lloydbaker

Any Gurdjieff Enthusiasts Out There?

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My reading of Gurdjeff indicates Gurdjieff wrote psychological allegories in All and Everything, not esoteric science about external reality.

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I suspect that you are correct, because if you take what he writes to be literal truth, then G seems like an incoherent mess.

 

Plenty of other teachers are like that, too (my own included). And a lot of people misunderstand or malign them because they take everything at "face value" without examining the meaning and motivation behind it. Stories, myths, symbols, allegories, etc.

 

However, I have noticed that it is not as simple as psychological allegory vs. physical "reality"... the world is psyche in a sense. And if there is one thing I have learned it is that there is no rigid dividing line between mental and physical, and no rigid division between individual subject and others or the world "outside". Which may help account for apparently miraculous or magical events, etc.

 

All that said, I really don't know much about Gurdjieff other than a few stories and anecdotes, but he seems cool to me.

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...

However, I have noticed that it is not as simple as psychological allegory vs. physical "reality"... the world is psyche in a sense. And if there is one thing I have learned it is that there is no rigid dividing line between mental and physical, and no rigid division between individual subject and others or the world "outside". Which may help account for apparently miraculous or magical events, etc.

 

Correct.

 

It may be just psychological.

 

Maybe everything is psychological.

 

But do you know how the state of your psyche and consciousness affects the so called "external reality?"

 

No?

 

Better start listening.

 

Better start looking.

 

Perfect the Art of Hearing and Seeing.

 

Gurdjieff?

 

Never read 'im.

 

Crowley neither.

 

I quite liked Steiner.

...

Edited by Captain Mar-Vell

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Any Gurdjieff Enthusiasts Out There?

 

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I think that one of the secrets of Mr G. was the use of some drugs which gave him visions and insights: in the Belzebuub he recorded much of those.

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I have read a couple of intriguing anecdotes about Gurdjieff, which lead me to conclude he must have been an accomplished shaman / magician / internal alchemist.

 

Thanks to anonymity I can shameless confess that the most intrigue I felt about an anecdote about Gurdjieff's supposed ability to sexually attract women through a particular breathing pattern. This is my immaturity and attachment to physical sensation speaking, but if anyone can teach me how to do that, I would be very grateful. I think. :)

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Well, it could have been a breathing method, but might also have been the fact that he had a group of people following him around, observing and listening to him. See athletes, actors, and rock stars for similar examples.

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Gurdjieff must have had something going for him to attract the laydees because he was no looker.

That said these guru wallahs do seem to attract a certain type of person and lurve/lustiness do tend to raise its head in mixed ( or single gender) residential communities.

Leonard Cohen's Roshi ( born 1907) kept amorously busy well into his century and he's still alive now.

His monastery ( Mount Baldy) is within commuting distance of LA though.

Edited by GrandmasterP

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My reading of Gurdjeff indicates Gurdjieff wrote psychological allegories in All and Everything, not esoteric science about external reality.

 

All and everything is about all and everything ;)

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One of the principles he underlines at the start of the book is that you should "always go the whole hog including the postage"

 

I think you can probably get it online for free these days though

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Taking Mr. G with a big grain of salt....see pdf file:

 

gurdjiefffourthway.org/pdf/danger.pdf

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However, I have noticed that it is not as simple as psychological allegory vs. physical "reality"... the world is psyche in a sense. And if there is one thing I have learned it is that there is no rigid dividing line between mental and physical, and no rigid division between individual subject and others or the world "outside". Which may help account for apparently miraculous or magical events, etc.

