Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WITW#16 To Serve Live Sacrifice becomes Grace - Einstein

"In the Service of Life; Sacrifice becomes Grace"

Albert Einstein: October 28, 1930

In terms of our Work, how do we see this? Is it "lip service"? Or something real? What do you FEEL about this Statement? 

Do we serve Life?
What can we Sacrifice?
What do we HAVE, to Sacrifice?
What would we be WILLING to sacrifice?

WITW#15): The Blind Spot

All things have a center, from which they whirl; the fingerprint has whorls; the hair on the skull has crowns, the spot where there is no hair and which serves as the center of the hair whorl; the eyes have blind spots where the optic nerve is attached; even Achilles had a place where his Mother held him which dipping him into the pool pf immortality, his heels.

The galaxies have large "black holes" at the center, and everything circulates around this center; why then should not Man have a ridgepole around which his personality revolves. I contend that he does, and it is called "Chief Feature;" a prevailing center around which the constellation of his personality whirls. We have been told by Mr. Gurdjieff that we cannot be told straight out what this is, as we will deny and rail against this fact, as it is two things: too close to our principle identification, and in a blind spot -- in our Subconscious and Unconscious aspects.

There is a well worn work story worth telling: Once two men in the Work decided to help each other by observing each other and discovering Chief feature in each other; after a set period they got together to discuss it. The first to speak told his friend that he had discovered the other's Chief feature and was invited to report it, and he told the other that he was "Argumentative." "Nonsense", said the other, "I am NOT argumentative, and you have lost your mind for thinking so, but I will tell you yours; and that is you are wishy-washy". Whereupon the second man asked the first, "do you really think so?".

This tells the tale. It is a VERY delicate matter, and not easily presented. A man will balk; will rail against this truth, will deny and squirm out of the insight. He has to find it himself, but also requires the presence of others. And this requires the face to face in person presence of those who are further on the way, or else a man will invent all sorts of glorious rubbish for himself, and as James declares in his New Testament letter, will be as men who look in a mirror, turn around and forget what they look like. This is a law.

Now, I spent nine months on this website, working my fingers to the bone participating and trying to see if anything essential could be conveyed over the internet. I got mixed results, but although "something" can be transmitted in words alone, a more important "something else" cannot.

NOTHING can take the place of an oral tradition, and by oral, it is meant that there be actual physical presence together, face to face. It is far too easy to hide behind pretty words and ideas, where the work is NOT. The ideas are NOT the Work. Words are NOT the Work; and only the Work is the Work, and it remains an oral and personal transmission. One can write cooking recipes of thousands of exercises, but as Mr. Gurdjieff has told us, there are general rules and Work for all, and then individual Work for each man, because each man bring with him, his life, which is his being, and the Work is a science of BEING, not of knowledge, or smarts, or of anything else.

So I have been visible here far less. It does not mean I have abandoned this group, only that I am Working, and working is not words and never will be. So I mean no judgement, but only state what I see. The vision of the fact that it is too easy to hide here; there are some who have come and set up "shop," who may not even realize that they have strayed far from the Work or never met it, but this I can be assured of. Those who do not find the Work itself will perish with their ideas; and "die like dogs", as Mr Gurdjieff would put it, and all of their know-how and knowledge will perish with them, and they will have squandered their lives in dispute and contention, arguing like "bon-ton" scientists, while the ship of the Work slips away.

Bless you all my friends. You will hear from me, but not in the manner of before.I cannot be as I was then. I have spent my "time" here, and found that I had to "move on," to "plunge into life" and swim in the "real world" rather than spend precious time blathering here. Enough blather. back to life, and back to the invisible Work.

WITW#14): Can I see me as the object you see?

I look out on the world, and people are objects who manifest in various ways. Can I look upon myself from their eyes, as an object traveling through their space? Can I separate from my self-centered view to a heliocentric view, forming an all seeing eye above me and those I interact with?

This requires a real effort, and a release of my personal requirements. My "requirements" are vast and varied, from having you do as I wish and love me at the same time, to telling the wind and the rain to stop, or something I have mishandled from falling and breaking on the floor. How can I develop an acceptance of what actually IS, without turning into some new age guru who says that everything is perfect if I just realize it?

It is NOT perfect, and will never become "perfect"; perfect things have no reason to change or to move, and thus cannot exist in this cosmos, which is asymmetrical. Can I accept that nothing including myself will ever be perfect?

I wish to work but at the same time large parts of me are lazy and prefer not to paddle, letting the current of life sweep me away, second by second.

