "aloneness", but has nothing to do with loneliness. Perhaps it's better translation would be the use of multiple English words such as permanent and unsullied imperturbability -- One who is single and incorruptible; a person who is objective and sees reality exactly as it is in itself, and in whom the three Gunas or three forces or holy Trinity have become un-braided, so that one becomes absolutely free of all lower laws connected with this incarnation.

This does not mean that one's body is no longer subject to gravity, and it does not mean that one's mind is no longer subject to the flickering attention, but certainly it means that one's emotions belong to one's Self, and are not in control of one's manifestation; rather quite the opposite. In one who has reached Kaivalya, one is considered JivaMukti, that is freed while alive.

Then a MAN can do. He spends the money but the money does not spend him. He smokes a cigarette butt the cigarette does not smoke him. He does, but nothing happens through him accepting by the will of the higher forces to which he had submitted. He becomes a servant of the Almighty. He can leave or return to life at will. He has WILL, where as most men are simply blown back and forth by a confluence of desires and aversions.

How does a man reach this station, which is not a passing thing but something permanent?

How does a man gain these freedoms? As he is, he is under local laws. You may get away with breaking them, like jaywalking or smoking in a non-smoking zone. He may go through a red light and not get caught. Then again, he might get a ticket. He might suffer a misdemeanor or even a felony conviction.

If this man joins the military he falls under military law. This releases him from local ordinances so that the police who arrest him cannot detain him except to call the military police, who come and get him. Perhaps they will simply forget about it or ship him off somewhere els or he will go to the brig and suffer a court-martial, but this is not likel unless he breaks a military law, so he has freedom from a lower law but is subject to a higher law which is more strict.

Perhaps this man in the military then joins special services -- he may then be freed of the military law and placed under diplomatic law. He may become a special agent and not be under any lower laws, excepting the law of his commander -- but he must not get caught breaking those laws or he might simply disappear or be court-martialed and shot or hung as a traitor.

So forth and on and on. There are laws everywhere, and one cannot escape all the laws, but one can place oneself under higher laws and be freed of lower laws.

More to follow soon.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Invisible Speck

We are going to perform a little thought experiment. First, I want to take us up the scales of the ray of creation, but I will walk us up slowly, so we don't take too big a leap.

You sit and read this, and consider your body. It is in one place at one time. It has weight and it has life within it. Now it is large, but how big is it within your apartment or house? Still pretty big.

What about your block, your neighborhood? Now you may still be quite large, but you are only one among many as you go to the store and say hello to the people you see every day, shopkeepers and other neighbors.

What about your town or city? Depending upon the size of your town you may get quite small, or in the case of NYC, you may disappear in the crowd altogether. This means that you are now a speck.

What about in your country? You are now indistinguishable, unless you hold public office or in some other way are one of the few that are in a position to be known, a writer or singer or actor, where the compass of your activities have so to say, enlarged your "image" so that you still exist as an individual, but even then, as yourself in one body at one place at one time you have disappeared from view.

What about the Earth? Can you be seen from outer space? Of course not. Some aspects of the works and structures of mankind as a whole can be seen from low altitude orbit, but not an individual person. Everyone has now disappeared. What about within the Solar System? Even all of life on Earth is now just a super-thin coating on a small planet, like a smear of gold plating that is one micron thin, on a planet with an atmosphere that is also a thin wisp of gas held tenuously to the planet by gravity; the outer edge of which is allowing molecules to fly off and arrive as they are wont to do. Where are you now? Your body, your mind, your emotions. They are as if they do not exist whatsoever, except as part of an almost invisible slime of biomass under a tiny layer of gas on a tiny planet.

Now we move to the galaxy, our Galaxy, which we call the Milky Way. Can you find yourself in the Galaxy? Perhaps you have heard that the Earth exists on a subdivision of ring "D" of the Galactic arms, far from the center of the galaxy, way out in the suburbs so to speak. Now not only your body and entire self have disappeared, but even the Earth has become a less than minute speck. Where are you in all this?

What about the known universe of known galaxies and intergalactic dust? Even the Milky way is now one of billions of galaxies, all of which exist as a somehow whole. Where have you and "I" gone? We have become as less than nothing in this scale. Nothing that is nothing that is nothing that is nothing. What kind of microscope do we need to find ourselves? Where would we begin to look? How could we even find our own Galaxy, Solar System, Planet, Land Mass, Self?

How far do your arms reach out? Three feet on either side? How long is your stride? Two to Three feet? What is the range of your personal purview? Can you effect the machinations of other men? Can you change the "world"? Or do you, as so many others do, think about things well outside their purview; talk politics and about conflicts that are on the other side of the world. Are your opinions strong? Do they carry any weight against the events you discuss? Or are they simply barroom dreams, that make you feel better, either as a relief or as a "mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" scream?

You bemoan the injustices of man. Do your feelings and emotions have any force? Can they change anything outside of your purview? And how large is your personal purview? What is under your authority? Your health? Your financial well being? Your social life?

If you look carefully, you might see that nothing whatsoever is under your own real and substantial purview; the weather may change, your luck may give out; what the gods have granted you may be taken back.

