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Gurdjieff - Fourth Way WORK Exercises

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Gurdjieff taught that group efforts both enhance and surpass individual efforts, preparing them to practice a new psychology of evolution. To accomplish this, he declared that he needed to constantly innovate and create new alarm clocks to awaken his sleeping students, "as Jesus had done 1900 years before." Students regularly met with group leaders; both separately and in group meetings, and came together for "work periods" where intensive conscious labor, connected with the forms mentioned above. Work in the kitchen was a special task and sometimes elaborate meals were prepared. This work was the lowest of the three: food, air, and impressions. Special exercises were given for air and impressions as they were viewed as being more important. According to Gurdjieff, the work of schools of the Fourth Way never remains the same for long. In some cases, this has led to a break between student and teacher as is the case of Ouspensky and Gurdjieff. The outward appearance of the School and the group work can change according to the circumstances. He believed that the inner individual expression, such as the practice of self-remembering with self-observation and the non-expression of negative emotions, always remains the same and could never change, for that is the guarantee of ultimate self-development. A follower of Gurdjieff, former American Fabrics magazine publisher William C. Segal, tells of periods of hard labor around the clock—which, in the Gurdjieff system, are known as "super-efforts". According to Gurdjieff, only super-efforts count in the Work. In 1948 and 1949, Segal was sporadically in contact with Gurdjieff, who had been the teacher of avant-garde lesbian Jane Heap. In 1951, at 26, Peter Brook became a pupil of Heap in London and Segal published the magazine Gentry. As Segal would write in the poem "Silence Clarity", "... It is through the body that sits here/ that I go to my true nature." A voice at the borders of silence would conclude, "... It is through the mind that stands still/ that I experience my true nature."

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  • I don`t know. My experience says something different. Looking on all that made those claims, proves one thing for sure: from a mass of people one gains more, be it might (influence on them), money or else. One has to have "will and direction" thoughregards m.
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Gurdjieff - Fourth Way WORK Exercises

  1. 1. The Holy Equation Exercise The Fundamental Key To Inner Work Attention Exercises Sensing Exercises Intentional Suffering Categories Enneachord of Suffering Exercise Breathing Exercises Affirmations Impressions Exercises Self Remembering Reminders Exercises Self Importance Role Playing Exercises Will Exercises eating
  2. 2. “You can take force from your animal and give it to Being.” (Gurdjieff to Kathryn Hulme) The Holy Equation Exercise The Fundamental Key To Inner Work The Holy Equation is the basic pattern of all Inner Work and is based on the Law of Three - "The higher blends with the lower to actualize the middle, which becomes lower for the next higher or higher for the previous lower." The middle is the Reconciling energy which is coated on the Higher Being Bodies. This process is spoken of by Gurdjieff early in his Teaching career in the unpublished Enneagram Lecture, which was the basis for Chapter 14 of In Search of the Miraculous by Ouspensky : "A great dispute, if it is not purposeless, must give a result, a conclusion and an effect, and then four elements will be available: yes, no, dispute, result; that is, the transmutation of the binary into the quaternary. That is the first half of the formula. The second part of it speaks for itself and thereby points out the direction of the solution." Gurdjieff makes many references to this process in Beelzebub's Tales. Here is one of them : In other words, every wish of the planetary body is taken as undesirable for their higher divine part which has to be coated and perfected, and therefore all three-centered beings of our Great Megaloscosmos constantly carry on a relentless struggle against the wishes of their planetary bodies so that there should be formed in them, in this struggle from the what is called ‘Disputekrialnian-friction,’ those sacred crystallizations from which their higher Divine being-part arises and is perfected in them." "In this constant struggle of theirs, the equilibrating harmonizing principle is their second being-body, which in their own individual law of Triamazikamno represents the neutralizing source; and therefore this second being-part always remains indifferent to their mechanical manifestations, but for all their active manifestations it always tends according to the second-grade cosmic law ‘Urdekhplifata’ to unite with
  3. 3. those desires of which there are more whether in one or the other of the two mentioned opposite being-parts. This is the Holy Equation, also known as the Holy Affirming Prayer, from Beelzebub's Tales : Holy-Affirming, Holy-Denying, Holy-Reconciling, Transubstantiate in me, For my Being. "This is a prayer given to us. In it I have found what I call the Holy Equation which provides us with a basic pattern for most of our work. Holy Denying equals our inherited mechanical "myself" manifested by our habits, traits, thoughts, feelings and actions in sleep. Holy Affirming is our conscious effort to accept, endure and to meet with objectivity all our Holy Denyings. Holy Reconciling is the resultant of them both leading automatically to a Transubstantiation. By self-observation we learn to recognize accurately our Holy Denyings to which we then eventually apply our Holy Affirming." "We understand the ordinary pursuits of our lives responding to desires to be educated, well thought of, useful, admired, superior, wealthy or spiritual, as examples of Holy Denyings. We try to meet these denyings with our conscious efforts in our search which we call Holy Affirming. Both are of equal substance and importance." (Paul Beidler) "Try to understand that resistance is according to law. If there is no resistance, there can be no struggle; there can be no new energy. Without production of new energy, there can be no possible contact with higher levels in ourselves. Struggle has to be accepted as the only means that we have for producing energy. Each time that we have a little new possibility is that a spark of another kind of energy has linked us with a different level of ourselves. Every moment of our asleep life we are like a man shut in the basement of a very big house who has no idea there is anything else than that dark, bad smelling basement he is used to. As soon as that spark of energy is used up, he is bound to find himself again in that basement. Struggle is necessary - there is resistance - and then I affirm more." (Inside a Question: Works of Henriette Lannes, Pupil of G.I. Gurdjieff, p.200)
  4. 4. Step by Step Explanation 1. Observing a Holy Denying force of desire or suffering : During our daily life we will experience situations and desires that cause suffering. The basis of suffering is the Holy Denying Force of the planetary body, as manifested through its urges, instincts, desires, wishes, and psychological and social drives. Some of these are attributable to Kundabuffer or our inherent and acquired egoism and personality. Other Denying Forces may even derive from Essence. Some examples are given above and on this page. When, by Self Observation, we notice or recognize the manifestation of a Holy Denying suffering or trait in the course of daily life, we need to acknowledge its presence by naming it, such as 'this is anger' or 'this is a denying force', etc. We need to Sense its energy in our body. We need to feel its emotional expression. We need to observe the thoughts that accompany it and justify it. In the beginning we may need to allow the Denying force to express itself in action in order to observe all its characteristics, but the ultimate goal is the non-expression of the negativity. We are a living representation of the Law of Three and by this first step we are experiencing one of the expressions or terms, the Denying one, of the holy equation of energy transformation according to the Law of Three. 2. Holy Affirming of the energy spent by the Holy Denying force of desire or suffering : There are several aspects to this step of the equation, which involves bringing in the second expression or term of the equation, the Affirming one. One way of Affirming this Holy Denying suffering is to acknowledge that the Holy Denying force is a law conformable and necessary aspect of the universe created by His Endlessness. Another aspect of Affirmation of the Denying energy is to channel the energy into another activity. We can use the energy to exercise self-restraint to prevent the manifestation the Denying force. We can accept or bear the suffering without complaint. We can employ an Affirmation exercise such as Sensing a part of the body or repeating a mantra or verbal affirmation as suggested on the Affirmation Exercise page.
  5. 5. 3. Holy Reconciled Transubstantiation of the energies of Affirming and Denying : This step is the third and final part of the equation of the transformation of energy according to the Law of Three. This step yields the Reconciled result of the blending of the higher Affirming with the lower Denying. The result will depend on whether the higher and lower forces were equally balanced. If the Affirmation is not strong enough, the Denying force will predominate and we will be captured by our Identification with the suffering and its manifestation will proceed to varying degrees, depending on the strength of the Affirmation. In other words, the Reconciling energy will become higher for a succeeding lower purpose, that of allowing the physical manifestation of the denying force. If the Affirmation is strong enough to counter the Denying force, a balanced impartiality will be the outcome and some of the Reconciling energy will gravitate towards the center of gravity of our higher being bodies. In other words, the Reconciling energy will become lower for a succeeding higher purpose of coating the higher being bodies.