I realize my nothingness, more and more -- that I will have NO effect on world history, or even wish to, and yet I wish to help. How can I help from where I actually am? Can an individual without a world stage role, help mankind - become conscious and develop conscience? And if so, does scale even matter? These are the questions in my consciousness of late. Any dialogue and exchange welcome. --Richard Lloyd

WITW#13): The Lazy Man's Building

   There was once a "man" who came upon the Work. He walked into the lobby and asked the doorman, "How many floors does this building have?" The doorman said, "many, perhaps 33 (conscious lying)"
"FANTASTIC" said the inquiring man and he ran home and got out his little toolbox. He came back and began building according to the architects rendering, but soon tired, so he began re-naming the floors 1 - 7 - 12 - 28 - 29, 31 and the luxurious penthouse, floor 33. 
Ah, I have written the law of seven into my building, having 7 floors. And the 33, this must mean first and second shock. And, the 33 must also stand for the 3 forces in the second generation; That of all Created Things
But he looked over at the Foundation and noticed that they had a lobby whereas he had failed in his haste to put in a lobby, so that those who wished in had to climb in a window. "Good"" said the man. Whereas across the street they just walk into the lobby, my method STARTS worth Work...climbing in the window of the first floor takes balance and maneuvering... as the windows are 3 feet off the ground, I am guiding people through the law of 3 before they even are aware of it" And he was satisfied.
The biggest problem was that nobody climbed into the window but thieves and weirdos, and those with a shred left of common-sense walked into the lobby, where they were given the first exercises, quiet work sensing the body and then it's breath. 
When those were told to, they went to the second floor they were given another set of instructions, etc... Nobody was truly satisfied because there were seemingly always floors above them, but the view got nicer and nicer. The "Pseudo-buidling" only had the windows on the "Ground floor/First floor, because the man who built it didn't want to "waste his time" putting windows on every floor. Those that went into the shorter building found themselves alone and in the dark (except for the other 'idiots' who had chosen the "fast route"), and they never got to meet the builder till they had climbed all seven floors, alone and in the dark.
But the Pseudo - Building got great reviews, from those had been inside and because it was shorter and seemed easier to reach the aim, whatever THAT might be. The real building shunned the reviewers; there were enough quality people with "common sense" (not that common, as we soon find out), and they had learned not to talk to strangers but only with those who had been in the building.
In the pseudo-bulding, because there were no windows, didn't even have a clue as to who had been in that building, because everything was done in total darkness; but those who came back out of the first floor windows took up teaching asap.
To those in false buildings, a shout out and a warning to those who haven't: Get out of that building asap, keep your mouth shut for a decade, and enter the building across the street, if you can find it (you may have been in the dark too long, and need to adjust to Sunlight).
Just a word to the unwise. The wise already know this.

WITW#12): A bit about "quiet work" (sitting/inner exercises)

I sit, and I seem to be present. I have asked all of my parts to help me. I am breathing and I notice that. No haste, just noticing. Just for now I feel quiet. I feel like I could stay here forever. I AM. Is there anything more that I can say which would be helpful?

Silence. No prayer, no mantra, no song.

From a meeting with Mr. Gurdjieff:

Question. work in revealing two worlds to us has revealed to me two different kinds of time. First, that of the body in which we live, the time of disquiet, of fear. And that time of remembering when there is neither disquiet nor anguish. Everyone contains in himself an explosive force which can contain in a very small packet a second force richer tthan 10 years of the life of the body. -- Of sleep. In my ordinary study I am afraid of losing time. I would like to know what time is.

Mr. Gurdjieff... you notice that the6re are two different times for you as there are two states -- the ordinary state, The habitual state in life and that state in which you remember yourself. That makes two different times -- one time to which you are used, and another time when you come to 6 rue des Colonels Reynard. The time in which you are used to understanding and receiving everything is the time of the rue des Colonel Reynard...

Now, if your fear comes up in the second time, that is to say, if you are afraid, sooner or later, of losing your time, then measure time by your state "I am": for this has a being, I am. With the head you say "I am" -- it must be felt with the entire presence, in all gestures, and at once it will change for you. Cosmic time will have to run as will be necessary for you. You are you. Even cosmic laws submit to unity, however small that unity may be..

WITW#10): A little Homage to Dietrich Bonhoeffer

A part that has stuck with me of late is that "One must obtain oneself at cost of oneself"
This is so often misunderstood, that life and death are two sides of the same coin. Each breath brings death to what has past, and each inhalation brings a new creation, in which we have been given a new abiding chance, to follow the instructions of our master.
Again, I will share that the 20th century martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote that "When Christ calls a man; he bids him come and die"
Bonhoeffer returned to Nazi Germany to lead the "Confessing Church", and spoke against Hitler and was banned from speaking. Later he was arrested and spent time in 9 differrent prisons and camps before being hung on April 9, 1945, on direct orders from Heinrich Himmler.
He was in New York being pleaded with not to return, but he followed that call to it's inevitable conclusion. When I read his slim volume "To Live Together" I could not be think of us, following Mr. Gurdjieff. Every page shouted it loud and clear. But to obey that call if it should come?
Who could do that? Only a MAN.
He who is called but shirks is not only a coward and traitor, but inherits the death of the dirty dog.
At least I see and understand my cowardice. It is a never ending pain; an abiding suffering of my minuscule self.

