Freitag, 30. November 2012

the greatest Man in the World

Frank Lloyd Wright
On October 29, 1949 Gurdjieff died at the American Hospital in Paris. A few nights later at Cooper Union, New York, a medal was presented to the revolutionary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. After his part in the ceremony was over, Wright asked the chairman's permission to make an announcement. "The greatest man in the world," he said, "has recently died. His name was Gurdjieff." 

Mittwoch, 28. November 2012

teaching methods

I never teach directly, or my pupils would not learn. If I want a pupil to change, I begin from afar, or speak to someone else, and so he learns.
Views from the Real World p.127

General methods will be accessible to all, but subjective methods will be given in groups only to those who work, who try and wish to try to work with their whole being. Those who are lazy, who trust to luck, will never see or hear that which constitutes real work, even if they remain here for ten years.
Gurdjieff 19.1.1923

Do you think that anything is given in a completed form in schools? You look at this very naively. You must be cunning, you must pretend, lead up to things in conversation. Sometimes things are learned from jokes, from stories. And you want everything to be very simple. This never happens. You must know how to take when it is not given, to steal if necessary, but not to wait for somebody to come and give it to you.
ISOM p. 277

Dienstag, 27. November 2012

the Great Knowledge

The Great Knowledge is handed on in succession from age to age, from people to people, from race to race. The great centers of initiation in India, Assyria, Egypt, Greece, illumine the world with a bright light. The revered names of the great initiates, the living bearers of the truth, are handed on reverently from generation to generation.

After a certain time has elapsed, the centers of initiation die out one after another, and the ancient knowledge departs through underground channels into the deep, hiding from the eyes of the seekers. The bearers of this knowledge also hide, becoming unknown to those around them, but they do not cease to exist. From time to time separate streams break through to the surface, showing that somewhere deep down in the interior, even in our day, there flows the powerful ancient stream of true knowledge of being.

To break through to this stream, to find it—this is the task and the aim of the search.
Views from the Real World p.56 

on reincarnation

A.R. Orgae
Theosophical teaching, based on its interpretation of some passages in the Mahabharata, assumes that everyone reincarnates. Gurdjieff teaches that this happens to very few, and only those of high developement. They choose. The essence of the mass of people recurs in other forms. And then there are those in whom something has been crystallized, in whom there is an urge for perfection, who begin to look for a teacher and perhaps find one. We have no personal experience of what happens after death. It is explained in Beelzebub in some detail, but you have to search for it.

A.R. Orage´s Commentaries on "Beelzebubs Tales to His Grandson"

Montag, 26. November 2012

our higher destiny

But whichever way we take, our aim is to develop our soul, to fulfil our higher destiny. We are born in one river where the drops are passive, but he who works for himself is passive on the outside and active inside. Both lives are according to law: one goes by the way of involution and the other by evolution.

Views from the Real World p.191

Gurdjieff in Tibet

Gurdjieff, when young studied Indian philosophy, and later read Madame Blavatsky´s books, and in course of his travels in India and Tibet discovered that 9 out of 10  of her references were not based on her personal knowlegde. He said that it cost him several years of exploring to verify this. In Tibet he got himself appointed collector of dues from the monasteries for the Dalai Lama, and in this role was able to go into any monastery. He discovered instances of abnormal development, "high elevations", what are called "magic powers", but he says that he found little, apart from something in certain dances and ceremonies, which could be described as objective knowledge. Most of the powers developed by certain monks were diversions from the normal, interesting, but not useful for a method of self-development for people of the Western World, such as he had in mind.
A.R. Orage´s Commentaries on "Beelzebubs Tales to His Grandson"

Sonntag, 25. November 2012

the greatest secret about human nature

But what is a whole lifetime if such a thing is possible? Ever since I was a young boy, I have known of the existence of this power and of the barriers that separate man from it, and I searched until I found the way of breaking through them. This is the greatest secret that man can discover about human nature.
Gurdjieff in J.G. Bennett - Witness p. 122

a chain of esoteric schools

Alfred R. Orage
The flowering of Greek culture was an indirect product of the contact of the philosophers with Egyptian schools. Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato and Solon, among others, went to Egypt to study.

