Sunday, October 1, 2017

Stargate Regulus

L said he liked to read a paragraph anyway, every day, to get familiarity with what we would be talking about and reading through the following month, but the requirement that the EXERCISE be done in the hours of dark made it harder, which was all to the good. Information for
Next Meeting
5 November 2017 at 9am

EXERCISE

READING

Disclaimer and Notes
If you remembered to do the exercise, it would normally be during daylight, so you would put it off, and might not remember it later. The other twist to it, being aware of the body and having to sit in a different pose made it feel qualitatively different to how he had been reading through it before, which was with the mind, with the intellect.

T had experienced remembering the exercise during the day, and not doing it, and after dark would be completely wiped out for the evening.
EXERCISE

Read one paragraph from the next reading every day after dark, connecting with the body that is reading and maybe sitting in a different posture to read.
The only time she had actually managed it was the day before the Meeting. It had been like cramming for an exam, which felt ridiculous, and it was after dark. She had completely missed the part about the position of the body, and remembered it now because of being reminded. She had found it extremely difficult, and would reflect the next day on the fact that she had forgotten during the evening, and about what it was that was getting in the way. She thought she was possibly doing too much, and had too many obligations, apart from things that she was really, really interested in and wanted very much to do, which were right on the back-burner.

The reading continued from Chapter 23 of Beelzebub's Tales.



With acknowledgements to Harold Good
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And the second fact, by virtue of the same degeneration of their sight into Koritesnokhnian, is ... they perceive the visibility of objects only when almost next to them.

...Here it is very opportune to repeat one of the profound sayings, seldom used there, of our Mullah Nassr Eddin, which very neatly defines the given case, that is, this degree of the limitation of the perception of visibility of your contemporary favorites...

‘Show me the elephant the blind man has seen, and only then will I believe that you have really seen a fly.’
D asked if the saying about the elephant and the fly was another way of talking about the sound of one hand clapping. TR said it was getting to the idea there was no seer and seen, there was only seeing. RM said that the blind man saw with his whole being, and was there. If you were not totally present, here, now, you would see nothing.


Alice sees the rabbit hole too late

From Alice in Wonderland, by With acknowledgements to Walt Disney Studios
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We often only saw something when we saw the outcome of it. You only saw the hole when you had fallen down it, but if you were present all the time, you saw it appear before you got to it. L said it was also about the use of language. We saw chairs and tables, partly through decades of conditioning of what chairs and tables were, but we were not seeing ghosts. There might be things around us that we were not seeing because we equally had decades of training to say they did not exist.

... they placed this Teskooano very deeply within the planet, and they carried out their observations of the cosmic concentrations found beyond the atmosphere of their planet through specially bored, pipelike hollows.

The observatory, I then saw, had five of these hollows.

...They made these observations of theirs through any one of the mentioned hollows which looked out in different directions onto their horizon, according to the given position of their planet relative to the cosmic concentration observed in the process of the ‘common cosmic harmonious movement.’

I repeat, my boy, that although the chief peculiarity of the observatory constructed there by the three-brained beings of the future Egypt proved not to be new to me, since this principle had also been utilized in my observatory on Mars, with only this difference, that my seven long pipes were fixed not within the planet but on it, nevertheless all their innovations were so interesting in detail that, for any case that might arise, I even made, during my stay there, a detailed sketch of everything I saw, and later even used something of it for my own observatory.


T said this sounded partly historic, with some sort of observatory made by ancient people to look at the stars. If you thought of the planet as the individual body, the five hollows might represent the five senses,

 
Source: catchpenny.org/shafts.html
which were the antennae we had to the external world, but they were deeply hidden inside the body. C agreed that the hollows might be the senses, but said that the construction on Mars had seven. TR said we may have lost two. L said that the description appeared to be of the great pyramid. TR said that each of the five had their own viewpoint, but it was only when they were consolidated did they make an understanding of the whole. We did not use our sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste, to form, to do that whole seeing. We would taste something and label it this, or hear something and label it that. It was only when the elephant was seen by the blind man that it had been seen. It was only when you were concentrating on five that there was a cosmic concentration. GC said that each of the senses was operating on five percent of what was out there, and yet we believed the taste, the sound. It was infinitesimal, and we were just aware of that much, and we based our reality on the senses. We could not see properly - there was a space that the brain filled in. T said it was all we had. TR said it was not all we'd got - there were two more. L asked which were the two senses he thought we had lost. TR said that intuition would certainly be one, and there was something with our relationship to time. L thought this might be connected to being aware of coincidences, synchronicities, which relate things which are separated by time. N said this whole thing was about the limitations of our perceptual system, and how we drew the wrong conclusions from the limited information we had. T said we might also ignore what the senses were saying. She had been walking in central London during the week, and everyone was going about their business, but she could hardly breathe because of the pollution. She was the only one in the street who put a mask on. Everybody was ignoring it - some people were running in it, really taking it into their lungs.   

...It is extremely interesting to notice here that they erected at the chief entrance of that huge enclosure a rather large - large of course in comparison with the size of their presences - stone statue called ‘Sphinx’ which strongly reminded me of ...

The statue I saw in the city of Samlios and which greatly interested me, was the emblem of this society, and was called "Conscience".

It represented an allegorical being ...

The main mass of the planetary body of the said allegorical being was represented by the trunk of a being there of definite form, called "Bull".


L said that the reference to the Sphinx shows that Gurdjieff is definitely talking about the complex of pyramids at Giza. T said that he was also talking about a different statue, called Conscience. L said he might be inventing this statue, unless he knew of one we were not aware of.

This Bull trunk rested on the four legs of another being existing there, also of a definite form, called "Lion", and to that part of the Bull trunk called its ‘back’ two large wings were attached similar in appearance to those of a strong bird-being breeding there, called "Eagle".

 
Source: etheric.com


...Each part of this allegorical figure gives to every member of our society in all the three independently associating parts of his common presence, namely, in the body, in the thoughts, and in the feelings, a shock for corresponding associations for those separate cognizances which in their totality can alone give us the possibility of gradually getting rid of those undesirable factors present in every one of us ...


T said it was about getting rid of "undesirable factors", and to her she wondered if it was the bull factor, the lion factor and the eagle factor. It reminded L of Gurdjieff's morning exercise:

...every day, at sunrise, while watching the reflection of its splendor, you bring about a contact between your consciousness and the various unconscious parts of your general presence. Try to make this state last and to convince the unconscious parts ...

The whole point was that he was thinking of us as composite beings, with parts which may not be conscious, and trying to get those parts to work together. He was seeing us as a mechanism. These composite creatures which he described were depicting that. In the morning exercise he was trying to get the parts to work to a common purpose. T said that did not fit with getting rid of undesirable factors.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Sky At Night

L had been quite slow getting into this EXERCISE, but now, after a month, he was usually remembering himself as he went into and out of doors. Sometimes, when he went into a place, he had a habit of having something go through his mind. For example, when he entered the music studio, he talked to the Muse, in the way it was once a practice, in Ancient Greece, to have an Invocation to the Muse at the start of a play. That would remind him of the exercise, and spur him on in the attempt to be aware as he went through that door. As time had gone on during the month, it had made him a bit more self-aware than he otherwise would be. It was one of those triggers during the day which helped one remember oneself.