WITW#8 Creating the "Doppelgänger"

When I was about 3 years with the New York Gurdjieff Foundation I was placed in a writing workshop. As a result, my mentor in the work said that one day I might be able to write about the work. Here is what I wrote, as I kept it through the years:
There is a New Adventure, yet which is older than Time itself, and I am invited to participate in it, should I wish. We, as a people, have the memory of this wish embedded in us so deeply that we languor in the forgetting of its promise. 
We make our wish at birthday time and then turn away from its meaning with the extinguishment  of the candles and we turn again to our belief in the world which has trapped us.  At some point in the past I began asking people about the word wish and its meaning to them. I wanted to know if they thought that wishes could come true, and if they thought that there was such a thing as wish money–I believe that every human is given wish money at birth by one's Guardian Angels and from our forebears and even from our progeny, from the far distant future.  They impart to us sometimes small coins of wish, sometimes paper money and sometimes in trust funds large amounts, which when they mature we can gain huge spiritual advances if we are sensitive to them.
A friend of mine l in discussing wish, said that when he was a child is distinguished the coin of wish. He said that he knew the difference between little wish l, which cost pennies, and big wish which may cost more than we can pay. For him l, these wishes were not entered into lightly. He said for we have been allotted to us a certain amount of wish money (get the exact amount is always kept hidden from us )
I asked him l if there was ever a wish for which he knew that he could not pay and he said yes. He said that when he was younger l he wish to be on a rocket ship to the moon, and as he said this to me, I saw his cares fall away from him; his face lit up with glee and he became himself in a way which I had never seen of him–he looked about  20 years younger, and die, in that instant, knew that this was the wish of his had been answered, and in that wish he was given a moment free from gravity, and from the Earth's laws of encumbrance. 
In that moment l, hearing of his impossible wish, I also left behind the shackles of myself, and my self-imposed sorrow. Perhaps the only wish worthy of us l is that for which we have no means to pay. 
This is that New Adventure beckoning me, as old as I AM, and made of Starlight. There is a passage in “Fragments” which interests me. Mr. Gurdjieff is telling Mr. Ouspensky that in order for a man to move up in the Work One must put another Man in his place, and that this is a law. I had always taken this to mean l that one had to find another man in another physical body, in order to pass on a kind of understanding, but now I believe that there is a more sly way of tricking Great Nature and making our escape from the prison of horizontal life that we are forced to live in. 
I've come to believe that there is a trick being played on us.  How l do I escape from the laws which bind me here? The Moon and the Earth and the Planets need me, demand me, and will hunt me down with doubled efforts if I should abandon my place and try to run. No, if I am to escape I must fashion another–a dummy  to take my place. Only by fashioning a dummy to trick the guard as he does his head count will I have the time and the chance to escape.
I must create of myself a doppellganger.
This is the other man we must put in our place. As Zen l says so well: “Before enlightenment chop wood and carry water , after enlightenment chop wood and carry water” I cannot change this, but I can have Wish with a capital W.  And I can fashion another man–an inner man , fed by wish and not subject to the fierce demands of the moon.
For the outer man it is too late, and has always been too late. He will always get angry,–the moon has made him so, and he is made of dust and will return to dust–I must not cling to him. But I can and I will l make him a shell. Slowly I shall move within my wish. Slowly I shall build an ark l to live in so that the waters will not overtake me.  Yet at the same time, I will leave myself exactly where I am.
It is only in this way that one may pay l for this journey–this is the taking up of one's cross .  This is the payment demanded for such a wish. One must obtain oneself at the cost of Oneself.  My friend l had forgotten his wish and even how to wish. I also forgot how to wish.  But now I see a little, and my wish comes back, lingers a little and fades.  This then is my work, to gather myself against the tide, little buy little, and beckon to my wish.