  6. 6. Attention Exercises All the Gurdjieff exercises, all exercises from any tradition, require Attention and in the course of doing the exercises, the Attention and Concentration are developed as a matter of course. In the beginning, before ones tries to develop divided attention, it is good to practice focusing all of ones attention on one thing. As one gets more proficient, one needs to work on developing divided or global attention. These are only a suggested starting point and Seekers are encouraged to discover and add new categories and specific situations relevant to their personal situation. Focused Attention Exercises l One of the classic attention exercises is to watch the flame of a candle. l Ouspensky suggested watching the second hand of a clock. l One can pay attention to the sensations in one part of the body. l One can attend to a particular sight, sound, taste or smell. l One can attend to ones thoughts, or emotions. l One can attend to ones breath Global Attention Exercises l On entering a room, one can attend to the placement of all objects in the room. When re-entering the same room one can attend to all the changes that have occurred since last in the room. l One can attend to all of the sights, sounds, and smells in ones immediate environment. l One can attend to all of ones thoughts, emotions and sensations. Impartial or Neutral Attention Exercises These are associated with assimilating Third Being Food. They can be practiced sequentially or simultaneously. l Sensing - One can attend to all the sensations in the body, taking in all
  7. 7. sensations without identifying or labeling the impressions as pleasant or unpleasant. l Sightless Gaze - one attends to ones total visual field as one panoramic field of light, taking in everything without identifying or labeling the impressions as things or actions, good or bad. l Soundless Sound - one attends to ones total aural field as one panoramic field of sound, taking in everything without identifying or labeling the impressions as things or actions, good or bad. l Smelless Smell - one attends to all odors taking in every odor without identifying or labeling the impressions as things or actions, good or bad. l Tasteless Taste - one attends to all taste impressions, taking in everything without identifying or labeling the impressions as things or actions, good or bad. Gurdjieff's Attention Exercises l Soil Preparing Exercise #4 (LIROTWIA 120) First, all one's attention must be divided approximately into three equal parts; each of these parts must be concentrated on one of the three fingers of the right or the left hand, for instance the forefinger, the third and the fourth, constating in one finger—the result proceeding in it of the organic process called "sensing," in another—the result of the process called "feeling," and with the third—making any rhythmical movement and at the same time automatically conducting with the flowing of mental association a sequential or varied manner of counting. For this fourth preparatory exercise explained by me today, first of all it is necessary to learn with what exists in you now only as a substitute, so to say "fulfilling the obligation" of what should, in real man, be "self-willed attention" and in you is merely a "self-tenseness," simultaneously to observe three heterogeneous results proceeding in you, each coming from different sources of the general functioning of your whole presence: namely, one part of this attention of yours should be occupied with the constatation of the proceeding-in-one-finger process of "sensing," another with the constatation of the
  8. 8. proceeding-in-another-finger process of "feeling," and the third part should follow the counting of the automatic movement of the third finger. l Second Assisting Exercise (LIROTWIA 145) Well then, I am now sitting among you, as you see, and although I am looking at Mr. L. yet I am intentionally directing all my attention, which you are not able to see, on my foot, and consequently any manifestation Mr. L. produces within my field of vision I see only automatically—my attention, which at the present moment is one whole, being in another place. This whole attention of mine, I now intentionally divide into two equal parts. The first half I consciously direct to the uninterrupted constatation and continuous sensing of the process proceeding in me of my breathing. By means of this part of my attention I definitely feel that something takes place in me with the air I breathe. I first clearly feel that, when I breathe in the air, the greater part, passing through my lungs, goes out again, and the lesser part remains and as it were settles there, and then I feel that this settled part is gradually penetrating inward and is as it were spreading through my whole organism. In consequence of the fact that only a part of my attention is occupied with the observation of the process of breathing proceeding in me, all the mental, feeling and reflex associations automatically flowing in my common presence still continue to be noticed by the free part of my attention, and hinder that first part of my attention intentionally directed upon a definite object, but already to a much lesser extent. Now I direct the second half of my attention to my head brain for the purpose of observing and possibly constating any process proceeding in it. And already I am beginning to feel in it, from the totality of automatically flowing associations, the arising of something very fine, almost imperceptible to me. I do not know just what this is nor do I wish to know, but I definitely
  9. 9. constate, feel and sense that this is some definite "something" arising from the process automatically proceeding in my head brain of associations of previously consciously perceived impressions. While this second half of my attention is occupied with the aforesaid, the first half continues all the time uninterruptedly to watch, with so to say "concentrated interest," the result proceeding from the process of my breathing. I now consciously direct this second half of my attention and, uninterruptedly "remembering the whole of myself," I aid this something arising in my head brain to flow directly into my solar plexus. I feel how it flows. I no longer notice any automatic associations proceeding in me. *** Pondering on Attention l What types of attention do we have? l What captures my attention at various times? l What captures my attention in social situations? l Where does attention go during sleep? l Who pays attention? Who attends? l What do I avoid Attending to? ***
  10. 10. Sensing Exercises Sensing Exercises are pre-eminently associated with Gurdjieff. Many Seekers in the Gurdjieff tradition will be disappointed to learn that Sensing exercises are previously known in the Hindu tradition as the Tantra practice of Nyasa. Nevertheless, it is an obscure tradition and Gurdjieff's introduction of it to the West is a welcome and extremely important development. In fact, it may be one of the most important things he introduced to the West, and it is an essential element in all of Gurdjieff's teachings. Proficiency in Sensing is one of the most fundamental tasks to accomplish in the Gurdjieff Work. The Movements are quite often accompanied by sensing exercises. Sensing refers to the ability to take in Impressions generated in and by our Physical Center. These include the sensations of touch, pressure, heat, cold, position and balance of our physical Being. Modern science has identified about 21 different types of nerve receptors (see the table on the right) that relay consciously perceivable information to our Instinctive brain. The Sensations for every part of our body occur in a region of the brain called the neo-cortex. This area has been dubbed the Homunculus. When we learn to Sense we are exercising our brain and learning to control the flow of energy and consciousness. Learning to Sense our body is an essential and basic task of the Gurdjieff Work. All of the Work exercises require Sensing the body all of the time. Sensing is the quintessential exercise for including the physical center in all three centered exercises. Get to know it well and strive to include it in all your Work on Self Remembering. The Basic Sensing Exercise To start with the experience Sensing, take a comfortable position and become aware of your feet. Imagine that you are being filled with a warm, thick, honey like liquid and that it is slowly filling your body, starting from the feet and moving up to your legs, then pelvis, then torso, then arms, then chest, then head. Be aware of the sense of gravity pulling your body towards the ground. Be aware of the position of your limbs. Strive to maintain an awareness of Sensing in the whole body. This requires
  11. 11. your whole Attention. The Great Heart Sensing Exercise Simply be aware of the sensations of the heart beating within the chest and the pressure of the pulse throughout the body, arms and legs. Partial Sensing Exercises When Sensing is combined with exercises that involve physical action or involvement of the emotional and intellectual centers, sometimes it is desirable to limit Sensing to a particular part of the body in order to free up Attention for other tasks. In those instances one may limit Sensing to one or another part of the body. For example, while washing dishes, sense the hands; when walking, sense the feet; when writing, sense the fingers; when reading; sense the buttocks; when talking, sense the face. Many variations are possible, limited only by your imagination. Sequential Sensing Exercises Sequential sensing exercises involve sensing various parts of the body in a particular order. These are good when doing repetitive tasks and help keep the intellectual center quiet and focused on maintaining the sequence. Prayers or verbal repetitions can be combined with the sequence, such as I Wish, I Can, I Am or the AIEIOIUOA. Sequential Sensing Exercises can be as simple or as complex as you want or can handle for the task at hand. The more complex patterns are probably best used as preparation for meditation. Bennett had one called the Sixty Point Exercise. Some of the Movements include sequential sensing exercises.
  12. 12. Advanced Sensing Exercises 60 Bone Exercise Direct the Attention to the three bones of each of the fingers and toes in the following sequence 3 times while repeating the Holy Affirming Prayer. One line of the prayer with each finger and toe; one complete prayer for each hand and foot. Total sequence = 4 prayers x 3 sequences = 12 prayers. 1. Right hand beginning with the thumb. Holy-Affirming, 2. Left foot beginning with the little toe. Holy-Denying, 3. Right foot beginning with the big toe. Holy-Reconciling, 4. Left hand beginning with the little finger. Transubstantiate in m e , For my Being. 10 Bone Illumination Exercise Direct the Attention deep into the marrow of the major elements of the bone structure in the following manner. Whenever the force of Attention permits, Visualize a brilliant light emanating from the marrow of the bones where magnetic center resides. The Seeker is encouraged to research what is presently known by the medical community about the structure and function of the bones and bone marrow. The Seeker may also repeat the following prayer in conjunction with each bone : Holy God, Holy Firm, Holy Immortal, Have Mercy Upon Us. 1. Lower right leg bone. 6. Spinal column and skull. 2. Upper right leg bone. 7. Upper right arm bone. 3. Pelvic bone. 8. Lower right arm bone. 4. Upper left leg bone. 9.Upper left arm bone. 5. Lower left leg bone. 10. Lower left arm bone.
  13. 13. 12 Joint Exercise During some physical activity the Seeker will continuously bring the Attention to the main joints of the body in the designated sequence while repeating the Holy Affirming Prayer. 1. Right wrist. 2. Right elbow. 3. Right shoulder. 4. Left hip. 5. Left knee. 6. Left ankle. 7. Right ankle. 8. Right knee. 9. Right hip. 10. Left shoulder. 11.Left elbow. 12. Left wrist. Situational Sensing Exercise "When walking, the practitioner is aware, 'I am walking'; when standing, is aware, 'I am standing'; when sitting, is aware, 'I am sitting'; when lying down, is aware, 'I am lying down.' In whatever position one's body happens to be, one is aware of the position of the body. When one is going forward or backward, one applies one's full awareness to one's going forward or backward. When one looks in front or looks behind, bends down or stands up, one also applies full awareness to what one is doing. One applies full awareness to wearing the robe or carrying the alms bowl. When one eats or drinks, chews or savors the food, one applies full awareness to all this. When passing excrement or urinating, one applies full awareness to this. When one walks, stands, lies down, sleeps or wakes up, speaks or is silent, one shines his awareness on all this." So said the Buddha.
  14. 14. I AM Exercise This exercise is given by Gurdjieff in his book Life is Real. It is actually quite simple, yet profound. One intones out loud or silently, depending on the situation, "I AM", and tries to Sense a reverberation or flow of energy in the solar plexus. Another variation is given by Ouspensky : On one occasion, in connection with the description of exercises in concentration and bringing the attention from one part of the body to another, G. asked: "When you pronounce the word 'I' aloud, have you noticed where this word sounds in you?" We did not at once understand what he meant. But we very soon began to notice that when pronouncing the word 'I' some of us definitely felt as if this word sounded in the head, others felt it in the chest, and others over the head--outside the body. I must mention here that personally I was entirely unable to evoke this sensation in myself and that I have to rely on others. G. listened to all these remarks and said that there was an exercise connected with this which, according to him, had been preserved up to our time in the monasteries of Mount Athos. A monk kneels or stands in a certain position and, lifting his arms, which are bent at the elbows, he says--Ego aloud and drawn out while listening at the same time where the word "Ego" sounds. The purpose of this exercise is to feel "I" every moment a man thinks of himself and to bring "I" from one center to another. (Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, p. 304)
  15. 15. I Wish, I Can, I Am Exercise This is similar to the I Am exercise. One repeats silently or aloud, "I Wish, I Can, I Am" and tries to Sense a reverberation in the head, the heart and the solar plexus, respectively. Each phrase should be done with a fresh breath. Pondering on Sensing l Who is Sensing? l What is Sensation? l Why is Sensation important? l Can I live without Sensation? l How many types of Sensation are there? l What Sensations do I dislike?
