Author Topic: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff  (Read 58184 times)

styx

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #210 on: May 04, 2019, 06:28:45 pm »
Grab Your Safari Fez


It's April 2017. I've been reading about Gurdjieff for six months now. Fighting my way through his horrible book "Beezlebub's Tales to His Grandson". (this is harder to read than Godel Escher Bach... the book's impenetrability is probably one of the reasons the New Age movement never picked up Gurdjieff)

Much like when I discovered Discordianism in the late 90s, I asked myself "Are there really people out there doing this stuff? Or is this some dead joke I've found encased in amber?" Well the answer is yes, of course, it's 2017, people follow all sorts of shit. There are still theosophists for christsakes.

So WHO are the people still following this 1920s spiritual movement?  It turns out that there is a G.I.Gurdjieff foundation in NYC and it has like 300 or 400 members. I wanted to meet some.

So I reserved a seat for this event:



Maybe this will turn out to be a cult? I don’t know. Let’s find out.

Hi,


Well, this Brazilian group are involved with practices of the fourth way. Check it out their website -> https://nokhooja.com/temas/ (sorry it's in portuguese). I know another place in Spain doing the same practices, but I can't remember the name.

Nice thread by the way.



Regards,
The Ferryman

Whenever you are crossing through Chapel Perilous, Black Iron Prison, Bardos or Styx River you have to pay the price in order to get to the other side, failing will put yourself in a very perilous situation. Remaining in the limbo or postpone your decision is not the wisest thing to do, be absolutely sure to carry the right tools, because once inside there is only one way out. You will never be the same again.

styx

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #211 on: May 05, 2019, 10:10:14 am »
..
We are sitting in rows and columns. Each column  performs an action at the same time (and those action correspond to the digits in the number 142857, but I won't get into that here). There's a movement where you look to the left and hold it for about 15 seconds. Then there's a movement where you look to the right and hold it for about 15 seconds. Because each column is doing these actions but staggered by one beat (ie, I'm looking to the left, while the column on my left is looking to the right), you end up making eye contact with the person on either side of you for a 15 second period.

This was an intense experience. During this exercise, I was in a heightened state of sensitivity. Very focused on all the tiny little emotions in the body and how they manifest in the muscles. On que, I turned my head to the left. I made eye contact with this guy next to me.

Eye contact is like an electrical conduit.

In 15 seconds, I saw him go through so much.. he's aware of me, then he's aware of my perception of him. I experience the same. The tiny movements of the muscles around his eyes... I could feel his deep seated anxiety, and his reaction to me seeing it, his attempt to overcome it, his failure to insulate himself. Likewise, I could feel my own fear of the Other, and how it manifested on my face.. and also how I was reacting to his seeing me. We were plugged into one another, directly. Nothing supernatural here, but I felt like we had a moment of true psychic contact. Electrical contact, soul to soul. I learned more about him in 15 seconds than I know about some of my close friends.

After the class, I went to shake his hand and say hi, but he jetted, quickly, preventing the opportunity. Probably on purpose. I'm reminded that there are reasons we build walls around ourselves. And there's a reason you don't want to be "conscious" all the time - it's not comfortable. If we were receptive all the time, we'd be crushed by it.

It was a powerful moment - shook me to the core.

about 15 years ago I was part of a group and we used to have very similar exercises, instead of rows and columns we seat in couples in front of one another looking into the eyes for as long as we can, the teacher just observed and separate the couples when the exercise fails, I personally couldn't follow for more than 2 minutes and a few students actually completed the exercise. We did that sort of movement for months one day a week. That's was a very good time of learning things. I wish I could find a school like this again.  :)
Regards,
The Ferryman

Whenever you are crossing through Chapel Perilous, Black Iron Prison, Bardos or Styx River you have to pay the price in order to get to the other side, failing will put yourself in a very perilous situation. Remaining in the limbo or postpone your decision is not the wisest thing to do, be absolutely sure to carry the right tools, because once inside there is only one way out. You will never be the same again.

