Guidance for going
This month's contents:
The World's Ill-Health by Alfred Pulyan | Poems by Shawn Nevins | Richard Rose Quotes & Notes on Spiritual Action (part 2) by Paul Constant | Unfulfilled Desires by Nisargadatta | Gurdjieff by Bob Fergeson | Aphorisms of G.I. Gurdjieff | How Is It Possible? by Art Ticknor | Humor
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Originally published in The Aberree Volume 7, Issue 3, June 1960
You are going to loathe this article, the whole 3,000,000,000 of you. (ED. NOTE — Oh, come now, Alfred, The ABERREE hasn't that many readers!) But what do you expect a friend to do, butter you up or tell you what really is wrong, basically and fundamentally? As Alphia said last month, God looked nowhere and saw there was a lot of nothing there and so he made or "created" Adam and Eve from it and the whole universe besides. That's how Adam and Eve started but neither that couple nor their descendants are ever going to finish. They are independent and separate now and their immortal souls—yours too—are going on forever and ever and ever.
Since we have to die after a few years, that leaves a lot of infinity after death that has to be explained. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have their own official theories about this but the majority of people are a trifle doubtful. Hence the popularity of a little "direct action" by means of Spiritualism and mediums.
Thus only one end of our immortal soul's existence is tidily explained—we were made from nothing. The other end—the infinite end—is decidedly "untidy" and confused.
Another group of religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism—believes we came from God and return to God and are never anything else but God. In practice, however, the Oriental is just as ego-ridden and "touchy" as his egotistic, immortal-soul brother in this country. If you asked a Japanese waiter in a Tokyo restaurant about koans and satori, he would look as blank as the average person here if a Japanese visitor asked him about Logos.
The ideal of ego is simple. It is to gain complete control so that you are reduced to a sort of plaster statue, when you get older, with two pathetic little eyes popping out. If you don't die sooner.
F. Matthies Alexander in England and a host of others here have explained how these pernicious tensions work. By the time they break out, at the weakest points, into specific and named diseases, they are affairs for the physician and surgeon. Before that, as Harold D. Kinney said last month, the developing disease process should be recognized and stopped. There are of course exercises. The way to relieve a muscle tension, as every physiotherapist knows is paradoxically to increase it, even to and beyond the pain-point. Such physical means are very helpful, but they are not enough.
Once again the result has been removed but not the cause, which still continues. Nor have we considered the mental side, the anxieties, unhappiness, boredom, lack of love, neuroses, psychoses. The cause is ego's wrong idea of himself—that he "decides." He cannot stop it, either, since to decide not to decide is a joke. He doesn't want to be boss, perhaps, and yet he is stuck with it—stuck with it forever and ever and ever.
Ego is a nice Latin word so let us say "self"—you, my dear sir, and you, madam.
Once in awhile, ego gives in, surrenders, and to the great advantage of the organism which can do very well indeed without interference, as it does every night while we sleep. Then there are "cures" which we call miraculous, as at Lourdes, by Christian Science, by such as Oral Roberts.
They happen all right, but as I said, "once in awhile." Nor does it matter what you believe in if you can only go so far as to lose yourself for a moment. It is far from easy.
There is a great reward for this difficult surrender. What we call God and many other names reaches into every part of your organism and stops the rot. If deterioration has not gone too far, the reverse process—or improvement—begins. It can be sudden or slow, physical and mental.
It is not only human beings who deteriorate more than they should with age; it is also society. At the present moment, we are faced with the end-result of tensions in world affairs caused by and analogous to those in human individuals. If you live in a city, your life depends on some individual in a foreign country who does not even know you. His missile is aimed; pressure on the button awaits only a telephone call. In the near future, you may actually see your potential death circling the globe regularly as a satellite with a nuclear warhead.
Maybe 2 billion persons out of the 3 billion in the world actually profess a belief in God under that or some other name, and most of the other billion have some vague substitute. Nevertheless, they are not interested in even attempting this direct breakthru to the One Self.