  16. 16. In the river of life suffering is not intentional. In conscious life suffering is intentional and of great value. To bear the manifestation of others is a big thing. The last thing for a man. Intentional Suffering Categories Intentional Suffering is the intentional acceptance of all suffering which is a part of all existence. To prepare us for this type of Holy Affirmation in our daily lives we are assigned special exercises, including seeking out or welcoming suffering in all its forms, especially those forms which are overlooked or moved into different categories, such as "anxiety", "fear" or "depression". It is sometimes useful as a preparation to induce self-imposed suffering but this is to be abandoned when we learn how to meet the normal lot of humanity's suffering. (Paul Beidler) The essence of the idea of Karma-Yoga is to meet with unpleasant things equally with pleasant things. That is, in practicing Karma-Yoga, one does not seek always to avoid unpleasant things, as people ordinarily do. Life is to be met with non-identifying. When this is possible, life becomes one's teacher; in no other sense can life become a teacher, for life taken as itself is meaningless, but taken as an exercise it becomes a teacher. It is not life that is a teacher, but one's relation through non-identifying makes it become a teacher. Nothing can change being so much as this practice - namely, to take the unpleasant things in life as an exercise. (Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, Vol. 1) The following list of Holy Denying Sufferings and their Companions is intended to be used in conjunction with the exercises based on the Holy Equation. These are only a suggested starting point and Seekers are encouraged to discover and add new categories and specific situations relevant to their personal situation. l anger - agreement l irritations - equanimity l impatience -patience l annoyances - placid l fears - courage l depression - happiness
  17. 17. l anxieties - resignation l vanity - modest l jealousy - trust l hate - like l lust - prudence l envy - contentment l pride - humility l hunger - saiety l pain - pleasure l discomfort - comfort l fatigue - energetic l laziness - motivation l greed - sufficiency l avarice - sufficiency l sorrow - joy l grief - happiness l self-pity - self-satisfaction l self-loathing - self-acceptance l smugness - equality l resentment - impartial l justification - responsibility l self importance - humility l apathy - ambition Self-imposed sufferings making super efforts enduring pain enduring discomfort fasting Pondering on Intentional Suffering l Who is Suffering? l Why is Suffering necessary? l Why does His Endlessness Suffer? l How can I alleviate the Suffering of His Endlessness? l What is my most disliked Suffering?
  18. 18. l What Sufferings do I habitually indulge in? l In the practice of tolerance, is one's enemy the best teacher?
  19. 19. Enneachord of Suffering Exercise This exercise is an elaboration on the Heptachord of Suffering Exercise but is based on the Enneagram rather than the octave. 0. Life experience of a personal Holy Denying suffering, followed by ... 1. citing or naming the personal Holy Denying suffering, followed by ... 2. a Holy Affirming of the energy spent in the suffering, enabled by the shock of ... 3. applying a Holy Affirming, resulting in ... 4. a Holy Reconciled "impartiality", making it possible to ... 5. curb the suffering's manifestation by... 6. diverting the energy saved ... 7. to the expression of a companion characteristic such as joy, followed by ... 8. a savoring of a transubstantiated comprehension between the suffering and its companion, leading to ... 9. a coating on an inner-being embryo often surfacing as intellectual deprivation, a quiet mind. Step by Step Explanation 0. Life experience of a personal Holy Denying suffering : During our daily life we will experience situations and desires that arouse suffering and negative emotions. The basis of suffering is the Holy Denying Force of the planetary body, as manifested through its urges, instincts, desires, wishes, and psychological and social drives. Some of these are attributable to Kundabuffer or our inherent and acquired egoism and personality. Other Denying Forces may even derive from Essence. Some examples are given above and on this page.
  20. 20. 1. Citing or naming the personal Holy Denying suffering : When, by Self Observation, we notice or recognize the manifestation of a Holy Denying suffering or trait in the course of daily life, we need to acknowledge its presence by naming it, such as 'this is anger' or 'this is a denying force', etc. We need to Sense its energy in our body. We need to feel its emotional expression. We need to observe the thoughts that accompany it and justify it. In the beginning we may need to allow the Denying force to express itself in action in order to observe all its characteristics, but the ultimate goal is the non-expression of the negativity. We are a living representation of the Law of Three and by this first step we are placing or entering one of the expressions or terms, the Denying one, into the holy equation of energy transformation according to the Law of Three. 2. Holy Affirming of the energy spent in the suffering : There are several aspects to this step of the equation, which involves placing or entering the second expression or term of the equation, the Affirming one. The first aspect of Affirming the Holy Denying suffering is to acknowledge that the Holy Denying force is a law conformable and necessary aspect of the universe created by His Endlessness. We can accept or bear the suffering without complaint. Another aspect of Affirmation of the Denying energy is to oppose the Denying energy with another activity, called an Affirmation, to interfere with the manifestation the Denying force. We can employ an Affirmation exercise such as Sensing a part of the body or repeating a mantra or verbal affirmation as suggested on the Affirmation Exercise page. At this step, one resolves to apply the Affirmation. 3. Applying a Holy Affirming : (Shock Point) This is where the Affirmation is actually exercised. For example, if ones chosen Affirmation was Sensing ones hand, one would actually commence the Sensing here. 4. Holy Reconciled "impartiality" : This step is the third and final part of the equation of the transformation of energy according to the Law of Three. This step yields the Reconciled result of the blending of the higher Affirming with the lower Denying. We will experience this Reconciling energy as an inner state of impartiality or non-identification with the Denying force.
  21. 21. The strength of the result will depend on whether the higher and lower forces were equally balanced. If the Affirmation is not strong enough, the Denying force will predominate and we will be captured by our Identification with the suffering and its manifestation will proceed to varying degrees, depending on the strength of the Affirmation. In other words, the Reconciling energy will become higher for a succeeding lower purpose, that of allowing the physical manifestation of the denying force. If the Affirmation is strong enough to counter the Denying force, a balanced impartiality will be the outcome and some of the Reconciling energy will gravitate towards the center of gravity of our higher being bodies. In other words, the Reconciling energy will become lower for a succeeding higher purpose of coating the higher being bodies. 5. Curb the suffering's manifestation : If the previous step of the equation had a balanced or positive output of Reconciling energy, we will have succeeded in transforming its energy and thereby curbing or stopping the expression of the Denying force by entering a state of impartiality or non-identification. Some of this Reconciling energy is now available to be diverted into a new second equation of the Law of Three as the Denying term. Note that this Denying energy of a higher quality than the original. It has become the lower for the succeeding higher. The succeeding higher is the next Affirmation that we apply to the new second equation by diverting the energy thus saved. 6. diverting the energy saved : (Shock Point) Because we have entered a state of impartiality or non-identification, we now have the ablity to divert the Denying energy for another use. This step requires a conscious intention to redirect the Denying energy into an affirmative, positive expression. This Affirmation can be of several types as suggested above for the first Affirmation, plus the addition of another type of Affirmation, that of expressing companion or contrasting characteristic of the Denying force or suffering or of Evoking one of the Higher Emotions, such as Faith, Hope, Love, Compassion. A companion characteristic could be joy, generosity, acceptance, laughter, tenderness, etc. 7. Expression of a companion characteristic : Here we actually apply the Affirmation chosen in the previous step and which serves as the second term of the new second equation. For example, if ones chosen Affirmation was Evoking Compassion, one would actually attempt to feel Compassion in the emotional center.
  22. 22. 8. Savoring of a transubstantiated comprehension between the suffering and its companion : This step is the third and final part of the new second equation of the transformation of energy according to the Law of Three. This step yields the Reconciled result of the blending of the higher Affirming with the lower Denying. This step will yield a state that could be considered as a manifestation of the Voice of Conscience, wherein we experience the contrast and contradictions between the Affirming and Denying forces in us. It will help us see ourselves and others more objectively and will contribute to our level of Objective Reason or Reason of Understanding. 9. Coating on an inner-being embryo : The resulting Reconciling energy will gravitate towards the center of gravity of our higher being bodies and add a new coating on them for the growth of our Being. One indication of a successful application of the Enneachord of Suffering will be an inner state of Being characterized by a calm inner silence, unaffected by the whirlwind of life and our atmosphere of Denying urges and desires. We should savor this state as long as possible. This would be a good time to Sense our body and take in Impressions using the Sightless Gaze exercise.
  23. 23. Breathing Exercises This is a delicate area. Gurdjieff did not advise doing exercises that directly altered the tempo of our breathing unless they were well integrated with other appropriate activities such as the Movements or hard physical work. According to Gurdjieff, altering the tempo of our breathing could disrupt the functioning of our centers and cause harm to our already malfunctioning organism. On the other hand, a lot of us don't breath properly to begin with, usually breathing to shallow and only into the top part of the chest, whereas deep abdominal breathing is natural. This can be corrected if one is very careful and methodical. Our emotional states are intimately connected to the way we breathe. Proper breathing will modulate the functioning of the emotional center and prevent or diminish overly emotional reactions to certain situations where we tend to become too Identified. Before one proceeds to normalize ones breathing, one needs to observe ones habitual breathing pattern in many situations, especially those when one is overly emotional. One needs to notice the situations where one breaths deeply or shallow and the emotions and thoughts that accompany those situations. Observe how you breathe in different emotional states - Fast? Slow? Gasping? Holding? Deep? Shallow? Air is second being food. Thus awareness of breathing is more important than any particular breathing exercise, as long as one breathes properly to begin with, that is, deep into the diaphragm. Simply following your breathing during your daily activities and after eating will greatly assist in your efforts toward being present, especially when combined with sensing and taking in impressions consciously. Normal breathing is diaphramatic breathing deep into the solar plexus. If you are a shallow breather you can work at normalizing your breathing by consciously initiating diaphramatic breathing several times a day until it becomes more natural. Don't over do it and don't force it as it may take some time. You are slowly reprogramming you autonomic nervous system from years of unconscious abuse. This will also help to normalize the functioning of your emotional center. During meditation the breathing naturally tends to slow down and become quiet. It has been said that the ultimate breathing exercise is the complete cessation of breathing. You will only approach this state during deep meditation. During normal meditation or Sitting, one may simply follow the breath and its associated Sensations.
