inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #101 of 113: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 7 May 04 07:02
    
Thanks to John, Jay, and everyone else who's contributed to this 
discussion. Today is the last day - at least the last day that John and Jay 
agreed to show up; of course you're all welcome to continue. Consciously, 
of course.
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #102 of 113: Jay Kinney (jay-kinney) Fri 7 May 04 07:51
    
Thanks, Jon. It's been fun. 

John, a winding down question did occur to me... So much of
conventional spirituality seems to amount to cultivating lofty
thoughts, keeping one's eye on the positive and harmonious, encouraging
a loving attitude, and so on. On the other hand, your own writing has
generally been marked by a "noir" sensibility, a tour through the dark
recesses of the human mind and behavior. Has your engagement with the
Gurdjieff work altered your attitude towards your own writing? Do you
find any tension between a horror story stimulating fear in the reader
and efforts to spiritually wake up?
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #103 of 113: Bobby Lilly (bobbyl) Fri 7 May 04 12:35
    
John,

I heard from Jon Lebkowsky a few days ago about this discussion but
didn't have the time until this morning to log on and haven't had the
time to read everything but (naturally ;-) wanted to add my 2 cents
before you leave.  Somewhere in these postings someone wrote:  

"human beings don't have a soul that survives death unless they create
one. We have spirit, that connects with the sort of ocean of
consciousness that invests the universe, and that has its own
phenomena, that may lead to some variant of reincarnation, but survival
as a real individual, that's rarer, and requires work on oneself, the
development of will" 

A few years ago my life was shattered by events that threw me outside
"my life".  Illness and personal loss and a pervasive mental confusion
that lasted for years left me lost, alone in a fog while life moved on
outside the limbo in which I existed.  But, in that solitary "prison"
the universe spoke to me and I knew I was not alone.  And, I learned to
see my connections to "all" material reality. 

 One of the beliefs/understanding that I brought back from that
experience is that each one of us is a flower of the living
consciousness that is the universe and that each one of us blooms for a
time and shares our beauty only to return to enrich the universal
"Iam".  

I guess what I'm trying to lead up to is that I don't agree with the
emphasis above on INDIVIDUAL survival beyond "death" and think that it
seriously misleads those who are searching to understand and "wake up".
 Survival of the individual because of the strength of "WILL" is not
enlightenment to me since I see the enlightened person as someone who
understand his/her relationship to the universe and life and accepts
what is and finds ways to contribute what he/she can to that roiling
sea of consciousness of which we are all a part.

I know I'm not explaining it very clearly, but I felt compelled to
throw that thought out to the universe through the avenue of this
forum.  I hope it helps point a direction for someone to consider in
their journey for understanding.

Thank you so much for the thought-provoking ideas you have shared. 
Their effects will will ripple out and touch others for years to come.
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #104 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Sat 8 May 04 23:50
    
First to bobbyL:

I know just what you mean and I do think it's true that "each one of
us is a flower of the living consciousness that is the universe". There
is a kind of "survival" in that alone because that in us which is an
expressionof that consciousness is deathless. It is a good path to
simply accept that. But it's not the only path. "WILL" does not lead to
individual consciousness, it's just a sort of tool for leading the
attention to the process of creating a soul,  in the Gurdjieff system.
The process is a sort of all-directional growth of consciousness and a
kind of 'feeding' of something within us that grows, sort of the way a
mother feeds a fetus. (Not too literally...but sort of.) There are
levels of survival, and my hypothesis is that those who help us from
the higher realms...people call them angels, gods, saints,
bodhissatvas...are capable of doing that because they have a fuller
individuality than simply a kind of wave on a sea of consciousness that
sinks back into the sea at the end of its materialization in a body.
That is, it's not  about creating something that survives as just
another kind of vanity, it's actually a kind of sacrifice--it takes
sacrifice to get there and it further development requires sacrifice.
See--you're not wrong. I just think you only have part of the story.

chrys - If you've read In Search of the Miraculous, I'd suggest you
contact the Gurdjieff Foundation -- there is also, alternately, the
Nyland groups, and in Oregon there's Two Rivers farm. It depends on
where you are...You can send me an email via
www.darkecho.com/johnshirley

Jay - Perhaps one thing I like about the Gurdjieff work is that it
accepts that we have a dark side. Gurdjieff said that this was an
ancient saying in esoteric circles:  "Only he will deserve the name of
man and can count upon  anything prepared for him from Above, who has
already acquired corresponding data for being able to preserve intact
both the wolf and the sheep confided to his care." Sort of like Jung
and his anima. It doesn't mean you're harsh or brutal or something. But
it means you can take a stand. And it's about self knowledge. Jung--I
think it was he--once said that our understanding of ourselves is like
a small patch of white on a large black sphere. We only understand the
white patch...but there's all that dark area. Well, he meant parts of
ourselves that we're normally not in touch with, not necessarily our
dark sides, but it's in there--we don't see ourselves as we are until
we see our dark sides. We have to *master* that side. But we don't
pretend it's not there--and people who are always on about 'positive
vibes' are silly, imo. ONly be positive--and you're a liar. And you're
indecisive. If you use a knife to harvest food to feed a child, the
knife was 'negativity'... 
                              
