Finally figured out that this practice Gurdjieff called self-remembering is virtually the same as the practice of staying with the “Watcher” in Vipassana, insight meditation. For the moments I (the inner mind-self) can stay in observation mode (of one’s actions, thoughts, feelings) and not get “caught up” in them (self-forgetting), I am in self-remembering mode.
Too bad I don’t have a dollar for every time I go into another room and forget what I was going there for. Must keep up meditation practice — best way to practice identifying with the “watcher,” with minimum stimuli or action to distract.
I am hit with the combined force of all the physical functions at once and at full blast—”horse,” “carriage,” “servant-driver”, feelings, body-instincts, intellect. An alchemist would probably diagnose the condition as the soul being CALCINATED, the excess (desire) being burned to ash for the eventual release of essential Self.
I turn to alchemy for prognosis. DISSOLUTION is next, it seems. Can’t say as I’m looking forward to it. The good news is, I have the feeling it’s already begun, in the form of letting-go, letting “things” go, not “efforting” as much (as the current lingo would put it), giving up (some) of the tendency to name, analyze, label for the sake of simply feeling (experiencing).
An email from the Gurdjieff Foundation today informs me that this is the anniversary of the death of Lord John Pentland, long-revered president of the Gurdjieff Foundation in New York.
Fitting he should leave the planet on Valentine’s Day. For what is arising into new consciousness but another form of falling in love? And who’s to say that it isn’t the ultimate experience of being in love?
Like other equivalent experiences in my life, this one is as painful as it is life-giving. Maybe more so. I am barely a novice at this—the teachings, “the Work”—yet I burn, in the full sense of St. Paul’s usage. Something big is happening to me that only alchemy, Kabbalah, and now perhaps, the Work can help me through.
Son Derek just left, after 4 lovely days here working on my web site, enjoying each other’s company, good meals. Can’t believe his parting words: “Now take care of yourself, don’t starve yourself, and keep up that good body work (painting, dancing). Don’t forget, there’s a little tumor built into all our brains that tries to keep us from the stuff we really need to be doing.”
Found myself exclaiming, “Gurdjieff says just that—he even has a name for it, the ‘Kundabuffer!'”
Couldn’t believe it. The connections that happen when we’re on course….
The image that comes to mind is the Tarot Trump of “The Hermit,” the solitary pilgrim stepping onto the rocky unknown ahead of him. The lantern he carries casts more light for those who may be following behind him than it does for his own next, possibly treacherous, steps.
Traditional Tarot trump placement of The Hermit on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life places The Hermit on the path above Tiphareth (Beauty) heading toward Chesed (Mercy). Personal experience supports Colin Low’s feeling (in his digital book, “A Depth of Beginning”) that this solitary hike through the spiritual bewilderness of the emotions occurs much sooner than the lofty achievement of Tiphareth—”Christ-consciousness” in Jung’s system. Low’s placement of the stalwart pilgrim well below Tiphareth, on the path between Yesod, the astral or spiritual plane behind apparent material “reality”, and Netzach, the force-field of love, sex and emotion, strikes me as good a position as any to depict this rocky road.
Let this journal be my lantern, then, lighting the steps I taken on the Way, perhaps in the process even illuminating some signposts and footholds for others. But experience and knowledge tells me it will be of little use in lighting next steps for myself. At best, its reflected light may occasionally reveal the next stepping stone ahead of me, but if I rely on it I shall handicap my third eye in being open to the wisdom of the non-rational. I shall have to learn to depend on God and the Unconscious to show me the way forward and trust that Fate or Fortune will not intervene too drastically.
WHAT DO I BELIEVE? Derek asks. I presume to give me a base for understanding how much and what kind of motivation I have for even taking the time each week (each day?!) to maintain this journal of afterthoughts. And so I wrote down:
“I believe in showing others that it’s possible to…wake up to the divine in oneself, recover our original Self, and unite with the divine while still in this life and body.”
Well, I guess that’s some motivation.
Son Derek wants me to track the journey I’ve been on for most of my life. With age I find that experiences and events are accelerating. My former resistance to engaging with technology is not so pronounced. And a more recent enthusiasm for using the blog format for self-discovery begins to fade in the face of a new, more realistic motivation: freeing the mind.
Writing has been a major way of communicating for most of my adult life. My career was built around it. My private life was worked out with it, in journals, letters and poems, mostly with fountain pen and foolscap. Now I find that words in my head and on paper are a prison. The sounds and scratches that arise out of the brain, as fully armed as was Athena when she sprang from her father’s forehead, now feel more like fetters for the soul than windows. They threaten to derail what I can accomplish in the limited time that remains to me.
And so, contrary to my original resistance to using technology as a means of clearing a way through the psychic jungle, I am curious to see if this online Journal can serve as a navigational instrument by which I can at least track my progress over the sea thus far.