Cramulus

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #212 on: June 27, 2019, 08:45:33 pm »
The Gurdjieff foundation has a calendar, and we've just reached the end of the "year". The Foundation closes for a few months, and reopens in September. Something like a "summer vacation". I wanted to share a little about my experiences in the last month.

I attended a talk at the Gurdjieff foundation where we listened to a few readings and some music. One of the readings emphasized the need to participate simultaneously in "three lines of work":

  • Working for oneself
  • Working for one's companions, the people around you
  • Working for the bigger picture, the whole world

And in the moment, something in the talk rubbed me the wrong way. The talk seemed to suggest (and perhaps this is just my mechanical association with some of the words used) that serving the Gurdjieff Foundation is a way of working on the third line. There is a thought that all of us doing the movements and work together helps put a little particle of consciousness into the world, an island of self awareness on which others can land their boats.

And it occurred to me that despite coming to these meetings for two years, I know very little about the Gurdjieff foundation itself. I don't know who runs it, or how it's organized. They haven't asked me for money (though they did test us, seeing if asking for money would drive us off) but they do occasionally suggest that we should spend more time volunteering there and participating in foundation events. And I genuinely do not think they are a predatory cult, but I just had to pause and ask myself if my judgment was trustworthy.

It was like some Discordian sensibility sat up within me--a distrust of organized religion. I sat with this feeling for a week. They are old, we are young, they need our vitality to continue. Why should I give it to them? My participation in this group requires a sacrifice of time and energy -- do they deserve it?

And I knew this was a cynical thought, and that I was not being generous. But it's important to be awake, critical, to not regard these old timers as perfected beings, but humans in the raw. Other searchers. And it just seemed strange to me that in two years of meetings, there is so much about the Foundation which hasn't been discussed or revealed. Probably because in these meetings we focus on the Work, and not on terrestrial stuff like the organization. But still, it's a weird little blind spot all of us initiates have.

At my small-group meeting the next week, one of the old timers asked if there was anything about the work we were particularly interested in. I spoke up -- I want to know more about the Foundation -- how it's organized. Who's in charge? What are your roles? How has it changed since Gurdjieff's death, and how is it changing now?

Someone asked me - why do you want to know these things?

and I said because I feel like, despite two years of dutiful participation, we are still in a distant orbit around the center.
And because I don't understand why we haven't talked about these things. And it's impossible for me to know whether it is omitted intentionally or not.

At this, the leaders visibly reeled. They were hurt that I would accuse them of deception. They said that they never told us about that stuff because we never asked, and they didn't know we were interested. ((but -- they initiate the discussions for each meeting, and it doesn't seem like there's space to ask super off-topic questions like that))


Someone else in the group spoke up - that yes, before they had spent a lot of time at the Foundation, it seemed very mysterious, private, and that there is a sense that you shouldn't ask questions about it.

Then someone else said, yes, I've been curious about this too, but it doesn't feel like there's ever an opportunity to talk about it.

So the leaders answered all of our questions. They answered thoroughly and patiently and I smelled no whiff of deception or misleading us.

They said that after Gurdjieff died, the "shareholder" of the foundation was his protege, Jeanne de Salzmann, and when she died in 92(?), it passed on to four people, and now it's eight people. There is a separate "council" that makes group decisions, and two of my group's leaders are on that council.

I was told that since Gurdjieff's death, there's been an ongoing discussion about how to keep the teaching alive, and not just mechanically repeating the bits that were left to us. This pleased me. They said that for a while, they were not recruiting or proselytizing, but in recent years, they've started to hold public readings as a hook for those that want to get involved. All of us in the meeting originally came in from one of these readings (see the first page of this thread).