Excuses; and a little talk about Siddhartha Buddha

Reasons that have been given for not joining a meet in person lineage group:
"This is boring"
"This is not what I expected"
"I don't like these people"
"These folks are not my 'type' of people"
"The sitting is tiresome"
"I had formed certain expectations which are not being met"
Things one loses by not proceeding against one's arguments and staying with the Group (assuming that they are direct lineage groups:
'Camaraderie between people that may cause friction because they can't stand each other"
'The sittings, where Mr. Gurdjieff's "secret inner exercises" are presented, always in first person singular"
'The possibility of being able to join in "movements classes"
The weekly meetings of one's "home group"
The opportunity to work together in one larger group, for a day, weekend, or week, and in the summer, sometimes for 10 day
The opportunity to be amongst people of greater and lesser "being", all driven to be there by the same aims, to work on themselves, with others and for the work itself"
The arousal of positive emotions such as compassion and tolerance towards those who seem lost"
The understanding that one is in a house of repair, and that the others are mirrors of one's own faults and vanities."
The strength of self-love preventing inclusion in a setting where you may not decide for yourself, the tasks to be undertaken" Of course we hear you say:
'The work seems too slow"
I would be better off on my own, than follow this motley crew"
'I am not a 'joiner" (then why go even to one meeting -- nothing can be ascertained by going to weekly meetings for sometimes a long time before a new feeling arises between members of your group"
'Nobody seems to be conscious here"
I am wasting my time with these idiots"
I am too smug and full of vanity to follow anyone else"
The leader is a jerk; the members are sheep"
The group is a fraud out to get my money"
It's a cult"
Gurdjieff was a shit, the memory of whom attracts morons and idiots"
I am as or more intelligent than anyone else here"
And So On....
So this list if for all of us to ponder; every new semester
(Yes, the foundations run in semesters and yearly cycles)
Every new semester begins with a question: "Why are you here? Why do you come back here year after year?" "Why do you spend your time in sometimes long travels to get here?  What do you expect to gain from coming here? And so on...
So I will ask it today: Why are the members here? What prompts some members to post a lot and others to remain silent? 
Once after a lengthy sitting (meditation if you like), a man approached Madame de Salzmann and told her it was a boring session and he kept falling asleep. He complained that the leader spent too much time between speaking and long periods of silence caused him great discomfort. She thought for a moment and asked him point blank:
"What did you do to help?"
That left our bored fellow with a great deal to think about. He thanked madame and turned and walked down the stairs in a much different state than when he sat through the dull and long sitting. Now here was again, life in his eyes, and Madame had bestowed upon him a precious gift, which changed his entire attitude towards the Work.
We Work to Serve: If I serve and there is excess, I "earn it" and little by little it adds up until it precipitates out and becomes the base of the Alchemical vessel that I need to create second body, and then nurture this new life within me just as I would an infant, whose blood is Hanbledzoin. The entire schemata of Mr. Gurdjieff's teachings are there.
Acknowledge the lower, Forge a proper vessel and become a vertical conduit and reach for the higher just as a schoolchild might raise his hand and plead: "Call on 'me', Teacher; Call on ME!"

Always ask of yourself, why? Ask of your manifesting self, WHY? Why am I acting as I am? What propels me? Self-love and Vanity, or having heard a call, perhaps a distant call, but familiar, and answer it by heading in it's direction. 
I call than being in possession of what is known as a "Lodestone". If you have a lodestone, you have found a rock that has become a permanent magnet. The ancient Chinese knew this, that if you strike off a sliver, it will float in water, and it will point true magnetic North and South; what Mr. G called a "Magnetic Center"

From then on, no matter the rush and direction of the lemmings, you KNOW the direction you are going, and knowing THAT yields a precious inner force, where nothing and nobody can dissuade you from reaching YOUR aim. Even if it takes turning around and going in the opposite direction of everybody else, YOU know you have the lodestone and can no longer be fooled, by anybody or anything.
Looking from above, even though a river ALWAYS runs down to the sea, it sometimes because of the obstacles and topography, seems to head in exactly the opposite direction - it still runs downhill to the sea. They call that a "switchback", and speaking personally, I have often been labeled with outlandish codes and snarky names and thought to be an imbecile who leads others astray, it has never been so.
Look at the life of the Buddha Siddharta: He ended up teaching the middle path for forty years, but he did not arrive at NirVana himself through the "middle path"; in fact, quite the opposite: he practiced austerities (Real Yoga and Study with many masters); When he looked like a dead man from a concentration camp he finally let a woman nurse him back to health.
After he recovered, his companions were mad as hell, hot under the collar that he had abandoned them. Siddhartha then chose a Pipal Tree and began a new practice of sitting and pondering:
"When did I feel the most happiness in my life?" 
And he remembered an experience when he was nine years old ad had sat under a similar tree and had suddenly been overtaken by sensations of the beauty of nature and not that he was loved, but that he loved, and he allowed this loving to grow; he felt compassion and mercy for all things as they grow, whither and die.
But this no longer bothered him, as he saw the rounds of nature passing through his mind. He then felt great indifference towards the inevitable changes that anything in nature is subject to; He felt a great friendliness towards everything and all creatures large and small; good or bad suddenly made no difference, because, and this is the most important part.
Buddha did not feel these sensations and feelings towards himself, but only outwardly from his innermost nature. Then he began to teach. He had reached NirVana, a compound word meaning literally No (Nir) Wind (Vana). In the state of nirvana one's flame of life burns without being subject to any wind or breeze. It is an equanimity with regards to ALL things, self included.
But Siddhartha Buddha taught the "middle path", even though he did not reach his nirvana except through "Super-Efforts" that nearly killed him.
Gurdjieff was asked, "Mr. Gurdjieff, can we become as you are?" and Gurdjieff replied, "Yes, only to have suffered as I have suffered." 
No easy task no matter how you look at it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

WITW#7: Why did Ouspensky Leave Gurdjieff?

