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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
Q. Well, how can I access it then?
A. You can take two
approaches to this. One is psychological.
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
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.
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.
For Tom. Sing on.....
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
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.
realised I have never spoken to you about prayer, and I would like to.
That might be a missing part of my practice.
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)
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...?'
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