I was reminded that there are a lot of "work days" where people gather at the foundation on a Saturday and work together all day. And that sometimes there are work weeks at a campsite upstate. And that if I came to any of these, I would see that there's nothing secret, really. If I came to the foundation closing ceremony - which is mainly about cleaning before the building shuts down for the summer - I could explore the whole building and poke in every closet.  (although that was my anniversary, couldn't do it!)

They also mentioned the library. On the second floor, the foundation has a library of special books, and all members of the foundation are welcome to visit it and read. It's not a "lending library"; books cannot be removed. A lot of them are about mysticism, or other esoterica. As you can imagine, this piqued my interest.


In conclusion to this little discussion... I came at the Gurdjieff leaders kinda directly, perhaps confrontationally. In part, this was to see how they would react. If they really were keeping things secret from us, there would be clues in their reactions. And as I've said before, if this really is a predatory cult that's playing a long con, then I trust Eris to save me. So I hurled a golden apple, and I saw people react, and frankly, it increased my trust.


So on the following Wednesday, on the evening of the final movement class of the season, I showed up 45 minutes early to explore the library. (BTW, I saw B. Murray in the building that night, but didn't get a chance to bother him again  :p) I'll share some pictures.


I was told to go up the stairs and pass the Zodiac Room:


And down a short set of stairs, there was a single room library, filled wall to wall with fascinating books.



The books were organized by topic...

Mythology
Poetry
Alchemy
Christianity
Sufism
Islamic writings
and a whole wall of Gurdjieff's writings in different languages



I pulled some William Blake from the shelf and meditated on it.



and then I went to the final movement class of the season

where I aligned myself with myself
and the bigger picture
and the even bigger picture

and when I left, I felt like a snowglobe that I just stopped shaking,
all the particles of snow now moving in a circle, together, separated and unified within the translucent glass globe of my heart.



« Last Edit: June 27, 2019, 08:49:21 pm by Cramulus »

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #213 on: June 27, 2019, 09:03:12 pm »
And I knew this was a cynical thought, and that I was not being generous. But it's important to be awake, critical, to not regard these old timers as perfected beings, but humans in the raw. Other searchers. And it just seemed strange to me that in two years of meetings, there is so much about the Foundation which hasn't been discussed or revealed. Probably because in these meetings we focus on the Work, and not on terrestrial stuff like the organization. But still, it's a weird little blind spot all of us initiates have.
The line between Faith and Cult is an interesting one, right? In a way, it's a bit subjective; anything sounds culty if you dress it up in robes and faux-Latin hymns and talk of The Greatest Greater Good, but like you mention, it's worth remembering that all these priests and nuns, these Great Leaders of Faith are still just squishy meat monkeys, groping in the dark to try and find something interesting and meaningful to latch onto, just like the rest of us. Maybe that's just me, but I find myself noticing that blatant humanity in religious figures when listening to their speeches and sermons. You can learn, or at least surmise, a lot about a pastor's insecurities and problematic personality traits by paying attention to what parts of his holy book he puts emphasis, scorn, or humor on.

Also damn a library full of poetry, Islam, and alchemy? Nice :lol:
There is no reason to,
Be ashamed of poetry. It,
Is natural. But you should,
Still do it in private,
And wash your hands afterward.

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #214 on: June 27, 2019, 09:17:33 pm »
Cram, I'm really happy this is working for you.  It's been great reading your adventures. 

Cramulus

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #215 on: June 28, 2019, 02:25:59 pm »
Thank you.

Reflecting on my experiences... They discourage us from thinking too much about "results". The point of the work is not to develop superhuman cognitive abilities. Doing the work doesn't make you better than other people. We talk about enlightenment, but not as a permanent state. To be filled with light (the light of self knowledge, lighting a candle within the dark cave of your inner being) is usually a momentary experience. All we strive for is to see things how they really are, to have a brief contact with objective reality. To remember its taste and carry its memory back into the darkness.

But fuck it, let me talk about results.