Plato was the philosopher, while Socrates was the teacher of a method, as well as a philosopher.

Yet in Greece there existed true esoteric groups, which were responsible for the flowering of her culture. Socrates was a member of one.

This method, in various forms, was taught by all the great teachers. Plato had learnt the method from Socrates and studied the system with the priests in Egypt.

Pythagoras taught this system and method, but no record of his teaching remains except some fragments from perhaps one of his subsidiary groups. The books written about him are almost all supposition. But his teaching had an enormous influence. Plato´s Timaeus contains the cosmogony of Pythagoras. Some of Gurdjieff´s dances and movements are based on the fragments of Pythagoras teaching.

Buddha, like Pythagoras and Jesus, was a practical workman, not merely a talker.

The Sphinx is a copy of the original which existed in ancient Chaldea. In the original figure three parts were connected, a fourth was insulated by amber.

Gurdjieff says that there has existed from Atlantean times a chain of esoteric schools, custodians of secret knowledge, which from time to time, is interpreted and taught by teachers who are sent out from these schools.

The Troubadours were emissaries of an esoteric school.

In architecture we have examples of objective art in Chartres and Notre Dame, and the Taj Mahal, which is the product of a Sufi esoteric school.
A.R. Orage´s Commentaries on "Beelzebubs Tales to His Grandson"

Work on Oneself

You must educate your body with your head, consciously. It is very simple. Never allow it to do what it wants. You make it do everything contrary to that which it loves. It likes sugar, you do not give it any. One must inure it to struggle, you are always right when you resist your body. It is simple. Everything contrary;
Under all conditions, in all political situations, man must educate his body to be submissive to him. Your personality can educate your body. He in which the body is strong and has the initiative over him, this one is null. He who has his body enslaved is intelligent. You understand what is meant by intelligent? Intelligent means he who directs his body. If the body directs, you are a nullity, a peasant—if you direct your body you are intelligent. Thus, choose what you want. Intelligent or peasant? If you want to be a peasant, let your body direct you. If you want to be intelligent, let your consciousness direct your body. The more you want to direct your body, the more it opposes you. And in resisting you, the more strength it gives you.
Paris Meeting 22. July 1943

You must suffer physically. For instance, don't eat enough; be hungry. Or, if your organism doesn't like cold water, make yourself bear cold water. Same with hot water. Do the opposite of what your body is in the habit of doing. Make it suffer. It is the one and only way to make the force you lack. Not a mental suffering. We have seven kinds of suffering. For you, bodily suffering is necessary.
Paris Meeting 20. April 1944

One needs fire. 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. Only you can prepare, only you know what makes you suffer, makes the fire which cooks, cements, crystallizes, does. Suffer by your defects, in your pride, in your egoism.
Paris Meeting 7. December 1941

a Moment of Truth

Pamela L. Travers

His mere presence gave out energy. To receive his glance was to receive a moment of truth that was often very hard to bear. A master like Gurdjieff is not someone who teaches this or that idea. He embodies it himself.

I think I saw in him what every true master has: a certain sacrificial quality as though he clearly had come for others.

He was a serene, massive man who looked at one with a long, contemplative, all-knowing glance. I felt myself in a presence. He had a certain quality that one might call mythological. Later, when I came to be his student, I always felt the same way: He was a man whom you recognized but you didn’t know what you were recognizing.

When we were in Gurdjieff’s presence, we felt his energy infused in us. He could deliver this to anyone in the room. He had something very high and not within our ordinary comprehension.

