Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Ouspensky On one occasion at the beginning of a meeting G. put a question to which all those present had to answer in turn. The question was; "What is the most important thing that we notice during self-observation?"
Some of those present said that during attempts at self-observation, what they had felt particularly strongly was an incessant flow of thoughts which they had found impossible to stop. Others spoke of the difficulty of distinguishing the work of one center from the work of another. I had evidently not altogether understood the question, or I answered my own thoughts, because I said that what struck me most was the connectedness of one thing with another in the system, the wholeness of the system, as if it were an "organism," and the entirely new significance of the word to know which included not only the idea of knowing this thing or that, but the connection between this thing and everything else.
Gurdjieff was obviously dissatisfied with our replies. I had already begun to understand him in such circumstances and I saw that he expected from us indications of something definite that we had either missed or failed to understand.
"Not one of you has noticed the most important thing that I have pointed out to you," he said. "That is to say, not one of you has noticed that you do not remember yourselves." (He gave particular emphasis to these words.) "You do not feel yourselves; you are not conscious of yourselves. With you, 'it observes' just as 'it speaks' 'it thinks,' 'it laughs.' You do not feel: I observe, I notice, I see. Everything still 'is noticed,' 'is seen.' ... In order really to observe oneself one must first of all remember oneself" (He again emphasized these words.) "
Try to remember yourselves when you observe yourselves and later on tell me the results. Only those results will have any value that are accompanied by self-remembering. Otherwise you yourselves do not exist in your observations. In which case what are all your observations worth?"
These words of G.'s made me think a great deal. It seemed to me at once that they were the key to what he had said before about consciousness. But I decided to draw no conclusions whatever, but to try to remember myself while observing myself.
The very first attempts showed me how difficult it was. Attempts at selfremembering failed to give any results except to show me that in actual fact we never remember ourselves.
"What else do you want?" said G. "This is a very important realization. People who know this" (he emphasized these words) "already know a great deal. The whole trouble is that nobody knows it. If you ask a man whether he can remember himself, he will of course answer that he can. If you tell him that he cannot remember himself, he will either be angry with you, or he will think you an utter fool. The whole of life is based on this, the whole of human existence, the whole of human blindness. If a man really knows that he cannot remember himself, he is already near to the understanding of his being."
Source: from Ouspensky Book "In Search of Miraculous"
Ouspensky - During one of the talks G. again returned to the idea of the different bodies of man.
"That man can have several bodies," he said, "must be understood as an idea, as a principle. But it does not apply to us. We know we have the one physical body and we know nothing else. It is the physical body that we must study. Only, we must remember that the question is not limited to the physical body and that there are people who may have two, three, or more bodies. But it makes no difference to us personally either one way or another. Someone like Rockefeller in America may have a great many millions, but his millions do not help me if I have nothing to eat. It is the same thing in this connection. Everyone must think of himself; it is useless and senseless to rely on others or to console oneself with thoughts of what others possess."
"How is one to know if a man has an 'astral body'?" I asked.
Gurdjieff - "There are definite ways of knowing that," answered G. "Under certain conditions the 'astral body' can be seen; it can be separated from the physical body and even photographed at the side of the physical body. The existence of the 'astral body' can be still more easily and simply established by its functions. The 'astral body' has definite functions which the physical body cannot have. The presence of these functions indicates the presence of the 'astral body.'
The absence of these functions shows the absence of the 'astral body.' But it is too early to speak of this now. All our attention must be concentrated on the study of the physical body. It is necessary to understand the structure of the human machine. Our principal error is that we think we have one mind. We call the functions of this mind 'conscious'; everything that does not enter this mind we call 'unconscious' or 'subconscious.' This is our chief error. Of the conscious and the unconscious we will speak later. At this moment I want to explain to you that the activity of the human machine, that is, of the physical body, is controlled, not by one, but by several minds, entirely independent of each other, having separate functions and separate spheres in which they manifest themselves. This must be understood first of all, because unless this is understood nothing else can be understood."
Source: from Ouspensky Book "In Search of Miraculous"
Ouspensky - By the Y THE beginning of November, 1915, I already had a grasp of some of the fundamental points of G.'s system in relation to man. The first point, on which he laid stress, was the absence of unity in man.
"It is the greatest mistake," he said, "to think that man is always one and the same. A man is never the same for long. He is continually changing. He seldom remains the same even for half an hour. We think that if a man is called Ivan he is always Ivan. Nothing of the kind. Now he is Ivan, in another minute he is Peter, and a minute later he is Nicholas, Sergius, Matthew, Simon. And all of you think he is Ivan. You know that Ivan cannot do a certain thing. He cannot tell a lie for instance. Then you find he has told a lie and you are surprised he could have done so. And, indeed, Ivan cannot lie; it is Nicholas who lied. And when the opportunity presents itself Nicholas cannot help lying. You will be astonished when you realize what a multitude of these Ivans and Nicholases live in one man. If you learn to observe them there is no need to go to a cinema."