  24. 24. During Movements, your breathing will be altered in various ways depending on the Movement. Some of the Sufi dances are very powerful as is the Fourth Obligatory because they involve very vigorous breathing. Sufi Zikrs and Yoga Pranayama can also be very powerful but should not be practiced without some supervision as hyperventilation can result. Hyperventilation can produce states of euphoria, but these are of limited value unless combined with certain other practices. The value of these states is questionable. Extreme cases can lead to painful spasms in the hands and feet, over-emotional reactions or the expression of repressed or unconscious emotions and memories. Nevertheless, a little experience in this area is beneficial. In that spirit I offer the following Sufi Zikr. The Silent Zikr There are two variations of this exercise. The first is silent and can be done anywhere, any time and the second is the more vigorous and is done sitting down. The first version can be done anytime during the normal course of the day. It is done silently and without obvious external manifestation or major alteration of normal breathing. The basic pattern involves a count of eight, each count of an equal length that is comfortable and normal. Start with three out breaths, then one pause and finally one long in-breath to a count of four. This is done for twenty counts whereupon one makes an out-breath from and holds it for a count of eight and then inhales by relaxing the diaphram and holds it for a count of eight. The sequence repeated three times and after a short break may be started again. The second form has a similar breathing pattern but the breathing is much deeper and more vigorous and it is done sitting down cross-legged with hands resting on the knees. The basic pattern involves a count of eight, each count of an equal length that is comfortable. Start with three sharp, forceful, loud out breaths from the diaphram, then one pause and finally one long, slow, relaxed in-breath to a count of four. The in-breath is done by simply relaxing the diaphram, not forcefully expanding it. This is done for twenty counts
  25. 25. whereupon one makes a deep out-breath from the diaphram and holds it out for a count of eight and then inhales deeply into the diaphram and holds it for a count of eight. The sequence repeated three times only and then one sits quietly for five or ten minutes while doing a Sightless Gaze and Sensing and holding the emotional center in a neutral state. The final out-breath and in-breath can be held for longer than the count of eight if it is comfortable. The counting can be kept with the hands by touching the thumb and fingers together sequentially. Pondering on Breath l Who is breathing? l Why is breathing necessary? l How does breathing help His Endlessness? l Why do I breath differently in different situations? l How does breathing affect my emotions? l Why did Gurdjieff recommend attention to breathing after eating?
  26. 26. Affirmations For use with Intentional Suffering and other manifestations of the Holy Denying Force. "We understand the ordinary pursuits of our lives responding to desires to be educated, well thought of, useful, admired, superior, wealthy or spiritual, as examples of Holy Denyings. We try to meet these denyings with our conscious efforts in our search which we call Holy Affirming. Both are of equal substance and importance." (Paul Beidler) "In other words, every wish of the planetary body is taken as undesirable for their higher divine part which has to be coated and perfected, and therefore all three-centered beings of our Great Megaloscosmos constantly carry on a relentless struggle against the wishes of their planetary bodies so that there should be formed in them, in this struggle from the what is called ‘Disputekrialnian-friction,’ those sacred crystallizations from which their higher Divine being-part arises and is perfected in them." Only these sources can have this independence which transform the active elements which must serve for the Holy Triamazikamno as the ‘affirming' or ‘active principle.' *** "...whatever the mind tells you, you are not that. It would be good to become more aware of those false voices so that they could become a reminder for us. It is useless fighting them or trying to stop them. What is possible is to make a small stop at the very moment of hearing a mind voice of this kind, then to collect one’s attention and make an affirmation—aloud when alone, under the breath if with others. An affirmation should be made many times every day. It becomes a source of strength, especially if I practice sensing at the same time. Only the real I can know “me.” But it needs to be called, the I needs to awaken. No one can do this for me." (Mrs. A. L. Staveley) *** Affirmations can be intentional thoughts, attitudes and postures accompanied by Sensing.
  27. 27. The thoughts can be Aphorisms, Prayers, Repetitions, Ponderings, phrases, exclamations, exhortations that foster an affirmative enduring of the Suffering. They should acknowledge and accept that Suffering is a lawful manifestation of the Holy Denying Force and that it is the lot of everyone to experience Suffering. Although much of our suffering is mechanical and can eventually be eliminated as we lose the egoism and Self Importance on which they are based, some forms of Suffering will remain until we die, such as the loss of loved ones, sickness, war and crime. Affirmations for real Suffering should acknowledge its inevitability, indeed its necessity in the scheme of things as a means of developing Being. Affirmations for mechanical suffering should stress their uselessness and waste of energy and their basis in egoistic self-love and Self Importance and all the other traits of the organ Kundabuffer. Affirmations should be of equal intensity or force to the degree of suffering. Affirmations Note : These are only a suggested starting point and Seekers are encouraged to discover and add new Affirmations relevant to their personal sufferings Affirming the small pleasures that lull us to sleep. Pride in our work, completing a task, picking up a small child - acknowledging that it is difficult to remember that these pleasures too can be a manifestation of Holy Denying. l Applaud when certain distasteful tasks must be done. l Affirm - Open up! Calm Down! Work! Live! Die! l A joyful filling up of inwardness, illuminating a glowing marrow. l Affirming (three steps forward) Holy Denying (one step back)Holy Reconciling (step sideways and back to place). l Imagine sun's particles in the bone marrow. l Affirm with the small muscles of the facethen relax your whole body. l Affirm with an inner smilethen relax your emotions.
  28. 28. l Affirm by visualization you own place in the universethen relax your thinking center. l Watch the breath. l Affirm it with a calm, humble, humming affirmation. l Relax the face, Sense the sole of the feet, Sense the hands ,Sense the base of the head, Sense the little finger of the right hand and the big toe of the left foot, Illuminate the bone marrow. l Affirm Suffering with an inner smile. l Affirm with peals of amused chuckles. l When aware of thinking or judging, generate, from the center of the head, faith of Presence. l When aware of feeling good or bad, generate, from the heart, love of Presence. l Affirm by asking - Is this True Integrity? l Deep within the seeker notices a corresponding Trinity. l Affirm the Disease of Tomorrow by immediately doing whatever planned/needed/postponed task that comes to mind, especially an unpleasant task, with conscious participation. l Affirmatively engage our own pressure of acquisition. l Affirmation may begin with recognizing the subjective way with which laughter is usually considered justified. l Affirm that you cannot be changed by what someone says to you. l Affirm that you cannot be changed by anything outside you, but only by what you begin to see internally about yourself. l Affirm with a Prayer : "Oh Source of everything that exists, help us to avoid the pitfalls of knowing, judging, concluding and finding. Oh Conscience, help us to remember to feed our Being". l Affirm with a Repetitionuntil the suffering subsides : Po Do Bo Ly Zo Va Ny l Asking the question: "Why must I suffer?" l Affirming prayer sensing the bone marrow, while taking in impressions consciously and in prescribed sequence. l If preparing food visualize processing these annoyances, for example cutting them up, as an Affirmation while chanting and inner prayer. l Affirm any annoying regret for all the inner work not attempted, or pride of accomplishment ,by feeling a gratefulness for being allowed to be here in the present moment. l Visualize a connectedness to the three being foods; air, food-water, sense impressions. l Extend a feeling of connectedness outwards to those whom we wrongly accuse of causing our suffering. l Affirm a satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the visualization of
  29. 29. yourself as a corpse. l When talking with others imagine that you are that person with all their good and bad qualities as you perceive them. l Affirm each suffering with an audible "yes." l Affirming a trivial pleasure be conscious of your imminent death of body and other future possibilities. l At the end of the day note your most trivial satisfaction and ponder its triviality with 3 centers. l Affirming by repeating the prayer : Holy Affirming, Holy Denying, Holy Reconciling, Transubstantiate in me for my Being. Also remember our ancestors: parents, grandparents and beyond and lastly remember co-seekers. l Let no annoyance slip by without letting it alter the self image. Affirm it with a calm, still, poetic humming affirmation. l Affirmed by an attitude of Love to everything that Nature has created. l Affirm Suffering by saying : "I welcome this discomfort" or "I welcome this frustration." l Float above the rut of habit. l We are machines and react to react to external influences. l We live a script that has already been written. l Affirm that boredom exists. l Be surprised and amused that you've been taken aback by the appearance of dislike. l Affirm by putting attention to the seed of Being in your solar plexus area to help it to grow. l Affirmative enduring to this lawful circumstance. l Affirm by "eating" any peculiar habit and emit an inner essence glow. l Affirm by considering the alternative, namely death. Repeat the mantra "Dust to dust". l Affirmative enduring of the suffering that harasses explorers may be reinforced with vivid visions of a muddy bilge of envy, fear, pride, and egotism whenever it roils up in fervent Sorrow. l Affirming effort to let go of Suffering and relax Awakening to Sensations. Become conscious of Tensions and Negative Emotions, Passive and Reactive, Identified and Dispersed. Evoke associations affirming a cosmic transcendental involvement in Being. l When faced with the irritation of too much to do, look around and realize life's impermanence. See the fleeting nature of achievement. See the hidden reality around you. l Trust everything that happens, even Suffering, is Affirming a cosmic transcendental involvement in Being; imagine your Suffering is the
  30. 30. beginning of a musical score. The keys and strings are your movements, postures, gestures, facial expressions. l Realized that you work surrounded "by mysteries beyond understanding." l Target or pinpoint your most frequent annoyance, aim directly for it with the affirmation that it has awakened Being. l Affirm annoyances by praying : Great Spirit! Thank you for those small annoyances that help me Remember Myself. l Affirming the organism's haphazard frenzy of, I am this, I am that, this I did, that I was. The Seeker strives for a full sensing of "myself." Not, I am this that, but "I am." l Affirmation "Faith of Being is Freedom." Sense the faith as emanating from different areas. l Affirm your pervasive suffering of conditioning by asking : "I am Jesus, I am Buddha, I am Gurdjieff, I am (insert name), which one invokes less amusement? l Affirm your Suffering by feeling all the energies within and without, their sameness and points of connection. Visualize all life-forms as conduits for the magnificent currents of energies connecting all and everything. l Affirm the suffering of ego by periodically assuming the posture of a peacock, spreading an imaginary tail. l Affirmation of petty attitudes - invoke a sense of gratitude for what we have been given, both of spiritual and ordinary nature. Attitudelessness and a connection to the greater things in life replace petty attitudes. l When Suffering a remorse and continually murmur "AIEIOIUOA" while longing for a glimpse through the fog. l When disagreeing with other's convictions, Affirm it by exercising a counter-conviction. l Affirm that "I" has taken one step further from birth or one step closer to death. Simultaneously place an emphasis on existence of "now", by appreciating the uniqueness of each moment at each step. l When your Beliefs conflict with other's, Affirm them using the following 5 steps. 1. Identify the belief. 2. Be present to it. How does it feel? What centers are affected? 3. Consider that belief as another lawful product of the organism,of the same order as feces, urine, Carbon Dioxide. 4. Laugh at the belief, especially those that seem "true" or "important". 5. Envision for a moment an inner space of profound quiet aloof from the beliefs of the organism. l Affirming the force of a new Presence that observes, remembers, acts, is remorseful, endures, has aim, and lives.