H had been really interested in this exercise, and he was trying to remember to practice it, but he never remembered the door except once - coming in, coming out. Mostly he remembered when he was sitting in the kitchen, or out in the tube, or something like that.
EXERCISE

Every time you go in or out of your front door, remember yourself.
Practicing self-remembering, he invariably found what before he would have called an attitude, but now it was like a demonic kind of character. By doing the exercise, the word demonic didn't mean just a word. It was like something else that had happened to him recently. The word shanti was just a word before, but then he experienced peace. In the same way, seeing this demonic thing through self-observation made him realise he wasn't that thing, otherwise it could be quite frightening. It showed that if you were practicing self observation you could see things that you never thought you would. Most people thought, when they practiced self-observation, that they were observing some sort of nothing, and calling it nothing, but if you observed the mind more carefully, you saw it was not nothing - there were things behind and behind and behind.

RG had tried to self-remember when she entered the door and was coming out of the door but, like H, it was easier for her to remember herself more when she was walking in the street or going on the tube. She concentrated on walking. She tried to acknowledge her presence with each step she was taking - that was her self-remembering. The self observation is something that can be done after we remember ourself, but the tricky part, the most important thing, is to remember ourself first. and then we pass to the self observation.

C had remembered opening and closing doors about a third of the time. The big question was what was it we were looking for when we were self-remembering, and the only thing he could understand from it was that we were looking for our pure essence, because that was what we brought into the world with us, nothing else. Since then the personality had taken over and tended to dominate ourselves, and the essence had fallen back, and back, and back. He was trying desperately to remember, to still the mind, make the mind really at peace and remember who he really was and what he really came into the world as.

T used to leave lots of things behind when she left the house, and remembered them during the day. Oh my God, I have forgotten to bring that.



So she had started a checklist before she left the house, which got longer and longer, as to what she had to remember to take with her, and to do before she left, and a few months before she had added at the bottom of the list, one minute silence at the front door, timed. So she was thinking - I'm going to do this exercise every day - but she realised, after about a week, that it was cheating. But what was actually happening, when she did the minute, was that she would remember lots of other things she had forgotten, which made it very hard for her to stay at the door - she hadn't turned the heating off, or hadn't closed the window - and she realised that what she was experiencing when she was at the door, just being there, was being back in the body, and all the other times, she was doing something, and the body was a servant to the mind, sadly.

D's guilt was that he always forgot the exercise, but what he noticed, just trying to remember himself, which he kept doing as much as possible, because it gave him peace, a sense of presence, was that the space created by not doing things mechanically engendered boredom. The boredom, from what he could gather, was the mind, was thoughts, and the only way you stopped boredom was to get back in your body. This space between the thoughts, which C called essence and D called presence - was there any difference or was it the same thing? - was causing a bit of a problem.

J said that so far we were all describing the process. We were getting a bit closer. The space between the thoughts, the presence, the essence, there were a lot of ideas there. The main issue he'd found, so far, on this exercise, was that the difficulty came in describing, not the process by which we were trying to reach the essence, but the essence itself, and he was wondering at this point how easy or how possible it was through the use of language? Were we concentrating on something which we were not going to be able to describe? We each understood it in our own way, though we could not know whether our own way was the same as everybody else's way. He wondered if he could go to the next step, or whether it was a doomed exercise.

As RM had done the exercise, walking in and out of the door and being present, it created initially a vacuum, and he knew that nature abhorred a vacuum - as soon as there was a vacuum it tried to fill it with something. That was why the thoughts suddenly rushed in to fill this vacuum. So he allowed himself to ponder things like, what is time?

Agreeing with D, C said the mind was always bored. When you were in meditation, the mind wanted to take you out, it wanted to do something else, it didn't want to sit there and just be. He thought that was where we needed to arrive at.

J said there was an attention span, with a movie, with a television programme, or with anything you liked. The question wasn't so much whether one would get bored watching that day in day out, doing nothing else, but how long one could keep one's attention on this, and the fact that after a certain point one got bored, was not in itself so significant.



Source: signspecialist.com
It was if one got bored in the first few instants and one got absolutely nowhere, and one didn't want to do it. There was an amount of time you could devote to that sort of question before your normal sensations and preoccupations kicked in. So part of the exercise was in extending that amount of time that you could not be bored, and concentrate or focus. Were any of us either wanting to, or had any of us described, in a revealing sort of way, in words, what we had seen or focused on? It was the process of focusing that we were discussing.

T said that the focus during the month was to remember yourself when you left the front door. That was the thing without words - to be in that position even if it was just for a second, because remembering yourself could happen in a second, and then be gone. The exercise was about experiencing something through the month, then trying to express that and to have some consensual language, because it was such a difficult path to do on your own.

Responding to C, RG said she believed our objective was to find our essence. This was the most difficult thing, in her opinion. In fact she was very intrigued to discover what was this essence, and she had been researching on the Internet, and reading quite a lot of books recently, and what she had come across, was that the essence was to discover what we really were, not what we thought we were. In order to do that, we had to let go all the prejudice we had, the ego and so on. In order to achieve this, self-observation came into play.

H said RG would be very unlikely to discover her real, true self - that would be self-realisation, and what Gurdjieff was calling self-remembering was not really remembering your true self. It was a state where you brought yourself into focus, but mentally, not physically. You did not necessarily remember your physical body - that may be an initial step - then you had to remember this feeling of what you were, and it wasn't a kind of nothingness. It was a sense of self that you had all the time, and it was your non-self mostly. That was what he had found. on almost every occasion that he remembered his non-self, which was a negative thing in his case, and he supposed in everybody. He imagined that for everybody at this Meeting, there was this opposing force, this negative thing that somehow dominated us all the same.

Responding to D's contribution which talked of being bored in the space between the thoughts, L wondered if it was the ego that was bored. We often saw a spider in the middle of web, or expanding it. That spider never got bored, but perhaps it didn't have an ego.

J said this was probably a debate that was not going to be resolved. We were all trying to discover, through one part, one essence, or one remembered self - but what if there were several selves you could remember, several essences, and they were all possibly equally true, and one of the selves was saying I don't want to, and another was saying I do want to. T said, that was Me, Myself and I. J said that the danger in all this, was that in wanting to get rid of ego, we made ourselves more self-important.



Fraser in Dad's Army expressing concern
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D said, that was thoughts - there were so many thoughts there, thoughts. All those thoughts, thoughts, thoughts, and we were doomed. That was the problem.

J said that this indicated that we shouldn't be trying to get at what our essence was, or our remembered self was, through thoughts.

C drew attention to the philospher David Hiume's analysis of this issue. He was looking for the permanent self, but did not find it. In his Treatise of Human Nature (1739), he wrote when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe any thing but the perception.

It seemed to "R" that D had produced the moment of question, which was really important, it had energy. If you had labels for everything, end of story, but to be in question was really valuable, and that could lead to a real wish to be aware and to find a new way which was based in the body. All these little arguments were resistance, and that was an important force as well, which we needed, otherwise we wouldn't have an incentive.

For T, J's question about egos brought up the dilemma between the tribe, the community and the individual. You had to survive together, but then, when you were an adult, you could have time alone, and that was when the question arose, Who am I?, when there were no people around, when you were on a desert island or in a room on your own. RG said that often people were themselves when they were alone. T had the image of a democracy. It was not just three selves, it was millions of selves. Who was in charge? Was there a government, was there a parliament? Were you allowed to speak? Did the selves have to speak to each other, and was there violence, or was there measured dialogue about difficult issues, in the person?

H said that apart from all these separate things, different identities, there was an I that made real efforts, not pretend efforts, and that was the situation, this I that made the effort, but all these other I's were based on something we did not really know, but presumably what Gurdjieff called the Chief Feature. You could call it ego if you liked, but all these were just words until you experienced them in some way or another.

Following the contributions and responses, the reading continued from Chapter 23 of Beelzebub's Tales.



With acknowledgments to Harold Good
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The three-brained beings of your planet who became members of this society actually did a great deal in respect of approaching objective knowledge which had never been done there before and which perhaps will never be repeated.