I have been asked to comment on this question. It is a very complex question, and it is far in the past. Mr. Ouspensky died in 1947 and Mr. Gurdjieff died in 1949, and I was born in 1951, so I knew neither man personal as an adult or as a child within this incarnation. I am however an ardent student who has never ceased from studying the subjects that interest me. This has always included all of the sciences as well as the religions and spiritual disciplines that have reached the earth. When I first met my first teacher in the work, who had known Mr. Gurdjieff as a teenager and whose parents were some of his first followers in New York during the 1920s, she said something to me and I replied. She said, "if you are looking for a Guru, you're coming to the wrong place, because I am not a Guru." I replied, and I repeat verbatim, "That's good, because I am Guru-proof". This has always been true of me, but I took Mr. Gurdjieff as my teacher, and he IS my teacher. Not was, not will be, but IS. I have also read every published word of Mr. Ouspensky as well as some of the unpublished documents which are at Yale.

Now I have to go and enter life and meet my obligations. The great thing about a blog is that it can be edited, so as soon as I get an opportunity, I will continue to ask and meet the question, as it is an extremely important and revealing question. Remember that there are within us elements of the Tramp, Lunatic and Obyvatel, in varying proportion, and most of us are drunk on Moonshine or schizophrenic (literal translation -- broken soul) or madder than Hatters. We all have buffers within us so that we do not see our complications. But I will try to take myself by my own hand and with a gentle affectionate compassion I will address our question... in a little while. I am a patient man, and I abide by that virtue -- I know delayed gratification and how to remain hungry and thirsty.

Mr. Ouspensky was an incredible man, blessed with a towering intellect and a decided realization that the world was wrong, and that somewhere was an underground stream of perfect knowledge and tradition. He claims, as I do, that he was never a child or an infant -- that he was born quite old. This is not to say that he did not wear the mask of a child, but that he saw through it, and felt that the loneliness that I felt when I was a child among children. I speak for myself when I say that I could find no Child or children who were interested in the subjects I was interested in, so I learned to wear the mask of a child and perhaps I even enjoyed; in fact I certainly enjoyed some of the aspects of being a child, like playing on a swing or playing tag or taking other childlike risks when the adults weren't around to speak the poisonous words "be careful."

As Mr. Ouspensky grew, he began to search. He joined the theosophical foundation and became one of its rising stars. He had a method of oration that drew people to him. He could expound on the most sublime and elusive subjects with incredible clarity. He had an almost flawless memory and could recite almost anything that passed before his eyes or ears. He therefore drew large crowds who listened to his lectures, mostly about the most abstruse subjects concerned with the destiny and fate of man, and the hidden knowledge which he had sought after.

He became a journalist and did quite well, having his own byline and writing about whatever suited him. Therefore his journalism was much praised and respected. At a certain point in his life he reached a crux point; he was convinced that somewhere in the world there still remained authentic schools of knowledge and of learning which have been made invisible but permanent, and which contain all the knowledge and wisdom of mankind all the way back through the mists of recorded history. With his stipend from the newspaper he gathered his things and went on a long journey through India and Ceylon and many other places. He spoke with many gurus and visited many so-called schools. Some of these were real and some were phony, and being incredibly astute Mr. Ouspensky could taste the difference. The problems with the real schools where that one needed to submit one's entire outer life, at least for a time, and retreat from the world and its distractions in order to come to some real results. As Mr. Ouspensky was a journalist first, he could not agree to any such terms, and so he moved on. He used a number of narcotics and drugs that were available at the time which opened many doors which otherwise cannot be opened. However, when these doors have been shown to you and opened, one should no longer need the drug to find the door and to open it. Ouspensky knew this, so like Rene Daumal, these were not addictions but experiments.

It can be said that he both found what he was looking for as well is that he did not find what he was looking for, because he did not submit to any particular discipline or guru, and upon returning to Russia he was greatly discouraged. He planned another trip, but in his time back at home he gave a series of lectures on the topic of "In Search of The Miraculous", which drew thousands wishing to hear of his discoveries and adventures.

Now this was in 1913. In 1912, Mr. Gurdjieff began his outward teaching in Moscow and then later in St. Petersburg, gathering disciples and students around him very carefully, picking types to work with. When he got wind of Mr. Ouspensky, he asked his students to read everything that Ouspensky had written and to make a report to him about Mr. Ouspensky's strengths and weaknesses -- his knowledge and understanding and lacks thereof. This his students did, and Mr. Gurdjieff decided that he could use Ouspensky to further his aim, which at this time was left unrevealed. He told one of the Russians, a certain Dr., to "inveigle" Mr. Ouspensky -- that is, To pique his interest, which the good doctor did. After causing Mr. Ouspensky a great deal of trouble he arranged for a meeting for Ouspensky with Mr. Gurdjieff.

At this meeting, which is well recorded, Mr. Gurdjieff played all of his tricks of placing obstacles in a man's path, which he has to cross in order to meet Mr. Gurdjieff. Mr. Ouspensky left the meeting with an incredible feeling of peace and love and dancing feet. He told his then girlfriend that what he had been looking for all over the world he had now found at home in Russia with this man -- Mr. Gurdjieff.