"Has this anything to do with the consciousnesses of separate parts and organs of the body?" I asked him on this occasion. "I understand this idea and have often felt the reality of these consciousnesses. I know that not only separate organs, but every part of the body having a separate function has a separate consciousness. The right hand has one consciousness and the left hand another. Is that what you mean?"
"Not altogether," said G. "These consciousnesses also exist but they are comparatively harmless. Each of them knows its own place and its own business. The hands know they must work; the feet know they must walk. But these Ivans, Peters, and Nicholases are different. They all call themselves 'I.' That is, they consider themselves masters and none wants to recognize another. Each of them is caliph for an hour, does what he likes regardless of everything, and, later on, the others have to pay for it. And there is no order among them whatever. Whoever gets the upper hand is master. He whips everyone on all sides and takes heed of nothing. But the next moment another seizes the whip and beats him. And so it goes on all one's life. Imagine a country where everyone can be king for five minutes and do during these five minutes just what he likes with the whole kingdom. That is our life."
Source: from Ouspensky Book "In Search of Miraculous"
Thursday, April 30, 2009
In so-called 'occult' literature you have probably met with the expression 'Kundalini,' 'the fire of Kundalini,' or the 'serpent of Kundalini.' This expression is often used to designate some kind of strange force which is present in man and which can be awakened. But none of the known theories gives the right explanation of the force of Kundalini. Sometimes it is connected with sex, with sex energy, that is with the idea of the possibility of using sex energy for other purposes.
This latter is entirely wrong because Kundalini can be in anything. And above all, Kundalini is not anything desirable or useful for man's development. It is very curious how these occultists have got hold of the word from somewhere but have completely altered its meaning and from a very dangerous and terrible thing have made something to be hoped for and to be awaited as some blessing.In reality Kundalini is the power of imagination, the power of fantasy, which takes the place of a real function.
When a man dreams instead of acting, when his dreams take the place of reality, when a man imagines himself to be an eagle, a lion, or a magician, it is the force of Kundalini acting in him. Kundalini can act in all centers and with its help all the centers can be satisfied with the imaginary instead of the real. A sheep which considers itself a lion or a magician lives under the power of Kundalini.Kundalini is a force put into men in order to keep them in their present state.
If men could really see their true position and could understand all the horror of it, they would be unable to remain where they are even for one second. They would begin to seek a way out and they would quickly find it, because there is a way out; but men fail to see it simply because they are hypnotized. Kundalini is the force that keeps them in a hypnotic state. 'To awaken' for man means to be 'dehypnotized.' In this lies the chief difficulty and in this also lies the guarantee of its possibility, for there is no organic reason for sleep and man can awaken.
Theoretically he can, but practically it is almost impossible because as soon as a man awakens for a moment and opens his eyes, all the forces that caused him to fall asleep begin to act upon him with tenfold energy and he immediately falls asleep again, very often dreaming that he is awake or is awakening.There are certain states in ordinary sleep in which a man wants to awaken but cannot. He tells himself that he is awake but, in reality, he continues to sleep – and this can happen several times before he finally awakes.
But in ordinary sleep, once he is awake, he is in a different state; in hypnotic sleep the case is otherwise; there are no objective characteristics, at any rate not at the beginning of awakening; a man cannot pinch himself in order to make sure that he is not asleep. And if, which God forbid, a man has heard anything about objective characteristics, Kundalini at once transforms it all into imagination and dreams.
Source: from Ouspensky Book "In serach of Miraclous"
Ouspensky - As we left the park G. stopped talking and was going a few steps ahead of us. We five walked behind him talking together. In going round a tree G. dropped the stick - ebony with a Caucasian silver handle - he was carrying and one of us bent down, picked it up, and gave it to him. G. walked on for a few steps, then turned to us and said:"That was astrology. Do you understand? You all saw me drop the stick. Why did one of you pick it up?
Let each of you speak for himself."One said he had not seen G. drop the stick as he was looking another way. The second said he had noticed that G. had not dropped the stick accidentally as happens when a stick gets caught in something, but that he had intentionally loosened his hand and let the stick fall. This had excited his curiosity and he had waited to see what would happen next. The third said he saw G. drop the stick, but was very absorbed in thinking of astrology, particularly trying to remember what G. said once before, and did not pay sufficient attention to the stick. The fourth saw the stick fall and thought of picking it up, but at that moment the other picked up the stick and gave it to G. The fifth said he saw the stick fall and then he saw himself picking it up and giving it to G.
G. smiled as he listened to us."This is astrology," he said. "In the same situation one man sees and does one thing, another - another thing, a third - a third thing, and so on. And each one acted according to his type. Observe people and yourselves in this way and then perhaps we will afterwards talk of a different astrology."
Source: from Ouspensky Book "In Search of the Miraculous"