Gautama, after his enlightenment, thought for weeks about whether he should even attempt to bring it to the people. Jesus knew constant frustration. Few would listen to him today.
Today, articles on this most wonderful of all possibilities provoke no action and are read with a complete mental block. Men of splendid intellects, quick to catch the slightest clue in other matters, research workers, scientists—all three will be as blind to this article as to my three others in this magazine, which are now as dead as yesterday's newspaper.
However, if it is God's will, this will spread to cover the entire earth. If not, some reader who delights in outrageous paradoxes may find this one the most fantastic of all—that people will give their lives and fortunes for anything less than the truth, but for the one absolute truth will hardly lift an eyebrow. The one absolute truth is that God can be known as well and as closely as you know your best friend. That is what life is for. I know.
A waterfall slowly erodes its foundation -
These words are like pixels made too large;
I hesitate to start with the word "I."
In a moment like this
The pages of my notebook fan in the breeze,
Continued from the May 2007 TAT Forum...
"Fight like hell but don't give a damn."
"You trap yourself, thinking you're doing something. Build power. If you think you're moving something, then you're trapped."
"Allow yourself to think—don't force it. Let yourself be inspired. Even if you don't know the source of inspiration, it doesn't matter."
"We should ignore the elements of adversity, yet we should never ignore them."
"There's no place to look, no place to go. Incessant looking is the only sure factor. No task is justifiable until a person has defined himself. Definition is the first task."
"When you're climbing the [spiritual] ladder, it doesn't matter how many rungs there are, but whether or not it wobbles."
"Anyone can be aware that they are conscious, but it requires a realization to be conscious or aware of awareness."
"Don't be too self critical because it can become a major mental time consumer in itself. Just watch and function as a vector."
"A man must have the common sense or intelligence to discern between that which is foolish and that which is our main ambition, which is becoming."
"A man should make a decision that will add to the vector, and then drop it. Sticking to that decision will add one more piece to the vector. And the bait, in the form of beautiful opportunities, will test that decision. If we deny energy in one area of our lives, it will be harvested through these opportunities."
"A man who is sincere and makes philosophy his life's endeavor, will emanate that sincerity. A man who thinks it and lives it will touch the intuition of others."
A person must not only set his mind to do something, but he must avoid all distractions, even the smallest. For example, while meditating, you might decide you're thirsty and want a glass of water, but once you break the meditation, you won't get back to it. The mind tires—your direction is opposed.
If a man decides to do something, no matter how irrelevant to his path, he must carry through with his commitment. To waver anytime on the small things may create the disposition to do so with his philosophy.
"A man can have an Experience through trauma, or by being an extremely sensitive individual, or through an intense search for Truth."
"Action may mean going out and finding others who are looking for Truth. Action may mean avoiding mental distractions. Or action may mean avoiding situations which may debilitate the senses or impair the mind."
"Find a circle of friends."
One thing: A man who begins to look for a meaning behind life.
Everything: He then looks into everything that will give him a possible answer. For example, astrology, yoga, and philosophical systems.
Nothing: After an intense search, he gives up. He may then possibly experience a profound realization. Nothingness descends on him.
"The objective is not to convince people that you are telling the truth. The objective is to ask questions that challenge their thinking to the point that they will begin to retreat from error."
"One of the greatest forces of adversity is logic and definition. Our definition of an object is based on what it is not. We do not adequately define the object, but accept as fact that which someone else says. If we cannot even define an ant, how can we expect to define Truth? In seeking relative truth, we need to do a little more questioning rather than accepting. And hopefully the questioning will lead to a direct perception of Truth."
"A commitment should not be broken until it is fulfilled, or until someone is found to replace you."
"A person will not experience a breakthrough until he encounters a series of disasters and challenges, and then he must act against those challenges."
"A friend on the path should serve as a mirror to point out egos and distractive tendencies."
"You will go nowhere until you teach."
"You do not search for the sake of success or failure, but because there is no alternative to the search."
"Attempting to form a spiritual group is never a total failure, because even if things don't work out, you will have learned from your mistakes."