 

Yes, what we often "take" for external reality is our perception and ideas of external reality. We have direct contact with our perceptions, feeling, etc., not external reality Of external reality we can only have theories, expressed in mathematics, etc. So, Gurdjieff's All and Everything can refer exclusively to our perceptual world and still cover near infinite ground. He seems very interested in deep levels of consciousness not normally accessible to waking consciousness that "think" exclusively in symbols, allegories, narratives, etc. I get the impression while reading "All and Everything" that he is often "talking to" my solar plexus, not me, not my conscious mind I am used to using. At one point at the beginning of the book he talks about someone walking on his hands. . . to me clearly a reference to the solar plexus "mind" to which the legs are arms, the intestines, the convolutions of its brain, the genitals, its nose, anus its mouth, etc.

Edited by lloydbaker

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The book is meant to communicate to many different parts of you, for example the purpose of reading the book a second time by reading it out loud to yourself is to communicate it to your "essence", similar to the ways our parents read fairytales to it when we were children.

It is a very interesting observation you made that you feel it communicate to your solar plexus, you must be quite grounded in your body already.

If you wanted an exclusive psychological approach the works of Maurice Nicoll are better. As for All and Everything it really is meant to be an allegory for all and everything, in that man is a microcosm of the world and the same fundamental laws govern everything. So you can study the world by studying man and you can study man by studying the world. Inside of you there is something which corelates with the moon and the sun, also there are correlatons within your psyche of things like the Great Flood and the Tower of Babel. These are things which have happened on the macrocosmic scale in literal history in one way or another as well as in your own individual psyche, its all interrelated and follows identical patterns reflecting each other.

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All and Everything is a book which holds you to certain tones / frequencies until things begin to break up in your space.

 

Gurdjieff brought a lot from the east to the west. Not much original but presented with quite a flair and in the words of a western man.

 

Most of those enthused by him are not as well aquatinted with his considerable mixing and fighting in a sense with the Theosophical Society which was on so many levels superb and nearly all of which can be downloaded for free at The Project Gutenberg. As a teaching and guiding legacy it is well ahead of Gurdjieff in overall volume and teaching quality though don't judge it by any one author or any of its spats.

 

Most of the very best of what has come down to us regarding Gurdjieff is from Peter Ouspensky, a student of Gurjieff, though "all and everything" has an effect that can be quite useful and powerful.

 

In the end, Ouspensky found the approach of the teachings of Gurdjieff to be flawed in the sense that they were "top down" teachings. I would agree with that summation though it took me many years to see this clearly.

 

If you look at the various schools spun from the Gurdjieff works including the original lineage, you will find a real dearth of Awakening and those schools are aware of the problem. Controversy has surrounded several including the Forth Way group out of the S.F. Bay Area.

 

The tendency for one to become "all head" in a Gurdjieff group and with ideals that prevent growth and healthy exploration are very high. All of that said, the reading is fascinating - but the meat is mostly found elsewhere. Some of the western wording that they came up with is very helpful - self remembering - intentional suffering - shocks - octaves etc.

unfortunately using these in the context of the language of those schools invariably leads one into and not out of the very things one wishes to extricate oneself from.

 

You get the real feeling you are privy to some inside information that you now know and with an awakened teacher and a good group of shocks and some effort and then poof - you will have figured it out. Top down - not very effective.

Edited by Spotless
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That is so right Spotless.

Every path has its 'in' language and buzz terms that those on the inside learn and use.

Brad Warner the Hardcore Zen guy had a piece recently about Tassajara the Zen centre where he commented how it was easy to tell the regulars from the visitors by the way they speak because the regulars and residents almost had their own language and certain 'inside' terms and phrases that only they understood.

With the best will in the world some 'professional language' seems to be designed almost as if to exclude the uninitiated.

Edited by GrandmasterP
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Gurdjieff pretty much predicted what would happen to his lineage after he died and even described the laws by which these things become degraded. It is still quite remarkable how in just one generation these things can get so skewed, which is a sort of wakeup and warning in itself about all lineages in all paths.

 

But I do think some genuine lineage survived, mostly those organised by M De Salzmann. I used to know someone who was part of one and he was very integrated and balanced in his body and a had a great deal of presence and not at all "all head", yet I can see how easily people can become like that, which was basically what happened to Ouspensky, he took the work into his head and it never made it fully into his body which is reflected in his books.