I ran an incredible event a few weeks ago. I don't want to type it's name, because I don't want people googling it to find this place. But it's first word is Goat and it's second word is Larp. It was a truly incredible day. We had seven discordians there! For years and years I've helped people run their larps, and I've directed larps, but I've never produced one all by myself (at least, not one that required a lot of money changing hands). This was my first real jump into production, meant to be a training experience for bigger and better projects in 2020.

How did it happen? It basically happened because of the meditation and self examination I've been doing. The inner-sensitivity we develop in the Gurdjieff work brought me into contact with my own needs.

What am I doing with my life? What am I waiting for?

If I zoom out, and perceive the bigger picture, what does that picture look like? How can I be of service to it?

Seriously, what am I waiting for??

And what is the resistance, what is holding me back? Can I perceive the exact moment in my thoughts when my laziness kicks in? What distracts me from shooting the arrow from my heart, into the world?

In the meditative space, I was able to see how my daily rhythms, my desires, my impulses, my my ego -- they lead me in a certain direction, but only in fantasy, not reality. And the fantasy without the reality is crushing. To take the next step, I have to be open. Receptive. The big picture is talking to us all the time, and we can feel it... but it's so easy to focus on other things, to be comfortable--and this is sleep.

This is not a verbal understanding. It's a state of being, it happens within the whole body. The head is noisy, we think we're in the head. We're not, consciousness involves the whole nervous system--the limbs, the skin, the environment you're in, the sky, the earth, the gravity of the whole fucking galaxy.

And I decided -- I need to step forward. The world has given me all these gifts, let's not waste them. I want to push myself, discover my true capacity, operate on a higher level of difficulty. I made myself open. And then the idea, like a butterfly, landed on the jeweled lotus, and there was a lightning bolt of energy that connected my everyday, ordinary life with the cosmos above. And it wasn't a stuffy idea, it was FUN, it was SILLY, it was pure discordian joy.

And six months later, I went on TV to talk about my idea, and the onion AV club did an article about it, and everybody was hitting me with mania on every side, and I realized -- this is it. This is what I was supposed to do.

In the Gurdjieff work, a "Miracle" is the term for when a higher cosmos is able to exert influence on the lower cosmos. Like if an ant colony is able to see the water rising, and relocate -- they couldn't do it from the ant's individual perspective, they'd have to escape that everyday sensibility and see things from a higher point of view. I feel like what I did, in some sense, was a miracle.

It proved to me that free will exists, that you can walk out of the black iron prison. You can do it today.

You just have to be sensitive to the invitations you are receiving, from outside of the prison. And when you get the invitation, and you feel the desire to answer it (really feel it, not just intellectually, but within your whole being), you can bend the bars. You can walk out. You can be free. Today.


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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #216 on: July 26, 2019, 12:36:59 pm »
I've, met a woman, possibly ten years my senior, whose every step is a bounce, and whose mouth is big enough to devour a pug like a snake would. I think she's adorable, except, I wonder what happens if the pug poops. She looked me in the eye, out of nowhere, in this group we were having, and said, "We believe the body has a kind of wisdom, it's why we do this." I didn't ask this, and in fact, she was the only sane one in a group of crazies, but, I was singled out. I don't know why, I couldn't move as fluidly as anyone else, I could only move as one thing, a predator, a killing machine. Granted, I don't want to be that, who does, but it was her agenda to lasso me as soon as I proved the slightest bit cooperative by offering help. She was very attractive, but, it quickly wasn't about that at all, especially after I heard her say that. But that is the thing she stared me in the eye and said, I dunno why she did, but she was very insistent I know...

EDIT: In short, I'm going to return for her next lesson.

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #217 on: October 22, 2019, 03:29:18 pm »
Lately I've been feeling very robotic.

I get these intuitive flashes of how things will unfold according to script. I reach for the remote control and I know the next 2 hours of my life are predetermined. Every behavior, every sentence, flows from a fixed formation. I'm trapped in this meat body that operates by meat rules. I can't imagine an action that takes me outside of the script, because my imagination is part of the Machine too.