"You don't develop a philosophy because 'develop' implies piling concepts one on top of the other. Instead, you become. The best explanation of the Albigen System is that it is a story of discovery [Richard Rose's story]."
Conveying an enlightenment experience through mind-to-mind transmission (Zen) before the student is ready will only result in "entertainment value," and may actually stop a student from seeking further.
It is best not to advocate a discipline—just remove obstacles. Disciplines become mechanistic.
The forces of adversity consist of many factors and are therefore too complex to combat directly.
"My books provide the next level of the search for those interested in direction."
We must work on the problem and gain ground, inch by inch. For example, if giving up cigarettes results in more control, then you've gained an inch.
"If you find a door, work like hell."
If you encounter a person who is interested in finding an answer, then spend time with them. Otherwise, don't waste time on those who are not interested.
"Profound philosophical ideas cannot be conveyed by a spiritual teacher, because the student soon forgets. The student must have realizations and experience change for himself, then he will never forget."
"Nothingness does not have a polar opposite called everythingness. It cannot be grasped by the mind, but only realized."
"I can't favor anyone. A man's hunger for the Truth will determine the possibility of receiving a [mind-to-mind] transmission."
In order to die properly, a person must go to the process of not caring, not fearing, not fighting. You cannot prepare for death—can you prepare for stepping off an abyss? This correlates to most true philosophical systems, which aim toward stopping the mind. Results cannot be predicted, though, when the mind finally stops.
One of the major problems among those in the group [i.e., TAT Foundation] is the inability to focus, because esotericism is intangible, and the mind dislikes abstract, intangible ideas.
"The desire for Truth gets a response from the other side, whether it be guardian angels, entities, or dead relatives. You get a response if you call loud enough."
"I don't advise meditation because it can become a distraction." (Note: in this context, Rose means a daily structured practice would not provide results for those who have studied philosophy for a while. Reviewing past traumatic experiences is beneficial for someone starting out on the path, as outlined in his Meditation booklet.)
"Everybody has a slightly different experience. The light shines through the cathedral windows a lot differently than through the outhouse windows, but it's the same light. Different refractions are written by the different refractors [i.e., the experiencers]."
It is impossible to measure progress on the path, just as it is difficult to verbalize change of Being. Things will "pop" by steadily pounding away at the problem—small realizations will occur. Let intuition be the guide.
The three steps or signs to abandoning the path of esoteric philosophy:
1. A sense of hopelessness.
2. Getting tired and abandoning the path.
3. Ridiculing the path.
"You are your own best company." (In reference to the search for Truth and the inner Self.)
~ Visit the SearchWithin Download Center for more "quotes and notes."
In this edition of the Missal [November 2006], we finish our series on the teachers of the Fourth Way with a look at its founder, G.I. Gurdjieff (1877?-1949). Gurdjieff, a mystic, teacher, and personality from the early part of the 20th century, was born in Alexandropo, Armenia. He grew up in Kars, and traveled to Central Asia, Egypt and Rome before returning to Russia and teaching in Moscow and St. Petersburg in 1913.
He began to form a group or "school" based on a spiritual teaching he called "the Work." He claimed he had learned this teaching somewhere in the Caucasus region of Central Asia in the years he spent wandering through the East. The origins were unknown except by his own account, given in his book, Meetings With Remarkable Men. He and his group of followers moved frequently, traveling around Russia and Europe during the tumultuous years following WW I, until settling into an estate, the Château du Prieuré, near Fontainebleau, France in 1922. He called his new school The Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man. His teaching methods were demanding, pushing his students into difficult situations in life and at the school. Stories of life at the Institute at Fountain bleu provide a good look at his methods of bringing his students to see themselves.
"Remember you come here having already understood the necessity of struggling with yourself—only with yourself. Therefore thank everyone who gives you the opportunity." —Gurdjieff
By this time he had gathered a dedicated following, including P.D. Ouspensky and Maurice Nicoll. Following a near fatal car crash, the school faded, and Gurdjieff devoted his time to writing. His books, Views from the Real World, Life is Real Only When I Am, and the weighty tome Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, are, in my opinion, somewhat unapproachable. His teaching is perhaps better seen through the work of his students, particularly Ouspensky and Nicoll. His main asset was his effect upon those who met him, for he was said to have power and a commanding presence, leaving a lasting impression and bringing many into the Work from this alone.