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Gurdjieff pretty much predicted what would happen to his lineage after he died and even described the laws by which these things become degraded. It is still quite remarkable how in just one generation these things can get so skewed, which is a sort of wakeup and warning in itself about all lineages in all paths.

 

But I do think some genuine lineage survived, mostly those organised by M De Salzmann. I used to know someone who was part of one and he was very integrated and balanced in his body and a had a great deal of presence and not at all "all head", yet I can see how easily people can become like that, which was basically what happened to Ouspensky, he took the work into his head and it never made it fully into his body which is reflected in his books.

I am aware of the M De Salzmann's lineage - same frozen problem - nearly pertrified in place but quite "interesting". I like reading her material. Some of her more famous students living in the Bay Area are very much alive and well but as derailed by the process as any I have ever encountered - though brilliant - derailed.

 

The great thing in every Gurdjieff group I am familiar with is the group setting and the rules (however poorly they are attended to).

Problems with tyrants and a whole host of fantasy accomplishments help to solidify very extreme pictures regarding "alchemy" and other topics which the typical body of Gurdgieff students practically seem to be proud of their ignorance in these things rather than blemish their "seeking".

 

But - the group settings are a thing to behold - not for content - but for the energy of the effort and the containment of energy - it is something to see and feel - very real - electric!

 

I have never been in such intense groups with such a lacking of cumulative mass and next to no idea what they were doing.

But doing it they were - many for years and years - yet far and wide fearful of taking a wrong step in any of the many many directions Gurdgieff walked all over the place in.

 

I don't have a problem with insider language, most of it is not designed to be insider language, the teachings of the west often grow a new language rather than use Asian words or because the teaching is wrapped to a western take and common words don't do the trick. (Some do it for hokey reasons).

 

I find the complete works of Gurdjieff and his students to be excellent.

Practically speaking I find they offer little at the expense of seeming you are getting somewhere.

 

Gurjieff brought forward the East and literally put it on a stage - he bent and cracked energy and did a hell of a job.

The Theosophical Society contains "his teaching" and far far more in a useable western format not dumbed down or turned into esoterica. From it we see the incredible works of Rudolf Steiner evolve, Annie Besant and a great many more.

Edited by Spotless

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Apropos Theosophy I have always maintained that Alan Watts lived and died as the Theosophist he was raised to be.

Few now remember that the London Buddhist Lodge ( Christmas Humphries, Watts old Dad as secretary and young Alan as his assistant) was a founded and run as a Theosophical Lodge.

Nothing Watts taught, wrote or said strayed very far from Madame B and old Annie.

Edited by GrandmasterP
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One of the main ideas from the Gurdjieff work which has stuck with me over time is that he says that the ego distorts reality so it is perceived back to front or upside down, a bit like how the eye inverts images on the retina. What this means on a practical level is that when it comes to the truth what the majority of people think of as the truth in reality usually the exact opposite is usually the real truth; while internally what we consider to ourselves as our main obstacles and problems in our personal lives can end up being the most useful and valuable things for our growth or awakening, yet we spend much time and effort cursing and trying to avoid these things. The ego has inverted everything so we perceive it the wrong way around.

 

I heard a recording recently from someone who had had an awakening experience and she was talking about how she had a son who had behavioural difficulties and she would constantly get frustrated and angry with her situation in life, but through the process of awakening she was able to see that her son being difficult that way was exactly what she needed at that time to facilitate her awakening, no master or Buddha could have done a better job than what life was giving her. The ego inverts the perception so we curse what are god sent gifts for us, which is why when reality is seen more clearly there are no real problems because even the most severe problems serve as a helper towards unification.