What do you have that is your own?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Working up the Scale--the Gayatri

The Gayatri Mantra is the most sacred mantra in Hinduism, and is to be said at least 12 times a day by all those born into the Brahman Caste. It is something like the Hindu Lord's Prayer; and there are two forms, the better known short form and the lesser known long form. Te only difference is in the formal preamble: The short form uses three and the long uses seven lokas or worlds or realms to address before moving to the mantra proper. I am going to expound on the long form, which begins in the following way:

Om Bhur;
Om Bhuvaha;
Om Svanaha;
Om Mahaya;
Om Janaha;
Om Tapaha;
Om Sat Yum,

And then the body of the mantra which I am not going to write, as it is not germane to this exposition.

Going from the top to the bottom, the sphere of influences gets larger and larger, so that the first realm or Bhur is the smallest and Sat Yum is the largest. This is important, that in one sense the form is upside down, and from the closest to the largest "worlds" or "realms". Here we go. Understand that Sanskrit is considered the Divine Language, and it's words each have many meanings simultaneously, and to translate into English (which is a surface language), is a daunting task:

Bhur is the realm of the Earth under us.
Bhuvaha is the realm of the Atmosphere
Svanaha is the realm of Space (but the word "Sva" means the "self" as in Svastika or the chakra Svanisthana)
Mahaya is the "Great" realm
Janaha is the realm of "Generating" or the realm of categories
Tapaha is the realm of Divine"Heat", or Ardor, or Work, or Effort, or Suffering, or Austerities.
Sat Yum simply means ISness, or TRUTHness or BEINGness.

So now we go in the other direction and make some comments:

Sat Yum is the Three in One of Gurdjieff's expositions of the three forces, which follows the Samkya; and the Trimurti, which are the three faces of God (Siva, Vishnu, Brahma), and his attributes which are Satchitananda. All compound words in sansrkit become ONE word, so Satchitananda is ONE but can be broken into three constituent parts.

Sat: Truth; Being; ISness; Suchness; Reality.

Chit: Awareness; Consciousness.

Ananda: Bliss; Unopposed Will; Unfettered Creative Force.

Now in the Three in One realm, there is the truth being and awareness of all that is. And as Mr. Gurdjieff tells us, this is unknowable, because our awareness cannot concieve of the third force or of the three forces as one seemless whole, but this is the exact same idea as the Holy Trinity of Chirtianity, which got it from the Sanatana Dharma, the permanent and neverchanging wisdom.

Just below the Singular Trinity there appears the realm of "heat". Ardor, Divine Love, Work and Suffering which exists at all levels of the Creation.

The Creator has two great laws or barriers that may not be breached, and they are the "objective speed of light" and "absolute zero degrees kelvin".

Scientists have gotten VERY close to absolute zero, something like .00000001 degrees above absolute zero, but to get that low takes more and more energy from outside to lower the temperature and more time to do it in because the less heat there is somewhere, the slower everything moves and takes. So that calculations have shown that to reach absolute zero would take more energy than exists in the entire universe, and it would take longer than the age of the known universe to do it in.

Now the word tapas, which has one of it's English translations as Heat, is so multivalent that a thousand words in english can convey it's meaning. There is no translation of Tapas into English.

But there is this fact, heat is ardor, and work, and suffering. It is the work and suffering that we are interested in. In the ascetic language of the Yogins and Fakirs (and taken up by the Buddha), all is suffering; all existence is "suffering". So all the austerities taken up by the fakirs (such as standing on one leg or pointing ones finger to the sky for TWELVE YEARS!) is a replica of the suffering of the Gods, like Shiva, who practices austerities for a thousand years or more in between visiting his wife or other duties or affairs.

I am not advocating keeping your arm up for 12 years, but some sit at desks making "money" for longer than that and they do not consider it a waste of their life-force. Who ends up with something permanent? Some business men think of these Yogins and Fakirs and think it is a "sickness" and a waste. I suggest that they might be those who "waste" what life they have. by seeking in THIS realm what is not here -- unending happiness and security.

But this Intentional Suffering of the Yogin or Fakir is designed to follow certain laws. One, to replicate the suffering of the Gods: in other words, to take a load off God by taking up some of his tapas and suffering. This is identical to the Christian vowing to make a gift of his or her suffering to the "Body of Christ"

Another aspect of this Intentional Suffering is to recieve what are called "Siddhis" or "perfections, where the Yogin is given powers and a measure of the authority reserved by the Creators regent, Great Nature.

What does Mr. Gurdjieff mean when he states that he has developed the power and force to "kill a Yak at a range of 10 miles"? Does anyone think this power and force comes for free?

No, Mr. Gurdjieff only developed such authority as he possesed by great suffering, intentional and with a knowledge of it's purpose.

Jesus is the exemplar of Intentional Suffering, and he underwent the Agony and Passion (both translations of tapas), with Intentionality and Purpose.

Later, the Desert Fathers followed the way of the Fakirs, like Simon the Stylite, who lived on top of a pole for years, of the other desrt fathers who wore wool cloaks, so that they would suffer an endless itching and disconforture, as a permanent reminding factor. The Arabic word for wool is "suf", so the term Sufi likely came from those Christians in North Africa who had learned from the Proto-Hindus, those of the Sanatana Dharma.

There is a rich tradition of suffering for Christ, without those who do so not realizing that they are folllowing a tradition of Intentional Suffering that goes back past the mists of recorded history.