His teaching centered around the idea that Man as he is, is not complete and must work to achieve the state of oneness, of having a permanent "I." As we are, we have many different personality patterns and inner voices, all of which call themselves "I." He called his tradition, the process of becoming one real, permanent "I," the Work, and his school or path, The Fourth Way. The Fourth Way was the way of the sly man, while the first he called the way of the ascetic, the second, the way of the monk, and the third, the way of the yogi.
Another of the main points of the Work was that man is asleep, that he does not remember himself but lives in dreams and identification with his personality. Gurdjieff emphasized "self-remembering," a method akin to mindfulness, to help wake the student and show him this state of trance or sleep. This led to his distinction between man as personality and man as essence. He said that essence was what we are born with, what is permanent in us. Personality is what we have acquired by accident and circumstance here in this life, and is transient, being connected only with experience. Essence is active in us when we are little children, but soon becomes buried under personality. Paradoxically, we must develop a working personality for essence to later develop, for only essence can be self-conscious. He emphasized that only a man who was capable, what he called "Good Householder," was ready for the Work. Men who were not fit to work were called tramps, those who traveled from one teacher to another but never worked on themselves (dharma bums), and lunatics, those who thought the Work was about changing the world and others, not themselves.
He continued to teach and write until his death in 1949. In his last days, he would host dinner parties, where he would engage his guests in the ceremony of "The Toasts to the Idiots," in which each guest, or idiot, would receive his dose of confrontation from Gurdjieff himself. The following quote serves to illustrate this propensity of Gurdjieff's to burst bubbles during this later part of his life:
"... Whomever I should meet, for business, commerce or any other purpose, whether an old or new acquaintance, and whatever his social standing might be, I had immediately to discover his 'most sensitive corn' and 'press' it rather hard." —Gurdjieff
How is it possible that you know you're conscious?
Did you ever stop to consider that? Now is the perfect opportunity to do so....
What rationalization will you give yourself to keep moving instead? What excuse will an outer part of yourself use to fool a more inner part? That need to keep moving is based on fear, on lesser desires, and on false pride.
To know that you're conscious, "something" must be staring at itself. What is it that can stare at itself?
Did you keep reading, keep moving, keep running from the "hound of heaven" when you read the previous paragraph?
Knowing that you're consciousness isn't like pulling one of your eyes out of its socket so that it can stare at the other eye. In that case, each eye would still be seeing the other eye, not itself. But that analogy is basically what we say is going on when we try to explain self-consciousness to ourselves, isn't it. You may tell yourself: I'm what's aware—aware of objects outside myself and aware of thoughts and feelings inside myself; but I'm also aware that I'm what's aware. There's me #1 that's conscious of the world, that looks out and sees objects outside and inside myself. And then there's me #2 that looks back and is aware of me #1.
Are there really two of you, both apparently performing the same function—"me" here in the foreground, aware that in the background is the "me" that's aware?
Intuitively we know that isn't the case. But to become whole or complete we have to know what we are at the core of our being. And that knowing involves climbing to the top of the triangle whose baseline is formed by the above opposition.
The Buddha raised one flower
Sharing a silent sign;
Keeping an open mind.
Truly eye to eye, free and kind,
Outside any scriptures, beyond the lies;
Fresh flowers in a sunny sky.
~ from Dogen's "Hokke-ten-Hokke"
The story of Buddha's transmission to Kasyapa is really the story of how one looks back, sees oneself looking out—and "becomes" That which one is before birth.
A kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they drew. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's artwork. As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.
The girl replied, "I'm drawing God." The teacher paused and said, "but no one knows what God looks like."
Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing the girl replied, "They will in a minute."
Contributed by Nicholas Vollman. Author unknown. Found on beliefnet.com and other web sites.
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