Now Ouspensky was introduced to one of Mr. Gurdjieff's groups, and allowed to join. Mr. Gurdjieff allowed no note taking or writing down of anything that was said or spoken of in the groups, but Mr. Ouspensky told Mr. Gurdjieff that his outer life was that of a journalist, and unless he were permitted to write it would not be able to follow. Mr. Gurdjieff gave him permission tacitly that he could write down whatever he could commit to memory, but not to write in the presence of the others or while in the group, so Mr. Ouspensky, with his prodigious memory, would run home and quickly write down everything that he could remember. This was the beginning of the book that Mr. Ouspensky called "Fragments of an Unknown Teaching."

The book became ISOM, and it is a journalistic report of Mr. Ouspensky's time with Mr. Gurdjieff. Mr. Ouspensky had some fixed ideas -- one of the most compelling was the notion of his desire to know the future and his concepts of recurrence, which he had taken from Nietzsche. Mr. Gurdjieff frustrated this question and refused to answer it to Mr. Ouspensky's satisfaction. Even in the moment where Mr. Gurdjieff sees Mr. Ouspensky enter the Café in a sad face and offered to answer him any question that was put to him, Mr. Gurdjieff already knew what Mr. Ouspensky would be asking. It was about recurrence, and although Mr. Gurdjieff answered him with great clarity, he only used it to show how easily Mr. Ouspensky was turned from sad to happy. Mr. Ouspensky was a man number 3-2-1, and those who really knew him knew of him as a really pleasant person, good to be around -- as Mr. Gurdjieff says, good to drink whiskey with, and with a deep sentimental nature. But at the same time, Mr. Ouspensky was in a kind of trap-- he wanted to become conscious but he did not want to suffer conscience, and he was something of a dualist; what I mean is that he did not want to work with the body -- he loved to ride horses but he did not like the movements which Mr. Gurdjieff taught, and he completely balked at what Mr. Gurdjieff called duliotherapy -- which is crudely translated as slave therapy -- where a man submits his will completely and absolutely in order to develop real will of his own -- which replaces the confluence of desires and aversions that constitute a man as he is mechanically driven from the outer world. This submission, which is the exact translation of the word Islam, was something that Mr. Ouspensky could not submit to, and in addition, during a trip to Finland, after three years work with Mr. Gurdjieff, he was granted a taste of what he had been asking for -- objective consciousness. This was preceded by his taking it upon himself without consulting Mr. Gurdjieff, a series of fasting and breathing exercises and other such procedures.

When Mr. Gurdjieff noticed Ouspensky in this state, he communicated to him telepathically that Mr. Ouspensky had disobeyed Mr. Gurdjieff's teachings, and he told him that finally, Ouspensky had gotten exactly what he wanted and he might as well enjoy it -- but it scared Mr. Ouspensky to the core, and Mr. Gurdjieff puts certain conditions upon him if he wished to continue in Mr. Gurdjieff's company. In Mr. Ouspensky's constellation of character attributes and flaws, he could not accept these conditions, and mistakenly referred to them as Mr. Gurdjieff moving in a religious direction; the kind of obedience that he had been asked for by gurus of the real schools in India, and which he could not accept. Now he was brought to a barrier. Every man in the Work reaches barriers, which if he allows them to turn him aside, stops everything in a dead stop.

So Ouspensky began to separate from Mr. Gurdjieff, with a resentment -- which is from the French and means "to feel again". Eventually Mr. Ouspensky settled in England, having his escape from the Russian Revolution paid for by a wealthy English woman, and he set himself up as a professional teacher of the Work, which he called the System. He refused to acknowledge Mr. Gurdjieff except by his first letter, "G". This did not happen until 1924, right before the accident of Mr. Gurdjieff's. Mr. Ouspensky even hosted Mr. Gurdjieff when he visited England, but was personally insulted when Mr. Gurdjieff did not let him translate but instead brought a secretary/translator whom he insisted was better at translating into English than Ouspensky. This crushed Mr. Ouspensky's self-esteem and made him look like a student in front of his own students. That was probably the breaking point.

Whereas Mr. Gurdjieff's aim was never work with a single person or group of people, which he called his guinea pigs or lab rats, but his aim was to bring a dispensation of spiritual insight which is superior to any other before given to mankind. In every age man is given a spiritual impulse which begins with a warning and which is followed by a solution. As this enters into the world the solution is forgotten, and the warning is disregarded, and all that is left is a dribble of the teaching which is no longer teaching, but becomes the subject of discussion and argument and dispute.