  31. 31. l Ask "Who am I?" and visualize your spine and skull radiating light. Scan the body for areas of tension then direct your breath there. l Affirm by asking : How far can I trust this emotion to lead me? Heptachord of Enduring This is similar to the Heptachord of Suffering Exercise Affirm the Holy Denying Force with seven steps : 1. recognizing the inner distress as a Holy Denying. (eg. pleasure) 2. naming it. 3. accepting it. 4. using it: using affirmations. (eg. Sensing plus sightless gaze, 3 deep breaths, repeating a mantra, etc.) 5. believing it to be a required function. 6. knowing that it falls on everyone. 7. peeling it from an inner core like the petals of an artichoke by recalling or Evoking its Companion. (eg. pain)
  32. 32. Neither food nor air can be changed. But impressions, that is, the quality of impressions available to man, are not subject to any cosmic law. Impressions Exercises One of the biggest sources of higher energies for the growth of Being is the taking in of the energies of Impressions. The two biggest sources of Impressions for us as humans are the senses of sight and sound. Smell, Taste and Sensing the body are also good sources of Impressions. Sensing is a particularly important exercise and is described separately on this web site. The energy which triggers a sensory nerve never actually gets into the brain, it simply trips a switch, so to speak, which releases pre-existing energy in the nerve to initiate an ionic chain reaction and its accompanying electromagnetic field to transmit an 'electrical impulse' to the brain. The higher brain centers are receiving 'information' about a change of state of our internal electromagnetic environment, not any new energy from the outside world, like the food and air octaves. The information is represented by different shapes and sizes of electrical impulses. The interesting thing about information is that it can be represented by almost any kind of medium. For example, these words appear on your computer screen by illuminated phosphors, they may then be printed on a piece of paper with ink. They have been transmitted to you with binary digits of 0 and 1's represented by pulses of electromagnetic energy. I could scratch these words in the sand with a stick or spell them out with stones. In other words, information exists on a different level of reality than the matter/energy used to represent it. We 'eat' the information from impressions by moving electrical impulses that represent the information around the brain to certain places where that information is stored in another form of medium, possibly various combinations of proteins. Memory is a mental accumulator of information. The more attention we pay to our incoming information, the more of it gets stored in our accumulator. Dr. B: I would like to ask a question about the relationship between work and fatigue. It seems to me there is a difference between work efforts and automatic efforts. Outer work takes energy. Inner work is the
  33. 33. opposite - it should accumulate energy. It should even be restful if it is done correctly. But for me it is the opposite. At the moment of making an effort something believes that the gates through which energy escapes will close automatically. But it's the opposite. I become tired. I lose my energy. GURDJIEFF: Consciously, we eat the electricity that is in the body and transform it. This establishes in us a force. In ordinary life you automatically lose this. But here it's not the same thing; it's not the same kind of fatigue. This other fatigue has a future. It's tiring but it brings you a substantial result. It refills your accumulators. If you continue, a certain substance will refill your accumulator. Today, the more you tire yourself, the more your organism will produce this substance. Impressions Exercises Exercises for these modalities can begin with a relaxed three centered state. In the most simple form of this exercise, one sits quietly in a meditative position and allows the five senses, sequentially or simultaneously, to impartially receive and record the arrival of sense impressions at the respective sense receptors in a non-judgmental and non-discriminatory way. This means that the Formatory Center is not allowed to label or categorize the various sense impressions and thus they do not become associated with our habitual emotions as they pass through the emotional center. These exercises are associated with assimilating Third Being Food. One can perform these exercises whenever one is sitting, walking, lying in bed, driving the car or doing in any number of mundane tasks where the senses can be allowed to roam free, unhindered by the constraints of the task at hand. l Sensing - One attends to all the sensations in the body, taking in all sensations without identifying or labeling the impressions as pleasant or unpleasant. l Sightless Gaze - one attends to ones total visual field as a panoramic field of light, taking in everything at once without focusing on objects and without identifying or labeling the impressions as things or actions, good or bad. l Soundless Sound - one attends to ones total aural field as a
  34. 34. panoramic field of sound, taking in everything without identifying or labeling the impressions as things or actions, good or bad. l Smelless Smell - one attends to all odors taking in every odor without identifying or labeling the impressions as things or actions, good or bad. l Tasteless Taste - one attends to all taste impressions, taking in everything without identifying or labeling the impressions as things or actions, good or bad. l In recognition of the importance of Impressions, explore their absence. Cut off each of the sensual impressions when conditions allow. Close eyes to curtail sight. Open mouth to curtail taste. Close up ears to curtail sound. Pinch nose to curtail smell. l Listen to others during the day without our usual careless and often distracted attention. l Listen to what is really being said and not to our rapidly forming opinions. l Listen with the utmost respect. Pondering on Impressions l Who is sensing impressions? l Why is sensing impressions necessary? l How do impressions help His Endlessness? l Why do I sense impressions differently in different situations? l How does sensing impressions affect my emotions?
  35. 35. "There are moments when you become aware not only of what you are doing but also of yourself doing it. You see both ‘I’ and the ‘here’ of ‘I am here’—both the anger and the ‘I’ that is angry. Call this self-remembering if you like." (Gurdjieff, Views From the Real World) Self Remembering All-Brains-Balanced-Being-Perception Self Remembering is a global envelope of consciousness that encompasses all things. *** "We are "harmonized" when our three centers are coordinated in unison rather than "in chaos" when each center acts independantly of the others (our usual, normal, mechanical condition). We approach harmony when the three centers are each relaxed because then they are comfortably related to one another. In meditation we try to be as physically relaxed or loose as possible, to which is added a neutral emotional condition, to which is added a quiet mind (no thought). A goal is to do everything with the three centers harmoniously related." "We must work toward a constant state of self-observation where we become more and more connected with the observer who is objectively observing "it" (the observed). Self-observing requires conscious effort; the observer is the rememberer, who becomes the doer, who becomes." (Paul Beidler)
  36. 36. Reminders Exercises Reminders are little tricks and triggers, such as people, places, events or things, that we use to remind ourselves to Stop and observe our inner state and remember ourselves. Each Reminder should be accompanied by explicit three centered Inner Work and a Sensing exercise. One should change Reminders often, as they tend to become mechanical otherwise. Note : These are only a suggested starting point and Seekers are encouraged to discover and add new Reminders and Inner Work relevant to their personal situation. Suggested Inner Work Always include a Sensing of your whole body, a part of the body or parts of the body in a sequence. l Use the Holy Equation l Ponder a particular question. l Observe which center is predominant. l Observe ones thought, emotions and sensations. l Observe which I, Trait or Role is active. l Observe tension in the body. l Observe ones posture. l Observe ones breathing. l Remember yourself by bringing Attention to all three centers. l Remember yourself by doing the I AM exercise. l Quite the intellectual center by stopping thoughts. l Intone a Repetition or Prayer, verbally or silently.
  37. 37. l Perform a ritual, such as making the sign of the Cross or take a particular posture or a Movements position. l Suggested Reminders l On awakening in the morning. l Feet touching the floor in the morning. l While washing in the morning. l While eliminating waste water and solids. l Beginning of a meal. l Opening the refrigerator l Answering the telephone. l Walking through a doorway. l Opening the car door. l Whenever a certain time is shown on a clock. l Turning on your computer. l Switching on a light. l Whenever you say "I", or some other word. l Whenever someone else says "I", or some other word. l When a certain sound occurs, such as car horn, dog barking, bird singing. l Meeting a certain person. l Entering a certain building or store. l Whenever a commercial comes on TV.
  38. 38. Self Importance Along the way towards developing Real I, efforts at overcoming our Egoism and Self Importance are necessary. Failure to do so will will result in the creation of a type of person Gurdjieff called a Hassnamus. Self Importance is a consequence of the organ Kundabuffer. Other properties of the organ Kundabuffer are : arrogance, the need to provoke astonishment in others, bragging, cunning, the vice of eating, egoism, envy, hate, imagination, jealousy, lying, offensiveness, partiality, pride, wishing the death or weakness of others, self-conceit, self-love, swagger, vanity. A traditional method of overcoming Self Importance is submitting yourself to a good Teacher, one who is able to see the core of your Self Importance and impose "tasks" or Intentional Sufferings that may help you destroy it. This involves humiliation and one has to have enough trust and foresight to see the benefits of being humiliated and the fortitude to see it through to the end. Many Teachers end up being reviled for their efforts simply because their students don't understand the intention that is behind their being humiliated. Their ego ends up becoming even more inflated and they ascribe all sorts of evil intentions to the Teacher who caused them so much existential pain. No wonder good Teachers are hard to find; try to do someone a favor and all they do is hate you for it. As Gurdjieff says : "Such is the nature of man, that for your first gift - he prostrates himself; for your second - kisses your hand; for the third - fawns; for the fourth - just nods his head once; for the fifth - becomes too familiar; for the sixth - insults you; and for the seventh - sues you because he was not given enough." Self Importance Exercises These are only a suggested starting point and Seekers are encouraged to discover and add new categories and specific situations relevant to their personal situation. l One exercise that can help us overcome Self Importance is the constant realization of our own inevitable Death. l Another exercise is to do anything that anyone asks you to do, with
  39. 39. unquestioning obedience. l Role playing is also a useful exercise to help combat Self Importance. Take the Role of someone you dislike or that expresses behaviors opposite to your Chief Feature. l Either agree with or desist from arguing with people when they express an opinion contrary to yours. l Always tell the truth. l Never justify or explain away your actions. l Accept blame or responsibility for events that you have no control over or for actions that were committed by someone else. *** Pondering on Self Importance l Who is Self Important? l Why does Self Importance exist? l Where does my Self Importance originate from? l How can I overcome my Self Importance? l What is my chief Self Importance? l What types of Self Importance do I dislike in others? l What types of Self Importance do I dislike in myself?