My intuition pulls me towards doing something NEW with the body. Go somewhere new, develop a new skill.. change the inputs, and the outputs change too.  "Go the fuck outside."



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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #218 on: December 09, 2019, 01:14:39 pm »
Just want to share an exercise we're trying this week.

To Give Up Suffering

Suffering is an emotional reaction. This means that, to some extent, it just happens within us.

But a lot of suffering is what we'd call the "wrong work of centers" -- that is, the emotional part of you is trying to "do the work" for another part of you, and it can't, so we become occupied by an emotion that doesn't serve a purpose.

For example - imagine you're walking somewhere, and you need to get there--maybe you're late--so you're hurrying.  And while you're hurrying, you're stressing out, concentrating on the lateness and the urgency and the need to get there. Suffering. Maybe you can let go of that.

The emotional suffering doesn't get you there any faster. It's extraneous. It wastes energy.
The body can help you out by walking faster. The emotions want to help, but they can't.

So, in a moment of suffering, maybe you can realize -- there's no point to this feeling, I'm going to stop feeding it.


Cramulus

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #219 on: December 12, 2019, 01:54:42 pm »
one of the things I've struggled with for 15 years now is the idea of free will.

There's a "law" in behavioral psychology called the Melioration Principle. It says that an organism will engage in a behavior until a competing behavior offers a better reward. You can see this every day, in everything you do. When you make a choice, what you're doing is really just a quantitative weighing of rewards. And doesn't that sound mechanical? Does that seem like free will? It seems like free will is just solving this calculus equation.

Gurdjieff says there's a way out of this. That there are moments when you can escape this inner slavery. Moments when your actions aren't mechanically dictated by external circumstances. With work, with awareness of the internal world, with "conscious labor and intentional suffering", we can achieve brief moments of internal freedom.

And I say: I will believe it when I see it.

But I'm not dismissing it until I have walked down the path myself. If this kind of freedom is possible, I want to taste it.

Revisiting this thought from a few years back, since it's been the Aim of my inner work.


Most of the "work" we do in the Gurdjieff Work is self observation. By observing the self continually over a long period of time, you can begin to distinguish different types of being, different ways that you are. Normally, we pass from state to state unconsciously - self observation's goal is to shine a light on this.

And with that knowledge of self, I can recognize that there is a hierarchy of consciousness; consciousness operates with different kinds and qualities of data. In normal life, consciousness in any given moment seems to be dominated by one of three "streams"--the body, the emotions, and the intellect. But when consciousness expands to include all three ("Thinking what you feel, feeling what you think..."), life has a different quality.

And in this state of inner unity, where the streams are not combatting each other, there is a different quality to the experience of making a decision.

This quality can also be present in moments of great inner conflict. Gurdjieff says that the soul is developed by generating an enormous tension "between No and Yes". But only if one uses this conflict as a reminder to be present, to not just get swept along with whatever impulse is strongest, but to weigh all the impulses and make an "impartial" decision.


If you'd told me, 5 years ago, that this kind of Free Will is possible, I'd have said that you're just describing metacognition - the ability to think about one's own thoughts, the capacity to self-evaluate. And I've always thought that metacognition is the key to increasing intelligence, but I would have pointed out that this process is still subject to the Melioration Principle and so it's not really an escape from determinism.

But that was before I'd personally felt the difference between mere metacognition and inner freedom. I guess I'd only thought with my intellect before - but remember, consciousness isn't centered in the mind. The emotions and the body also think - in their own ways. Only when they are all thinking, together, is inner freedom possible.

And it's not always possible. You can't necessarily force it to happen. In my experience, it usually appears, like a gift.


I'm in mid conversation, and someone has said something that caused a chain of associations. I am formulating what I'm about to say next, mentally arranging the beats of this anecdote - and while I do that, I have stopped listening to my partner. And before I launch into my own spring-loaded monologue, something in me recognizes that I'm acting on autopilot - this something looks into the future and realizes that the anecdote I'm about to regurgitate doesn't actually add anything to the conversation--I'm only mentally rehearsing it because it'll be pleasurable to talk about.