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #105 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Sun 9 May 04 00:00
    
It's late, I'm tired, I've forgotten the term--I don't think anima was
it...psychoanalytical term for the dark side...but you know what i
mean...

Anyway:

“One needs fire,” said Gurdjieff in the Library of Congress
transcription. “Without fire, there will never be anything. This fire
is suffering, voluntary suffering, without which it is impossible to
create anything. One must prepare, must know what will make one suffer
and when it is there, make use of it…the fire cooks, cements,
crystallizes, does.”
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #106 of 113: Bobby Lilly (bobbyl) Mon 10 May 04 10:49
    
John,

don't know if you will ever drop back and see this note BUT I felt
compelled to add these comments based on your response to me.....You
wrote;  "WILL" does not lead to individual consciousness, it's just a
sort of tool for leading the attention to the process of creating a
soul, in the Gurdjieff system.  The process is a sort of
all-directional growth of consciousness and a kind of 'feeding' of
something within us that grows, sort of the way a mother feeds a fetus.
(Not too literally...but sort of.) There are levels of survival, and
my hypothesis is that those who help us from
the higher realms...people call them angels, gods, saints,
bodhissatvas...are capable of doing that because they have a fuller
individuality than simply a kind of wave on a sea of consciousness that
sinks back into the sea at the end of its materialization in a body. 
That is, it's not about creating something that survives as just
another kind of vanity, it's actually a kind of sacrifice--it takes
sacrifice to get there and it further development requires sacrifice. 
See--you're not wrong. I just think you only have part of the story."

Or, maybe since I've never been involved in any groups, it's more that
I just don't have the language others might be using to describe the
same things ;-).  The understanding I gained during my difficult years
included the concept of a universal consciousness becoming aware of
itself over time and that the "work" of each of us (individual
components) was to make conscious our "individual" understanding,
refine it, strengthen it, share it and allow it to link us with "the
all". 

Not sure what you meant by "will" but if you are talking about a
"conscious focus on/attention to" then what you are saying makes sense
to me.  Again, I wouldn't use the word "survival" because it points in
the direction of "ego" survival and that can be terribly misleading
seekers and set them off on unproductive directions, I fear.  And, I
must say, I don't particularly care for the idea of needing to CREATE
"soul" either since I the lessons I learned made me believe we all have
"soul" (all material existence is infused with it) but if you are
talking about REFINING the energy of that individual spark, then again
it feels like we are on the same track.

Your statement that "There are levels of survival, and my hypothesis
is that those who help us from the higher realms...people call them
angels, gods, saints, bodhissatvas...are capable of doing that because
they have a fuller individuality than simply a kind of wave on a sea of
consciousness that sinks back into the sea at the end of its
materialization in a body." is misleading (at least from my
perspective) if you are talking about discrete "individuals that exist
in higher realms".  I have more of an understanding that "they" are
extensions of "me" and as such just one more aspect of the universal
"IAM" - not separate "unique" individuals who were once material and
now are not----that's too much of a simplification of the energy
processes at work.  I see the universal consciousness that I call "IAM"
as energy coalescing over time but unevenly developed and that uneven
development creates consciousness foci that interact at times with this
plane and can make one "think" such foci are actually unique
individuals but which are in reality something(s) that is/are really
much more collective than that.  

Unfortunately, when it comes to this subject, language often gets in
the way of clarity and I know the vision/understanding I sense/feel can
never be completely transmited to an other just by using words.  But
they do let me point to a direction for individual investigation that
might lead someone else to a similar "knowing"..and so I thank you for
your "words" and know that they will aid my quest to clarify what at
some levels I already "understand".
Regards,
Bobby Lilly
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #107 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Mon 10 May 04 12:03
    
In many respects we probably are talking about the same thing. The way
I describe what we already have, is spirit. I think of soul as
something that must be created--but you could argue that's just
refining spirit. People often react against the idea that soul must be
created to continue individuality after death (the ego is not a useless
appendage, imo, but a sort of tool which unfortunately tends to take
us over--we can command our ego rather than become identified with it)
as it's a scary sort of concept, hence the idea is perhaps "the
esoteric of the esoteric". It's not palatable--and it's our egos it's
not palatable to, really. 