  40. 40. Role Playing Exercises "And they were able to do this not only because they possessed the being-property of 'ikhriltatzkakra,' but also because, like all the learned beings of the planet Earth of that time, they were well versed in what is called the 'law of type,' and were well aware of the twenty-seven quite distinct types of three-brained beings on their planet, and even of what the beings of each type would inevitably perceive in this or that situation, how they would perceive it, and what would have to be their reaction." (5) *** Role playing exercises are useful for getting beyond or free of our Identification with our Chief feature and our Self Importance. Our Chief Feature is the legacy of our Essence as it manifests through our Personality. Our Chief Feature has positive and negative manifestations which may help or hinder us on our search for Being. Most of us find it very hard to bear the Suffering and pain involved with trying to step outside of our habitual roles in life. Many of us tend to value honesty and playing an uncharacteristic role can make us feel uneasy when interacting with others. Role playing is valued in some areas of life, such as by con-artists and intelligence agencies and politics, and thus many of us may find it distasteful with its connotations of deception. In the context of the Work, we should set these feelings aside and consider what benefits to our Being will accrue if we attempt to play Roles temporarily in life that will help us step outside the mechanical constraints of our acquired Personality and our Self Importance. In the Gurdjieffian sense, a well rounded person is not Identified with their Personality and not consumed by their Self Importance, rather, they should be able to be all things for all people, as indicated by the quote from Beelzebub's Tales above. Of course, Gurdjieff never delineated the 27 types mentioned in Beelzebub's Tales or in his list of Idiots, which were toasted at his Paris dinners. Never the less, we can approach this subject by considering that the Law of Ninefoldness (the enneagram or the law of seven plus the two shocks) multiplied by the three types of man (physical, emotional, intellectual) gives us 27 basic types. A controversial typology based on 27 types has recently arisen and become popular under the name of the Enneagram of Personality. Neither wishing to promote nor disparage that system, I simply wish to point out that it may be of some benefit to
  41. 41. some people in the Work who wish to explore the dynamics of their Personality and Essence further. It has close affinities to the character traits outlined by Carl Jung and his protégé Maurice Nicoll. Rodney Collin also had a typology based on the seven planets of Astrology. Thus there is a precedent for this type of endeavor in the Work. The Enneagram of Personality is a great tool for giving insight into our Chief Feature and into the features of other Types that we may wish to use as models for Role Playing. *** Role Playing Exercise Choose a Role, any Role. Choose a Role corresponding to a personality type that you dislike or that you admire. Seek out a social situation where you can exercise that Role. Prepare for the Role playing by studying the characteristics of the type. Use your powers of Visualization and Imagination to construct the outward behaviors and inner attitudes of that type. Wear clothes and groom yourself in an appropriate manner. Set yourself a time limit within which to perform the role. Prepare Affirmations to use during the Role playing that will encourage you to continue with the Role at those times when you feel yourself being overwhelmed by the demands of the Role and want to beat a hasty retreat. When you have returned to a safe haven, evaluate your performance. Repeat as necessary. *** Pondering on Roles l Who is playing the Role? l What is my preferred Role? l Why am I afraid to take other Roles? l What Roles in others do I dislike? l What Roles in myself do I dislike?
  42. 42. Will Exercises Thanks to this sacred process, intentionally actualized by our All-Foreseeing Common Endless Father in the three-brained beings of these planets, it has been foreseen that during the action in their presence of the fundamental holy cosmic law of Triamazikamno, the excess of its third holy force, namely, the 'Holy Reconciling,' obtained during the assimilation of cosmic truths of that order, should by itself crystallize in them the data for engendering that 'something' which is called 'egoaitoorassian being-will. Exercises l Plan do do something at a specific time or times and then endeavor to perform the planned action. You may use your powers of Imagination and Visualization to formulate the specific task. l Plan to do a specific Work Exercise at a specific time or in a specific situation. l Spend half the day agreeing with everyone and half the day disagreeing with everyone. Pondering on Will l Where does our Will originate from? l Who Wills our actions? l What is Self-will? l Is Will different in the three centers? l Is there a difference between Will and desire? l Is there a difference between my Will and the Will of His Endlessness? l What is the Will of His Endlessness? l What has His Endlessness Willed for me? l Can Self-will coincide with the Will of His Endlessness?
  43. 43. Eating Exercises There are many exercises that one can use related to eating First Being Food. The easiest is to say a prayer of thanks to His Endlessness before or after eating. One can employ Sensing exercises, Repetitions and prayers in the preparation of the food. Other exercises involve being aware of ones physical sensations while eating. Heptachord Before Eating 1. Relax all three centers. 2. Attend to the sight or presentation of the food on the table and plates. 3. Attend to the smell of the food. 4. Attend to the taste of the food by taking a small sample into the mouth. 5. Attend to the sounds accompanying the meal situation. 6. Attend to the touch or physical sensations evoked by the food and setting. 7. Intone the phrase from Beelzebub's Tales - aieioiuoa. This exercise is to be done before eating. Each step may be accompanied by the inhalation and exhalation of a breath and the Repetition of a prayer. Heptachord During Eating This exercise is to be done while eating. Direct the Attention to the
  44. 44. designated points on the face and body. 1. Eyes while looking at food as it is lifted towards the mouth. 2. Nose while smelling food before putting it in the mouth. 3. Mouth while chewing food. 4. Throat while swallowing food. 5. Chest while food descends. 6. Solar Plexus while food arrives in stomach. 7. Breath into the Navel when the meal is finished. Sense the energy radiating to the extremities. *** Pondering on Eating First being Food l Who is Eating? l How does eating help His Endlessness? l What do other beings think about my eating them? l How do I feel about eating other beings to keep me alive? l Why did His Endlessness create the Trogoautoegocratic process? l What foods do I dislike and why?
  45. 45. GURDJIEFF'S INNER EXERCISES The present study begins with notes of an exercise given by Gurdjieff In New York (which he describes in his Third Series of Writings) , which is reproduced after our commentary. The reader can then see for herself whether our analysis holds water. Our purpose is to delineate the essential characteristics of this exercise to serve as a guide to other exercises, such as those developed by John Bennett in later years from Gurdjieff's. Gurdjieff himself explains many things about 'attention', 'I Am' and so on in his Third Series of writings and we come to some of these explanations at the very end of our discussion. Outline Gurdjieff refers to this exercise as the "compromise" exercise. In this exercise, attention is divided between the breathing and the head brain and the results of this are gathered into or concentrated in the solar plexus. Gurdjieff says that this will enhance the sense of 'I AM', which he couples with what he calls 'active mentation'. Attention & Associations In describing the exercise, Gurdjieff makes a number of statements about attention. 1. For 'real men' there is an attention that can be divided into two directions. 2. There are three kinds of attention 3. The attention of a real man can be free of associations. The attention of a real man would be 'conscious'. The pragmatic test is that such an attention can be divided. The three kinds of attention are referred to by Gurdjieff as 'to sense, feel and constate' - which we might know more abstractly as sensing, feeling and thinking. Associations go on by themselves and Gurdjieff says they not only go in our sleep, when we dream, but even after death! In describing (conscious) attention, he says that it can be concentrated away from such automatic proceedings. In the course of describing the exercise, he tells his pupils to concentrate their attention on specific aspects of their (experiential) organism. In everyday life, we would not do this. Though not specifically mentioned in this description, we should bear in mind the kind of ideas he put forward in the beginning of his teaching about man as a 'factory', taking in raw materials of food, air and impressions and transforming them (see in In Search of the Miraculous by P. D. Ouspensky). Part of this transformation goes automatically, by itself, but there are stages that require conscious work. This is where the attention of a real man comes in. Warning Both at the beginning and at the end of his description, Gurdjieff warns against auto- suggestion. He also warns against excessive zeal and 'self-enthusing'. In contemporary colloquial language, we might say that if someone is 'getting off' on this exercise, then it is going wrong. Gurdjieff is emphasising that doing this exercise should have nothing to do with generating emotional experiences. The real results accumulate gradually through repeated practice. In modern times, inner exercises of various kinds have been taken up precisely because they give rise to emotional experiences. It is forgotten that, for example, in Buddhism Mara the 'evil one' was the name given to bliss experienced in meditation! Gurdjieff is also following the core tradition of mysticism in Christianity, which tended to reject 'experiences' as distractions. He makes the exercise seem like shovelling coal! In a
  46. 46. technical sense, 'bliss' (as in the ananda of the Hindu sat-chit-ananda - being- consciousness-bliss) is always a descending phenomenon, which means that a higher energy is transforming down into lower energies. Gurdjieff's exercise appears to have the intent of an ascending process. Flying in the face of his repeated assertion that 'man cannot do' he claims that this exercise will enable his pupils to "do", which may be to build up a substance giving the possibility of doing. Here we will simply remark that John Bennett described such a possibility in terms of his own language, drawn from science, of 'potential energy'. Energy withdrawn from actualisation, from anything happening, enables real choices to be made, or voluntary action taken (see his series of lectures recently republished under the title Making a Soul). Assimilating Air In this exercise, Gurdjieff says, the attention is divided into two parts. The first part concentrates on breathing: becoming aware of the air coming into the lungs and then leaving, but not entirely, since some of it is assimilated. The air that is assimilated 'flows in my presence'. Now, it is likely that Gurdjieff was not referring to oxygen here as the part of the air that is assimilated (there is a tantalising passage about the active ingredients in the air, which is deliberately broken off and left unfinished, in the Third Series). In later years, John Bennett would explain that there is an 'active substance' in the air - he even at one time said that it derived from the sun - and that this active substance can only be assimilated into us if it is taken in consciously. The underlying reference is to the theory of the 'food factory' we mentioned before: in order for the second-being food or 'air' to be transformed it requires at a certain point assistance from (intentional) impressions - i.e. conscious attention. It is widely known that awareness of our breathing changes our state. But the idea that it can produce a certain substance in us is very much Gurdjieff's alone. John Bennett speaks of it as prana - a Hindu term that is usually translated as something like 'life- force'. Needless to say, there is no evidence whatsoever for there being such a substance, besides the changes in state that are subjective and we are even warned about by Gurdjieff himself. The Mental Component By concentrating on the breathing, the pull of mental associations has become weak. However, next 'the other half' of the attention is put onto the 'mind' or, as Gurdjieff also calls it 'my head brain'. He says that with practice we can detect something arising there from our associations, at first faintly. Nowhere does he say what this 'something' is. He even says that "what arises in the brain is not important"; instead he says that there should be a flow in to the solar plexus. The austerity of language should be remarked. In this case it is most fitting since, in general, the substance of the head brain is taken as abstract. However, there is a sense in which we can take what arises and what flows as in some way being the 'substance underlying associations, thoughts or knowing'. Solar Plexus What flows in my presence from the air and what comes from my head brain combine together in the solar plexus. Gurdjieff does not say that they blend together or make any statement about their conjunction. The location of the solar plexus is only explained indirectly when Gurdjieff says that the exercise increases the strength of his 'I AM'. Someone who actually does the exercise can see what this means for herself. Speculations based on the chakra system tend to be totally misleading since Gurdjieff never used this system or made reference to it. Nor does he make use of other Asian concepts such as the 'stove of the belly'. What is striking is that the Desert Fathers practised bringing their thoughts into the region of their navels (hence the origin of the phrase 'navel-gazers') and