And here it is impossible not to express regret and to repeat that to the most great misfortune of all terrestrial three-brained beings of all later epochs, it was just then—when after incredible being-labors ... that, in the heat of it all, certain of them constated, as I have already told you, that something serious was to occur to their planet in the near future.

For the purpose of discerning the character of the anticipated serious event, they dispersed over the whole planet and shortly afterwards, as I have already told you, the aforesaid second ‘Transapalnian perturbation’ occurred to that ill-fated planet of yours.


J said it was often the case you would assume, as in this passage, that before you reached Nirvana, there would be a cataclysm that would get in the way when you were almost there, and this was a common and often repeated idea.

...Such a suitable place they found in the valley of the large river flowing on the north of the said continent and there indeed they all migrated together with their families to continue in isolation the attainment of the tasks set by their society.

"R" said they were looking for a location where, they could continue, with their families but in isolation, the attainment of the tasks. J said it was surprising they would want to go with their families. They would surely want to go with people who were like minded.

This definite part of the surface of the continent which the Pythoness indicated, lay just at the source of the said large river Nipilhooatchi where the beings of our tribe existed all the time the said second Transapalnian perturbation lasted, as well as later when everything had gradually resumed its relatively normal state and when most of the surviving beings had then almost forgotten what had happened and had again formed—just as if nothing had occurred to them...

L said this paragraph described how quickly we forgot ourselves after we became aware. It said the members of the tribe went back to how they were before, "... just as if nothing had occurred to them", which they had thought to be a high state.

Although the expectations that I had formed from all that our countrymen had told me concerning the mentioned new observatory there, before I had seen it with my own eyes, were not justified, nevertheless, the observatory itself and also the other constructions of the beings then of that region proved to be exceedingly ingenious and provided data for the enrichment of my common presence by a great deal of productive information for my consciousness.

J said this was one of the rare occasions, as far as he could see in Gurdjieff, where he was actually being rather positive, as opposed to slating the idiocies he saw all around him, and awaiting the doom-laden end.

D said he was using everyday language, presence and consciousness, which he did not do very often.

And later, ... Great Nature was compelled ... also to degenerate the functioning of their organ of sight ... then thereafter they were able to perceive the visibility of their great as well as their small concentrations situated beyond them only when the sacred process ‘Aieioiuoa’ proceeded in the Omnipresent Active Element Okidanokh in the atmosphere of their planet, or, as they themselves say—according to their understanding and their own perceptions—‘on dark nights’.

L said that Gurdjieff was using an advanced concept. He was talking about an observatory, which could mean a sophisticated way for people to observe themselves. GC asked, why only on dark nights. L said that it was metaphor. When was it easier to see the stars?

T said it was suggesting that there was a sight or a sense that we had lost, or never attained. We did not need this contraption of a telescope, if only we were more sensitive, and in our bodies and our beings.

H thought it was something to do with this three-brained being becoming a two-brained being.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Truth, Reason and Creativity

N had had a month of quite strong feelings, sudden waves of emotion coming over him. His normal thing would be to do music, or write, but this time he started drawing. He drew faces or shapes, maybe symbolically of what he was thinking. He had found it was a good way of transforming the emotion and changing it, working with it, and seeing possible new dimensions in it. The main thing he was doing was trying to observe the emotions that came in, and see where they came from and what they gave him. He did not always have a book to hand to sketch things in, but he did find that when he was drawing it took his mind in to a different place in a different mode, and he thought it was beneficial. So it was an interesting exercise and a useful one.

J spoke of a previous experience, as he had not had any particular pain this month. He had gone through a difficult phase, and without having the conscious intention he did something in an artistic way.
EXERCISE

When you feel physical or emotional pain, do something creative in an art you do not normally do.
It was utterly different from anything he had done previously. He had found that the mere fact of it being something completely different, not just a work of creativity, completely took his mind off what was the problem at the time. So it was a very cathartic thing to do, and he could not help thinking that it was also a natural thing for him to do. In a sense the difficulty, rather like the dung hill, produced the lilly, so as an exercise he thought it was a very good one.

T thought the exercise, as ever, was extremely difficult to remember to do, and think about, particularly this month. She usually painted, so thought about composing music, but there was too much in the way - she was too unskilled and she thought that helped the resistance. She did try it, but found it very difficult to relate to, because it was something new that she needed to learn and everything else got in the way. That was her self-observation - these exercises pulled you up short, because the fantasy was that you would do that exercise, no problem, every day, or at least once a week. She thought she did it once.

L's usual art was composing music, so he thought he would do some drawing, but managed to sabotage this quite successfully. He thought he would do it on his phone. He had a new phone.



Source: giphy.com
The old one, which he had broken, had contained a stylus, but the new one did not, so first of all he had to find a stylus which worked with it, which took him quite some time. Eventually he found one, though the tip was too thick. He then had to regain familiarity with the drawing app on his phone, which was quite difficult. Although he had pain a few times, emotional or physical, he had made so many obstacles that he didn't do very much drawing. Of course, he should have got a little notepad, made of paper, and had a pencil with him. So that had not gone very well. It was a difficult exercise, and kudos to whoever managed to do it, because if you were used to working in one art, it took grit and determination to start doing something in a different art and keep going.

H said that although he had not been for a while, he had read about the exercise on the website, and found it very puzzling. He could get to understand it, but at the same time he had to write a poem for a class he went to, on Shakespeare sonnets and related things. He had found it very, very difficult. It was just a seven line stanza, but he had got the whole thing mixed up, and thought the "ABAB..." structure applied to a line rather than the stanza itself. He had eventually broken through that, and had brought the poem with him:

The Sparrow and the Ant

I thought I saw a sparrow in the sky
Swoop on an ant too small my sight to see.

Ant gone in an instant, wingless, not to fly.
Unlike the mating mother soon to be
Laying eggs in the earth in marvellous quantity.

More life for the sparrow's chirping progeny.
For ant, perhaps, a new eternity.


A had just discovered about Gurdjieff a week before. A lot of coincidences were happening, and he kept coming across the name Gurdjieff in a lot of different places. A lot of it was coming through music and dance. He was very interested in the Gurdjieff Movements and the idea of separating your body into sections and being able to follow different rhythms, but then he also realised that the dance goes along with the teaching. Then he discovered the blog and decided to come.

Following on A's description of recent coincidences, L quoted Jung: The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate. So coincidences may reflect things that were happening within us, but which we were not expressing or conscious of. T said that synchronistic experiences might feel amazing and unusual, but actually they were happening all the time, and it was about being aware of that, observing and noticing. There had to be a lot of external work, because the universe was giving us all these clues that we were missing.

The reading continued from Beelzebub's Tales, Chapter 23.



With acknowledgments to Harold Good
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...Analyzing himself in this manner, he began to recall just which impulses evoked which reactions ... in his feelings and in his thoughts, and the state of his essence when he reacted to anything more or less attentively, and how and when, in consequence of such reactions of his, he had manifested consciously with his ‘I’ or had acted automatically under the direction of his instinct alone.

RG thought this paragraph was amazing, and in fact she was underlining it. This was exactly, to her, how she interpreted the way Gurdjieff said we have to meditate - that the real observation was to look at the impulses. She did not think he meant to meditate at one hole on the wall - that was more like a relaxation. This was one of the best pages she had read in this book so far. The last paragraph spoke of observing, when we had done something, whether we had done this automatically or consciously.