CS Lewis talked about a state wherein we're both completely at one
with the divine, and at the same time individual within it. That seems
paradoxical but so is the higher reality from the human point of view.
So maybe that's what you have in mind. We can be transparent to the
overall "I AM" and still have distinctiveness--but we are always,
Gurdjieff said, in a condition of relatedness to that higher thing,
we're always under its  influence, as we ascend. We're like waves on a
sea--but waves that can move, if we choose, in directions other than
those blown by the wind. Still we're a part of the sea. 

Here's Jeanne de Salzmann, talking about the Gurdjieff sacred dances,
the Movements, but also by extension talking about something more:

"You must constantly divide your attention between something which is
higher than yourself and your movement. You always lose yourself in one
or the other. As soon as you stop making this effort, you become
identified with the movement."  
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #108 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Mon 10 May 04 12:11
    
"Symbols, transposed into words of our language, and handed down in
those words, harden into a filament, they tarnish and may give rise to
fatal errors in people who do not understand the symbols or understand
them literally. Truth gets encased in a shell of error, and to enable
the approacher to get near to it a great effort is required on his
part."
                                                                      
  --GI Gurdjieff, lecturing at the Chateau
                                                                      
        du Prieure
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #109 of 113: Jay Kinney (jay-kinney) Mon 10 May 04 13:05
    
Whew, Bobby, I believe I intuit what you are describing, but it sure
does push the envelope of language. What you speak of reminds me of Ibn
Arabi's teachings (such as in the Fusus al-Hikam). Especially: "the
concept of a universal consciousness becoming aware of
itself over time and that the 'work' of each of us (individual
components) was to make conscious our 'individual' understanding,
refine it, strengthen it, share it and allow it to link us with 'the
all'."

Ibn Arabi speaks of each of us as an unique extension of the Divine
created, in part, so that we can mirror back God to Himself. (That's a
vulgar simplification of how Ibn Arabi would state it, but I'll let it
go.) Of course this can get a little solipsistic, but that's Monism for
you. 
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #110 of 113: Of course this can get a little solipsistic (pjm) Mon 10 May 04 13:52
    
tftp
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #111 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Mon 10 May 04 15:39
    
“He was a danger. A real threat. A threat for one’s self-calming, a
threat for the little regard one had of oneself, a threat for the
comfortable repertoire where we generally live. But at the moment when
this threat appeared, like a ditch to cross, a threshold to step over,
one was helped to cross it by his presence itself.”
         --Michel de Salzmann on Gurdjieff
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #112 of 113: Kindness does not require an infrastructure (chrys) Mon 10 May 04 21:43
    
John, is there much unpublished Gurdjieff material in the Library of
Congress?
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #113 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Tue 11 May 04 14:57
    
There's a fair amount, there, yes, I'm told. I had it second hand from
someone else and haven't been there.

Here follows a 'mystery quote' attributed by some to GI Gurdjieff,
others say they think it was Ouspensky or Maurice Nicoll or Rodney
Collins paraphrasing Gurdjieff. It is, anyway, something he said in
other places. It's quite powerful:

 
"A normal being wishes to live forever. A normal man is one who not
only has actualized his inherited potentialities, but has freed himself
from his subjectivity. We are made in the image of God, and God's
attribute is immortality. If God wishes to live he has shared that wish
with all of us. He also provided the means by which that wish to live
may exist forever. This wish to live constitutes a being. Once being
alive there is no choice, we must live forever. The representative of
God in any individual is that which tells him how or what God would do
in any situation. Your powers are to actualize, to be aware of your
presence. This is your money in the bank, your cash, your earning
ability. Next to awareness, the most important thing is Time. The flow
of time through us gives us our chance to extract what we can. Time is
a three-fold stream, passing through our three centers. We fish in this
stream, if we catch enough we have enough to create the three bodies,
and become enduring. Time is the sum of our potential experience, the
totality of our possible experiences. We live our experiences
successively, this is the first dimension of Time. To be able to live
experiences simultaneously is adding another or second dimension to
Time, or the third dimension of Time. When we have identified ourselves
with Time it will be as Revelation says...AND THERE SHALL BE TIME NO
LONGER ... I beg you, before starting on this journey to question
yourself. You are plunging into the dark: here is a little lamp: I show
you how to rub it; make sure you know how to rub it. Suffering is the
price of endlessness. Conscious labor consists of having an objective
in life, as a LIFE aim, an Aim which can be pursued the whole of your
life. It does not depend on the vicissitudes of life. It is the aim for
which you took the trouble to be born. You are an immortal being if
you keep this aim. If you keep this aim through this life you will have
an aim strong enough to persist after this life, an aim big enough to
persist through an immortal experience."
  



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