Author Topic: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff  (Read 3332 times)

The Invisible Man

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #60 on: December 12, 2017, 08:58:16 pm »
I adore reading about your progress through this system, Cram.

Cramulus

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #61 on: December 13, 2017, 02:38:07 pm »


Last night, instead of meeting, we were invited to a special presentation at the Gurdjieff Foundation.

This was really exciting for me. Way back when I started thinking about this stuff, I was intrigued by the mystery... they were holding cards they weren't showing us. Now, 8 months later, the five of us are invited to the actual Foundation building for the first time. We didn't know what to expect. We just knew we'd be listening to some music and readings.

The Gurdjieff Foundation building used to be a firehouse. Before we went in, our host asked us to keep silent while we were inside. It's fancy in there! We hung up our coats in the basement and then sat down in a temple-looking room.

The place I was in had a certain feeling to it - an aura of contemplation and peace. Nobody really spoke while I was there. I'd say there were about 100 people in the audience. Our group of five -- most of us are in our mid 30s -- were definitely the youngest people there by some 15 years.

The ceiling of the temple was tiered, like a ziggurat. I recognized the shape from a diagram in a Gurdjieff book - the idea is a temple with four court yards, each inside the other. Each court yard is gated, you are not allowed access to it until you have been properly intiated into the mysteries. The innermost courtyard is sacred ground, only for those who have made it to the center of the work.

During this presentation, the audience was seated in the "outer courtyard" area, and the performance was in the inner courtyard area.

Here's a picture I managed to sneak after the performance:




The presentation lasted about an hour. It consisted of three readings, interspersed with about 7 songs, played by different people on a grand piano.

The connecting theme was the "sayyids". Sayyid is an arabic word meaning "Master". Muslims that can trace their bloodline back to the Prophet are considered holy people -- sayyids. Gurdjieff and the composer Thomas de Hartmann joined forces to create a body of amazing music. Several of their pieces were called the Sayyids.  (also spelled "Sed")

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4_QKJmKm0Q
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMKc6PgARXc


There is a character to this music... I almost felt like I understood what it was saying before it was "explained". A speaker did touch on their nature - the Sayyids have two 'voices' - the lower voice consists of two notes alternating over and over, like a vibration that runs through the whole piece, a lawful order of everyday life. The second voice is played independently, it floats through the higher octaves.

The readings were from Gurdjieff's book "Meetings with Remarkable Men". It described a time when he wanted to visit Kafiristan, a place inhabited by nomadic tribes. These people do not welcome outsiders, and the whole country was considered inacessible by Europeans.

Gurdjieff and his friend Doctor Skridlov decided to explore Kafiristan while disguised as holy men. Here's one of the readings:

Quote
At supper that evening, after the religious ceremony of the
christening, there sat next to me an old Turkoman nomad, a friend of the
host and owner of a large flock of caracul sheep. In the course of my
conversation with him about the life of nomads in general and about the
different tribes of Central Asia, we began talking about the various
independent tribes inhabiting the region of Kafiristan.

Continuing our conversation after supper, during which of course
Russian vodka had not been economized, the old man, by the way and
as though to himself, expressed an opinion which Professor Skridlov
and I took as advice; and in accordance with it we drew up a definite
plan for carrying out our intention.

He said that, notwithstanding the almost organic distaste of the
inhabitants of this region for having anything to do with people not
belonging to their own tribes, there was nevertheless developed in
nearly every one of them, to whatever tribe he belonged, a certain
something which naturally arouses in him a feeling of
respect and even love towards all persons, whatever their race, who
devote themselves to the service of God.

After this thought had been expressed by a nomad whom we had met
by chance, and who had spoken perhaps thanks only to Russian vodka,
all our deliberations, that night and the next day, were based on the idea
that we might get into this country, not as ordinary mortals, but by
assuming the appearance of persons who are shown special respect there
and who have the possibility of going freely everywhere without
arousing suspicion.

....we categorically decided that Professor Skridlov should
disguise himself as a venerable Persian dervish and I should pass for a
direct descendant of Mohammed, that is to say, for a Sed.

Quote
To prepare ourselves for this masquerade, a long time was necessary,
as well as a quiet, isolated spot. And that is why we decided to settle
down in the ruins of Old Merv, which met these requirements and
where, moreover, we could at times, for a rest, make some excavations.
Our preparation consisted in learning a great many sacred Persian
chants and instructive sayings of former times, as well as in letting our
hair grow long enough for us to look like the people for whom we
intended to pass; make-up in this case was quite out of the question.
After we had lived in this way for about a year and were finally
satisfied both with our appearance and our knowledge of religious
verses and psalms, one day, very early in the morning, we left the ruins
of Old Merv, which had come to be like home for us, and going on foot
as far as the station of Baram Ali on the Central Asiatic Railway, we
took a train to Chardzhou, and from there set off by boat up the river
Amu Darya.


some art on the walls:


The Wizard Joseph

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #62 on: December 13, 2017, 03:51:40 pm »
Cram this thread and your journey are amazing and, other than that I consider many folks here friends, are a primary reason I come back to PD when I have Internet access. Thanks for doing it! I suspect that your journey is just beginning and that you will discover wonders beyond what you ever thought possible.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Bu☆ns

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #63 on: December 13, 2017, 10:29:40 pm »
Quote
the Sayyids have two 'voices' - the lower voice consists of two notes alternating over and over, like a vibration that runs through the whole piece, a lawful order of everyday life. The second voice is played independently, it floats through the higher octaves.

Like Personal Christmas music!