C asked if the act of self-remembering might in itself be distracting? L said that once you started to congratulate yourself over your success in self-remembering, the ego was already coming in, so Gurdjieff was suggesting there was hardly any "I". L paraphrased the title of one of Gurdjieff's books to say, I am only real, then, when when I create.. Many of the people who came to the Meetings were artists of one kind or another. C said, that when you were creating, you were outside of yourself. L said that when doing art, it was coming out of the inside. L thought that H had been real when he was doing the sonnet. H did not remember this.

H thought that a good way of self-remembering was to become aware of your sense of self, and you were not going to do that easily unless you initially became aware of the presence of your body in space, and a separation of what you were, and not being absorbed in everything. If you became aware of your own sense of self, you were, to some extent, self-remembering. Otherwise what self were you remembering? You were just sensing, generally speaking.

These exhaustive conscious observations and impartial constatations finally convinced Belcultassi that something proceeded in his own common presence not as it should have proceeded according to sane being-logic.

H thought the very last line was really good, it said - not as it should have proceeded according to sane being-logic - and that was something he had been aware of more and more, that he did not always proceed according to reason. Mostly it was just automatic, being absorbed, but even if you were more aware, sometimes the mechanical parts of you proceeded not according to reason, and that was what he seemed to be saying, that reason was not the way we normally always worked. It was usually mechanical in some way or another, like some other world you were working against, as it were.

RM said that the trouble was that our desire for something overruled reason. You want things to be like this but reason tells you they are not. I want to eat more but reason says I am going to get fat. We get overruled by that and get totally into a world of nonsense.

...With that aim he began inquiring among his friends and acquaintances to try to find out from them how they sensed it all and how they cognized their past and present perceptions and manifestations, doing this, of course, very discreetly, so as not to touch the aforementioned impulses inherent in them, namely, ‘self-love,’ ‘pride,’ and so on, which are unbecoming to three-brained beings.

Thanks to these inquiries, Belcultassi gradually succeeded in evoking sincerity in his friends and acquaintances, and as a result it turned out that all of them sensed and saw in themselves everything just the same as he did.

...Soon after, on the initiative of the same Belcultassi, they began to meet together from time to time, and to share their observations and new constatations.

After prolonged verifications, observations, and impartial constatations, this entire group of terrestrial beings also became categorically convinced, just like Belcultassi himself, that they were not as they ought to be.

RM said it was like the reason for playing chess. It was reasonable to make a move, but as soon as you made a good move, your ego goes "Hey, I've done a good job", and suddenly you got caught by that somewhere else, so you had to watch that you did not get caught by these things while you were reasoning things through. L said chess was a very good example, because we used reason to play it, but it was not computable, so reason was not enough, even for a computer.



GM Yasser Seirawan on the late GM David Bronstein (2006)
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T said it was highly emotional - if you listened to people describing the chess moves in the game, there were all sorts of emotive words used, which was a real surprise. L said the passage also implied that it needed a team of people to overcome this problem, because left by ourselves we slipped very quickly into automatic behaviour. So long as a few people were awake at any time, things could keep going.

...later they founded that society which they named the ‘Society of Akhaldans.’

...From the very beginning of the foundation of this society, Belcultassi himself stood at its head, and the subsequent actions of the beings of this society proceeded under his general guidance.

...But as it proved impossible for each and every one of them to acquire the necessary special knowledge, they divided themselves for convenience into a number of groups so that each group might separately study one of these special branches of knowledge required for their common aim.

RM got the sense he was describing here what should happen. There was a need to specialise in various aspects of what was going on without losing touch with what their main purpose was. He thought this alluded to Gurdjieff's own experience. In reality a lot of the groups that left Gurdjieff went off and did their own thing and lost touch with the core principle of self-observation. H said it was also a kind of description of what group he belonged to - The Seekers after Truth - their system was more or less what he had described. RM found the whole book was separated into two larger views. What we had read up to now about what humanity was like now, and now he was getting into the nuts and bolts of what we should be doing and how we should be observing.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Poise for Thought

Fifty percent of T remembered the EXERCISE, and fifty percent did not. She remembered that being in a negative state was a trigger, but the other trigger, of being in a positive state, she was completely unaware of. Information for
Next Meeting
6 August 2017 at 9am

EXERCISE

READING

Disclaimer and Notes
She remembered about ten times during the month. She was also aware of part of her stopping herself doing it if she was in company or in a public place. How very powerful the community mores were, not wanting to be seen to be odd. In contrast, just that morning she had seen a man in a cafe who had a hat on with a huge plume of feathers and high heels. Seeing that was wonderful.

L said that in order to do this exercise, in theory you had to be able to stand on one leg. It was about balance, not being too positive or too negative in the way that we react to things. He was not sure it had that much to do with Gurdjieff, but it was certainly connected to Ouspensky's ideas. Ouspensky used to talk about something he called formatory thinking. "Formatory" is a word he must have made up.
EXERCISE

When you find yourself in either a negative or positive state, pause, put yourself in a midpoint state of equanimity, and stand on one leg.

You can't use it in Scrabble, but the idea was not to react too much in one direction or the other. L had made some progress in standing on one leg. He thought he was fairly thick-skinned to impressions coming in, but he did find himself standing on one leg several times, and that was usually in response to negative things. When you stand on one leg, there is a tendency to fall over. Gurdjieff talks about the Law of Falling, and the Third Force was where two forces in equilibrium which were about to fall out of balance were kept going by applying the additional force. We could see people on the streets exhibiting fantastic balance - the boys on the bicycles riding without using their hands, or the skateboarders. Maybe they were exhibiting a bit of third force. It clearly brought them great joy.

The exercise had been very relevant to N this month due to the bereavement he had experienced two and a half weeks before. He had been in a state of terrible shock. He had been trying to be as present to the circumstances as he possibly could, to be conscious of his emotions, and to find an equanimity in the situation. It became easier as days went on, but was still difficult. There had been a lot of inner work he had had to do in the course of this last couple of weeks, to try and come to terms with what had taken place. When he had looked at the exercise, he had thought it could not have been more relevant this month. He would do the exercise again, he thought, next month, because he did think it was a good exercise.

C expressed his sincere condolences to N. He spoke of his experience of bereavement some years before. RM said that by being present, what happened in his life became not disengaged, but more distant. He thought now that if a disaster happened in his life, it would be as if it happened to a friend, not himself, not his real self, and this enabled him to help others better.

Responding to comments by L about not going too far one way or the other, RM said this fitted exactly with the golden mean of Daoism. They also talked about the true heart, where you just knew where the golden mean was. It was that still, small voice. L said that the state of equilibrium took work, because if you were riding a bicycle and stopped exerting control, even it was unconcsious control, you toppled over. RM said there was a difference between awareness and consciousness. If you were aware, you stayed in balance. If you became conscious, all your ideas about things would start getting in the way.

J said it was interesting how there was a bifurcation between thinking and emotional reaction, and what we were undertaking was not just an academic exercise, but one grounded in our lives. The balance that we would be getting from the exercise was something which flowed in to all the peripheral areas, assuming the brain to be the centre. So equilibrium was probably a very important thing.

The Meeting continued reading from Beelzebub's Tales, Chapter 23.



With acknowledgments to Harold Good
Watch on YouTube

First of all, you should know about that ordinary cosmic something actualized for these same terrestrial types, which is in general always actualized of itself for every cosmic unit and which serves for beings with Objective Reason as what is called an ‘issuing source’ for pondering about the explanation of the sense and meaning of any given cosmic result.

This same something which serves as an issuing source for discovering the significance of these terrestrial contemporary types, is a wiseacring map named by them themselves—of course unconsciously—the ‘map inventory of the heavenly spaces.’

