Meaning by Design - Symbolic Encounters

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Q, Music can always take me out of myself, out of my worries. Just for a time I am nowhere. How can it do this?

A. When you listen to music, are you listening to notes?

In fact you are not listening to, giving your attention tonotes, but to the ‘weave’ the whole pattern which is the unified background. You are responding to the unity and it gives delight or pleasure according to what perception you bring to it. A musician discerns a complex unified pattern and is delighted by detail, whereas another person may be moved emotionally by the wash of sound without discerning the structure.


Q.It’s probably the ultimate question, but where does Will come from?   Can some-thing come from no-thing? From where in me does my will arise to do anything?
A.The only answer is that Will is outside the chain of Causality which ‘causes’ everything in creation. No-thing in existence is without its multiple causes, on a vast wheel of dependent originating and co-conditioned arising, as theory has it.  But all that can be said of what occurs toset offany process is:  'Will arises'.


Q. As someone who has had experience of working in the groups, it seems to me that most people who utilise Gurdjieff’s theory seem to be looking from a purely psychological frame. 
A.You're so right about the psychological frame. It hit me last night, when having a think about the octave & law of three, how all contemporary understanding turns the theory into a tool for personal use, for Me. 
The whole message seems to reduce it to a psychological tool for people to sort out their life & relationships etc.


Q.You implied that realunderstanding or Knowledge “means engaging with number, the ultimate abstract symbol, but not as a mathematician--as a metaphysician”, and said “ Look at the starry sky on a moonless night. Right there is an introduction to number..... And , if you can hold silent, it is a touch of higher emotion.”
I'm not sure I can directly connect, but nevertheless there is something very familiar. For you it's the moonless starry night for me it's the cool ocean fog on the beach in the morning.


Q.  Since you suggested reading up on Gurdjieff, I've been working on it now for the better part of 2 days. Something has been missing in Gurdjieff's world view. 
There is no love!! No sense of play!!! i.e. ( joy in something that is done for the sake of itself), a gesture. For me this is the essence of the creative impulse. Can math and ratios describe your "Love" for the ones that are dear to you? 

A.I'm impressed. Working away at something you find baffling or don't particularly like because


Q. What you said about my spontaneous imagery resonates with me.
The expressions I witness seem random and without coherence, and I wonder what might bring coherence to it? If meditation 'unifies the scattered parts of the mind', and somehow this must be an expression of a particular level of mind, then what might bring greater coherence to this level? Just more meditation? 
Hmmm. I’m watching the human drama, seeing humanity being played out, creation and destruction, and new bodies just keeping coming and coming, and I'm also in one of those long lines of people.


Q. You asked me what was ‘behind’ the image I had when we were exploring what is stopping my creativity, and I said that it was darkness. But when you asked me more about the darkness, I found that it was a hard, shiny, impenetrable surface. Since it is located ’in me’ so to speak, I find it curious and a little disturbing. What could this ‘darkness’ be?

A.  It is your potential.

Q.  Well, how can I access it then?

A.  You can take two approaches to this. One is psychological.


Q.I’ve read so many books and know all the theory about becoming enlightened, but I find it difficult to respond to what you ask in these sessions…
A  I warn you (seriously)--I am not some ’Enlightened’ being. The truth is simply that I have grasped some things, I've had a good training, and I have a natural bent towards clarity, and I try to pass these on when I encounter responsive people.
Like the osprey, sometimes I grasp the fish, but sometimes I am searching and searching for that gleam in the lake.


Q. Further to our investigations into prayer, somehow prayer to me seems to be in that place of first making sure we are able to 'be in the temple' so that God can work in us. And then offer that to whatever we meet. Prayer then seems much more inherently relational than I had ever considered . And your writings brought that up for me as well.
A.  I think relationship is the essence of prayer - the attempt to be in relation to Somewhat. The nature of the ‘somewhat’ is the problem.

Roads Less Travelled: Talbot

I'm re-posting these old 2013 posts for Tom, a man with the voice of a Folk-singer, the heart of a Poet and the soul of an Aussie. May the ancestral Irish-Aussie pioneering spirit stir again....

On our recent trip to Australia I found myself beguiled by roads. We went for a family reunion in the little country town of Talbot. My great-grandfather opened one of the first Pubs in the gold-fields during the great Rushes of the 1850’s, and our family has much history there.  Talbot’s glory-days are over.

Ancestral Talbot

For Tom. Sing on.....

My last post depicted a rather de-populated Talbot, so I thought I would share a little more of its quirky charm and inhabitants, past and present.

As I was  there for a family and ancestral reunion, itgot me thinking about ancestry; one's line of forebears, the daily lives and preoccupations of those long gone. The graves under the quiet gums; no trace of motivation or the force that drove the fuse and flower of their lives. To be honest, although intriguing and moving, these ancestors are largely mute; fragments, frames frozen in time.


Q.  I very much appreciate your observations and frankness. If I'm understanding correctly you’re making a big distinction between self-improvement and spiritual experience. This is something I find myself doing often; that is hoping spiritual experience will somehow improve parts of myself that I wish to change or improve (more patience, better listening, more compassion, clearer perception....). 

This of course leads to self-rumination which in turn leads nowhere. Nevertheless these are life habits most of us have.


Q. I realised I have never spoken to you about prayer, and I would like to. That might be a missing part of my practice.
A.Prayer is difficult to identify outside of a conventional religious context. But it’s important to gain a deeper understanding because I think prayer belongs alongside meditation and contemplation as a trinity of practice -- mutually dependent, overlapping and inter-twining, but distinct.
The terms prayer, meditation and contemplation considered together, suggest a western theistic background, ‘contemplation’ in particular, but all traditions and ways of inner work have related practices.


"Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself within a forest dark...." Thus Dante begins his Divine Comedy and journey through the three realms of existence.  It is a recurring metaphor for many at a certain stage of life. Here another finds herself in that forest....

L.  I see your dark forest, and suggest that if you visit it again, you look for a fountain, spring or stream which will be there somewhere, although you are not seeing it by staying resolutely on your chosen (only) path.


I have added this as an explanatory addendum to the post  'Walking the Edge' (Meditation skills), but the relevance is general. The question there was: 'How do you walk the razor's edge between these two...?'

I’d just like to add something to this question and response, as it provides a good illustration of the principle behind working with symbols. My response was aimed at showing how the hidden (unconscious) power of the metaphor chosen here conditions the way the situation is seen, and therefore behavioural and psychological reverberations.
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