  47. 47. readers of the immensely influential Philokalia may recognise the similarities. In Gurdjieff's own system, it is fair to say that 'I' would be most associated with the head brain and 'AM' with the solar plexus. Proceeding Automatically More than once, Gurdjieff says that the exercise or part of it is proceeding in him by itself or automatically. It is worth taking note of this. While Gurdjieff is talking, the exercise is building and proceeding in him. But, how can it proceed automatically when the whole emphasis has been on concentrating the attention? It would confuse the clarity of the exercise to say very much about this; but it seems to us that it is important to observe that concentrating the attention is not really a matter of effort. Nor is it a matter of 'I am doing this'. There is more a sense of an impersonal act proceeding by itself. One intends something such as a flow from the head brain to the solar plexus and then one has to allow it to happen as it will: it is no good 'doing' anything to try and make it happen. It is as if the act of seeing creates what is to be seen. Trying to describe and explain what happens can generate metaphysical sickness, and a stark simplicity is called for in the doing of the exercise. However, it is important to grasp that what Gurdjieff calls 'automatic' has two sides to it. Intended Results Gurdjieff says that the practice of this exercise by his pupils is "only a preparation to have an 'I'" but in his own case it provides 'food' for his 'I'. The task for the pupils is to recognise the two sources - the flow from the head brain and the assimilation from the air. We have already mentioned that he also said it would enable people to 'do' or have the possibility of doing as well as the wish to do. We want to draw attention here to a common feature of Gurdjieff's methods, which might be expressed as: first detach, then divide and then unite into a new whole. What can be taught or imparted is something about detachment and division. But the new unification cannot be taught. As long as people remain followers of the instructions, they remain divided. No one can tell them to unite themselves, to 'make' I AM in themselves. Gurdjieff suggests that he unites himself and then leaves it there. His almost final statement about the exercise is that it will enable his pupils to have 'real active mentation'. This may be the key to the whole thing. The very idea that inner exercises should be devoted to something that is akin to thinking is anathema to most so-called 'spiritual' seekers at the present time. It is also a side of Gurdjieff that has been strangely neglected by those professing to follow his ideas. Though Gurdjieff's active mentation is not just our usual 'thinking' it is still conscious, willed direction based on understanding and is what thinking ought to be. Another way of regarding active mentation is as 'thinking with the whole of oneself'. Essential Feature It is useful to make a summary of the essential features of this exercise. Readers may differ with us on our choices and interpretations. Such a summary may also be tested against other exercises (as we will do in the following essay). At the outset, we have to state that it is our contention that such an exercise is integrally connected with the rest of Gurdjieff's teaching, particularly with his theories of human structure and process. We believe that his account of the assimilation and transformation of the three 'foods' of food, air and impressions is of paramount importance. The general inference from this teaching is that conscious attention can affect the process of transformation; in particular, to produce 'substances' that would not otherwise be made. These substances share in the characteristic of enablement: if we have them, we can 'do' and if we do not then wanting to do is just wishful thinking. In a word, these substances turn our view of ourselves as free, whole,
  48. 48. creative beings from fantasy into reality. We spoke of 'wishful thinking' and might consider that such substances when added to the equation produce a real result: thinking + wish + substance = real doing. 1. The purpose of such an exercise is to produce an enabling substance (or energy) that can make life more real 2. It depends on exercising a free attention that can be divided into at least two parts. 3. There is an energy or substance that can be assimilated or made available to us by bringing attention onto our breathing. 4. In a perhaps similar way, there is an energy or substance that can be released from the thinking process or head brain by careful attention. 5. Such energies can be combined together to produce a new sense of wholeness or 'I- Amness'. The 'sense' of new wholeness that is posited at the end of the exercise is the most important 'proof' of the efficacy of the exercise. But, as we commented, it is the most problematic - not least because it has to be self-defining. However, during the course of the exercise, it is possible for us to test out and explore the meaning of points 2, 3 and 4. These features give us a chance to struggle with our convictions. We just have to come to terms with how things work out in us when we try to follow the instructions. We have to decide what is real in our experience. There is no way of knowing whether what happens to one person is the same as to another. Each will describe their experience in different terms. We have adopted the method of 'experienting' to take account of this, which has the advantage of providing mutual support without the imposition of any one person's models of the experience. Experienting also follows the situation exemplified by Gurdjieff himself in describing the exercise, where it is clear - and even stated by him - that the exercise can be working in him as he speaks about it [see below on 'Transmitting Exercises']. In 'experienting' every participant is encouraged to articulate the process going on in her or him while it is taking place. At first this feels like an added difficulty and an immense distraction. But it facilitates detachment from emotional experiences (see Gurdjieff's warning) and can also assist in the end, through practice, in attaining the condition indicated by Gurdjieff of the exercise 'proceeding automatically'. The five essential features we have listed all belong to what can be called a 'psycho- cosmology'. It is difficult to establish whether knowing about this is an integral part of the exercise or not. One imagines that Gurdjieff's pupils were well aware of the background to the exercise they were being shown. The exercise can be done without knowing anything about the 'food factory' model but would it be the same? Gurdjieff gives the essentials without any appeal to theory but it would be hard to put it all together without some theoretical support. We tentatively, then, add a sixth feature: 6. To constate and reason on the purpose and meaning of the exercise, with the provisos "don't imagine things" and "don't be the slaves of the data you have within yourselves for autosuggestion".
  49. 49. THE EXERCISE AS GIVEN BY MR. G (with some minimal editing) this version differs slightly from the text given in the Third Series „The totality of man's attention received from the whole of him, from all his spiritualised parts, he can divide into two directions. For real man there is one attention. Only this attention can be divided into two directions. In general if the sources of man's attention are taken into account, there are three kinds of attention. You must first understand and then recognise the difference. When this attention is concentrated, then our associations are 'in galoches'. Associations can never stop. If they would stop, men would die. Associations always flow. Even after death they continue to flow by momentum. Only when attention is seriously occupied, associations are not constated; all the same they flow automatically. Even in sleep they continue and are sometime remembered - this is what constitutes dreams. Those who remember their dreams were only half asleep. If a man really sleeps, his attention also sleeps. Real man has one attention. When this is concentrated seriously somewhere, whether on his body or on something outside, and all the forces of his attention are concentrated, his associations do not hinder him. For example I am now looking at L., and my attention is directed on my right foot; so although I look, I see only automatically, my attention being elsewhere. I will now show you that new exercise, the one to which is attached the risk I spoke of, the "compromise" exercise. It is a serious experiment; many of you have such data in you for auto- suggestion that impressions may be obtained which will be the result of some kind of self-hypnotism. If you are now a nonentity, you may become a thousand times more so. You might, if you will excuse my using this word, "stink". Be careful with the experiment. It is not quality that is necessary, but quantity. Do it often. Don't try to get absolute results. Make repeated efforts. Then only little by little, can you actualize results. Then only will you be able to "do". And parallel with wishing to "do", there will arise in you the possibility of "doing". Do this without excessive zeal, without self-enthusing, which is a very harmful property. If you repeat this exercise often, your auto-suggestiveness will diminish.
  50. 50. This is the exercise. Outwardly, at the first glance, this exercise is simple. For instance, you see, I sit here in my usual posture. I am dividing my attention. But no one can see this inner process. I divide my attention consciously into two parts. With one part I now sense, feel and constate simultaneously with one conscious concentration. Now I breathe. I feel that something happening to the air that I breath in. Part of it goes in, part goes out, and a part remains. My organism, that is my lungs, take a part, then a part leaves and a part remains. I feel what is happening in my lungs. When I breath in, part of the air is assimilated and I feel its flow all over the body. It goes everywhere. I keep my attention fixed; I feel, I sense how this air is being assimilated in me and how It flows in my presence. It is not necessary to find out where it goes, it just flows in my presence. One part of my attention is occupied with this - breathing, assimilating and flowing of the air. Already my mental associations are very weak. I notice them sometimes, by the way, because part of my attention is free, and is able to notice mental associations. Now I will concentrate the other half of my attention on my mind, my head brain. I feel that in my head-brain something arises from the total of the flow of associations there. I don't know what is taking place there, but there is something, and with my half attention I notice this very thin something arise, so small, so light, so thin, that nobody feels it the first few times, not until constant practice gives the feeling. I know this subjectively because I have practised it. I feel, I sense, I constate, that something arises in my head-brain. All the time, of course, the other half of my attention is occupied with the breathing process. Even while speaking, this exercise is being automatically done. Now I direct my attention to help this something in my brain to flow towards my solar plexus. What arises in the brain is not important. What is important is that the something that arises there should flow into the solar plexus. Now I feel how it flows.