So, that something chooses not to speak. I deny my own pleasure to better serve the world.
And there is no intrinsic reward for this, no selfish motive or anxious aversion to putting my foot in my mouth. There's no dopamine hit.

There it is.


The tragedy is that we have so little of it... can we get more? can we exercise this muscle and make it stronger?

Can we really develop a Watcher that's outside of the ongoing process?



Is that Watcher the human soul?


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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #220 on: January 14, 2020, 01:48:24 pm »
Secretly snapped a few pictures from this year's "January 13th" celebration.



The funky writing is Gurdjieff Aphorisms. The one on the right here is the year's theme. I can't remember the literal quote, but it's basically "You must make room for this new feeling [of 'self remembering'].... what is essential?"

The key is that in order to your self-observations to be fruitful, in order for you to really see the self in any semblance of objectivity, you have to empty the teacup. Make a space where consciousness could arise.




Those six swooshy shapes in the center are representations of numbers. They depict the Enneagram in motion. The red part of the shape is "first".

I believe the first one is 142857, then the second is 285714, then 428571, then 571428, then 714285, and finally 857142.



Happy Birthday, Mr. Gurdjieff.

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #221 on: January 14, 2020, 02:29:26 pm »
Those six swooshy shapes in the center are representations of numbers. They depict the Enneagram in motion. The red part of the shape is "first".

I believe the first one is 142857, then the second is 285714, then 428571, then 571428, then 714285, and finally 857142.

1/7 is 0.142857, repeating.
2/7 is 0.285714, repeating; similarly, the other numbers in that list correspond to 3/7 through 6/7.
All six patterns are also circularly rotated versions of each other.

I don't know if this means anything, but I can't help but observe patterns.
"When I say 'engineering', I have unreasonable expectations.  It must - as you know - look good in PADS AND give you plenty of help ducking and weaving in meetings.  But it must also, at some distant point in time, function.  If it does not, then you must accept that you are not in fact an engineer but instead an MBA.  Hang your head in SHAME, sinner!"

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #222 on: January 14, 2020, 02:32:20 pm »
The six movements are symmetrical from first to last second to fifth etc, is it intended as a rythmic dance?
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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #223 on: January 14, 2020, 03:01:12 pm »
Those six swooshy shapes in the center are representations of numbers. They depict the Enneagram in motion. The red part of the shape is "first".

I believe the first one is 142857, then the second is 285714, then 428571, then 571428, then 714285, and finally 857142.

1/7 is 0.142857, repeating.
2/7 is 0.285714, repeating; similarly, the other numbers in that list correspond to 3/7 through 6/7.
All six patterns are also circularly rotated versions of each other.

I don't know if this means anything, but I can't help but observe patterns.

You nailed it.

All the fractions of 7 produce the same repeating number, but starting from a different spot.
In the Gurdjieff work, we talk about "the law of seven", or "the law of octaves". There's something special and mysterious about the number and what it corresponds to. Some of the Sacred Movements are about experiencing this number.

The six movements are symmetrical from first to last second to fifth etc, is it intended as a rythmic dance?

Yes, in a way. The pattern is present in many Sacred Movements.

If you visualize a circle, with 9 at the top, and then the numbers 1-8 proceeding clockwise, then you can see how the numbers I wrote correspond to each figure.

You may also notice which single digit integers are missing from the sequence -- 3, 6, and 9, which form triangle on this circle.


That's a little bit of why this symbol, the Enneagram, represents the Gurdjieff Work.



It is said that the enneagram is not still, like the image you see above--it is actually in motion. Those numbers are still repeating.

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #224 on: April 29, 2020, 09:41:07 pm »
Cram, what’s been going on with your Mr G group since lockdown? Any virtual meetings or anything?
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