Samstag, 24. November 2012

Esoteric Knowledge is limited

...but one person present asked, quite seriously, why it was that knowledge - Gurdjieff's kind of knowledge - had to be presented in such a curious, devious, secret fashion - why could it not be made generally available to everyone, thereby benefiting everyone and improving the world in every way. Typically, Gurdjieff avoided any discussion of his "devious" methods, but made a pronouncement about knowledge.

"Like almost all people," he said, "you not understand nature of knowledge. Knowledge, like very fine French champagne, is rare. There exists only a certain amount - and is impossible produce more. If you give everyone in world one drop of champagne, nothing would be changed, no one would appreciate it. But for people who understand French champagne, when they drink, they appreciate; also they have money to buy this. But even if everyone had enough money for such drink, even so they would not buy. While what I say is true - that existing amount of knowledge is limited; receptivity for such knowledge is also limited.

He refused to say anything further, and that person only remarked that he was as mystified as before.
quoted from Fritz Peters - My Journey with a Mystic p. 268

Gurdjieff is a Lohan

Prof. Denis Saurat

Saurat: "Gurdjieff is a Lohan. In China there is the cave of a hundred Lohans, presumably all that have appeared in China in over four thousand years. A Lohan is a man who has gone to schools and by incredible exertions and study has perfected himself. He then comes back into ordinary life, sits in cafes, drinks, has women, and lives the life of a man, but more intensely. It was accepted that the rules of ordinary man did not apply to him. He teaches, and people come to him to learn objective truths. In the East a Lohan was understood. The West does not understand. A teacher in the West must appear to behave like an English gentleman."

C.S. Nott: "Tell me, why in your view, did Ouspensky separate himself from Gurdjieff?"

Saurat: "The explanation is simple. Ouspensky is a professional philosopher who studied with Gurdjieff and has now set up a sort of rival school - a very good school for certain people, perhaps, but on a lower level than Gurdjieff´s school. Really, he is interested only in the theoretical side of the teaching. He hoped that the knowledge he got from Gurdjieff would classify and index his ideas, which it has, of course. But - Ouspensky could not submit to the pressure Gurdjieff brought to bear on him to break down his particular kind of vanity."
from C.S. Nott - Further Teachings of Gurdjieff p. 47

a new type of Sage

Gurdjieff: "The doctrine has always existed, but the tradition has often been interrupted.  In ancient times certain groups and castes knew it, but it was incomplete. The ancients went in too much for metaphysics.  The doctrine was too abstract."

Saurat: Why have you come to Europe? 

Gurdjieff: "Because I want to combine the mystical, Oriental spirit with the scientific, Occidental spirit. The Oriental spirit dwells in the truth, but only in its tendencies and  general ideas;  the Occidental spirit dwells in the truth in so far as its methods and technique are concerned.  Only Occidental methods are good in history and observation. I want to create a type of sage who unites the spirit of the Orient and the technique of the Occident."

Saurat: Do you teach any positive doctrine over and above questions of method?

Gurdjieff: "Yes. Few human beings have a soul.  Nobody has a soul at birth.  One must acquire a soul.  Those who do not succeed in this die.  The atoms disperse and nothing remains.  Some make a partial soul and are then subject to a kind of reincarnation that permits them to progress.  Finally, a very small number of men succeed in possessing immortal souls.  But this number is extremely small.  There are only a few of them.  Most of those who accomplish anything have only partial souls."
from Denis Saurats interview with Gurdjieff on February 18th 1923

Freitag, 23. November 2012

two basic Life Aims

Gurdjieff describes the two basic aims of his life:

The trouble is that until this time the aim of my inner world had
been concentrated only on my one unconquerable desire to
investigate from all sides, and to understand, the exact 
significance and purpose of the life of man.

This other newly arisen aim of my inner world was summed up in this: that I must discover, at all costs, some manner or means for destroying in people the predilection for suggestibility which causes them to fall easily under the influence of "mass hypnosis".

quoted from his book: Life is real only then, when "I am"