  51. 51. My attention is fully occupied and I don't see any more associations All my attention is occupied with feeling, sensing, and assimilating the flow of air, and also with this arising in my head-brain. This flow of assimilated air, and this something which arises in my head brain, I specially, consciously, with my wish, concentrate to let it flow into my solar plexus. Now, by the way, I feel and constate that I breathe , I assimilate and that this flow goes to the solar plexus. And all the time the flow from the air I breathe and the flow from my head-associations go to the solar plexus although they issue from different sources. For me personally, at the same time, I feel very strongly that I AM. I feel that I AM ten times stronger. My "I" takes in this food more intensely, but for you, at the present moment, do not do this exercise in order to be stronger. For you this exercise is only a preparation to have an "I" and so that you should constate the two sources from which this "I" can arise. For me it gives food to my "I". It makes it stronger, so that now I am not "tail of donkey". I AM. But you can not yet use this exercise to make yourself stronger; you must first learn and constate the two sources from which this possibility can arise, to have a real " I" - from air and from mentation, even automatic mentation; and then , when you will have practised this exercise a great deal, you may be able to have possibilities for real active mentation. And then with real active mentation, the " I" can become stronger. Enough. I stop and let these processes proceed in me automatically. Now, without titillation without philosophizing and manipulation, try to understand the total of all this and formulate it according to your subjective understanding, according to whatever kind of idiot you are. Then do [it]. Don't imagine things. Don't be the slave of the data you have in yourselves for autosuggestion, but try very hard.
  52. 52. We have at hand another report of an exercise dictated by Mr Gurdjieff, this time dated to 1939. It is instructive to read this account in the light of our previous discussion. We add some comments afterwards. EXERCISE BY MR GURDJIEFF From hand-written note 1939 Fifteen minutes relax. Break tempo of ordinary life before doing exercise. Breathe in - 'I'. Breathe out - 'am'. With all three parts do. Not just mind. Feeling and body also. Make strong! Not easy thing. When breathe out, imagine part of air stays in and flows to corresponding place. Where flow, how flow, that is its business. Only feel that part remains. Before beginning exercise say: 'I wish to keep this substance for myself'. Without this conscious and voluntary labour on your part nothing at all will be coated. All in time will evaporate. Just this small property in blood makes possible very big result if done with conscious labour. Without this, one month you must work for such result. When doing, must be careful not to change exterior. It is inner thing. No one need know. Outside keep same exterior. Inside you do. Not hold breath. Just breathe in and out. Of course, to change thinking will take time. Automatically breath will adjust. To be able to do exercise not lopsidedly you must whole attention on it. To arouse feeling, interest and attention, for co-operation you must think following before beginning: 'I am now about to begin this exercise. With full attention I will draw in my breath, saying "I" and sensing the whole of myself. I wish very much to do this in order that I may digest air.' To arouse body to co-operate, take corresponding posture. Inner tension of forces. Mobilise your centres for working together for this aim. In breathing, imagine something flows, like when inhaling cigarette. I am now about to begin this exercise, which I have been fortunate enough to learn from Mr. Gurdjieff, and which will enable me with the aid of conscious labour, to coat higher bodies in myself from active elements in the air I breathe.
  53. 53. First of all, it is clear that this exercise constitutes only a part of the one we reviewed before (the 'compromise' exercise as Gurdjieff called it). This part concerns awareness of breathing and, in particular, of part of the indrawn air being assimilated and flowing to its 'corresponding place'. It is important to note that these exercises had a somewhat modular character in that more simple exercises could be combined to form more complex ones. Though he does not use the same words - sense, feel and constate - that we encountered before, the intent is exactly the same: "with all three parts do". He emphasises wish in this exercise, and speaks of "feeling, interest and attention" instead of just attention. An important word in this description is "imagine". Of particular interest is his comments on preparation and disposition. These include: 1. Fifteen minutes relaxation "to break the tempo of ordinary life" 2. Taking a "corresponding posture" for the body to co-operate [as we learned this from John Bennett, it was to sit with erect posture with the hands on the knees, in balance and not slouched] 3. Having a clear mental intent to do the exercise and realise that it is for the conscious 'digestion' of the air that will make a "coating" for an inner body. [Gurdjieff also implies there should be a feeling of gratitude towards himself for providing the exercise]. In our essay on 'Inner Exercises' we spoke of the three stages of preparation, concentration and realisation. Here we see preparation pointing to the engagement of the whole of oneself in the act of concentration. In this instance, the preparation includes an intellectual understanding of what the exercise is for. In our previous comments we left this open as a question: Is it necessary to know the 'theory' behind the exercise? Now we see that the answer to this question is 'Yes'. It is for the person doing the exercise to decide whether what is happening in connection with his breathing is 'just' her imagination or whether this imagination is simply the means of realising what is taking place 'because of' imagination. In his teaching, John Bennett used to caution against using the concept of 'just imagination' implying that imagination was not necessarily indulging in fiction but a real action that could produce definite results in us. The supposed result of the exercise, however, is something out of sight. As far as we know, no one supposes that it is possible to observe 'coating' - which would be tantamount to observing the formation of one's soul. It is in the realm of being or 'what is' and cannot be seen as a process. In our analysis in 'Inner Exercises' we equated it with samadhi for the reason that no observation is possible. The dilemma then is that we have to take this result on faith because there is no way in which we can know it directly for ourselves, which contradicts the basic foundation of these methods on verifying for oneself. John Bennett appeared to have claimed that he could perceive such results. We remember him once remarking to a lady that she now had her kesdjan body, which was much to her surprise since she had no sense of it herself! We should emphasise that the use of breathing advocated by Gurdjieff did not involve changing the breathing in any way. The breathing tends to change of itself and this should be allowed to happen in a natural and easy way. Gurdjieff was against altering the natural tempo of breathing, instead emphasising the supreme importance of awareness and attention as changing the very substance of the air itself in us. In the next section, we look at other features of the exercises which have come down to us over the years. We also take into account some of the material to be found in Ouspensky's book In Search of the Miraculous. Needless to say, attempting any of these things at random is of little consequence.
  54. 54. Bennett's Struggle in Paris In the book written by his widow, Elizabeth, Idiots In Paris, we can read of John Bennett's struggle with a basic exercise apparently given him by Gurdjieff. Though we cannot presume to know the whole of this, he does provide an outline of what it entailed. Very simply, he would kneel with arms out sideways, fixing his attention on a fixed spot on the wall. The accumulating sensation (even pain perhaps) in his arms would establish 'Am' and the mental focus would provide 'I'. Gurdjieff seemed to have been consistently concerned with 'I Am' exercises. Readers of In Search of the Miraculous may remember his account of monks in Mount Athos who would pronounce the word "I" while noticing where it 'sounded' in them (see loc. cit. page 304). For some it would be in the chest and others in the head - or even above the head. He also mentions that they would adopt a certain posture, such as kneeling with the arms lifted and bent at the elbows. "The purpose of this exercise is to feel 'I' every moment a man thinks of himself and to bring 'I' from one center to another." One of the reasons for discussing this exercise is that it makes very clear that Gurdjieff was not at all concerned with what is now generally called 'meditation'. John Bennett always made it clear that the exercises derived from Gurdjieff were active, while meditation was essentially receptive; a distinction that is discussed in his book The Sevenfold Work. We would do the active exercises in the morning and the receptive ones at night. If we were to attempt a single simplistic formula for the Gurdjieff exercises, it would be To realise 'I Am' including the generation or accumulation of energies enabling 'I' to 'Am'. In doing an exercise, the person would have to draw on the whole of themselves. Thus, Gurdjieff would speak of integrating the impulses of 'I can, 'I wish', and 'I am' as can-wish-am. This was nothing but a direct application of his teaching that man consists of four personalities. These are now only crudely understood in terms of body, feelings, mind and 'I'. Behind this model stands the model of the food factory, and the implications stemming from correspondences such as: body-food, feelings-air, mind-impressions. Relaxing and Filling From the early days in Russia, Gurdjieff taught relaxation and sensing (see In Search of the Miraculous pp. 350-1). There he initiated the practice followed more or less since of beginning relaxation starting from the muscles of the face. He also showed how to 'feel' (i.e. sense in fact) any part of the body at will. The exercise in 'circular sensation' shown around 1917 became Bennett's 'Six Point Exercise' used at Sherborne more than fifty years later. It is not documented when Gurdjieff explicitly introduced the practice of 'filling', though it became 'The' exercise for many after his death. In 'filling' we bring sensation energy into the body. Starting with the feet. Thus, relaxation goes from top to toe and filling from toe to top. The head is the last thing to be filled with sensation. The deliberate sensing and movement of sensation is at first an astonishing thing. As far as we know, no one besides Gurdjieff has drawn attention to this as a fundamental practice of voluntary experience. It predates biofeedback by half a century. It is also intriguing, as Ouspensky points out, that none of this to be found in yogic practice. In teaching about relaxation and filling it was always emphasised that attention should never be drawn into the inner organs such as the heart, liver, spleen, etc. This advice is echoed in e.g. autogenic therapy. The reason for it is that unskilled attention can alter the tempo of functioning or other features of the organ. In general, Gurdjieff was against any altering of diet, chewing, breathing, etc. Bennett's arms out sideways (a practice that certainly came from Gurdjieff) will inevitably produce sensation! It must be emphasised over and over again that Gurdjieff taught that we do not need to get beyond the physical because we are not in it yet - and the first step is to attain the physical!

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