This is already happening to Mr. Gurdjieff's Work, and it is by law, that is -- lawful. It happens here on WITW, as well as anywhere else where Mr. Gurdjieff's ideas are spoken about. The ideas are not the Work. The principles are not the Work, and Mr. Ouspensky, who had a very magnetically attractive personality and who taught only through lecture and in answering questions centripetally, has formed a bridge towards Mr. Gurdjieff. We have much to thank him for, but he was also a weak man -- who became a professional philosopher/teacher.

His entire life was spent lamenting his break with Mr. Gurdjieff, and his sentimentality was only increased by his constant and increasing use of alcohol. Finally, with a reasonable degree of medical certainty, he suffered a series of strokes which left him rather helpless and defenseless. He died in a period of great sorrow, trying to regain a sense of where he had been by revisiting old places. He forever wished to return to Russia, but it was not to be.

Ouspensky is neither a man to disregard or hate; neither is he a man to love unabashedly. As I have said, he was in possession of a towering intellect and a prodigious memory and in his meetings with those who became interested in the ideas, he was essentially flawless -- his answers are an extraordinary accomplishment, but at the same time, he could not submit and he met a barrier he could not cross. Sadly, Mr. Gurdjieff was obligated by a very high law under which he served, so that he could not avoid placing that barrier across Mr. Ouspensky's path.

You see, conscious love is not sentimental. The light is not kind, and the truth is indigestible. Part of our Work is to create new stomachs, which can handle truths about ourselves that otherwise would cause us to run screaming like the painting, "The Scream."

Now, I am interested in your impressions of my attempt to meet the question honestly and from the deepest place in me that I can reach just now. Love of the Work -- Richard

WITW#6: Africa. A New Impression

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.

WITW #5 The Cosmic Sacrificing Satan

This is an ancient story which belongs to an esoteric musical theorem that I follow. It has concordance with the ideas of Mr. Gurdjieff, but is not from his Work directly.

The Cosmic Sacrificing Satan

In the beginning, the Creator was alone, in the ratio 1:1, and having unopposed Will, Being and Consciousness, he deigned to create a universe to enjoy so he moved in a dream away from himself and looked back. This was the Ratio of 2:1, but being of God's own nature, it was perfect and equivalent and he only stared back at himself. This in music is the "octave".

Being perfect has significant problems. Anything that is perfect has no reason to change and no reason to move, so that the Creator was at a standstill. No "time" or "space" existed. Without "time" or "space" the universe collapsed back into the unsullied being of the Creator.

Again and again the Creator tried to create a universe to enjoy but each attempt brought the same results. No time or space and no change or movement, so that his creation kept going "poof" and dissolving back into his perfect nature.

Being lonely, he decided to create companions for himself so he created the Archangels which were also perfect, one on each side of him. To his right was Lucifer, the light-bringer and guardian of energy, and to his left Gabriel, the guardian of matter. These stood in Ratios of 3:2 and 4:3 and were the first Holy Trinity with no faults or flaws.

Still, being perfect in Trinity, the Creator was stymied. There was no "time" in which events could occur nor "space" for them to occur in. So he asked a favor of the Archangels; asking who loved him enough to diminish himself and take on the role of the Satan, which means opposer. This would be a being that would create asymmetry in the universe, making it imperfect, and allowing things to have a wish for movement and change. Something would need to act as a stopgap, not allowing any created thing to achieve perfection. This would enable the creation to rotate and swirl in an everlasting movement of agony and hope.

Lucifer the first born stepped up and declared that he would diminish himself. In music this is the most dissonant interval, in a ratio of 45:32, and is called the Devil's Interval, and is as far away from the 1 as possible. So the Creator let Lucifer be diminished, and asymmetry was born, and with it, "time" and "space". Lucifer became the "Cosmic Prodigal Son", who denies any created thing from reaching perfection, because if any single thing reached perfection, the entire universe would disappear.

In music, Satan created all the dissonance, and the Devil's Interval (1 -- bV -- I) is the ground root of all musical movement by reason of it's extreme dissonance which demands resolution, and makes music as well as all things "move" and "change". In Music this is called the Cycle of Fifths/Fourths and it has 12 stations or "notes" which rotate around in an endless spiral. Just as the Major scale is the static law of music; all scales and chords coming from it, the cycle of Fifths is the involutionary movement, the Divine Fiat of the creator, and movements along the Cycle of Fourths are the hope of all things who have found themselves in the world of multiplicity to return to the bosom of the Creator. But they are not allowed to do so, by the denying force of the opposer.

If this is understood, as the musical form of the Enneagram, all things can be understood. There is a saying:

"If you wish to know God, make very good friends with the Devil, because they are in cahoots; always have been, always will be".


WITW #4: A Heated Argument Groups vs. Loners

Jim Turner and I were discussing the act of learning to walk. As infants we watch the people around us and because we see them walking eventually we begin to try to stand up and walk ourselves. This is an arduous learning process; so much so that I often turn it on its head and state that in learning to fall I had to first learn to stand up. In any case, toddlers walk and fall incessantly–they climb stairs with the same foot until they master the complex movement patterns required to walk up a flight of stairs using both legs. I like to lose. I prefer it as a conscious choice, because losing consciously is better than BEATING the other guy. And what's the FIRST thing they teach in any martial arts class -- how to fall. Learn to fall and one can learn to roll right back up. Now back to our show... There are those who learn to walk because they live among other people who can walk, or...

