Henri Trachol was one of Gurdjieff's personal associates. I did not know him well at all, but I met him on a number of occasions when he was invited to sit with our group back in the 1990s.
My impressions of him were always intense and favorable. During that period, I had the opportunity to ask him several questions personally. His answers were always well informed and had a tangible humor to them.
Last year, Andre Ennard told Neal and me an amusing story about him. It seems, according to Andre, as though at the end of his life he got quieter and quieter, saying less and less. There was one moment where he was giving a sitting, and all he ever said during the entire sitting was the word "un" (one) at the beginning.
This kind of blew people away. It prompted his wife to ask him, at the end of the sitting, "one What?"
He smiled, but did not answer.
I am recounting this tale because it relates to an understanding I discussed last night with my wife and a close friend.
When one reads the chapter, "From the Author" in "Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson" one discovers that Gurdjieff openly confesses he changed the language from an existing system in order to define his own.
How far does one need to look to know what system that was? ...Not very. It's fairly obvious that he took existing yoga terms and concepts, and changed the language so that it would be more precise. The ideas themselves were still identical, more or less, to those of the yoga schools. (Anyone who doubts that need only refer to his extensive references to how man's inner organization can be likened to a horse, carriage, and driver. The whole story is lifted straight from a classic yoga sutra.)
In intentionally changing the language of yoga, Gurdjieff removed a certain degree of subjectivity.
The enneagram is one area where this was of critical importance. The enneagram, as I have explained on numerous occasions, is a map of the inner structure of the human body--
among other things.
That is to say, you have an enneagram inside you that functions, or at least should function, under ideal circumstances, in the exact manner that the diagram depicts.
I am well aware of the fact that this idea seems exceedingly theoretical to most people. I was discussing this with our good friend last night, who was surprised that I could say that there are specific correlations one can observe in terms of the inner organs, or centers, the flow of energy, and the meaning of the diagram. All I can say, for those of you who are skeptical, is that this information is both tangible and available. Instead of assuming that it cannot be found, the important thing is to look around inside yourself and see what can be found.
I daresay your work will progress in significant ways if you begin to understand this in a more direct manner, instead of continuing to treat it as an intellectual abstraction.
Gurdjieff's change in the language of yoga was absolutely critical in this area because he removed the names that people use for centers -- that is, both the word chakras, and the labels for the various chakras -- and replaced them with numbers. The numbers not only depict an objective relationship between the various centers, they offer a strict non-verbal logic, and they erase any associations we may have. This means that when we look for the "chakras" or "centers" in ourselves, we no longer look for something called a chakra or a center. Instead, we look for one, or four, or two, and so on.
In seeking a number, we seek something unknown, something objective. As we turn our attention to the physical locations of these various organs, instead of thinking of them with words -- which I must confess I still often do, especially with the heart -- we seek instead the number. This creates an open ended question, because there is no definition here, just a number. We might discover anything in relationship to that.
Where is the "one" in us? How do we discover it?
We can move on from that question to ask the same question of all of the numbers, even the multiplications themselves.
Tomorrow, we'll discuss an understanding of the concept of the vessel in relationship to the enneagram, and we'll discuss what the implications of vessels, containment, and receiving are when viewed from the perspective of this diagram.
May your hearts be open and your lives be full.