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Currently reading The Fourth Way by Ouspensky, first chapter, so early days. Have watched a few videos on self observation as prescribed by The Fourth Way, and even though its early days I am encouraged by my observations. According to The Fourth Way we have four centers of gravity:

 

1. Intellectual

2. Emotional

3. Instinctive

4. Moving

 

The intellectual center is the slowest ! And this was witnessed a few times this week ! Its difficult putting some of the reactions into categories, but in time this will become easier. I shocked my wife tonight when I was attacked by our mostly gummy dog, Chase. The previous two occasions I have lost my temper with the 11 years toy Yorkshire Terrier and shouted at him but tonight I handled the situation totally differently, so much so my heart beat never raised or blood pressure shot up ! I caught my wife looking at me admiringly, which is always nice. This may have nothing to do with my baby steps in TFW, but I think it is - and that comes from my emotional center. Very interesting indeed.

 

I will include the videos which are 10 minutes in duration.

 

 

 

 

 

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Watch Star Trek - the original series

 

Spock - intellect

Kirk - heart

Scotty - moving

Bones - instinctive 

 

It plays out perfectly

Edited by Spotless

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Those who are thinking about getting into Gurdjieff I recommend reading the books by Red Hawk on this, especially his book on 'Self Observation', also he is one of the greatest living poets so his poetry is worth a go. He uses fourth way type interrupts in his poetry  

 

If you want to see what real honesty is
look no further than the dog.
The dog doesn’t give a damn for looking good

 

but will hunch the leg of the Queen’s mother
if it feels like it. The dog
doesn’t care what the hell you think, it will

 

lick its balls in the presence of the Pope
if that is what it has a mind to do.
The dog does not stand on position, power,

 

wealth or fame of any kind. He will
bite the rump of the Emperor if he
tries to pick up the dog’s food; the dog

 

will lift its leg on the whitewall tire
of the Prime Minister’s limousine or
shit on the Dalai Lama’s prayer rug

 

because he is a dog and that
is what dogs do and
in some secret uncorrupted part of the self

 

we admire this honesty in dogs, because
we see it is absent in ourselves and
we know that such honesty

 

comes with a terrible price in this world.

 

- Red Hawk. from Wreckage With A Beating Heart

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Here is a list of well known and famous people who were from the Theosophical Society

 

http://www.katinkahesselink.net/his/influence-theosophy.html

 

While the Gurdjieff groups seem to be pertified of taking an imperfect step in nearly any direction and have a crushing bent towards seriousness and a sort of Catholic perversion to looking "outside the teachings"  - none of which has anything to do with what Gurdgieff was like or did in his life - / - the Theosophical Society has gone the route of study groups and lectures and left becoming what they admire and read - its coffee, tea and cookies.

 

But for pith and a great deal of real guidance on the path - the Theosophical Society towers over the Gurdgieff legacy. Unfortunately neither created a system - Gurdgieff left an odd collection of practices and other things but his was a one man show - and showman he was. Of course Blavatsky was a hell of a showman herself - but she was definitely not a one person show and in the various books from the Theosophical Society a tremendous amount of practical and very exacting information is given.  Not to mention that Alan Watts was brought up by the founder of a Theosophical Society chapter and his lectures are very much a reflection of the type of lectures found throughout its literature.

 

Attending a Theosophical Society meeting is typically somewhat paltry - but what a legacy in their books and they do have schools and a center in India that i have never been to but they are very well regarded.

 

Attending a Gurdgieff meeting can be exceedingly exciting -with absolutely next to nothing of content or teaching but the set-up of self observation massively compressed into extreme deliberateness has an effect that is memorable and interesting things can come of it. It is a "teaching" that is a good one to enjoin and then leave because it becomes obvious it is time to move on - though as just a sort of esoteric frat - it can take you all over the world. I was somewhat immersed in it - today I would advise it as a detour or at the least as not of skillful means - if you are trying to awaken.  I do recommend what I consider a musical book - Beelzububs Tales To His Grandson - If you read it - read it all the way through in a day or two - don't read part now and part in a month or two. It is a big book so have the time.

Edited by Spotless

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