Then there are the “wild–children”. It is a matter of historical fact that children have been found that may have been abandoned and taken care of by animals and to grow up to be healthy human beings with the exception of the fact that they cannot walk–they often walk on all fours; they cannot speak beyond a certain kind of grunting and animal sounds. One such child found in France and studied over many years was impervious to temperature, and would sleep naked in the snow with no ill effects. But he could not walk without an intense process of learning, and in learning to talk, these "wild" children (in there past 200 years quite a few have been found), very little beyond rudimentary garbled language skills could be taught them.

How does this relate to The Work? 

Well, I am speaking to the Group Despisers and Group Deniers and Loners who think that they can learn and practice the Work via books and other materials. You may gather loads of "information", and even think you understand some of the diagrams and lectures given by Gurdjieff, but you don't and you CAN'T be in a teaching that at every turn commends every reader to locate others who ARE IN the Work, and where there are senior people who know how to "WALK".

i am sorry kids, but anyone who continues to argue against the concept that a group is necessary (not forever, but for a long time - it's a school for adults) and that one must find others in the Work IN PERSON are fooling themselves and are warts on this site. They can talk, but when they read any literature regarding the Work and the absolute and invariable law that one must submit one's will to others, and especially a senior member who knows how to walk, they must have felt nausea reading those sections or perhaps they used a magic marker to delete the strict instructions which are given to EVERYONE WITH NO EXCEPTIONS.

I took a magic marker and the Ouspensky Book "Fragments of an Unknown Teaching "ISOM" and I blacked out EVERYTHING BUT THE ACTUAL WORDS OF "G". Turned out that I still had 90% of the book intact. This was when people would quote G and attribute it to O. I researched and verified FOR MYSELF what was said by "G", and the reportage written  by "O". My first teacher asked me to bring it in and was floored that I had gone to so much trouble to differentiate what "G" said and what "O" said.

Not a "super-effort" but a determined one to get things delineated properly, and IF YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN OR ARE NOT CONNECTED WITH THE WORK YOU AREN'T IN THE WORK. Sorry, you may be able to talk a blue streak, but you can't walk, skip, leap or run. Every piece of advice that fouls the air around here is from people who are AFRAID. Of what? I don't know and I don't care, but even the "Objective Way" is not what you think it is. The Staircase isn't what you think it is, and the inner WORK ISN'T WHAT YOU THINK IT IS.

Even crawling is stupid if done alone. Find and go to a school, or you are just a worthless new age delinquent.

WITW#3: The Enneagram of the Sun

Please cut and paste to view the video.
Order in the Solar System principally depends upon the Sun, which has been seen as the representative of the Deity throughout the entire history of man. Now, scientists are studying the Sun more closely, with various satellites and we have found that the Sun produces Music, as well as containing within it the figure of an Enneagram. I doubt that anyone not connected with the work would understand the figure. But it blows my mind.
This should be startling at least. Completely flabbergasting anyone who does not serve the Sun and its representative, Great Nature, as humble servants.
Above, I have placed a URL to a video which was created by the European Solar Agency (credit: ESA). In combination with NASA. It is extraordinary, how many different nations contributed to this effort.
But it is revealing secrets of the Sun which have never before been known. How then, did Mr. Gurdjieff know about the Enneagram, which is part of the musical structure of the Sun?
In the above video, which is about the music produced by the Sun, the Enneagram appears at 1 min. and 31 seconds  in chapter 4 of a movie that lasts about a half an hour and if one watches the entire movie the Enneagram is  shown at 13 min. and 21 seconds.
One should note that the Enneagram  is upside down and all the lines are curves with the outer solfege  closer to the surface whereas the triangle which points downwards is arched considerably towards the center of the magnetic field of the sun.
The Enneagram which is shown does not contain the inner circulation and appears upside down. This should be made clear so that the Enneagram because the Enneagram which is shown during the film also uses curved lines because they are adhering to magnetic forces and magnetic fields within the Sun, but for anyone in the work who has  looked at or studied the Enneagram,  it should be easy to see.
Also in this video, it is shown how the sun wobbles between 2 tones, and as more and more lines are added you finally get a perfect image of a sunflower. To me, this is simply mind blowing. And Mr. Gurdjieff introduced the Enneagram  to his students sometime between 1914 and 1918.
It is sometimes said that we either serve the Sun and Solar System or we serve the Moon. Here it is shown in an undeniable manner, that the Sun contains all the patterns which affect the Earth.
I would like to hear comments from any of the other members of What Is the Work?, after viewing this very short but illuminating video. I do not fully understand it, and think it presents myriad questions to us who follow the work. Thank you.