There is no need for us to draw any other logical conclusion from this issuing source specially actualized for them; it will be sufficient merely to say that the name itself of this map of theirs shows that the designations made on it cannot in any way be other than entirely relative, because with the possibilities at their disposal—though they break their esteemed heads over devising names and calculating various kinds of measurements—they can see from the surface of their planet only those suns and planets which to their good fortune do not very quickly change the course of their falling in relation to their own planet and thus give them the possibility during a long period of time - of course long as compared with the brevity of their own existence - to observe them and, as they bombastically express themselves, ‘mark down their positions.’ ...

G asked what the phrase brevity of their own existence meant. C said that it was in the context of studying something like the stars, which had been going for hundreds of thousands of years, within our very short lifetimes. L said that if we lived for a million years, the odds were that an asteroid would hit the ground next door, or destroy the planet in our lifetimes, but as we were only here for 70 to 100 years, he thought we could feel quite safe that no rocks would land next door. RM said this highlighted that grand meanings we attribute to things appear nonsense when passed though time.

Otherwise like most of the other freaks there who are occupied with, as they say there, ‘higher matters,’ they will busy themselves, out of boredom, ‘leading the struggle of five against one.’

And it is known to all that the beings who are occupied with these matters always radiate from themselves vibrations very harmful for beings around them similar to themselves.

Well enough! Leave these contemporary ‘titillators’ in peace and let us continue our interrupted definite theme.

... It is imperatively necessary to inform you of this because in the course of my further explanations concerning these three-brained beings of the planet Earth who have taken your fancy I shall in all probability have to refer more than once to that society of learned beings there.

RM thought this was referring to the beings of Atlantis, who were more concerned with objective reality which Gurdjieff often refers to. Instead of wiseacring about our opinions about things, there was an objective reality which you could study.

J asked for clarification about the paragraph talking about some beings radiating harmful vibrations. L said that the preceding sentence specifically talks about the struggle of five against one. C asked what that meant. L said that one writer thinks Gurdjieff is talking about tension between five main centres and the sex centre.

A Teleoghinoora is a materialized idea or thought which after its arising exists almost eternally in the atmosphere of that planet on which it arises.

Teleoghinooras can be formed from such a quality of being-contemplation as only those three-brained beings have and can actualize, who have coated their higher being bodies in their presences and who have brought the perfecting of the Reason of their higher being part up to the degree of the sacred ‘Martfotai.’






Poster from Mulder's office
in the X-Files TV series
RM described an experiment in which researchers had made up an imaginary person's life history, and were then able to make contact with him via a ouija board. GC said it had been proven by science that human beings could influence random number generators. L said that references were required for claims of this nature. As a rule such experiments could not be successfully repeated. RM said he had personally experienced walking across hot coals, bending of metals, and had seen a wizened old lady, probably in her eighties, with no strength, break a piece of hard wood by striking it with her hand, and he could swear blind that it clicked and broke before or just at the moment her hand was touching it. GC said he had personally seen evidence that homeopathy worked. C said people have been known to lift very heavy objects in emergencies. D wanted to know how to break the pieces of wood.



Purgatory

... this learned society Akhaldan which arose then on the continent Atlantis and which was composed of three-brained beings of the Earth, was formed 735 years before the second ‘Transapalnian perturbation’ there.

It was founded on the initiative of a being there named Belcultassi, who was then able to bring the perfecting of his higher being part to the Being of a Saint ‘Eternal Individual’; and this higher part of his now already dwells on the holy planet Purgatory.



Referring to the earlier mention in the text of vibrations which might be harmful, J thought that the fact Belcultassi ended up on Purgatory suggested he might have been subversive about his whole operation, and been wiseacring.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Antikythera

L had found this EXERCISE really helped him to read more of the paragraphs, and also because each time he started from the beginning and then added an extra paragraph, it meant he got to know the first paragraph particularly well, and the next few better and better also, and each day they would be recapped. He managed to do it virtually every day. Reading it this way, he found it made sense. He really understood and appreciated that Gurdjieff was talking about how things went downhill as astrologers became astronomers, and you could see the same thing in many areas of life. Things had gone downhill in music, because many composers abandoned the skills of harmony and counterpoint. They decided choosing notes randomly, in the case of some composers, might be a better approach. L could see it might be a much easier approach. You got out of something roughly what you put into it.
EXERCISE

Read the first paragraph of the reading for the next Meeting on the first day, the first two paragraphs on the second, the first three paragraphs on the third and so on, adding a paragraph each day until the Meeting.
In the case of harmony and counterpoint, you sometimes got out a bit more. He had found the exercise very useful, and might keep on using it in future months, and thought it would help during the reading section later in the Meeting.

T had been aware of the exercise, and did eight paragraphs during the month. She had gained something from the reading. The first paragraph was the most complex, which was offputting. It was a relief that it was only one extra paragraph each day, a bite-sized chunk. Even though she had started to enjoy it, other distractions came along and she lapsed, so it was interesting in terms of how difficult it was to do something every day, consistently and methodically.


Watkins Bookshop
R had picked up the book from Watkins, Cecil Court. He had started at the beginning of the chapter, to get hold of what happened prior. He had tried Beelzebub before, and put it aside. But this time the light had come on. The understanding he got was that reading it in a literal sense, taking it per se, was going against the grain of the wood. The whole thing was to disabuse oneself of previous ideas and to open up an avenue, an inroad of higher consciousness or a higher centre.

The Meeting continued reading from Beelzebub's Tales, Chapter 23.



With acknowledgments to Harold Good
Watch on YouTube

Inasmuch as the difference in significance and sense, in relation to surrounding beings, between those ... who at that time were such professionals, and those who have now, as it were, the same occupation, might show you, so to say, ‘the obviousness of the steady deterioration of the degree of crystallization’, ... I therefore find it necessary to explain to you and to help you to have an approximate understanding of this difference, which is also changing for the worse.

Antikythera mechanism
Modern recreation of design
from c.100 BC

... they had to draw up their ‘Oblekioonerish’ which is the same as what your favorites call ‘horoscope’; and later ... guide them and give corresponding indications on the basis of the said Oblekioonerish and also on the basis of the cosmic laws, constantly explained by them, flowing from the actions of the results of other large cosmic concentrations in general on the process of being-existence of beings on all planets.


D said that he could not understand the paragraphs just read and asked for an explanation. RM said Gurdjieff was talking about the difference between astronomers, who actually had the facts, as far as they could really see it, and the wiseacring astrologers who had pushed them aside. J said his understanding of it was that there was a corpus of knowledge which you obtained by dint of a huge amount of effort, and then thereafter it split into two ways. The knowledge itself became stale, repetition, the names that you understood, while at the same time there was an outshoot of fantasy where people wanted more interpretation that was in fact wiseacring and not really justified.

... they assigned to the beings at the seventh year of their existence, likewise on the basis of these Oblekioonerishes, corresponding mates of the opposite sex for the purpose of fulfilling one of the chief being-duties, that is, continuation of the race, or as your favorites would say, they assigned them ‘husbands’ and ‘wives.’

Justice must be done to your favorites of the period when these Astrologers existed among them; they then indeed very strictly carried out the indications of these Astrologers and made their conjugal unions exclusively only according to their indications.

Therefore, at that period, in regard to their conjugal unions, they always corresponded according to their type, just as such pairs correspond everywhere on planets on which Keschapmartnian beings also breed.