Thanks for keeping up with this, Cram, it's very engaging.

Accelerated Evolution

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #64 on: December 14, 2017, 12:39:35 am »
I have respect and admiration in many ways towards Gurdjieff and love reading his books (such as Beelzebub's tales and Meetings with remarkable men) and his music too!

The essence of his teachings I agree with very much but then I also believe the opposite too (aka Terrence McKenna) though they pose a duality with how we interact with the world around us and how we dictate our own mind, in a sense.

I love mysticism and the occult and there are a lot of things to be taken from it but as RAW famously said "don't believe anybody else's B.S."
« Last Edit: December 14, 2017, 12:41:56 am by Accelerated Evolution »
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Cramulus

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #65 on: December 14, 2017, 02:27:31 pm »
Interesting, how would you say Terrence McKenna is the opposite?


It's funny - I was into the occult, then I wasn't, then I'm interested in it again - but not for the Madghckique or anything like that.
I've come to the understanding that religions and occult practices are all just a bunch of symbols with relationships to each other. And that a lot of those symbols and their relationships are isomorphic to stuff going on inside of us. And through that lens, I am discovering a new appreciation for Mr. Jesus and his bible friends, etc.

And my definition of God has shifted over the last two years or so. When people say God, I think of the entire material universe at once, the whole fuckin thing, raw and uncut by judgments and perceptions. And through that lens, the question of whether or not God exists doesn't make any sense. It also doesn't make sense to pray, in the style of petitioning for things. But petition is only one form of prayer. I think that meditation is another. If you can become conscious, the universe is slightly more conscious, and it wants that. It's part of why we're here, why consciousness exists.

The Wizard Joseph

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #66 on: December 14, 2017, 05:08:37 pm »
There's also praise and or gratitude prayer. I find it good medicine to be thankful for the little things even as The Struggle continues unabated. It's a form of mindfulness that feeds the spirit and is the whole point of prayer before a meal IMO.

Being more conscious of the wonders in the universe naturally leads to this kind of feedback cycle that makes endurance and even prosperity more accessible in one's life.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Accelerated Evolution

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #67 on: December 14, 2017, 10:41:00 pm »
Interesting, how would you say Terrence McKenna is the opposite?

In the way that they approach the world and enlightenment.

Gurdjieff being someone that believes in full participation with the world around us, combined with certain Zen views of not resting value or morality on earthly things.

McKenna being someone that believes we can attain a great knowledge from participating in consumption of psychedelic drugs (which are still stigmatized) to advance our understanding about both ourselves and the world around us. There is some Timothy Leary in there too.
He does however share certain Zen sentiments with Gurdjieff.


I think they are both right answers but there are still other answers still.
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Accelerated Evolution

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #68 on: December 14, 2017, 10:45:30 pm »
I share a Blavatsky/Crowley perception of religion, that if there's truth in any of them then it can be found in parts of all of them but that not any single belief system can be entirely trusted, so then that connects back to RAW, Leary and reality tunnels  :wink:
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Cramulus

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #69 on: December 15, 2017, 02:23:48 pm »
Gurdjieff doesn't lean away from using certain substances to explore consciousness. He personally drank a lot of alchohol and coffee. He mentioned Hemp, Hops, Poppy, and Coffee as plants that can teach us things. He never used the word psychedelic, but suggested that these substance-related experiences can act kind of like a meditation shortcut. If drugs help you awaken, then you'll feel what being awake is like. And it'll be easier for you to find it again.

From the point of view of the Gurdjieff work, a sin is anything that makes you less conscious. Use of drugs in a way that numbs you, turns you off to the world, could be "sinful". It suggests that if you use drugs, you should approach them as a way of waking yourself up, rather than keeping yourself asleep and comfortable. And if they do help you wake up, think of it as a roadmap - you should explore that state and figure out how to get there without their aid.

I share a Blavatsky/Crowley perception of religion, that if there's truth in any of them then it can be found in parts of all of them but that not any single belief system can be entirely trusted, so then that connects back to RAW, Leary and reality tunnels  :wink:

It's interesting, Gurdjieff uses the word "objective" in a specialized way. Objective knowledge, in his system, is knowledge of the nature of consciousness and its role in the universe. The universe is a big interconnected organism, and our individual consciousness is part of its efforts to wake up. Gurdjieff thinks this truth is one of the real roots of ancient religion. And the real goal of most religions is to use symbols to plant this understanding in our being. Each religion is just one "hand on the elephant", of this truth. No one religion will capture the truth perfectly, the objective truth is somewhere in between them.


The Universe that can be described is not the real Universe;
The name that can be given is not an accurate name.
Nameless, it is the source of Order and Disorder;
Named... Well, we pretty much covered that, yeah?




And as a tangent

While the truth is distributed, it's not evenly distributed.
In the Gurdjieff system, religions or spiritual systems which don't originate from this "esoteric center", that is, the fundamental unity of the universe, are false.

They can be 'useful' in ordinary ways, but they are disconnected from what's really going on and are likely little more than energy traps. A "real religion" can impart the understanding that your essence is the same stuff as God, the same stuff as everything -- Thou Art That.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 02:32:23 pm by Cramulus »

Accelerated Evolution

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Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« Reply #70 on: December 16, 2017, 02:15:37 am »
I agree on all of that. Very good post Cramulus!



p.s. with the the Gurdjieff/McKenna thing, I mean more specifically the distinction and importance they put on the other ends of both the subconcious (drugs, dreams) and physical reality.
Of course, they both where enlightened thinkers and were definitely not reliant on the material world  :)
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