RM said he was being critical of the astrologers. Conjugal unions were made only to their indications. They started controlling everybody else. T said doing this at the seventh year was child abuse. L said he was also saying that the astronomers were fantasists. RM said it did not say anthing about astronomers being fantasists. T said that the astrologers at that time did not have telescopes. Astrologers used observations of the movements of the heavens. They were astute observers. RM said that astrologers were lying. It was just fantasy. L asked if anyone present ever looked at horoscopes. GC and RM said they sometimes looked, but just for fun. D said it was rubbish. L asked RM what his star sign was. RM said it was Aries. DM said he was also Aries. J said he was also an Aries. L asked what were the characteristics of an Aries. DM said pioneers. L suggested leaders. RM said, single-minded, dominating in their views. J said charming, good looking. T said it was still in the culture. L said it was in the language. We talked about saturnine and jovial. He asked if we had any reason to think astrology was not true. RM said that we did.

... Owing to all this, the pairs matched according to their indications almost always turned out to be corresponding, and not as it proceeds there at the present time; and that is to say they are now united in conjugal pairs who nearly always do not correspond in type; in consequence of which during the continuation of the entire existence of these couples there, about half of their, as they say, ‘inner life’ is spent only on what our esteemed Mullah Nassr Eddin expresses in one of his sayings by the following words:

‘What a good husband he is, or what a good wife she is, whose whole inner world is not busy with the constant “nagging of the other half.”’

... these Astrologers’ of theirs, as usually happens there, also at first began gradually to ‘shrink’ and then entirely, as is said, ‘vanished.’

After the total abolition among them of the duties of these Astrologers, other professionals in the same sphere appeared in their place, ... but as the ordinary beings around these professionals soon noticed that their ‘observations’ and ‘studies’ consisted merely in inventing names for various remote suns and planets meaning nothing to them, existing in milliards in the Universe, and in measuring, as it were, by a method known to them alone, and which constituted their professional secret, the distance between the cosmic points seen from their planets through their ‘child’s toys’ called by them ‘telescopes,’ they began to call them, as I have already told you, Astronomers.

Now, my boy, that we have spoken also about these contemporary ‘ultra fantasists’
from among your favorites, we might as well, again imitating the form of mentation and the verbal exposition of our dear teacher Mullah Nassr Eddin, also ‘illuminatingly’ enlighten you about their significance, so esteemed by your favorites.


L said that here was an example where he described the astronomers as fantasists. RM said they became the fantasists later. T said that astronomers were looking out rather than trying to observe themselves. L said the passage seemed to be true. We were building ever better telescopes, but all that happened was that we discovered new planets, called them such and such, and noted their distances from us, but it did not really add to any state of knowledge. T imagined somebody millions of light years away on another planet who suddenly discovered Earth: they were looking at us, but why, when they had it all there, and didn't even understand themselves? It was a distraction. J said it was a respectable endeavour to get your facts before you worked out your theory. GC said the mind needed to give names to facts, that was how the mind understood them, but we were talking about understanding without the mind. True inspiration in music came from beyond the mind. L said that knowledge of music theory was not needed to listen to it and appreciate it. RM thought you had to keep the outer and the inner in balance. If you went too far one way or the other you got into fantasy.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Eyes Wide Shut

RM said he had been away but that he realised that he had been doing the EXERCISE. He equated it with Ramana Maharshi's teachings about choiceless awareness, and the point was you looked ahead of you but you made no choice. Information for
Next Meeting
4 June 2017 at 9am

EXERCISE

READING

Disclaimer and Notes
You just saw the overview, not anything specific. When he let go, just seeing the general shape of things, he became more aware of the circumstances around him. When he became more awake, he noticed the people around him were fast asleep.

L's experience was, that as he saw the person coming, it was like a cloud of thoughts approaching him. People's thoughts, and state of mind, were reflected in their gait. Either they would be walking fast, or dreamily, looking this way and that. It was like a dream walking towards him. As the person came closer he would stop being aware of the thoughts. He was aware just of the raw animal going past him, animated flesh. He also did it with dogs approaching - it was the same sensation for creatures.

EXERCISE

When you are walking along the road, and someone is coming towards you, look at them but not their face. When they come towards you, try to see what's in front of your eyes. When your mind starts judging, once you realise the thought has come, clear it and try to see the object that's coming towards you.
The exercise made T realise that she did not usually look at people as they were coming towards her, and that she usually averted her eyes, particularly from men, and that she looked at everything else, the hedges, the flowers. So looking at the people coming along was quite daunting, and it felt weird, not looking at their face, because often she thought she looked at the face and then quickly looked away, just to check who was around her. So that woke her up to the ordinary action of walking along a street, and it had made her aware of a habitual action that she did, which she had not been aware of before.

"R"'s efforts were to receive an impression, and she found that she connected with how a person was inside herself, and sensed their posture and their tempo before looking at details, because we were working to remember ourselves, and it was easy to get lost in what we see. And remembering herself was sensing her body, and the seat of the feelings.

R said there were two ways. Either you engaged with that person, by looking at them, and catching their eye, or you avoided it, and objectified them. They became the object, and you became the observer, and you saw them encased within a role. RM had said that people were asleep. Of course they were asleep, they were caught up in their role, and the role of walking was a full-time occupation - thinking, and walking, encapsulated within their role as a pedestrian, detached from the surroundings.

J had conducted the exercise, including thinking about what he would think about after he conducted it, beforehand, and he found there wasn't too much distinction, in other words, what happened was anticipated. That may be because, as a failed novelist, one of the things he did was look at people and try to imagine what their stories were, when they may be in a semi-somnambulant state.
Source: Rebecca Hendin at giphy.com
If he were to avert his eyes from their face, which was what the exercise asked, he found instead he was concentrating on either their clothes, or their gait, and trying to work out, in a not very detailed way, where that person, mentally, might be coming from. The other thing that happened, was that a hundred times a day, he saw people walking in the street, or in the tube. If you asked, after you had just got out of a tube ride, who you had seen, you probably couldn't remember, and the mere fact of concentrating just for an additional moment, on someone coming, not necessarily on their face, stamped them more clearly in one's recollection.

Responding to RM and R, D said he would like to state that he could not see how you could know what anybody else was thinking. You could not know if they were asleep or awake - full stop - because we did not even know what we were doing, half the time.

J said there was a presumption which was absolutely to be fought against - that you could not assume, from somebody's expression, or even their vacant expression, that they were either encapsulated in a role, or they were half asleep. People were thinking in their own worlds, but if you wanted to try and understand that, you could possibly penetrate to some mild degree, but to assume from that that you were awake and they were half-asleep - there was an unconscious superiority about this - and in this, he thought, was a slight danger.

GC said he had set the exercise, and the idea of the exercise was to possibly make people realise that we were dreaming, the observer was dreaming, and to look at the person - as the thoughts came, to realise the thoughts were there, and disregard the thoughts. But what seemed to be happening was that people were getting caught up in the dream because they were asleep, and the object of the exercise was to awake you, not to take you further back in to the mind. DM asked if it was a technique to wake yourself up? Were you judging that person? GC said that if you looked at somebody, your thoughts would arise about that person. Seeming is dreaming. You were dreaming, you were asleep. You were not observing them asleep. You were observing the fact that you, the observer, was actually asleep, and dreaming.

Responding to RM's contribution, RG asked how he knew that a person was asleep and did it make him, or us in general, by observing someone else, awake? Was it just the observation that made us awake if we noticed that somebody else was asleep? RM said that when you learn to be awake, you know when other people are asleep. RG asked him how he knew. RM said there was no question, you knew it.

L said that when he had stopped being swayed by his thoughts of what they might be thinking about, and why they were walking in that way, he also felt compassion towards this person he didn't know coming by him. Some people were happier than others. Some people were not happy. He also felt it towards animals. He liked the way Gurdjieff didn't talk about people and animals, rather he talked about bipeds and quadrupeds, beings of different kinds. For L, the exercise was more about compassion than about being awake or asleep, to which he thought compassion might be an extra dimension. He hoped we could become more awake, and perhaps a little bit more as well!

R said that looking at a person - whether they were asleep or awake - was that not a bit formatory? If you said, is he or isn't he?, you were putting yourself in a condition of sleep. The magic word sleep. Were we speaking about being hypnotised by one's own thoughts, by being drawn out of the environment into oneself? GC said this was the case, and the reasons for the exercise were to make you realise that you can't look at someone without going back to your agenda, and to be like the mirror, which sees everything, but doesn't take it in, but reflects it back.

J asked what were we now, were we conscious? How was what we were talking about now,


Captain Pickard considers the issue of illusion.
concentrating on one object that was common to us all, so different from the exercise we were conducting. When we were thinking about ourselves in this moment, were we doing what we were doing in the street, concentrating on an object, and the person there was also doing that, but not on the same object that we were communally discussing, it was his own object. Was there such a difference? In other words, were we asleep now?

GC said that the idea of the exercise was to realise that you could not watch a person without bringing your mind into a picture that you were watching. The mind is a good servant and a bad master. For him personally, the less mind there was for him, the better it was. RM asked where was the picture we were watching? adding, it could only be in the mind. GC said, if you looked at a white wall, you would see a white wall. Then you would start thinking, maybe you could put a picture there, another part needs touching up ... but it was just a white wall. You could imprint anything you like on to it, and the mind wants to imprint something on it all the time, and the object of the exercise was to make you realise that you can't look at the person without bringing yourself into the picture you were looking at, or the scene you were looking at, or the person you were looking at. DM asked if you would be able to tell if that person was asleep or awake. A asked why it was important to know if the other person was asleep. RM said it was not important to know that the other person was asleep, but it was important to you, for you to understand when you were asleep. "R" said that being more aware was bringing three centres together, including the physical sense of one's presence. GC said that this was an agenda she had had before this conversation, just as L's companssion had been an agenda he had had before this conversation. "R" said everybody had been starting their sentences with I think, or something to do with thoughts. GC said that thinking was the problem. He said that, for him, that was his agenda that encapsulated everything - we thought when we did not need to, and that was the problem.

The Meeting continued reading from Beelzebub's Tales, Chapter 23.



With acknowledgments to Harold Good
Watch on YouTube

And all this will be quite in the order of things there.

Concerning the ‘scientific experiment’ itself, which they propose to carry out with the apes taken back from Africa, I can with certainty say beforehand, that at any rate the first part of it will without any doubt, succeed ‘wonderfully well.’

And it will succeed wonderfully well, because the apes themselves, as beings of what is called a ‘Terbelnian result,’ are already, owing to their nature, extremely fond of occupying themselves with ‘titillation’ and before the day is out, will no doubt participate in and greatly assist your favorites in this ‘scientific experiment’ of theirs.

As for those beings there who are going to carry out this ‘scientific experiment,’ and as for any benefit from it for the other three-brained beings there, it can all be pictured to oneself if one remembers the profoundly wise saying of our same honorable Mullah Nassr Eddin, in which he says: ‘Happy is that father whose son is even busy with murder and robbery, for he himself will then have no time to get accustomed to occupy himself with “titillation.”’


T said it was shocking that murder and robbery should be put above sexuality. She asked if it was taking to the extreme that it was better to be doing something in the world than not. R said the Mullah was saying that it was best to be active without fantasy. He cited the book Eros and Civilisation, which partly follows on Freud's thoughts on the tension between superego and instinct.

... Well then, my boy, when I left that system, I presented my famous observatory to him with everything in it, and in gratitude for this he promised to report every month, according to the time-calculation of the planet Mars, all the more important events occurring on the planets of that system.

... However, my boy, owing to this etherogram, I have wandered a long way from my original tale.

Let us go back to our former theme.

Well, then, upon this the fourth flight of mine to the planet Earth, our ship Occasion descended onto the sea called the ‘Red Sea.’


RM asked what he meant by etherogram.

T said it was like an email, or a text. "R" said it was like a news bulletin.
Source NASA
L said it was an interplanetary email system, which had not yet been developed, but they were working on it. The plan was to have one satellite going round Mars, and another going round the sun.

T liked the way Gurdjieff referred to distraction, when he said the etherogram had caused him to wander from his original tale.

Construction begins on the world's first super telescope. Source phys.org
... the beings of the Earth of that locality had devised a new system for observing other cosmic concentrations from their planet, and that they were then constructing what was required in order to carry it into effect; and also, as everybody there said, that the convenience and possibilities of this new system were excellent and until then unparalleled on the Earth.

... Although the observatory which interested me was not yet quite finished, nevertheless observations of the exterior visibility of cosmic concentrations could be made from it, and the results issuing from them and the reciprocal action of these results could be studied.

Those beings who were occupied with such observations and studies were called, at that period on the Earth, ‘Astrologers.’

But when afterwards that psychic disease of theirs called wiseacring became finally fixed there, owing to which these specialists of theirs also ‘shrivelled and shrank’ and became specialists only in giving names to remote cosmic concentrations, they came to be called ‘Astronomers’.


C said that astrologers were, from what Gurdjieff was saying, more important than astronomers, and that we were going off on the wrong track. IO said that astrologers have wisdom, and astronomers have knowledge. RM said that you could not understand the sea by labeling every wave.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Candle in the Wind

L had found this EXERCISE difficult in that the original idea was just to let the thought go, and the additional requirement to focus on the body changed its nature. Information for
Next Meeting
4 June 2017 at 9am

EXERCISE

READING

Disclaimer and Notes
However he attempted it, and it reminded him of his one-minute meditations in which attention moves variously between what is seen, what is heard, and what is physically felt. As for the benefits of the exercise, we were all prone to thoughts straying, and it did seem to be quite an effective way of bringing us back to earth, and maybe we were not conscious enough of the body; we did not talk about the body very much in these Meetings. He had also discovered, which he thought was of interest, was that the concept of the Gurdjieff Group didn't start with Gurdjieff, it was an idea of Ouspensky.

EXERCISE

Once a day, after a thinking process has finished, put the mind away as you would a tool, and put your attention on your body for a minute.
What N found difficult was that he was not aware all the time when he was involved in a thinking process, so it was tricky to know when it started and ended. There were certain days when he had more clarity on that issue, especially if he had been working on a professional problem, or writing a document, there was a more definitive process, and he could do that. Going around his everyday life, he liked the idea of thinking, or the thinking process, as a tool which you might put away after you had done it, and then be more aware of your body in daily life, so he thought it was a nice concept to work with and it was an interesting thing. We kept on thinking even when we didn't need to think. One day he went on the tube, and there was a quite an interesting quote on display in the station which he wrote down that day: Feelings are like waves. We can't stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf. He thought it was quite a playful one, you didn't have to go with every emotion that came in, but when you became aware of what emotions were going through your body, you could then enjoy them at some level.

For RG meditation was more like observing herself and having this quiet time when she thought of her body, what it was doing, and her breathing. She thought it was impossible to stop the thoughts, but she normally let them pass by, without putting too much emphasis on the thoughts, and all the time trying to reconnect with herself, within herself. The emotions were also part of the influences that we absorbed. Why were we happy? Why were we sad? Were these really inside her or were they because of something else. It was difficult to remember yourself every day because we were so much engaged with everything else, and we had to do everything in a rush, and we forgot. But when she remembered herself and looked inside herself, she breathed better, was more grounded, and also felt more stable.

T had found the meaning of the exercise very difficult to absorb. The awareness she had was how thoughts were there all the time, in varying degrees of decibels. She thought she was permanently distracted when she walked down the street. The main thing she experienced was how divorced the thinking was from the body, which was awful. That was judgemental, but that was how it was. The thoughts were buzzing around, and the body was doing its thing, very obediently.

Responding to what RG had said about feelings and emotions we have, L wondered if the practice of art was related to this. If you were painting a portrait of somebody in a passionate or emotional state, you would not be passionate or emotional. You would be trying to mix the right colour and shade for the skin of that part of the profile. L was writing a piece of music at the moment, and was in a section which was very emotional, and full of passion, but he was quite rationally trying to work out harmonies. So what was this emotion and what was this passion? And what was this state of standing back? It must be the same for a novelist who was writing about people engaged in a drama and the turmoil they were in, but was the writer in that turmoil? No, he wasn't, he was thinking about out how long that chapter should be, at what proportion in the novel to put the climax, when was the turning point. T asked if L was saying that the author, or the painter, or the composer was the witness. L said yes, the state of being an artist was like the state of being a witness. Engaging in the practice of art of any kind, if you were doing it well you had to become a witness. The emotional process and passion could get in the way. C said that the writer only really knew the emotion he was writing about if he had experienced something similar himself. N said that Wordsworth talked about art and poetry being emotion recollected in tranquillity. In a sense we were talking about being artists of our own life, we were witnessing without becoming identified. C said that these emotions attached themselves to us. They were not real in themselves. We were placid really, deep down inside, the essence was just watching these things. L quoted Erich Fromm: Most people die before they are fully born. Creativeness means to be born before one dies. L said that maybe these emotions we could stand back from and observe were the shell that had formed through which we were going to break.

Following on from N's contribution, J said you could probably choose what thoughts you wanted to accentuate or emphasise, just as you could choose which emotions you could surf in on. The problem he saw was wanting to be an observer of yourself all the time, as opposed to the times when you were recollecting emotion in tranquillity. What were we designed for? We weren't, aeons ago, put on this Earth to sit and contemplate lotus flowers. We were put on this Earth to accomplish things. We were purposive beings. If you had a purpose, whether it was a composition, or a work of art, or thinking about yourself, or accentuating your thoughts or feelings, you had to realise that the biological programming, the hard-wiring, is going to get in the way of the sort of exercise we were talking about. So if you assume the mind needs a purpose, then, you give it a bluff purpose, perhaps. If you are on a train, you see around you movement. Then the mind thinks it is accomplishing something, and that is what will enable you to focus on the emotion or the thinking about yourself. The other problem about thinking too much about yourself, at all times, as opposed to when that is the exercise, is that it gets in the way of what it is one is trying to accomplish. If you were trying to write a poem, part of that could be thinking about how many lines, how many words, quavers. Thinking about that was part of the process, but if you were thinking about thinking about it, you were reducing your hundred percent concentration on that object. So there was a time and a place for all these things, and the time and the place was not all the time, everywhere. The thoughts and the body are two different things, but they well out like a candle flame out of the wax. There was a connection, but it was not coextensive. D said he thought thinking about thinking meant you were observing, and more efficient. If you were lost in something, you could not see the rest of it. You had to step back from it to see the clarity of it, to choose what you want to put in. L said that in the case of autobiographical work, the writer is observing his own thinking, but in writing about other people, it might, in a sense, be truer, as the writer is able to step back.

RG said that when we write a piece of music or something where we have to put a structure, at that moment it is the intellectual centre that is working. How is the emotion in that moment? Am I aware of my body? What is my body doing? She thought that Gurdjieff said that when we did something, we had to be aware of all three at the same time, and that was the difficulty, because normally if you started to write, for example, a poem, it seemed to her to need just the intellectual side.

The Meeting continued reading from Beelzebub's Tales, Chapter 23.



With acknowledgments to Harold Good
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“Concerning this cosmic law just mentioned, it is now absolutely necessary to tell you that it arose and began to exist in the Universe after the fundamental sacred law of Triamazikamno was changed by OUR CREATOR for the purpose of rendering the Heropass harmless, and after its previously totally independent holy parts had begun to be dependent upon forces coming from outside.

...“Meanwhile know, concerning this question, that in general everywhere on normally existing planets of our Great Universe the Exioëhary formed in the presence of a three-brained being who has perceptive and transformative organs for localizing the holy affirming part of the sacred Triamazikamno, that is to say, a Keschapmartnian being of the male sex, can, owing to the just-mentioned cosmic law, never be blended with the Exioëhary formed in the presence of a Keschapmartnian two-brained being of the opposite sex.

“At the same time, the Exioëhary formed in the three-brained Keschapmartnian being of the female sex can sometimes—in those cases when a special combination of the blending of cosmic forces is obtained and the mentioned law comes into effect—be completely blended under certain surrounding conditions with the Exioëhary formed in two-brained Keschapmartnian beings of the male sex, but only as the active factor in such an actualizing process of the fundamental sacred Triamazikamno.


C said that Gurdjieff is saying that there is only one way to recreate a new human being, and we shouldn't use our sperm for discredited means. GC said that Gurdjieff did, was he now telling us not to? T said that the males were separated from the females, so the males did pederasty and the females did bestiality. J asked if he had missed something when he had not attended last time. T said it could be too that women were considered over these generations and millennia, the second sex, somehow lower than the male, and this section was saying that both were required and equal.
 
L said he was talking about where life in general came from. What made the universe animate? Was it everywhere? We did not know yet, but were trying to find traces of it on Mars.

“In short, during the said terrible years on this planet of yours, a result very rare in the Universe was obtained, that is to say, there was obtained the blending of the Exioëharies of two Keschapmartnian beings of different brain systems of opposite sexes; and as a result, there arose the ancestors of these terrestrial ‘misconceived’ beings now called apes, who give your favourites no peace and who from time to time agitate their strange Reason.

T wondered if he was talking about other human beings who were animalistic, violent or excessively emotional. J said he seemed to be implying that in the beginning there was something like homo sapiens, and the animal kingdom came thereafter, which was quite an interesting way round. L said he thought he was talking about the personal development of human beings. C asked if we understood apes as bipeds or quadrupeds. T said they used their hands when walking. C said he did not think he was taking evolution into account. He had heard in a programme that there were up to 270 primates. Elephants had similar sized brains to us, and so had other creatures, but they did not have the same capacity as us, and scientists were trying to find out why.
 
The programme said that diet was a more important factor than sociability, and going from eating leaves and branches to fruit made a tremendous difference. L said that elephants eat both leaves and fruit. C said that sometimes fruit is very difficult to get at, for example pineapples. Would any creature other than us look at a pineapple and eat it? GC said that if you gave a monkey a pineapple, who had never seen one before, he would know what to do with it.

“... but on the other hand that what are called the ‘psychic features’ of all the separate species of these apes there are absolutely identical, even down to details, with those of the psyche of the three-brained beings there of the ‘female sex.’”

At this point of his tales, Beelzebub made a long pause and looking at his favourite Hassein with a smile which very clearly expressed a double meaning ...


D asked why he brought the word psychic in here. L said he was relating this to human women, and asked why men were not included to. T said he was separating out the sexes, and whether it was complimentary or derogatory was unsure. N repeated Gurdjieff's description of Beelzebub smiling expressing a double meaning; so it was very hard to know what Gurdjieff was really saying about all this.

“In the text of the etherogram which I have just received, it is further said that in order this time finally to settle who has descended from whom — whether they from the apes or the apes from them — these freaks, your favourites, have even decided to carry out ‘scientific experiments,’ and furthermore that several of them have already left for the continent of Africa where many of these apes breed, with the object of bringing back from there the number required for these ‘scientific investigations’ of theirs.

C said Gurdjieff was leaving it open we came from the apes or the apes from us. L said he was also saying that our free thinking, our individuality, evolves from a state of automatic behaviour.